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How to Clean a Vacuum Hose? – A Beginner Friendly Guide

by  Lawrence -  Last updated on June 30, 2021

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We tend to be so reliant on our vacuum cleaners to keep our homes clean. Often, we forget that the vacuum cleaner itself needs a frequent clean to prevent odors and blockage.

Our vacuums do need good cleaning themselves, especially after cleaning up any kind of wet messes like damp carpet and mud. Cleaning up the dust from your hardwood floors, bookshelves, and AC unit filters can also cause it to clog up with dirt.

You may think that cleaning the brush of your vacuum cleaner is the hardest part, and you’d be wrong. The long, stretchy, and flexible hose is the hardest part. How exactly do you clean the hose and when should you clean it?

How to Know If Your Vacuum Hose is Clogged?

Normally, food and dust will just go right through the hose and into the canister or bag (depending on your vacuum machine) and wouldn’t get caught up anywhere else.

Occasionally though, food can get stuck in the ridges of the hose. If it wasn’t dislodged, it can start to decompose and stink up your vacuum cleaner after a while.

The typical signs of a clogged vacuum hose is:

The fact is, the vacuum hose can get clogged easily due to its flexible design. This is the exact trait that allows you to increase the distance that your vacuum can reach yet it does cause the hose to be prone to clogging.

Many things can clog up your vacuum cleaner like hair and large pieces of debris like wood chips or paper products, plastic tabs for bread bags, and even a toy that got sucked up undetected by you.

The clog can occur anywhere between the nozzle to the connection on the vacuum cleaner collection compartment. Cleaning out the clog is an easy process that anyone can do themselves.

One method of preventing clogs is to make sure the areas you’re going to vacuum are free of clutter and any larger objects that could get stuck inside the vacuum hose if sucked up.

Items like coins, toys and paperclips will easily get stuck in the ribs of the flexible hose and cause a traffic jam really quickly when hairs start to get tangled around such items.

Before Starting

Basic Everyday Tools for the Job

Some of the tools to clean your hose are already in your cabinets and closets or you can pick up for a buck at your dollar stores. Some newer models of vacuum cleaners will even come with a few tools for cleaning the hose and bushes on your new vacuum cleaner, but most older models won’t.

  • Metal Hanger
  • Snake Drain
  • Scrub Brush
  • Toilet bush
  • Carpet Cleaner tool

Some of these items like the hanger and snake drain are perfect for pulling out clumps of hair or larger debris that are caught in the hose. If you need to do some scrubbing, you can use an extra toilet bush to get into each of the ridges for a good clean.

If you own a carpet cleaner, especially a pet one, then it’s usually already equipped with a tool to remove hair from the tubs and bushes. You can easily use this tool for your vacuum cleaner. If you don’t have one though, you can easily transform a wire hanger into a hook to grab onto clumps of hair.

Creating A Cleaning Solution

You could create your own solution with bleach and soap. Mix up two tablespoonfuls of bleach, together with hot water and just a bit of dishwashing soap. This solution is particularly good at tackling odor issues. Read on to the next section to find out how to use the solution you just created.

How to Clean a Vacuum Hose

Cleaning the hose of your vacuum cleaner is not as hard as you might think, nor do you need any super-specialized tools to get the job done if it happens to need a good scrubbing. The first thing you would always want to do is to check the user manual for cleaning tips and guides before starting. Also, make sure it is unplugged from any power source.

Removing Clogs of Hair and Large Debris First

If you have pets at home that shed a lot, then your vacuum can easily get clogged up. First, detach the hose from the machine itself. Try to extend the hose fully and stretch it so that it’s flat on the ground.

Removing the clogged debris is easy, and all you need is a stick or an old hanger that’s bent straight. Just be sure to leave a little hook at the end to grab onto the clumps.

Washing It

If you happen to accidentally vacuum up a wet muddy mess, then you’ll need to clean out the hose soon after. The mud and dirt will stick to the inside of the hose, and cause more dirt and hair to build up on top of it as you clean.

Try to remove as much of the clog as you can before leaving the vacuum hose to soak in the cleaning solution you created.

The cleaning solution should be potent enough to work its way through the remaining clogged debris that you couldn’t easily remove. You might still see some leftover debris but the solution will often make it a lot softer at the very least.

Then, you can proceed to use a stick to clean out the rest of the now softened debris. You can also use a brush and give it a good scrub to remove any mud or debris with ease.

If you need to make the bush handle longer to get the full length of the hose, just tape a dowel rod or a cut down broomstick onto the handle of the bush, and viola! Rinse and repeat as needed until squeaky clean.

Don’t forget the exterior of your vacuum hose. You may use the same solution to wipe the exterior. Lastly, take the hose out of the solution and rinse it. Allow the hose to air dry.

Drying the Hose out

After a good scrubbing, thoroughly rinse out the hose and hang it up to dry for a few hours. If you’re in a rush, you can always use a hairdryer to speed things along or any powerful fan that’s compact.

You can even use an old rag towel hooked to a metal hanger to pull it through the hose for a faster drying method.

Advantages of Cleaning Your Vacuum Hose

Cleaning your vacuum cleaner’s hose isn’t a hard task, but it can be a bit dirty and time-consuming depending on how stuck the clog is, and how dirty the inside of the hose is. If just removing a simple hairball clog, it can be effortless and quick.

If it needs a soak in hot water and dish soap to get loose any sticky goop and dirt, it can take a bit longer. Still, cleaning your vacuum hose isn’t a step you should skip out on. Here’s why:

Save Time & Money

You can clean your vacuum hose at home, which will save you time and money in the end. Instead of driving to a repair shop to drop it off and pick it up, as well as pay for someone to clean the clog out in less than an hour, it can be plain impractical to pay someone else to do it, even if they offer to come to you.

Many times the clog is easy to remove and will take less than 15 minutes to clear out. Not cleaning out your vacuum hose can cause your machine to malfunction after a while.

It could get to a point where you might need to entirely replace your vacuum cleaner, forking out more money in the process. Keeping your vacuum hose clean is definitely worth your time and money.

Ensure Your Vacuum Performs Well

It’s understandable that a clogged vacuum hose won’t be able to perform its task well if it’s choked with dirt, debris, or mud.

For your vacuum to have strong suction, the pathway that the debris travels through to the bag or canister has to be clear. Leaving your vacuum hose clogged up with dirt, debris, pet fur, hair, and more can also cause a strong odor.

Take Note Of:

  • Pack up the surroundings before your vacuum so that big items or pieces of debris won’t get clogged up in your vacuum hose
  • Don’t use your vacuum on water or wet areas

You can limit how frequently your vacuum hose needs to be cleaned by being mindful of these simple tips.

Also Read: How Long After Bed Bug Treatment Can I Vacuum?


Always be sure to read your user’s manual for safe ways to clean your vacuum cleaner’s parts, and be mindful of recommended practices by the manufacturer.

Try to unclog your vacuum hose monthly and clean it regularly as this will prevent odors and debris from building up. A frequent clean will also enable your vacuum to do its job at optimal performance.

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