How a vacuum cleaner works

A vacuum cleaner is a simple device. Think of the process like drinking from a glass with a straw- it’s practically the same thing. Low air pressure is created in your mouth and the ambient air pressure around the glass forces liquid up through the straw and into your mouth.


This is how this process works for a vacuum cleaner:

  • Vacuum cleaner contains a motor
  • Once the vacuum cleaner is turned on, the fan lowers air pressure inside the appliance and creates a partial vacuum.
  • The air pressure outside the vacuum forces the air through the hose and into the appliance.
  • Once the air is inside the vacuum the dirt is filtered out in different ways depending on which type of vacuum you have.

Type of vacuum cleaners:

Vacuum bag-

  • Air passes through the bag and dirt that is suspended in the air is dropped into the bag and left behind.


  • Dirt and dust is passed through the cleaning head which then travels through to the hose.
  • Air is spun around the canister at a very high speed which is thrown out to the sides and dropped to the bottom where it collects the dirt.

Wet and dry machine-

  • This machine is used for washing up dirt. The washing dirt is suspended in water particles. As water particles are heavier than air particles, the water comes into the vacuum and then drops down into a water reservoir.

Hand held vacuums –

  • Often bag-less
  • Whatever is vacuumed goes straight into a compartment within the vacuum which will need to be emptied regularly due to its small capacity.

Some vacuum cleaners have a built in feature which will indicate when you need to either change the bag or empty the dirt contents out of your vacuum cleaner. If you are using a bag-less vacuum, many will have a fill line which indicates the top level point for dirt content.

It is advised to always empty your vacuum of dirt contents before it is at its fullest. This will keep the appliance working at its best performance as the fuller it is the harder it will have to work.

Read on to find out how to remove vacuum cleaner odour.

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