Thread Number: 36004  /  Tag: Brand New Vacuum Cleaners
Kirby Maintenance Questions
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Post# 386143   2/15/2018 at 16:11 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        


Can anyone give me suggestions or help to clean and polish the aluminum body of my Kirby Sentria II. I do NOT want to disassemble it, so Iíll mask off the trim where needed. Ive been told Mothers Aluminum Wheel Polish but thatís about the only thing. I looked on YouTube and most take the Kirby apart and use a polishing wheel but I donít want to take mine apart since itís in perfect running condition.

Also, I want to wash the cloth bag.. can you put just the cloth bag, with everything else removed, it in the washing machine? I bought an extra of the locking strap that holds the bag on the mini emptor in case I damage it in the removal process.

Can the mini emptor and dirt tube and disposable bag holder/fitting be submerged and washed in warm soapy water? If so do you suggest separating the three parts (emptor, hose and disposable bag holder) before washing? The previous owner had a dog and the bag smells gross, I figure the hose and emptor probably do too. I put my nose up to the opening where you can see the fan impeller (perfect without a scratch) and thankfully no odor.

So my hope is to wash the cloth bag and everything attached to the mini emptor and it will smell nice again. Can you vacuum up baking soda with a Kirby or is that a bad thing?

Thanks ahead of time and I appreciate any and all advice.

Post# 386165 , Reply# 1   2/15/2018 at 20:38 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Mother's will work just fine. You can try it by hand first and see how you do. If you want to do better, get a wheel for your electric drill. I like VIVA brand paper towels for polishing - cheap, disposable, and leaves almost no fine scratches that terry cloth seems to leave.

The cloth bag (with no hardware) can be machine washed on gentle setting. I use minimal detergent to avoid fading. It is dust we are removing so no need for extra strength. Also use a washer that uses water. A new top loader with a scrub plate will likely damage it. Spin dry it and place in the sun to dry. Do not tumble dry or use excess heat.

Do not vacuum baking soda as it just clogs the pores in the bag.

Post# 386177 , Reply# 2   2/15/2018 at 23:03 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
I would plan on doing a little bit of disassembly before polishing it--remove the bag assembly and the cord, take the nozzle off and pull the rubber bumper off. The nice thing about the Sentria and Avalir is the rubber bumper just slides on, whereas the older ones are riveted. Taking that much apart will make it easier to handle and allow you better access to the nooks and crannies.

Mother's is great stuff and probably all you'll need. An old, worn out T-shirt that you never intend to wear again will also make a good polishing cloth. Judging from the photos you published in a different thread, a good hand polishing will likely be sufficient.

Post# 386179 , Reply# 3   2/15/2018 at 23:08 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I'd like to know too, because you see half the people talking about using a polishing wheel or steel wool and sandpaper and all this and all that. I don't have the money nor the access to an entire machine shop and all that equipment, so I'd have to do hand polishing. I bought a bunch of soft auto cloths from the dollar store, just need to go to walmart for the polish.

Post# 386180 , Reply# 4   2/15/2018 at 23:15 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        

Thank you all for the awesome advice! My Kirby is rather clean but Iíve seen the high shine of those who polish their beautiful Kirbyís so I want to go the extra way. Iíd planned on taking the band around the brushroll head off as I saw it slides off and I can undo the cord ok and the mini emptor and cloth bag Iím taking off to wash it.. it does have a slight dog smell from the previous owner and my Dog doesnít Ike it Lol. He sniffs it and gives me dirty looks haha

I appreciate you all and thank you SO much for your advice and help! Thanks to each of you!

Post# 386190 , Reply# 5   2/16/2018 at 02:13 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
huskyVacs - Harbor Freight 7" polisher $40, couple of 6" stitched cotton buffing wheels $5 each, aluminum polishing kit $20. You could skip the big polisher and just use an electric drill, the polishing kit comes with all the buffer thingies. Then I finish with Mother's on a loose cotton wheel.

I'm a very patient man, but if there's a way for me to use electricity in place of elbow grease and time, I'm doin it.

Hey, they have a smaller kit for $6.


Post# 386194 , Reply# 6   2/16/2018 at 02:41 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
Cool, I'll have to check that out. Do not have a HFT here but have a Menard's and I might see what they have. I have a Dremel with a polishing kit but obviously that is much too small unless Barbie needs her Kirby cleaned!

Post# 386218 , Reply# 7   2/16/2018 at 11:44 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
What to use on the aluminum shell of a Kirby--or other machine with a polished aluminum shell--largely depends on what kind of shape it's in. Joe's Sentria 2 is already very clean and shiny so the use of any abrasives would do more harm than good. But older machines that have been abused or neglected or stored in dank places like basements or garages are going to need some tougher love to bring back their true luster.

Sandpaper is for deep scratches. You'll need to start with something sort of coarse, like maybe 100 grit and sand perpendicular to the scratch(es) to erase them, then move up to progressively finer (higher number) grades of sandpaper, alternating sanding directions each time to eventually bring the surface back to an even finish. At some point, you'll need to graduate from sandpaper to the milder abrasives below.

