Yes, you read that title correctly. Let’s clean your cleaners. Even those machines that we use to clean the floors with, need to be cleaned once in a while. The vacuum, the carpet shampooer, the brooms, dustpans and mops.
Let’s get started!
- Grab a pair of pointed scissors, and get comfortable on the floor. Turn your vacuum over and take a look at the beater bar/brush-roll (whatever you like to call it). You’ll probably find threads, hair and all sorts of nasty things tangled all around it.
- Use the scissors to snip the tangled items, then grasp firmly and pull them from around the beater bar. Depending on how bad this is, it may take you a while. When I and my daughter both had hip-length hair, you can imagine how bad this could get!
- Some vacuum models have a door that opens to give you easier access to this area. If so, open it up and get every last bit out of there.
- Wipe down the beater bar and inside that area with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol or white vinegar.
- Check the vacuum belt. Is it still in good shape? Does it have cracks? If it needs replacing, now is the time to do that.
- Remove the canister or vacuum bag – depending upon your model of vacuum. If yours has a bag, replace the old with a new one, and make sure to do this regularly!
- If you have a canister vacuum, empty the canister. Clean the canister out with warm soapy water. Wipe it dry, and then let it set in a sunny place to make sure every bit of moisture is gone.
- Filters – many vacuums have filters, and quite a few can be washed with warm soapy water. If you have washable filters, wash them according to your vacuum manufacturer’s directions. If you have replaceable filters, go ahead and put in a new one if needed. My vacuum has washable filters, but they only last so long. After a while, they do have to be replaced as well.
- Check your user manual to see if your vacuum requires any other regular maintenance. As someone that has killed way too many vacuums, I am careful to take good care of the one I have, so that it can live long and happy.
- Always make sure that every part is completely dry before using.
- Remember – to keep your vacuum in good working order, it is also a good idea to never use the vacuum when it is more than 3/4 full. Empty the canister on a regular basis, preferably after each use to help it stay cleaner longer.
Your carpet shampooer will be cleaned in much the same way as your vacuum.
- Start by cleaning the beater/brush bar the same way as you do your vacuum.
- Remove your water canisters (clean/dirty) and wash them with warm, soapy water. A bottle cleaning brush comes in very handy to get inside the smaller openings on some of these.
- Rinse and dry the canisters and leave them open in a sunny place to completely dry.
- Check your manufacturer’s user manual to see if your specific model has any routine maintenance that should be done. Every shampooer is different, and you want to do the recommended tasks to keep it running a long time.
- Cleaning the dirty vacuum intake area – My particular shampooer came with a tool to remove any build-up of animal hair and debris that gets caught inside the “vacuum” part of the shampooer. Some carpet shampooers open up for you to clean inside. Check your user manual to see how to clean your model. This is an important step, because as you use your shampooer, lots of nastiness builds up in there. Not only does this keep your shampooer from sucking up all the dirty filth from your carpet, but it can also hold dirty water that will then leak out when the shampooer is turned off.
- Note: Rinse out your canisters after each use, and allow them to air dry open. I store mine open at all times, so that I can make sure no moisture is left in there. Moisture = mold = stink!
Your Broom & Dustpans
Yes, even your broom gets dirty over time.
- Vacuum the bristles with your hose attachment to remove any loose debris.
- Wash the bristles by filling a bucket with hot, soapy water, and swishing the broom around in it. Run it under cold water to rinse it out.
- Lay the broom flat, or hang it in the sun to dry. Make sure that the bristles are straight at this point, because however they are laying, is how they will likely stay.
- Wash your dustpan in hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry.
Your mop head isn’t necessarily washable, unless you use cotton, reusable mop heads. If that is the case, go ahead and wash that thing in your washing machine. Use hot water, a good detergent and a vinegar rinse.
If your mop head is replaceable…when was the last time you changed it? Give it a look-over and see if it is time or not.
Now that your floor cleaners are cleaner themselves, you can get down to business the right way!