How to Unclog an Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Lead Image
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 5
What You'll Need
Coin or marble
Mop handle OR
long wooden spoon OR
industrial strength pipe cleaner OR
unwound wire coat hanger

When your upright vacuum cleaner clogs, you could bring in a professional but that option can be expensive. Instead, you can follow these steps and unclog the machine yourself.

Step 1 - Turn on Vacuum

Switch your vacuum cleaner setting to use the hose and turn your device on.

Step 2 - Begin Troubleshooting

If there is no suction coming from the hose, turn off your vacuum and proceed to the next step. If the hose is working, turn off your vacuum and proceed to step 6.

Step 3 - Check Hose Clearance

Disconnect the hose from the holster and hold it perpendicular to the floor. The base of the hose will need to be twisted upward to achieve this. Drop a coin through the base of the hose. If the coin falls through the hose, proceed to the next step. If the coin does not return, use a mop handle or unwound wire coat hanger to probe the hose and push the clog out the end. If you have successfully removed the clog, proceed to step 5.

Step 4 - Check Bag or Soil Chamber

Next, check where the vacuum connects to the bag or bagless chamber. Reach in and see if you can feel a clog. If so, pull as much of it out as you can. Use the unwound wire coat hanger or an industrial strength pipe cleaner to pull the rest of it out. Push the coat hanger in and twist it around several times to untangle the clog. Repeat this process until the clog has been successfully removed.

Step 5 - Test the Vacuum

Reassemble the disconnected hose and turn the device on. If your vacuum cleaner is working properly, you have successfully unclogged your upright vacuum cleaner without the help of a costly repairman. However, if there still isn’t proper suction, continue on to step 6.

Step 6 - Check above Brush Assembly

Unplug the vacuum cleaner and turn the device over. With the use of a screwdriver, remove the cover that encloses the brush assembly.

Step 7 - Position the Vacuum

Lay the vacuum cleaner as flat as you can get it.

Step 8 - Unclog from Underneath

Reach in where the debris enters the cleaner underneath the vacuum cleaner. If you feel a clog, remove as much of it as you can with your fingers. If there is still more debris, get the help of your unwound wire coat hanger or industrial strength pipe cleaner to get it out. You might need the help of a broom handle to push it up through the body of the cleaner to where it enters the canister or bag. If you have successfully pushed the clog up, reach in and remove it.

Step 9 - Finish and Test

Reassemble the brush casing. Flip the vacuum cleaner back over, plug it in, turn it on, and attempt to vacuum the floor. Celebrate by cleaning up the debris that fell on the floor when unclogging your cleaner. If all else has failed and there still isn't suction, it's time to pick up the phone and place that call to the repairman, but you can do so with the knowledge that you aren't wasting your money on a simple repair.