Milder abrasives (#0000 steel wool, Barkeeper's Friend, automotive buffing compounds, etc.) are good for shallow surface scratches or getting rid of that dull, gray appearance that looks like lead. You might actually want to try this first before attacking your machine with coarser sandpaper. I brought my G5 back from the leaden look with Barkeeper's Friend and then brought it up to an acceptable satin sheen with a good hand polishing with Mother's. At some point, I may eventually go back and machine polish it with my drill to give it a higher gloss.

A good quality automotive wax should be the final step for any polishing effort, not so much to enhance the shine but to provide a protective seal against further oxidation.

After you've done whatever of the above is necessary or desired, you can maintain your machine's finish by periodically (like once or twice a year) polishing with Mother's or a similar product and then re-applying the wax.

Post# 386221 , Reply# 8   2/16/2018 at 11:50 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        

Wow thank you so much for the advice! My Kirby is rather clean and tidy, but I think some Mothers aluminum cleaner and I might look for a buffing wheel for my cordless drill today to see if I can make her Shine like new!

I never would have thought of the car wax as the final step, I have an excellent Motherís wax that I will maintain it to protect, as you said from oxidization.

Everyone, THANK YOU for all the help... when I get it done I will post pics of my Kirby Sentria II when iíts all shiny.

Post# 386271 , Reply# 9   2/17/2018 at 10:31 by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        
Flitz Polish...

sptyks's profile picture

I have been using Flitz Polish lately. This is the same polish that Kirby uses in their Rebuild dept.


I find That Flitz not only gives you a better shine than Mother's on Aluminum, but it is also a rubber and plastic cleaner as well. You do not need to remove the rubber bumper and other rubber or plastic trim when you use Flitz. Flitz not only removes scuff marks from the rubber bumper like magic, it is also a better Aluminum polish as well. Try it and you will see.



Post# 386286 , Reply# 10   2/17/2018 at 15:00 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        

Excellent! I had no idea thatís what Kirby uses and also I like the idea I donít have to remove the trim as I knew with Mothers it can blacken the trim if youíre not careful.

Is there only one type of Flitz Polish? Does the liquid in a bottle or cream in a tube work best? Iíve never heard of it until I just googled it, so thank you, it sounds like great stuff!

Thanks everybody and I cannot wait to clean my Sentria II up to showroom shiny new!

One last thing.. I washed the outer cloth bag only with great success and it smells clean and looks great.. BUT what about the mini emptor, hose tube and disposable bag bracket.. can they be washed in warm soapy water and if so do you guys suggest I separate all three and use new black zip ties when itís dry to reassemble it?? Or should I just wipe inside and out with cleaning wipes? It all appears to be plastic and non porous so I figure itís ok to submerge it all in warm soapy water??

Thanks again to everyone! Everybody has been so kind and so helpful, I appreciate you all and am thankful Iíve been welcomed into!

Post# 386291 , Reply# 11   2/17/2018 at 16:55 by bikerray (Middle Earth)        
Washing the bag

bikerray's profile picture
I just throw the bag with the emptor and fill tube in the washing machine along with a towel. The Kirby shop around here does that all the time.

Post# 386293 , Reply# 12   2/17/2018 at 17:52 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        
@ bikerray

huskyvacs's profile picture
Those of us with front load drum washers can't do that. I'd say toss the plastic bits from the bag into a dishwasher if you have one, and then the bag in the wash.

I have neither a top load or a dishwasher so I think I'll have to wait until summer and leave a black storage bin out in the lawn and let it heat up and then wash the bag there. I have the 1981 pink Kirby bag, a Kirby Classic bag, and a Ultimate G bag, can all of those be hand-washed?

Post# 386296 , Reply# 13   2/17/2018 at 18:18 by luxflairguy (Wilmington, NC)        

I washed a orange Heritage bag in the front loader today and am thrilled with the results! I always add the 2nd rinse and the highest spin speed. Results are great!

Post# 386300 , Reply# 14   2/17/2018 at 19:02 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

All of the bags can be washed, just don't go crazy with the detergent, use cool or warm water and do not use lots of heat to dry.

The emtor, fill tubes, and other stuff can be washed with warm water and simple green or just some laundry or hand dish wash detergent. I would not put them in the dishwasher as machine detergent often contains some bleach.

Post# 386301 , Reply# 15   2/17/2018 at 19:24 by HonestJoe68 (Mansfield, Ohio)        

Excellent! The bag I washed in my washer on gentle cycle, extra rinse and used my scent free detergent. It smells new and looks great!

The emptor, black hose and disposable bag attachment fitting all got washed by hand, rinsed, dried with towels and they look and smell great! I used a small amount of Odo-Ban and the dog smell is all gone!

Now I wait for those three to totally dry and tomorrow after I pick up some Flitz polish.. I will put it all back together and take pictures to show how appreciative I am for ALL the help and advice.

The funny thing is I ordered (from Kent Oyler at two of the Sentria II straps that hold the Cloth Bag to the Emptor. Then saw online a screwdriver trick to remove them without breaking, and the original didnít break! Lol you know if Iíd NOT ordered at least one, it would have broke!

Thanks again guys!

Post# 386334 , Reply# 16   2/18/2018 at 10:04 by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

sptyks's profile picture



I've always used the Flitz paste in the tube and have always got excellent results with that. Flitz is a little more expensive but a little goes a long way.



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