Up until the mid-nineteenth century, when the vacuum cleaner was invented, there was really no way to gather dust. Sweeping would collect some of it but would also rerelease it into the air. The first vacuum cleaners were pumped by hand: they drew the dust inside. Electric vacuum cleaners were introduced early in the twentieth century and have been continually improved upon: today, the really good ones can draw in up to 99 % of the dust and dirt in an area. The following tips are offered, from a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service servicing the North Shore of Chicago, for the care and maintainance of your vacuum cleaner.

* Make sure the vacuum cleaner is unplugged before cleaning it. Once a month, use a damp cloth and mild detergent to wipe off any dirt from the casing, hoses, and attachments. After each use, vacuum the rug/floor attachment with the crevice tool or hose before putting away the machine.

* When blockages occur, unplug the unit and inspect the wand, hose, and beater bar, as well as the intake and exhaust ports to ensure that they are free of obstructions.

* If the roller on the beater bar gets wound tightly with threads or clogged with fibers, cut them away with scissors. Again, make sure the unit is unplugged before removing any obstruction.

* Empty or change vacuum bags every week or as often as needed. Air travels through the bag, and as it fills, airflow and suction are reduced. Do not trust a bag-indicator light. Check the bag frequently, and do not let it get more than three-quarters full.

* Change and empty cloth bags outdoors, or inside a large garbage bag if you must do it indoors. To minimize the spread of dust, you can place the vacuum bag inside of a large garbage bag, then hold the garbage bag closed with one hand while you shake the vacuum bag clean with your other hand. 

* Once every one to two years, says a renown Residential Cleaning Service on the North Shore of Chicago,  take your vacuum to a dealership or repair shop for a professional cleaning and to have damaged parts replaced. With this preventive treatment, a good, properly maintained vacuum can last for up to 20 years.

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