Why Vacuums Stop Picking Up & Start Blowing Dust Around

Regardless of the type of vacuum cleaner you're using: Robotic, canister, upright, or handheld, it can spit stuff back out due to the following issues:
  • Clogs
  • Improper connection or damaged seals
  • Overstuffed or missing bag
  • Faulty suction motor
  • Malfunctioning Setup
  • Lack of proper maintenance
  • Wrong choice of operating mode

If you're a victim, don't panic. This blog post will help you to know why your vacuum is spitting stuff back out and what to do about it. So, without further ado, let's dive in.

picture of white carpet being vacuumed in a living room space

Why Is My Vacuum Spitting Stuff Back Out?

Consider the following before ordering a new vacuum cleaner or concluding that the seller sells fake products.

Solution #1. Correctly Connect or Repair Damaged Seals

Not correctly connecting brushes, hoses, and dust containers (bags) to the vacuum cleaner causes it to spit dirt and dust back out.

Hence, please connect each part correctly after cleaning your vacuum cleaner. While at it, check for any damages on the seals, as they could form gaps, which cause dirt and dust to be spat out as you vacuum the floor.

Solution #2. Empty the Bag or Fit It Back if It's Missing

It's easy to get carried away by the daily home duties and forget to empty your vacuum cleaner bag. Eventually, it begins to spit stuff out due to insufficient room in the bag (container).

When the bag or container is full, it hinders excellent airflow in the vacuum cleaner. Consequently, dust and dirt get spat out.

Once you remove the bag or container to clean it, fit it back. Correctly.

Solution #3. Repair or Replace the Suction Motor

Besides the disgusting vacuum smell which may result, a clogged filter also causes the vacuum to stop suctioning. Similarly, a clogged or torn hose causes the suction to malfunction.

However, if the hose or filter isn't clogged and there's no tear in the hose, then the suction motor could be faulty.

In this case, you may have to contact the manufacturer or vacuum repair shop for repairs or replacement.

Solution #4. Setup the Vacuum Correctly for Cleaning

An incorrect vacuum setup after cleaning could cause spitting problems. For example, a drive belt runs in the reverse direction when it's twisted. Resultantly, the vacuum spits stuff out.

So, replace any twisted, broken, or damaged drive belt and correctly set up your vacuum.

It's worth noting that a reversed plug or electric motor may also cause the vacuum to spit dust and dirt out.

White upright vacuum, plugged in, and waiting to be used in a living room

But, it's also important to set the vacuum at the appropriate height for what you are vacuuming. Hard surfaces generally require the vacuum to be placed on its lowest height settings, while carpets should be vacuumed at a higher height setting, depending on the pile height.

Vacuuming hard surfaces with too high of a height, can be the reason your vacuum is spitting out dust. The same is true for carpeting and other soft surfaces.

Solution #5. Proper Maintenance

Most people hardly have time to clean and inspect the condition of their vacuum cleaners. They want to use it and move on.

Consequently, their vacuums become faulty or clogged without their knowledge, resulting in spats. Indeed, this could be one of the dangers of DIY carpet cleaning

So, regularly clean and inspect the condition of the vacuum. Remove any existing clogs and repair any worn-out parts, such as the hose.

Solution #6. Use the Correct Mode

If you own a multi-use vacuum cleaner like a Kirby vacuum, which can also turn into an air compressor, you might be using it in the wrong mode or setting.

Make sure you have your vacuum cleaner set to the correct function.

Solution #7. Clogs

When you vacuum clean high-traffic areas, including the living room, dining room, and kitchen, your vacuum cleaner may get clogged quickly.

Clogs refer to dirt, dust, human or pet hair, food crumbs, and other larger objects trapped in the vacuum.

Vacuum cleaner clogs take place behind the following:

  • Hose
  • The dust cup air duct
  • Brush roller

When your vacuum cleaner clogs, its performance gets compromised, and the suction power reduces, hence causing it to spit stuff.

So, how do you fix a clogged vacuum?

There are various ways you can unclog your vacuum depending on its make. It's always advisable to follow the instructions provided by your manufacturer in the user manual. If you've lost the manual, one of the methods below should work.

But first, unplug your vacuum from its power source to prevent a shock. Here are several methods that can help you unclog your vacuum.

Method One: Fixing a Clogged Vacuum

  • Step 1: Disconnect the main hose that connects near the roller's base and the vacuum's main body. To access the vacuum's lower hose, first unscrew or pull off (as guided by the manual guide) the main hose to disconnect it from the ports.
  • Step 2: Disconnect the lower hose by unscrewing or pulling it from the base of the vacuum. If the lower hose has screws, please use the right size of flathead screwdriver to unscrew and place them in a bag so that you don't accidentally lose them.
  • Step 3: Pull out the clogs Use a pair of pliers to pull the clogs out of the hose. If there are no clogs in the lower hose, the roller may have a problem and need to be checked.
  • Step 4: Reattach the clean hoses Attach the lower hose to the vacuum and ensure that the screws are tight so that it doesn't wobble while you're using the vacuum. Next, reconnect the other (main) hose to the lower one. Connect the vacuum to a power source and test whether the problem is completely solved.

Method Two: Fixing a Clogged Vacuum

  • Step 1: Remove the hose and clean it Remove the hose by pulling its end out of the vacuum's base. Also, disconnect its other end from the main body. If there are screws, use a matching flathead screwdriver to loosen them and then pull the hose. Place it on a flat surface.
  • Step 2: Use a broom to push all clogs out of the hose f your hose is semi-transparent, move it near the light and check for any clogs. If it's not translucent, look through it to see if there are any clogs. If you see traces of clogs, use a broom to push them out. Avoid using sharp objects such as coat hangers as they might accidentally prick through the hose, thereby puncturing the suction. So, gently and carefully push the end of your broom through the hose. This will force all clogs out of the hose without puncturing it. If there are no clogs, check if it's in the lower hose attached to the vacuum. If any, remove them.
  • Step 3: Use vinegar and baking soda to clean to remove build-ups. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the hose, then shake to cover the interior completely. Next, pour ½ cup of vinegar (preferably white). Allow 2-3 minutes for the vinegar and baking soda to bubble inside the hose to loosen any clog buildup on the interior. Mix hot water with laundry detergent if you don't have baking soda and vinegar.
  • Step 4: Use warm water to rinse the hose Run warm water through the hose until it's clear, indicating no vinegar or baking soda residue. Better still, soak it in a sink full of warm water and remove it after about a minute.
  • Step 5: Dry the hose Hang the hose with both ends pointing downwards to drain all the water before reattaching it. Give it at least 1 hour to dry completely. When it's completely dry, put it back in the vacuum.

FAQ

Why Is My Vacuum Not Picking Up?

A blocked hose or filter is the major cause of loss of suction (the vacuum not picking up). So, regularly clean the filters and the hose, especially if you have pets and small kids. Why? Your vacuum collects plenty of hair and food particles regularly, which could easily cause clogs in the filter or the hose.

Why Is My Vacuum Blowing Out Dust?

Clogs, faulty suction, lack of proper vacuum maintenance, damaged or incorrectly connected seals, overstuffed or missing dust bag (container), or incorrect vacuum setup are the major reasons your vacuum is not picking up. However, if you have thoroughly cleaned your vacuum and taken good care of it, but it's still spitting stuff out, consider replacing it.

Sadly, a vacuum can be pricey, and your budget may not favor you. Don't stay home or in your office with a dirty or smelly carpet. The reality is, all vacuums suck, just not enough!

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