You have been vacuuming the same area of carpet for half an hour, but nothing seems to be getting better. The dirt is still deep in the fabric of your floor, and your patience is wearing thin. You thought cleaning was supposed to take care of your messes, but your vacuum seems to just be causing a bigger one.

Cleaning can be difficult, especially when your equipment does not work as well as it should. To get the most out of your vacuuming, follow these four steps to clean out your vacuum and make it run better.

Discard Dirt: Your vacuum’s container that catches all of the dirt you suck up can get clogged and drained, even if you discard of the accumulated dirt on a semi-regular basis. To help ensure that your vacuum is able to use its full strength, make sure you are discarding all of the collected dirt after every cleaning job. When you do this, also rinse warm water and a mild soap through the container to break up any stuck particles and clear passageways.

Care for Your Filter: Like with the dirt container, your filter can become full and clogged over time and use. To get the most out of your filter without having to completely replace it, use an old toothbrush to clean out any large particles and free up the airways. Once you have gotten the large chunks out, run your filter under warm water and let it air dry completely before snapping it back in.

Pay Attention to Attachments: Sometimes your vacuum itself is in great condition and it can be the attachments slowing it down. Take apart each attachment on your machine and thoroughly rinse with warm water and soap. Be mindful of any clogged areas and take note of them for future use and reference.

Unclog Brushes: Often, human and pet hair can get wrapped around brush bristles and cause the vacuum to be less efficient. Turn your vacuum over and, if possible, detach your brushes. Then, carefully use a hair brush to clean out the bristles. If there are complicated knots, gently use a pair of scissors to carefully snip away the hairs to ease them lose.
Nothing can be quite as frustrating as trying to clean with equipment that isn’t working to the best of its ability. Clean out your vacuum regularly to make sure your machine is working efficiently, and when you spot trouble, always make note of it for the next time the problem arises.