Having a good vacuum is essential in keeping your home clean and well maintained. But if you find yourself needing to buy a new one more than every few years, chances are it is not being properly cared for. Keeping your vacuum in great condition is relatively simple, and does not require a great deal of time. Safety is also a very important factor, as it can be very easy to hurt yourself, others, and your belongings if not used properly.

-Check The Beater Bar Regularly

The beater bar is the long round bar at the bottom of your vacuum with the bristles all over it. Check it often and make sure there isn’t a buildup of hair and string wrapped around it that can affect the efficiency of your vacuum.

-If Your Vacuum Is Bagless, Empty The Cannister After Each Use

Emptying the cannister after each use will keep your vacuum from building up unsightly smells, and in some cases bacteria that can be redistributed throughout your home. Yuck! Also, if your cannister gets full while you are vacuuming, stop to empty it out. The more full it is, the harder the motor will have to work, and that will wear it out quicker than it should.

-Keep Your Filters Clean

Having a filthy filter, like having a full cannister, will cause your vacuum motor to work harder and will wear it down faster. After every time you vacuum, take the filter(s) outside and shake them out. Every once in a while you will want to wash them, but be very careful to make sure they are 100% dry before putting back in, or they will mildew and make everything smell.

-Never Yank A Cord From A Distance To Unplug

Always unplug directly from the outlet. Yanking the cord can bend the plug and/or wear down the cord itself, exposing wires that could lead to electrical shock.

-Don’t Vacuum A Wet Surface

If there is a wet area on the floor, leave it alone! Vacuuming over a wet area can cause an electrical shock to you, and do damage to your vacuum that will need professional repairs.

-When Using The Hose Attachment, Hold The Vacuum At An Angle

Leaving your vacuum flat on the floor for any amount of time will run you the risk of burning the carpet and possibly the hardwood/tile. However, there are some models that will automatically turn off the beater bar when the hose is used, so if you have one of those you should be good to go. But just to be safe, turn the vacuum on its side when the hose is out to make sure it is still working properly.

-Last But Not Least: Keep Away From Children!

Do not let small children operate your vacuum, or be within close vicinity when you are using it. Their clothing can get caught in it, and best case scenario will just damage the clothes.

For more great tips on keeping your vacuum in top shape, Check Out About.com’s Vacuum Care and Maintenance Tips!