Easy Fixes for a Vacuum Without Suction

A vacuum cleaner can cover thousands of miles over its lifespan, so it's bound to have a few issues over time. It's rarely worth the cost of a repair, but many everyday vacuum problems have quick fixes.

Easy Fixes for a Vacuum Without Suction

My vacuum has lost its suction

Check for blockages and air leaks

A vacuum cleaner is basically an electric fan that sucks air and dust up a tube into a bag or chamber. The air is then filtered and expelled. Upright cleaners have revolving, belt-driven brushes to beat dust out of carpets, while cylinder cleaners rely on suction alone, and some designs have bags to collect dust while others don't.

  • If suction drops when using a cylinder cleaner, check that you haven't sucked up something that has blocked the hose. Turn off the machine and take off each section of the hose in turn, starting with the one farthest from the motor. Switch the cleaner on after each stage and check the suction; if it comes back, the obstruction must be in the hose section you just removed. Now you can focus on unblocking the hose.
  • If the hose is clear, check the dust bag and filters. Replace a full or ripped bag right away or, on a bagless model, empty a full dust canister. Wash or replace clogged filters. Don't be tempted to repair a burst dust bag with tape — they're not reusable.
  • Check the revolving brush on your upright cleaner — it can get bunged up with tangles of hair or string, which reduces cleaning power. Cut the strands with scissors and unravel them.

Push out the obstruction

Is something wedged in your vacuum cleaner's hose? If shaking, blowing and jiggling have failed, try pushing it out, but not with a stick — a damaged hose is just another problem to fix.

A length of garden hose is the perfect tool: flexible, long enough to push all the way through (most vacuum cleaner hoses extend at least 1.8 metres/six feet) and the rubbery plastic won't tear the hose.

  • Disconnect the blocked pipe and feed the garden hose in from the vacuum cleaner end until you reach the obstruction. It's usually easiest to push the blockage back out the way it came in. Gently prod to try to shift it.
  • If you can't make the blockage move, remove the hose and try again from the other end, alternating ends until the blockage comes free.


Never carry a vacuum cleaner by its cord or pull on the cord to move the machine along the floor. Damage to the elecrical contacts within the cleaner could result in a nasty shock.

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