How to reduce vacuum cleaner noise


Vacuum cleaners can be really annoying, especially if they’re too loud. I hate when my wife vacuums around my feet while I’m working on the computer. It drives me crazy. At the same time, I understand that it has to be done, otherwise the floor gets messy pretty fast.

So anyway, I searched across the Internet for tips on how to reduce vacuum cleaner noise. I looked through forums, blog posts and even 2 super boring booklets from manufacturers. And I’m happy to say that I found a few great tips. You can use them to reduce the noise coming from your vacuum cleaner as well:

1. Cover the air outlet

Most of the noise comes from the air outlet. It’s usually located in the back of the vacuum cleaner (check out this picture). You can muffle the noise by covering the air outlet with a piece of cloth.

This sounds pretty dangerous, right? I mean, the engine could overheat! But here’s the kicker: I’m not saying that you should cover the air outlet completely. Get 3-4 pieces of cloth that are big enough to cover the air outlet. Make 10 or so small openings on each piece of cloth with a knife. Now cover the air outlet with these cloth pieces by tightly attaching them to the rim with a string or tight elastic bands.

How does this reduce noise? Mainly because it will limit the amount of space through which sound can pass. However, it’s really important that there are still some passages left for air, which is why you have to cut those small openings on the cloth. Otherwise the engine will overheat, there’s no question about it.

When you turn the vacuum cleaner on and it starts to puff out the air, the cloth will blow up like a balloon. That’s what you want to see. This is a neat trick that has helped a few people on online forums.

If you’re afraid that the engine will overheat, touch your vacuum cleaner from time to time to see if its getting too hot. If it is, the engine is not tolerating this method well. In that case, either make bigger cuts on the cloth or abandon this method and check out the other ones on this list.

2. Clean the filter

Dirty filters make it harder for vacuum cleaner to suck in the air properly. That means that the engine has to work harder (and louder) to create suction. So cleaning your filter(s) can be really helpful for reducing noise.

Vacuum cleaners usually have one or two filters; one is near the debris bag, and the other one is a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are really useful because they collect the small debris that older vacuum cleaners would recirculate back into the air.

So to clean these filters, first remove them from the vacuum cleaner. Throw in the trash any dust and debris you find. Then clean them with warm water. Once they’re dry, place them back in the vacuum cleaner. I recommend cleaning the filters every few weeks. Some people do it after every vacuuming. My wife does that!

3. Remove any clogs

Similar to dirty filters, having a small object trapped inside the vacuum cleaner will make the suction harder and the engine louder. So check your vacuum cleaner for any small objects that might be trapped inside.

If it’s a larger or hard to reach clog, you can use a long object like a knitting needle to remove it.

And if the clog is really hard to reach and you can’t remove it without dislocating your shoulder, then I suggest taking your vacuum cleaner to a repair shop and letting the pros do their job.

4. Check for broken brush bearings

Broken brush bearings will make the vacuum a lot louder. People often mistake this problem with a faulty engine, which makes them replace a perfectly fine vacuum cleaner. So make sure that the brush bearings are okay before you do anything drastic like that.

Maybe the bearings just need to be lubricated. You can lube it up perfectly with WD-40.

Or some part actually broke. In that case you have two options: replace the brush bearing or take your vacuum to the repair shop for a quick fix. In case you want to do it by yourself, check out this video.

5. Fix or replace a broken fan

Vacuum cleaner fans work INCREDIBLY fast. Check out this pretty entertaining video to see what I mean:

I suggest that you check out your vacuum cleaner’s fan for 2 reasons:

  • it might be dirty, therefore working slower than usual and overheating the engine, which makes it louder
  • you might have a broken fan blade or two

To clean the fan I suggest using a wet tissue and running it across the blades. If they’re too hard to reach, use a toothpick. I use toothpicks to scrape the fan blades on my computer without having to remove them from the casing, and it’s an okay method.

If the blades are broken, you’ll just have to replace the fan. There are a few videos on Youtube that show how its done. This one is pretty good. But not all vacuum cleaners are the same, so it doesn’t mean you can follow this method exactly.

Just like with other methods, you can either do it yourself or let a pro take a look at the nearest repair shop.

6. Get a quiet vacuum cleaner

If your vacuum cleaner is old or you don’t feel like messing around with its inside parts, buying a cool, quiet vacuum cleaner will work even better.

I love this Proscenic P9 cordless vacuum! Our neighbors have this beauty and it makes very little noise. Plus it has LED headlights. I’ll get this one myself once my current vacuum finally accepts to go to the nursing home.

Another one that sucks great, but is more on the expensive side is the Miele Compact C1. This vacuum has a nice classic design, and a powerful motor that allow it to suck quietly, without making a huge fuss about it. I haven’t seen it in action but many online folks swear that it’s super quiet, and I see no reason why they would lie about that. Is everyone a troll online nowadays? I would not want to live in a world like that.

Conclusion

There it is my friend. I’ve layed out the top ways you can make your vacuum cleaner quieter. If that doesn’t work, or you don’t think it’s the best way to spend your afternoon, getting a new vacuum for the missus (or yourself) will definitely do the trick.

P.S. 

If you have any tips that I didn’t mention, please post them in the comment section. If it’s not available, you can email them to me at soundproofadvice@gmail.com. Thanks! – Luka Baron

UPDATE:

I’ve recently published a big review of quiet vacuum cleaners. So here is my new top 10 list of quiet vacuums of 2018. Hope you find it useful!

 

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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