how to unclog a vacuum hose

How to Unclog a Vacuum Hose

Our experts research and recommend the best products. Learn more about our process. We may receive a commission on purchases made from our links.

When your vacuum suddenly loses its suction and refuses to pick up debris from the floor, the cleaner’s hose may have a clog. Correcting this situation is easy once you know exactly how to unclog a vacuum cleaner hose.

Try these following tips and tricks for getting clogs out of your vacuum’s hose.

How to Unclog a Vacuum Hose

  1. Remove the vacuum hose from your vacuum cleaner. These typically pull free from the bottom or base of the vacuum, but they may have screws holding them in place. If you are unsure how to remove the hose, check your owner’s manual.
  2. Place one end of the hose in a trash bag.
  3. Insert a large dowel, or the handle of your broom or mop, into the hose and push the clog out the opposite end.

How to Unclog a Long Vacuum Hose

  1. Remove the hose from the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Visually inspect the hose to determine where the hose is clogged.
  3. If the clog is near the end of the hose, use a bent coat hanger to hook the clog and pull it free of the hose.
  4. Use a long handle from a broom or mop or secure two long dowels together to push the clog out of the hose. Insert the broom handle into the hose on the opposite end that it was sucked in from.

How to Unclog a Central Vacuum Cleaner Hose

unclog a central vacuum hose

  1. Detach the vacuum hose from the wall.
  2. Look into the hose to determine if the clog is near the end. You can also drop a marble or a coin into the hose and listen and observe closely to try to determine the location of the clog.
  3. If the clog is near the end of the vacuum hose, use a bent coat hanger to gently pull the clog out of the hose. Use care not to damage the hose with the hook of the hanger.
  4. Try sucking the clog out with another vacuum. Gently shaking or tapping the sides of the hose may help loosen the clog and allow it to be sucked out of the end.
  5. If the clog resists your attempts to suck it out, try using an air compressor to blow it out. Blow the clog out in the opposite direction it was sucked into the hose.
  6. Use a plumping snake by feeding it into the vacuum hose until it reaches the clog. Twist the snake clockwise and pull to dislodge the clog. Tough clogs may require several attempts or alternating attempts with blowing and pulling to remove the clog.

How to Unclog a Shop Vac Hose

Clogs in a shop vac hose may be a little tougher to remove, depending on the debris you were vacuuming up. The procedure is the same, but the tougher hose will take a little more beating than an ordinary home vacuum hose, allowing you to try to jolt the object free before resorting to pushing or pulling the clog out of the hose.

  1. Leave the shop vac running and use the end of the hose to rap on the vacuum hose to try to jolt the clog free. This is often enough to dislodge the clog.
  2. Remove the hose and hold it upright while tapping it against a solid object. Shaking the hose may also dislodge the clog.
  3. Use a broom handle or dowel to push the clog through the hose. Always push the clog toward the end where it was sucked up.

How to Get a Sock Out of a Vacuum Hose

Removing a sock from the vacuum hose is relatively easy.

  1. Remove the hose from the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Look inside the hose to determine the location of the sock. If it is near the end, try grasping it and pulling it free with your hands.
  3. If the sock is lodged deeper inside the hose, use a bent wire or coat hanger to hook it and gently pull it from it. Pulling the sock free is typically easier than forcing it through with a broom handle or dowel, as pushing it may wedge the sock into a tighter clog.

How to Remove the Vacuum Hose

Most vacuum cleaner hoses pull free from the vacuum, but some have clips or screws holding them in place. If you have difficulty removing the hose, check the owner’s manual to determine the proper way to remove your vacuum’s hose.

How to Prevent a Vacuum Hose from Getting Clogged

how to prevent clogging in vacuum hose

Vacuum hoses can get clogged for various reasons. While the most common issue is from vacuuming up large objects, that’s not the only reason.

It can get clogged from vacuuming up water that causes dust and dirt to cling to the inside of the hose, eventually creating a clogged hose, or from neglecting to maintain your vacuum properly.

Follow these tips to prevent your vacuum hose from clogging.

  1. Empty the canister after every use.
  2. Check and clean the filters after using the vacuum.
  3. Check the hose every two to three weeks to ensure it is clear.
  4. Avoid vacuuming water or other liquids.
  5. Check for large objects before vacuuming the floor. Look under the bed or the couch before vacuuming there, as a stray sock, dog toy, or children’s toys can clog your vacuum hose.
  6. Avoid vacuuming too often. For more, read “How Often Should You Vacuum?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my vacuum keep clogging?

Vacuum hoses typically clog because you have vacuumed up a large object, but there are other reasons, too. A full bag or canister, a dirty filter, or even vacuuming liquids can all lead to clogs in the vacuum hose.

Why is my vacuum not suctioning or picking up dirt?

The most common reason your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt is that the bag or canister is overfull. Other causes include a clog in the hose, a dirty filter, or a cracked or damaged vacuum hose.

Why is my vacuum spitting dirt back out?

Your vacuum may spit out dirt for several reasons. If the hose is clogged, the bag or canister is overfilled, or the filter is dirty, your vacuum cannot suck up dirt as it should and will spit it back out. Other reasons include a broken belt on your vacuum.

Is there a tool for unclogging a vacuum?

You can use a Zip It to clean your vacuum cleaner. The Zip It is designed to remove hair from a drain but also works well for short vacuum cleaner hoses.

Final Thoughts on Unclogging a Vacuum Hose

Unclogging the vacuum hose may take a bit of work, but it can usually be accomplished by pulling the clog out with a bent wire or coat hanger. Sometimes, you may need to push the clog-free with a broom handle or dowel. If that doesn’t work, you can always suck it out with another vacuum or blow it out with an air compressor.

Ken Lyons
Ken Lyons has 20 years expertise in the cleaning industry. He's owned and operated two residential cleaning companies, providing services for hundreds of clients in the Greater Boston Area.