How To Responsibly Dispose Of An Old Vacuum Cleaner.

August 25, 2009 7 Comments

The following is a guest post from Judy Nguyen.

As all things have an end, so do vacuum cleaners. We’ve seen it; An old vacuum cleaner collecting dust in the attic, or left by trash dumpster along with use mattresses and shelves, possibly by college students moving back home for the summer. How long does it take for the earth to decompose a vacuum cleaner? Unfortunately, the answer will take more than a few generations to find out!

Does It Still Work?

Before you decide what to do with your old vacuum, the first question you would ask yourself should be, “Does it still work?” Many new models of vacuums are created and sold every year. You may want the latest and greatest in vacuums, or find that it simply does not fit your needs any longer. Other times you may be simply tired of having it. Be ecologically responsible in this! If it works, simply pass it to a friend who may appreciate the gesture, or place an ad on your local newspaper to pocket a few dollars. You could even post a flyer to college students who may have forgotten to take their vacuums with them. Even better, donate it to your local charity or thrift store. You are simply recycling the vacuum this way.

Broken? What to Do?!

Some people figure that spending $100 on a vacuum does not warrant investing $50 more to get it repaired. I would like to ask readers, “How does spending $300 on a brand new vacuum save any more money than getting your old one repaired?” First, you could try to repair the unit yourself by replacing filters and belts. You could also check many online how-to manuals and call the manufacturer for tips. Too time-consuming, you say? It’s not going to take as long as waiting for your vacuum to decompose in your landfill!


Another option, as discussed above, is to get it repaired. There are specialty vacuum stores that offer to repair your vacuum. And who knows? Perhaps they might offer a discount on the next vacuum you purchase from them. Also, you can freely just give them the vacuum for spare parts. It’s just as equally eco-friendly as giving the vacuum to charities.

Places to Go

Before you begin recycling your vacuum, be on the lookout for curbside donations! The charity will list accepted items and all you need to do is leave the donated goods on your curbside for pickup. If you do not have a curbside charity, you might have to do some quick research. Check out these comprehensive websites that can help you start living a little bit more ecologically savvy:

* Earth 911: A website that allows you to search various recycling centers, including places where you could recycle used household chemicals, paper, and metal!
* The Thrift Shopper: A thrift store directory that lists all of your local Goodwill stores, St. Vincent DePaul charities, and much more.
* Local Religious Institution: Most churches, mosques, and synagogues will accept your donations. If you are part of a religious community, feel free to ask your clergy if they accept vacuum cleaner donations.

Number One Maintenance

The easiest way to avoid a broken vacuum cleaner is to properly maintain your vacuum. You also should store the manual in a secure and remembered area so that you can address mechanical problems should they occur. Also, many manufacturers now save paper by having a .pdf file of their manual.

If you are computer literate and have a scanner on hand, you may scan your manual and recycle it later to save energy and effort in finding it in the future. Plus you are saving a few trees in that process.


If you are still lost, there are also a plethora of information online about fixing certain vacuums. With a bit of research, you will find that there are also hotlines and emails you can call. Know your vacuum’s model and brand at all times. If it is not obviously written on the unit itself, or if you are afraid that your vacuum’s label will fade, marking the vacuum will not harm it!

High Quality Vacuums

If you live in a home or can foresee yourself needing a vacuum for several years, it does not hurt to invest in high quality vacuums. Several brands are cheaply manufactured and not expected to last more than a few years. However, with higher quality vacuums made from high grade materials, you can not only prolong the life of your vacuum but enjoy a mighty investment. Several brands of these more expensive, higher quality vacuums include the Hoover Platinum lines, Royal vacuum cleaners and SEBO vacuum cleaners.

Although these vacuums may seem pricey at first glance, remember that most of these manufacturers expect you to repair and maintain your vacuum. They may not seem stylish with the latest gadgets, but their quality is unrivaled. Many of these high quality vacuums have lasted 10 years or more, as opposed to spending $200 each two years to replace it.

Enjoy a Greener Clean

Remember to access your vacuum and maintain it properly to extend its life. If you have given up on your vacuum, or if it gives up on you, try the ideas above to keep them out of landfills! Enjoy a greener environment by keeping vacuum cleaners away from the dumpsters!

Filed in: Green • Tags: , ,

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (7)

  1. Becky says:

    Spooky! I was JUST thinking this morning about our poor, broken vacuum. It’s been collecting dust in the closet while I mull over repairing or replacing it. We’re going to find a place in town and get a repair estimate this weekend!

  2. Judy Nguyen says:

    Please do! You’re most likely supporting a local business by reaching out to your repairman. My dad has his own repair shop and I often tell people not to buy a new TV and come to him for business. It’s just horrible for the environment to leave electronics or appliances out.

  3. Carla says:

    We have an old vacuum that’s beyond repair at this point. It wasn’t a very good vacuum to begin with. I’m glad we have some options aside from the landfill.

  4. What a great article… I’m sure most people have no idea what to do with the old vacuum cleaners. As stated in the post, it is amazing the amount of info available, but not only that, you can still find parts for units going back to the 40′s and 50′s. They are easy to repair so why not save some money and the environment at the same time.

  5. Miele Vacuum says:

    its our duty to properly dump the old and unused vacuum cleaners. If there is any exchange offer in vacuum cleaner, we can get better value of your old vacuum cleaners

  6. Ryan says:

    We just bought a new vacuum at my work, it was only $75, definitely cheaper than repairing the old one, which is legitimately broken… now what?

  7. Dude Clean says:

    Fixing I think is always the solutions but unfortunately the parts & labor outweigh the cost of the vacuum…I think that the manufacturers should always have a refurbish program to allow trade ins so that they can refurbish them a heck of a lot cheaper than we can,and put them back on the market for a reasonable price.. Better than hitting the landfill.

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