How To Improve or Fix Vacuum Cleaner Suction

Over time your vacuum cleaner may lose suction making it almost impossible to pick things up. If this has happened then it’s time to give it a little love and service it.

You have two options for improving suction of your vacuum cleaner, you can either take it to the repair shop and let them fix it, or you can do it yourself.

We recommend doing it yourself so that you can learn to do it in the future if it happens again. We will guide you on how to increase the cleaning power of your old vacuum cleaner and also give you helpful tips too.

Replace the filter

If you have never replaced the filter on your vacuum cleaner, then it would be a good thing to do now. Don’t try to reuse the filter as its better to get a whole new one if it’s never been replaced.

Loss of suction is usually from a clogged air filter. If the clog is bad enough the vacuum cleaner will overheat and shut off. If this does happen I have a guide on what to do here.

If you don’t know where your vacuum’s filter is located then here is a list of videos showing many vacuum’s filters getting replaced. If anything, just go to YouTube and type in your vacuum cleaner’s name and the word “filter” and it’s a good chance someone has a video on how to replace it.

Check Height Adjustments

To get a correct amount of suction a vacuum cleaner needs to be close to the floor as possible. If you’re vacuuming on the highest height setting when it comes to bare floors, then it won’t be as effective.

Make sure you’re cleaning at the right height for the floors.

Change Bag or Empty Canister

If you’re losing suction, then it might be the bag of the vacuum or the canister. Go ahead and place a new bag into the vacuum cleaner if it uses a bag.

If the Vacuum is a bagless model, then remove the canister and empty it.

Tip: I like to go a step further and rinse out the canister with tap water and allow it to thoroughly dry. It just seems the canisters get dirtier and dirtier every time I empty them, so it’s nice to rinse them out once in awhile. It’s important you let it dry completely or check the owners manual for ways to clean the canister.

Check Hose

I’ve seen hair, pens, parts of shoes, and much more get clogged in the hose of a vacuum cleaner. The hose of the vacuum getting clogged is one of the top reasons for a loss of suction. Even vacuums that claim no loss of suction can suffer from this.

The best way to unclog the hose is with a broom. Using the broom handle poke the inside of the hose to break free any items that may be clogged.

One neat little trick I like to do is fill up a 5-gallon bucket with warm water and place only the hose in there. I like to let it sit for a bit, maybe even throw some dish soap in to get rid of the grease and goo it collects over the years. I would sometimes leave it in there to soak all day and then remove it and allow it to dry all night. What is left in the bucket is nasty stuff that was clogging or going to clog the hose.

Use Another Vacuum

A tip you won’t hear anywhere else is to use another vacuum cleaner to clean out your vacuum cleaner. I like to use a shop vacuum as they can handle anything you throw at them. If you don’t have a shop vacuum, then I highly recommend you get one, especially if you have kids or pets – they’re going to be making all kinds of messes and shop vacuum can handle it. I recommend checking out my guide about all the things a shop vacuum can do here. 

With the shop vacuum just suck up all the areas you can. Sometimes it is just dust that has collected around the motor causing it to not work at its peak power. Using another vacuum cleaner to suck up all the openings can be an excellent way to freshen up your vacuum if it lacks suction power.

Damaged Parts

If a vacuum cleaner doesn’t have an airtight seal where it needs it, then it’s going to be losing suction. The number one thing to get holes in it is the hoses. If you can see the holes that form and if you do then its time for a new hose.

If you can’t see any small holes then what you can do is take a little bit of tissue and with the vacuum on gently hold the tissue along the hose to see if it gets sucked down. A hole will cause the tissue to come to it and then you know where the hole is. If you have any holes on your vacuum cleaner hose then don’t use duct tape to fix it, just buy a new hose.

Check Beater Brush

The beater brush is the spinning rolling brush under the vacuum that is made to lift up carpets and dust off the floor. If this brush is not spinning or not working correctly, it will cause the vacuum cleaner to seem like it’s not giving enough suction.

A way to check to see if the brush is working is to put the vacuum on its back and turn it on. The brushes should be spinning with ease. If it’s not spinning then either the belt or the motor broke.

Sometimes hair and other objects can get wrapped around the vacuum’s brush, and you will need to remove it. Some brushes can be removed and easily remove the hair and other debris by running it under warm water and plucking it away.

If you can’t remove the brush with ease then just carefully cut away the hairs.

Motor

I’ve seen motors for vacuum cleaners go out and that be the cause of the loss of suction. If you tried everything else, then this could be the only reason left of why your vacuum doesn’t have much suction.

There is no real easy way for you to fix this, it would be best to take it to a repair shop and let them look at it.

Or it might be a good time to look at a new vacuum cleaner. I would recommend strongly considering a shop vacuum with a standard vacuum cleaner for any household with kids or pets. This combination of vacuums is the perfect match for cleaning.