How To Clean a Vacuum Brush

Avoid spreading bacteria and dirt around your home by washing your vacuum brush.

Did you realize your vacuum brush could be harboring dirt? Do you want to know how to clean it properly?

A brush is a standard attachment provided with most vacuums, attaching to the hose extension. But the design can vary between models. For example, it can be round or rectangular.

The one thing they all have in common is the stiff and long bristles. The brush attachment can scrub and loosen grime, hair, and stubborn dirt so it can be vacuumed away (1).

Of course, anything that can be used to clean away dirt can also harbor dirt. So, it’s time to learn how to clean a vacuum brush so you don’t spread germs and grime around your home.

Why Clean Your Vacuum Brush?

While we all like to think our homes are clean, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are many common household germs and microbes you can’t see.

This includes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli 0157, norovirus, and Clostridium difficile (2).

This means it’s important to keep on top of the household chores and clean on a regular basis.

Of course, one of the most common tools you’ll use around the home is the vacuum. This includes using your vacuum brush. You can transfer dirt and bacteria from furniture in your home to your brush.

Brushes typically either have horsehair or synthetic bristles which are stiff for scrubbing (3). But this does mean debris gets stuck in them. So, regular cleaning of the vacuum attachments is a good way to make sure they’re germ and dirt free.

How to Clean a Vacuum Brush

Simply follow our steps to clean your vacuum brush. This ensures it’s hygienic for use on upholstery and other surfaces.

1. Detach Your Vacuum Brush

First things first — detach the brush from your vacuum. Most designs will disconnect simply by twisting and pulling them off the hose extension. In some cases, there may be a button to press. Ultimately, though, it shouldn’t require too much force.

2. Wash the Bristles and Plastic

Fill up your sink with warm water. To cleanse the inside of the vacuum brush and the bristles, add a mild detergent to the water.

This might help to loosen any debris that stubbornly clings onto the plastic or bristles. If you haven’t cleaned the vacuum brush before, you may be surprised how much dirt comes off.

It’s best to totally submerge the brush in the water. You can also take advantage of the water pressure from the faucet for cleansing the attachment tool.

3. Scrub with a Bristle Brush

Sometimes, water isn’t enough to remove ground-in and dry dirt on the vacuum brush. These can easily accumulate in hard-to-reach spots at the base of the bristles. So, this step is where you may need to use some more effort.

Try to scrub the bristles to remove caked-in debris. If you’ve got an old bristle brush or washing up brush, this will come in handy. Use it to scrub against the bristles to loosen the dirt and get rid of any tough grime.

4. Wipe with Diluted Vinegar

For an extra clean, you may want to consider using diluted vinegar to sanitize the vacuum brush.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is known for being a mycobactericidal disinfectant. It can kill household germs that linger on the brush bristles. Research shows that it’s even able to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis (4).

Just be sure to dilute your mixture of vinegar with water so that it doesn’t damage the bristles. In addition, try your best to avoid prolonged contact with any rubber parts on your vacuum brush. They might break down over time.

5. Dry It Off

Once all the cleaning is done, it’s time to let the vacuum brush dry. A good way to remove excess water is to use a cloth. Microfiber is a particularly good material for absorbing water.

This synthetic material can hold up to seven times its weight in water (5). So, it may be better for drying off the vacuum brush bristles than cotton rags or paper towels.

Microfiber is also good for capturing oils, grease, germs, and dirt particles that could still be present (6).

First of all, run the microfiber cloth through the bristles to remove excess water. This is a good idea if you’ve used vinegar, as you don’t want it to damage any surfaces.

You can also leave the brush on a surface to make sure it’s dry before connecting it back to your vacuum. Let it dry fully for around one to two hours to make sure it’s ready to be used again. After you’ve used the microfiber cloth on the bristles, don’t forget to wash it so it’s ready for next time.


Wash the microfiber cloth separately. Washing microfiber separately from other laundry will preserve its quality and prolong its lifespan (7).

Additionally, avoid using bleach as this can damage the fibers. You also don’t want to use fabric softener, as this contains oil that can clog up the material (8).

6. Comb Through the Bristles

A good way to remove any dirt that is still attached to your vacuum brush is using an old comb. Hair and debris may be stuck even after all the cleaning steps — using a comb can untangle them. Simply run the comb through the bristles to complete this step.

It’s Time to Spring Clean

A vacuum brush is an invaluable cleaning tool for upholstery, window sills, and surfaces. But just like anything else, it can hold onto dirt and bacteria. Regular cleaning is a way to prevent germs from spreading.

Once you’ve detached it from the vacuum, you can wash the bristles and scrub them with another brush. Then just wipe them with diluted vinegar to kill any pathogens. Simply dry it off and comb through it to make sure any grime is now gone.

Do you have any techniques to effectively clean a vacuum brush? Let us know below in the comments!

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy is a stay-at-home-mom, seasoned writer, and a home cleaning and organization aficionado. Amy enjoys having an absolutely spotless home and has worked hard to develop strategies to keep it that way, despite having 2 kids and 3 dogs!