Introduction: Clean Vacuum Roller Brush

Vacuums are the cleaning workhorse of our carpeted rooms, but every once in a while they need a little cleaning themselves so that they can keep operating properly. Most are already familiar with cleaning or replacing the vacuum bag since that happens on a more regular basis but it is not as common to remove the roller brush and clean it as well. If you live in a household with long haired people or animals you may know this problem all too well. As the vacuum runs along the carpet it picks up hair that wraps around (and almost dreads) your roller brush. When enough hair builds up, the roller brush is no longer able to rotate and stops picking up hair and debris on your floor. Luckily it's an easy and quick fix.

This Instructable will walk you through removing the roller brush on your vacuum to give it a good clean and keep your vacuum running and your carpets clean.

Step 1: Safety First

Before you do anything with your vacuum, make sure it is unplugged.

Step 2: Roller Access

Lay your vacuum down so that the underside is exposed. Using your phillips head screw driver unscrew all of the screws on the bottom face plate. Most should have around four screws but every vacuum is different.

Be careful to keep your screws all together so that you don't loose them. An easy way to do this is to put them in a small bowl or tupperware.

Step 3: Pop It Out

Once the bottom face plate is off you can easily pop out your roller brush. Generally one end will slide out and then you can pull the roller brush out of the belt. Remember to look at take note as to the orientation of your roller brush. This will make it easier to put back in once you are done cleaning it. If the brush not popping out easily try rotating it until it slides out.

Step 4: Cleaning

Cover your work surface with paper or newspaper so that all of the hair, dust and debris can be easily cleaned up. Slide one end of your scissors under some hair and cut. Using your fingers, pull the hair off and away from the roller. Continue doing this until your roller brush is clean and debris free. You'll want to make sure that the areas around the bearings on the end and where the belt will sit.

This step can take a bit of time, be patient. The payoff will be worth it.

For this step, I found that stainless steel hair cutting scissors worked best because they had a thinner blade that was easier to slid under the hair. You can use regular scissors if you don't have hair cutting scissors. Seam rippers (for sewing) also work really well.

Step 5: Bearings

Once your roller brush is free, pop the ends off of each side of your brush. Occasionally hair, dust and debris will get stuck under the end cap. Remove any hair or visible debris and snap the end cap back on.

Step 6: Putting It Back Together

Now that your roller brush is clean it's time to put it back together. I usually like to take this opportunity to clean out any dust that is lingering in the housing. To do this, simply wet a paper towel and wipe away any dust or debris that you see.

Orient your roller brush correctly and slide it through the belt in the vacuum. You may also need to pull the belt slightly to get the roller brush through as it should be fairly tight. If your belt needs replacing, this is also the optimal time to do so. Slide the end caps of the brush into the respective slot. Replace the bottom face plate. Place and fasten all of the screws that you removed earlier.

Step 7: You're Done

Congratulations! You've just completed and cleaned your vacuum's roller brush. Your vacuum should work like a dream now. So plug it back in and get to vacuuming!

Comments

author
AndersJ3 (author)2015-12-06

Works with cleaning vacuum robots too.

author
scottit (author)2015-11-29

The REAL easy way is to get a fairly sharp knife, lay the vacuum down so the brush is facing you. Put on some safety glasses (safety first!), then fire it up! while the brush is spinning, take the knife (make sure it's going in the direction of the spin, so it doesn't kick back at you. In other words, so you hold the knife so that the rotation is towards the pointed end of the knife). Now, gently apply pressure with the knife on the areas where you see lots of hair/fibers, and they'll start to peel off. I've found that it doesn't seem to take off the bristles either. Give it a shot, short-cutter!

author
bakerrestoration (author)scottit2015-12-01

I use two knives and make sure to have my kids standing around so that when one of my index fingers is yanked into the rotor and the knife is flanged, skewering my forehead, I have some one to operate the 9-1-1 keys on the phone across the room. (ahem...don't you mean, "short finger?") Really funny - you were kidding, right?

author
scottit (author)bakerrestoration2015-12-01

baker...

you're pointing the knives the wrong way. I Never had anything close to an accident. However, I did use the "kid-standby-to-call-911" technique when I did the struts myself on my '96 honda civic when the springs were compressed. My 2-1/2 year old saved my butt on that job, but that's a whole 'nuther story...

author
ronald.ferreira.39 (author)2015-11-30

most cat dust and human hair gets stuck under the ice box grillls

author
ronald.ferreira.39 (author)2015-11-30

id just use a barber scissors and cut away the hair or brush it off too complicating these stuff

author
zappenfusen (author)2015-11-30

Taking a knife to my Dyson is the most ludicrous idea yet. I spent years purchasing $80.00 vacuums yearly until I obtained an actual credit rating and purchased my last cleaner. I've been through 1 clutch and numerous belts in the 7 years we've been together. Your best bet is to pay attention to the excellent, simple, Instructable.

