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Why is my vacuum cleaner noisy?

Why is my vacuum cleaner noisy? - Featured image: Woman sitting on bed looking at vacuum cleaner.

Eliminate excessively loud noises from your vacuum cleaner with our troubleshooting guide

If your vacuum cleaner has suddenly become a lot noisier during use, there might be something going awry. Most well-functioning vacuums emit at least a low-level, constant hum, but any change from the usual is worth investigating. An unusual or loud noise could indicate a fault with the vacuum brush head, the pipe, or even the motor. Thankfully, it’s usually quite simple to identify why your vacuum cleaner is noisy and rectify the problem without incurring a huge expense.

Whether you own a handheld vacuum, cordless vacuum, a traditional corded model – like a Henry – or a robot vacuum cleaner, unusual sounds should be investigated if you want to keep your machine in good working order. Follow this expert advice to keep your vacuum cleaning for years to come.

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Why is my vacuum noisy?

Sophie Lane, product training manager at Miele, says: “A vacuum that has become more noisy may be due maintenance.”

While the exact work a vacuum cleaner requires will vary between brands and models, there are always a few common things that can be checked. Of course, to avoid injury, you should always unplug the vacuum cleaner or, in the case of cordless models, remove any batteries, before carrying out any maintenance work.

First, Lane says, “the filter and roller brush will need to be routinely cleaned. A fine dust canister will also need to be emptied frequently; and if using a bagged vacuum, it’s best to replace the bag before it’s too full.”

Haylee Bourne, head of product management at Vax, says that a noisy vacuum is always cause for concern. She explains that “debris left behind on your floors after vacuuming, smells and excessive noise are key indicators that not all is how it should be”.

If your appliance is experiencing a loss of suction along with an increase in noise, then it’s likely you have a blockage somewhere in the vacuum. Jump ahead to our section on how to clear a vacuum cleaner blockage.

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How often should you clean a vacuum cleaner?

Vacuum cleaner maintenance perhaps isn’t at the top of your to-do list, but by remembering to keep it clean, you will get the most out of your machine and potentially save yourself time, money and hassle in the long run.

Catrin Davies, senior product manager at SDA Hoover, provides some helpful guidelines. She says “we recommend to give the filters and inside the bin a thorough clean at least once a month to keep the vacuum working at its best.”

Why is my vacuum cleaner noisy? - Example of a clogged filter

If your vacuum has ‘anti-twist’ technology in its floor brushes, or something similar, then the good news is they won’t need maintenance (so do bear this new advancement in mind if you’re shopping for a new vacuum). However, for appliances with standard brushes, this part of the machine will also need regular monthly maintenance.

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How do you clean a vacuum cleaner? 

“Vacuums often get forgotten about when it comes to a deep clean, but considering they take away the dirt and grime for the rest of the home, it’s important to give your vacuum some attention,” says Joshua Warren of AO. Follow his step-by-step guide to cleaning your vacuum:

Brushes: First, make sure the appliance is unplugged before you begin. Check for tangles by carefully following the indents on the brush roll with a pair of scissors, but make sure to not accidentally cut any of the bristles.

Attachments: Check for any bits of grime that may have got stuck inside. If you notice some, then use a pipe cleaner or tweezers to dislodge any clumps that may have built up.

Filter: Check the manual to find the filter and see if it’s washable. If so, run it under lukewarm water and allow it to air dry for at least 24 hours before putting it back into the appliance. If your vacuum filter is not washable, simply tap the filter against a hard surface to dislodge as many clumps of dust and lint as possible.

Tube: Most vacuums will have tubes that can be disconnected from the main body or handle, as well as removable attachments from the tube. Once detached, soak them in warm, soapy water to get rid of any stubborn blockages and residue.

Dust canister: Empty the dust canister regularly, even if it’s not full, as this will prevent any unpleasant smells from lingering. If you find you do have a particularly pungent odour in your canister, some essential oils on cotton wool balls placed inside the dust canister should help – though these may need to be replaced every time you empty out the dust.

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How do you clear a vacuum cleaner blockage?

If you suspect there to be a blockage in your vacuum cleaner, it is usually simple to identify and you should be able to tackle the problem yourself, without any tools.

Why is my vacuum cleaner noisy? - Example of how to clean your vacuum

Always disconnect the appliance from the power supply before you begin, then inspect each part of the appliance. First, ensure your filter is free from excess dust, hair and other foreign objects that can cause the appliance to perform poorly. Next, see that the floorhead can move easily and that the brush bar doesn’t have anything wrapped around it. You should also detach the body of the vacuum from the floorhead if possible, and remove any visible debris or obstructions. If your model has further tubing or removable wands, check you can see straight through them, uninterrupted. If you do find anything lodged, Vax’s Haylee Bourne advises trying to extricate the blockage using a blunt instrument so as not to damage the vacuum cleaner or its attachments.

Still noisy? If the problem persists, contact your vacuum cleaner manufacturer for further advice.

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