A friend of mine was cleaning out his basement and found a forgotten item –  a lightweight, rechargeable stick vacuum. The vacuum was in rough shape but the batteries still held a charge so I wanted to walk through the process of resurrecting it and talk about the advantages and disadvantages.

The key advantage of a lightweight rechargeable is convenience. And while convenience seems like a trivial matter, it can often be the difference between letting a little bit of dirt sit (a.k.a. “I’ll get out the big vacuum later”) and cleaning it now. Dirt acts as an abrasive that wears down carpet fibers so it’s best to remove it before it has a chance to work its way down into your carpet. My friend was also interested in getting the vacuum working as it’s something that his two middle schoolers could handle for the spills and crumbs that seem to follow in their wake.

The disadvantage is that this particular unit isn’t very powerful. There are more powerful (and expensive) units on the market that might work for a small home or apartment but a unit like this would not replace a more powerful vacuum for a standard size home. Another issue with stick vacuums is that many have relatively small cups which can be a problem in situations where you have a lot to pick up or have a dog that sheds a lot of fur.


The latter issue above was the primary reason my friend put the vacuum in a dark corner and stopped using it. At the time he had a dog that shed copious amounts of long fur and the vacuum simply couldn’t keep up. With a shorter-haired dog in the house now, he was hoping this stick vacuum might be useful. However, the vacuum was overdue for some much needed TLC before it would be operating efficiently.

Before getting started, I have found it best to cover my workspace with a disposable covering. I am using a leftover roll of a general kraft/builders paper. The end of a roll is a bit difficult to work with due to its tendency to want to keep rolling back up.

However, with a little masking tape it’s manageable. I use a disposable cover because the process generates a lot of fine dust that isn’t easy to clean up with a broom and dust pan.

The best way to clean up afterward is with a vacuum, and it feels horribly ironic to go through the process of cleaning out the vacuum, just to then use it to suck up the very debris that was just removed! With the workbench covered, it’s time to move on to troubleshooting any issues.

As you can see, the most obvious problem here is that hair and fibers have become wrapped around the brush roll (also called the beater bar, agitator, or brush roller). In fact, the roller was so neglected it was nearly bound up.

As I have previously discussed in Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance Tips for Better Carpet Cleaning I like to use a hook blade in my utility knife to help cut/pull out hairs.

Needle nose pliers and a mini pick and hook set are also useful.

The process of pulling hairs and fibers out through a confined space might seem tedious, and it is.

However, whatever you do, do not take the head unit apart. Repeat after me, don’t take the head unit apart. Trust me, I have learned this the hard way.

As you can see below, there a number of small parts that need to fit precisely together.

Any time saved by being able to directly access the parts to remove wound up hair and debris will be more than lost in the tedious process of reassembling something that must have been put together by a robot with dozens of tiny hands.



Once the head unit was cleared, the last step here was to empty out the dust cup and clean it.

Once again, you can see that this was severely neglected. This vacuum uses a washable paper filter. If you prefer, you can carefully (very carefully!) use a pair of pliers to remove the major debris from the filter but the best way is to use your hands. Once the bulk of the debris is removed a minute or two under the faucet has it looking almost like new.

Questions? I am always available to answer your stain removal questions and concerns. Call us today at (513) 777-8770 to learn more about our carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Or email us at service@extra-effort.com to learn about this month’s cleaning special.



Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.

About Elliott S. Fishman

Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.   We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort go into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.

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Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

8303 Darlene Dr

West Chester, OH 45069

(513) 777-8770


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