How to Unclog and Clean a Vacuum Hose

You’d be surprised just how dirty your vacuum hose can get — it’s time to clean.

You use a vacuum to clean your home — but do you ever clean your vacuum? Just like any other appliance, a vacuum has to be taken care of to work at its best.

In particular, the hose is a part of the vacuum that a lot of people use for direct cleaning, and over time, it’s going to get dirty. There’s even a chance that the hose may become blocked if you don’t keep up with regular maintenance.

That’s why we’re going to show you how to clean a vacuum hose so you’ll be able to keep cleaning your home efficiently.

How Often Should I Clean the Vacuum Hose?

On average, everyone’s vacuum hose should be cleaned around once per month. But it may be more or less than this depending on how often you vacuum.

So, it’s best to visually inspect inside the hose after a deep clean. This way, you can check for any obvious clogs that will affect the performance of the vacuum during your next use.

Signs Your Vacuum Hose Is Clogged

Most of the time, it’s going to be obvious that your vacuum hose is clogged. There will be a loss of suction and you’ll have trouble picking up dirt and debris. Also, look for your vacuum blowing out dust or making a strange noise when you use it.

Additionally, if you notice a bad smell coming from your vacuum hose, this is an indicator that food has become stuck and started to rot.

Thankfully, all of these problems don’t necessarily mean your vacuum hose has to be replaced. This is only necessary if there’s a hole or rip causing an air leak. It likely just needs a good scrubbing.

How to Clean a Vacuum Hose

Now you know there’s an issue, you need to know how to clean a vacuum hose properly. Let’s go through the six steps.

1. Detach the Hose

To begin cleaning, the first step is to detach the hose from the vacuum. How you do this will vary depending on the brand and model you have. Normally, it will involve twisting out the hose or pressing a button.

The most important thing is to avoid using excessive force. It’s not designed to be difficult — if it doesn’t feel right, there may be another way to detach it. If you’re not sure how to remove the hose, stop and check the user manual.


Always switch off and unplug the vacuum before detaching its hose.

For safety reasons, also make sure your vacuum is not connected to a power outlet. This way, you’ll avoid nasty shocks or your vacuum suddenly switching on when you’re trying to disconnect the hose.

2. Unclog and Remove Clumps

Next, it’s time to remove any debris and clumps of dirt that are visible in the hose. Simply lay your hose out flat and straight on the floor or a table to do this.

You can use something thin and long to push any clumps out from inside. We’d recommend using the handle of a broom or mop for this. This should force out anything wedged in the middle that can’t easily be reached.

Just be careful as a vacuum hose is made from a flexible, lightweight material. The last thing you want to do is cause a hole by being too forceful.

3. Wash It Out

A good way to get rid of the dirt that’s sticking to the inner folds is to wash it out. You can fill up the sink with around 4 inches of water. Then mix in one or two squirts of dish soap or a mild detergent.

It’s best to totally submerge the hose. This lets water move through the inside and cleanse the material. You can also clean the outer hose with a damp cloth. It’s wise to avoid using harsh chemicals in case this damages the material.

Do you want to sanitize your vacuum hose? Try using baking soda and distilled white vinegar for this job. These common household ingredients are a good way to get rid of bacteria and germs without choosing strong bleaches.

For example, the acetic acid found in vinegar can help to kill bacteria and prevent you from getting E. coli (1). Try mixing half a cup of baking soda and two cups of vinegar with some water. Simply pour it through the hose and enjoy the magic fizzing.

4. Use a Bottle Cleaning Brush

If your vacuum hose is really dirty, there may be some stubborn grime you can’t get rid of. This is going to be mainly inside in the folds you can’t reach easily. So, for help with this job, you may want to use a bottle cleaning brush.

The bristles on this type of brush might be just what you need to scrub lingering and awkward dirt. They’re thin and long — just the right size to get into the middle.

5. Rinse the Inside

After cleaning and scrubbing the vacuum hose, it’s time to rinse it out. Take advantage of the water pressure directly from the faucet for this task.

Let the water run through the hose to flush out any loose dirt or grime. You may want to hold the hose in a ‘U’ shape. This way, you can shake the water around before it runs out the other side.

6. Let it Dry

Before connecting the hose back into your vacuum, it’s best to let it dry. To allow water to move out of the inner folds, you can hang it up.

This can be over a shower curtain rod or somewhere similar around the home or yard that allows excess water to drain out. You can also give it a quick shake too. Allow the hose to dry for several hours before fixing it back into place.

Then, it’s time to see if your hard work has helped. Hopefully, you should turn it on and notice a difference in suction or that there’s no longer a bad smell. If there’s still a problem with your vacuum, there may be another problem that needs to be repaired.

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Let’s Get Back to Cleaning

Cleaning your vacuum hose is a necessary task to complete around once per month. This can encourage correct air movement and allow you to vacuum your home more efficiently. It can prevent bad odors too.

Remove any blockages with a broom or mop handle before flushing out the inner hose. Baking soda and vinegar may be a good combination for sanitizing. A bottle cleaning brush might be good for tough grime. Then you’ve just got to rinse and let it dry.

Do you have any questions on how to clean a vacuum hose? We’d love to hear from you — leave us a comment below!

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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!