How to Clean a Vacuum Brush Roll

When you plan for vacuum maintenance, you probably focus on replacing the bag first. Perhaps you go a step further and change the belt from time to time. However, if you're like many vacuum owners, your appliance's brush roll is woefully neglected.

Procrastinating on cleaning the vacuum brush roll is both common and understandable. This task can be surprisingly difficult, particularly if you're new to vacuum maintenance.

To help, we've compiled simple suggestions on how to clean a vacuum brush roll. We'll also explain the pitfalls of not completing this key task. Our goal is to motivate you to keep your vacuum in pristine condition. You'll be amazed by the difference the occasional vacuum brush roll cleaning can make. 

How to Clean a Vacuum Roller Brush – 4 Easy Steps

Achieving a clean vacuum brush roll attachment may seem like a huge ordeal. In reality, however, this process can be straightforward if you are properly equipped and know what to expect. 

Follow these four steps to properly clean your vacuum brush roll”

1. Safety First

Before you get started, take a few steps to limit the potential for injuries. First and foremost, your vacuum should always be unplugged before you go forth with any maintenance tasks. Wear a sturdy pair of work gloves to prevent your hands from getting nicked, especially if you use a razor or any other sharp tools to remove hair.

2. Remove the Nozzle

Lift the headlight hood and pull out the belt lifter handle. Rotate counter-clockwise until the red arrows align showing the belt is off. Next, rotate the top latch to release the nozzle from the vacuum. Underneath the nozzle, remove the bottom plate by rotating the two levers on the side. At this point, you should be able to see the brush roll and determine whether it requires cleaning.

3. Cut off Trapped Hair

Use a hook or straight razor to cut off any hair that's become entwined with the brush roll. Never cut towards yourself. If you're concerned about safety, invest in a specialty tool designed for cleaning hair from vacuum brushes. Work slowly and methodically, taking as many passes as necessary to remove all the strands of hair. Once you've loosened it enough, you should be able to remove it with your hands.

4. Remove Dirt and Debris

Once you've gotten rid of excess hair, it's time to address any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the vacuum brush roll over time. Some of this may come off easily as you remove hair, but much will likely remain in place.

When in doubt, a bristle brush should do the trick for removing stubborn dirt. Depending on how dirty the brush is, water with mild detergent could also help. Be gentle but thorough, ensuring that buildup is addressed without damaging the roller brush before it's returned to its proper position. If you use water or vinegar for an extra rinse, be sure to dry the brush head with a microfiber cloth.

How often you follow these steps will depend on the extent to which you use your vacuum cleaner. Some users can get away with very occasional brush cleanings, but once a month is safest for most – particularly if tangled hair is a regular issue for your vacuum brush roll. The more often you clean your brush roll, the easier it will be each time.

What Happens If You Don't Clean the Vacuum Brush Often Enough?

Now that you know how to clean a brush roll attachment, you should have no trouble adding these steps to your maintenance list. If you tend to overlook this issue, keep in mind that it could cause major problems for your vacuum in the long run.

First, debris (including hair) will almost certainly get caught in your brush. This will collect over time, ultimately limiting suction and damaging your brush's performance. The result? More effort to get your rugs and carpets clean.

Disappointed in your vacuum's subpar performance? You may be tempted to invest in a new one, even if such an expense isn't necessary. Before you worry about buying a new vacuum, it's worth your while to clean the brush and see if the vacuum's performance gets a boost as a result.

A little extra care can make a world of difference for your vacuum cleaner. Don't neglect cleaning the brush or to complete other basic maintenance tasks. If you're proactive, you'll be rewarded with a reliable vacuum that stands the test of time. If you need assistance with your Kirby system, reach out to one of our professionals today!

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