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How do I Increase Vacuum Cleaner Suction?

By B. Turner
Updated May 16, 2024
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Vacuum cleaners remove dust, dirt, and debris to speed up the cleaning process at home and in the workplace. Over time, many vacuums suffer from a loss of suction, resulting in reduced cleaning power. This lack of suction can be caused by a simple clog or by poor maintenance and care. By performing basic repairs as well as routine maintenance, users can increase vacuum cleaner suction, resulting in faster, easier cleanup.

One of the easiest ways to increase vacuum cleaner suction is to replace or empty the dust collection bag. As the collection bag fills, less air is able to pass through, which reduces suction power and pressure. By emptying or replacing this bag, users will enjoy a natural improvement in suction power. The same principle applies to canister vacuum cleaners. When the canister is empty, a greater volume of air can flow through to maximize cleaning power.

The filter on a vacuum cleaner must be cleaned or replaced frequently to avoid a loss of suction. Some models feature removable filters that can be cleaned by passing them under water or simply brushing them off. Others require replacement rather than cleaning. Adding new or cleaned filter is a sure way to increase the suction of a vacuum cleaner.

Upright models often utilize a rubber belt to rotate the beater brushes and collect dirt. Over time, this belt can wear or break, reducing suction power and leaving the vacuum unable to clean effectively. Users should check this belt and replace it as needed to maximize cleaning power. In some instances, simply turning the belt inside out can help the vacuum clean effectively for an extended period until a new belt can be found.

If the beater bar becomes clogged, it may stop rotating entirely, which can lead to a loss of suction. To improve vacuum cleaner suction in this type of scenario, remove the cover over the beater bars and clean them to restore power. Cut out trapped hair or other objects with scissors or a utility knife, then reinstall the cover. Always make sure the vacuum is unplugged before attempting this procedure.

Clogs or obstructions in a vacuum hose can also lead to poor suction. To increase vacuum cleaner suction, remove all hoses and attachments from the units. Pull out any objects lodged inside, as well as items or debris visible in the vacuum. Reattach all hoses and attachments to enjoy improved suction and cleaning power.

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Discussion Comments
By Saraq90 — On Oct 01, 2011

Our vacuum worked great until we brought a Labrador retriever puppy home with us. Since then we are changing bags out all the time. But recently I have noticed that it seems that even that doesn't increase the vacuum cleaner suction to its former glory.

But after reading that the beater bar can become clogged, I think I may just check there, as my husband likes to remind me - my long hair seems to be everywhere, so I am wondering if the suction might be a problem I have to blame on my hair and the beater bar and not my shedding-like-crazy puppy.

By snickerish — On Oct 01, 2011

@tolleranza - From what I have seen, you are exactly right there seem to be different technologies, but I am not sure how loose that term “technology” has used. But you will see things from “extreme suction technology” to “patented suction technology” but what those technologies involved I have no idea.

I was looking at new vacuums because I thought that mine needed to be replaced, but now I think I will just try some of these tips!

By tolleranza — On Sep 30, 2011

I have seen a lot of hype from vacuum cleaners like the Dyson vacuum cleaners to brands like the Dirt Devil vacuums. But if we were to compare vacuum cleaners would any of them clearly win, aren't they all pretty much the same?

I mean it seems that the Dyson different technology behind it, but do other vacuum cleaners also have their own technology?

By honeybees — On Sep 30, 2011

When you have a couple of golden retrievers and a cat in the house, a good vacuum cleaner can be one of your best friends!

There is hardly a day that goes by that I am not doing some kind of vacuuming to keep the pet hair under control.

I keep a small vacuum cleaner handy for a quick clean up and like to use a hand held one to keep the hair off the furniture.

Once when my vacuum wasn't working very well, there was a big wad of dog hair that was caught in the hose. Once we got this cleaned out, it worked fine.

By LisaLou — On Sep 29, 2011

Whenever it seems like my vacuum is not picking things up very well, the first thing I do is make sure the bag isn't full.

I am not very good about checking this and changing it on a regular basis. Vacuum cleaner bags are pretty inexpensive, so there is no reason for this, but it is easy to forget.

I have a lightweight vacuum cleaner that is an upright and I love using it because it is not very heavy. I seem to get just as good of suction from this lightweight vacuum as I do my heavier one, so this is the one I use most of the time.

By Mae82 — On Sep 29, 2011

@Sara007 - You're not alone with your problems keeping your vacuum in tip top shape during the winter months. I think it is the heating systems in our homes that make the extra dust and more work for us.

A good idea if you want to make cleaning your primary vacuum a lot easier is to purchase an inexpensive handheld vacuum to clean your master vacuum. I picked up a handheld vacuum for about $30 and it works great. It is also much easier to clean because it doesn't use vacuum bags. All I need to do is rinse out the plastic container and my vacuum is good to go again.

By Sara007 — On Sep 29, 2011

Cheap vacuum cleaners can really save you cash, but I find they need a lot more cleaning to make sure they have good suction. I managed to pickup a decent upright at a vacuum cleaner sale and was just happy not to have to pay more than a hundred dollars for the model I wanted.

I usually end up cleaning out my vacuum cleaner once every other month or so, though it really depends on the season. Does anyone else find that there is a lot more dust in your home during the winter months? It seems twice as hard for me to keep up my vacuum cleaner's suction during this time.

By SZapper — On Sep 28, 2011

@JaneAir - It's great that you were able to afford a more expensive vacuum cleaner. Mine is a pretty low end model, but it still works all right.

A few months ago though, my boyfriend took the whole thing apart and cleaned it and removed a few small clogs. I have to say, it's been working much better since then. Also, I notice a huge difference after I change the filter. I guess since my vacuum isn't that nice, all that small stuff really is a big deal.

By JaneAir — On Sep 27, 2011

I have a pretty expensive vacuum cleaner that's pretty good quality. I have asthma and allergies, so it was kind of essential for me. I've always been pretty happy with the suction.

However, I think I'm going to use a few of these tips to make the suction even better. Usually I don't empty the canister every time I vacuum. And I'm not very vigilant about washing out the filter. I'm going to start emptying the canister before I vacuum and washing the filter more frequently. I think if I do this my vacuum will be even more awesome than it already is.

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