Zapp

author
lesteryoder (author)2015-11-13

I just saw this Instructable today and have a different twist on the problem solution if you do not have carpet. It just happens that today before reading this Instructable I removed the beaterbrush compleately from my vacuum. Now the cat hair and sewing thread will not cause a problem and the vacuum even runs a with a little less noise.

tour m4344

author
thundrepance (author)lesteryoder2015-11-29

bought a VAX about 10 or 12 yrs ago. little button on handle to turn beater brush on & off. check & see if yours has it. sometimes, i'll run over something that triggers it to turn the brush off. then, i have to use the little "re-set" button @ the bottom (near one of the wheels).

author
regina.bragg (author)lesteryoder2015-11-29

I've often use my Rainbow sweeper on my hardwood floors without the beater brush running. I never thought that anyone else may be doing the same thing.

author
fixitcr63 (author)regina.bragg2015-11-29

Regina, you've just stumbled upon one of the new ideas of vacuums recently. There are now electric hoses that have a 3-way switch to give you the choice of leaving your PN off completely, or ON while the vacuum itself is on, or you can also shut the whole operation off on the switch.

author
namora (author)lesteryoder2015-11-29

Excellent idea for those of us who avoid carpets for allergy issues. We tend to forget how they collect everything that is in our environment,

author
TomV4 (author)lesteryoder2015-11-14

The effectiveness of the vacuum will be significantly reduced on carpets without the beater. But I empathize over the pet hair ... having two Golden Retrievers myself. One literally has to "suck it up" and regularly clean the beater.

author
scottit (author)2015-11-29

Oh yeah, I forgot, it's best to do this outside.

author
fixitcr63 (author)2015-11-29

Personally, I prefer to use one of my jack knife blades. I keep my knife very sharp so there's no problem slipping it under the hair clumps and slicing them in two so they can be lifted off easily. Just be sure to cut away from your body, no sense in stab oneself in the arm or stomach trying to remove some cat hair from a vac roller.

author
jec0435 (author)fixitcr632015-11-29

I use an exactor knife and slice through the hair and pull it all out. ;)

author
fixitcr63 (author)2015-11-29

I notice that there is very little talk about the belt on the unit, other than the reminder that if it needs a belt, now's the time to do it. Anytime you remove the brushroll from the nozzle area you should get the belt completely out of the housing and inspect it thoroughly. After all, it's just a big, heavy duty, black rubber band. Most of them stretch a long ways if they need to, but there's a few new sweepers on the market now that use a much longer belt that's nylon and rayon reinforced. They don't stretch at all, but they all wear out, eventually. If upon inspection you find a spot where it appears the belt has been over-stretched, (into a sort of an hourglass shape), or appears cracked or flaky, it needs to be replaced. If you plan on doing this yourself, you'll need to find a good, reputable repair facility that will sell you the right belt for your unit.

author
namora (author)2015-11-29

One issue that was left out is getting the belt back on the beater and around the spindle, Installing the beater under tension can be difficult.There are several ways to do this but the way I do it is to install the beater with the belt in place then use a loop of line that is large enough diameter to pull comfortably and pull the belt over the spindle with it. Rotate the beater to remove the line.

author
Benchkey (author)2015-11-29

A friend who has flea market items often picks up old vacuums on trash day. He tells me that they are usually plugged up with stuff and/or the belt is broken. People toss them rather than doing a small amount of common-sense maintenance. For the cost of a belt, dust bag and a few minutes of time he can make a salable cleaner.

author
JasonO1 (author)2015-11-29

I've done this several times to my vacuum. You might want to add lubricate the bearings if necessary. I still had resistance for the bar until I lubricated it.

author
e5frog (author)2015-11-29

Very nice and well written instructable.
Doesn't really have any special trick that was expected for getting the dirt out of the brushes, basically: this is how you disassemble, then clean it, then mount it again.
Seems anyone that does't have "two left thumbs" could do this without instructions.

author
VadimA1 (author)2015-11-21

I really thought you've figured out an easier way :(

author
jessyratfink (author)2015-11-18

I love doing this! SO SATISFYING

You can also leave the roller in the vacuum and use a big seam ripper to cut along it. I do that if I'm feeling lazy, but this method cleans it so much better. :D

author
Cairnz (author)2015-11-17

Kelleymarie, you're a winner! This is a great instructable! I just unplug and flop my vacuum over and clean the long hair and threads (I foster Cairn Terriers so lots of long hairs on my carpeting <grin>) out of the brushes by rolling them around a bit and snipping with a scissors and pulling gently with a needle nose pliers. My way works but your way is the best!

author
tinaciousz (author)2015-11-16

This looks SO fun. Nothing like satisfies like a deep cleaning project!

author
tinaciousz (author)2015-11-16

This looks SO fun. Nothing like satisfies like a deep cleaning project!

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