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Saturday, August 3, 2013

How To Clean a Standard Vacuum Head

Why bother?
Read on and check out the pictures to see why....
Vacuum cleaners are a wonderful time saving invention and to get the most out of them from time to time we need to do a little maintenance. You probably regularly change the filters and give it a wipe over and use the nozzle to suck the head bristles but do you ever overhaul the head? It's a good idea every 12 months or so to pull the head apart and give it a good clean, and I'll show you why.....

The picture on the left is before and the one on the right is after....
Take a good look at the head before you start taking it apart, note the angles and the way it sits, it's a point of reference when you are getting it back together.
Unscrew the plate from the head, there are usually four screws, put them in a safe place....

carefully lift off the plate and locate the springs that sit within, there are usually two, put those safely with the screws. 

Just look at that great compacted gob of lint and dirt! You may have noticed that the presser foot that raises the bristles from smooth floor to carpet mode has been getting a bit tetchy and temperamental of late - that's why, it's FULL up!

 That mess of impacted filth is also severely hampering the suction at head level and the flow of dirt to the bag, meaning your vacuum is not working efficiently, the motor is working harder and you're worker harder.
But wait...there's more!
Now lift off the inner plate from the outer head housing....

Yep! Even more fluff and dirt, it's a bit hard for you to see but there is also great layers of it clinging to the metal plate above in the picture. Is it any wonder your machine doesn't seem like the wonder you bought some years ago.

Once you have removed all the loose dirt and grime, give it a good soak in warm soapy water. No need for harsh chemicals, just some plain washing up detergent. The plate with the bristles will probably need the most soaking and picking at to remove caked grime.

While the bristle plate is soaking, dry off the bottom plate and get to work with some metal polish. This will remove some of the surface rust and bring it back to (almost) show room shine and be gliding over your carpets again like when you first bought it.

Can you see the difference on the right where I have hit it with some polish? Ideally your floors should be absolutely dry when you vacuum but inevitably you will see some moisture damage on the head. I am not going to get this back to pristine but it's much better.

Let all the parts dry thoroughly and take your time putting it back together, don't force anything, feel your way and look at it logically how the pieces go back again. Make sure you have placed the screws back where they were and screw the cover plate in place. 
Your clean head should be working like a dream again.
If worse comes to worse and you can't take the head apart or get it back together, just take it to your service agent.


  1. after reading your post i had to go and have a look at my vacuum head to see if i could disassemble has screws so i will be onto it..would never have occurred to me to take it apart so thanks for the great tip..jane

  2. Wow, it has never occurred to me to take the vacuum head apart. I will be examining mine closely to see how to take it apart..

  3. Hi Tanya!
    Great post, I have a big upright but have been thinking lately that its not what it used to be and needs a service, you have encouraged me to just take a closer look first :)

  4. Ewwwww!! I just pulled my vacuum head apart and removed about half a kilo of wadded compacted dust and grime and dirt! In fact, there was so much gunge in there, it had pried the head apart and snapped a couple of the plastic nibs that the screws fitted into! (admittedly my vacuum is an old upright tells, so it probably takes about 25 years for that much buildup to start breaking things). Anyway, I cleaned it all out, put it back together (easy) and there were enough screws that it still holds together and works a million times better than before. Go Tanya - you are a legend!


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