Thread Number: 12523
First post and my new to me Kirby 518
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items --- [As an eBay Partner, eBay may compensate if you make a purchase using any link to eBay on this page]
Post# 133915   4/23/2011 at 23:47 (4,697 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Hello, there. This is my first post and I am new to vacuums. My wife will testify as to me not being very familiar with them; at least the use of them. I felt that the time was right for a second vacuum in my life. Last Sunday I woke up and felt that this second vacuum should be an older one. I looked around on line and found your great forum. After looking at many pictures I decided that I liked the looks of Kirby vacuums. Kirby vacuums also look like machines that I could work on if need be.

I found this 518 in Aptos and picked it up on Tuesday. I plan to polish it, replace the motor bearings and brushes, much as vacumaniac is doing to his vacuum. The belts are in need of replacement and I would not mind replacing the red bumper strips with new ones if I can get them. The bag is clogged. I will try washing it once I can figure out how to take it off.

I am thrilled to have this vacuum but my friends and coworkers think I have lost my mind. I love the lines of it, and the way it feels and sounds. Here are some pictures I took of it…


Post# 133920 , Reply# 1   4/24/2011 at 01:25 (4,697 days old) by jfalberti (Visalia, CA)        
That is a beautiful machine

jfalberti's profile picture

Welcome to the club! Please be careful with the bag. It looks to be original, and if you wash it, you might destroy the labeling on it. I'm not an expert on washing bags, but there are a lot of people on here who can help you in this regard. Please seek their advice before you do anything to it.


Post# 133929 , Reply# 2   4/24/2011 at 06:24 (4,697 days old) by fairfax88 (Orlando, FL)        
Good morning and Happy Easter Ralph,

Just so you know, that Kirby was born in 1958 and its a GREAT machine!!!

Post# 133942 , Reply# 3   4/24/2011 at 10:15 (4,697 days old) by fanonthefloor (Augusta,Georgia)        

Welcome Ralph that is a very beautiful machine and with a little restoration it should come out great.

Post# 133946 , Reply# 4   4/24/2011 at 10:38 (4,697 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

Welcome to the club!

My first vintage kirby was a 518 just like that! Congrats!

If you want it to look amazing, take some Mothers mag aluminum polish, and some #0000 steel wool, as well as some good ol elbow grease, and it will look fantastic!

Post# 133956 , Reply# 5   4/24/2011 at 11:28 (4,697 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

Very nice machine! As you know, I am in the process of restoring my first vac, a 516, and everyday I learn something new. It is an exciting thing! Enjoy!

Post# 133959 , Reply# 6   4/24/2011 at 12:09 (4,696 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement. Joe, thank you for keeping me from doing something I would latter regret. I have since searched the forum, and found some information on cleaning these bags. I looked at the logo on my bag and it looks like it would not last very long if water touched it. Thank you again. The new game plan will be to get a new generic bag, have the shop down the road embroider a Kirby logo on to it and store the existing bag.

I find it humorous that this Kirby is 2 years older than me. I know which of the two of us will look better in another 52 years!

Here is what the vacuum look like today. Off to get some bags and a sharpie so I can keep things organized. Then it is time to clean and polish the parts. I have a feeling that my arms will be tired by the end of the day.

Post# 133960 , Reply# 7   4/24/2011 at 12:18 (4,696 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

Hey Ralph.

Here is a place to get new bumpers that will match it perfectly.


Post# 134015 , Reply# 8   4/24/2011 at 21:33 (4,696 days old) by ralph (Morgan Hill)        

Thank you for the link Brandon. I will start compiling my shopping list tonight. Two hours, some time with 180, 220, 320, 400, and 600 grit wet dry sandpaper, 0000 steel wool, Mothers Mag polish, and Blue Magic polish have yielded the following results. I would say it is a 10 foot polish job. Time to think about a buffing machine…

Post# 134016 , Reply# 9   4/24/2011 at 21:36 (4,696 days old) by vacumaniac ()        

WOW!!!! Beautiful work!

Post# 134017 , Reply# 10   4/24/2011 at 21:39 (4,696 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

Indeed, quite impressive work!

I shall have to try the sandpaper rout. I have a few hoovers from the 1920s that need it!

Post# 134020 , Reply# 11   4/24/2011 at 21:52 (4,696 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        






About the bag... it's an original bag and not in bad shape. If it were me, I would not risk ruining it by washing it. As I have posted before, I've learned the hard way that washing Kirby bags can be disastrous. Imagine my sorrow when I lifted a beautiful Kirby bag out of a pan of soapy water and saw the silk-screened logo flaking off and running down the front of the bag.......


But if you feel you MUST wash it, here are some suggestions:


I never wash cloth vacuum cleaner bags in a washing machine and in fact try to avoid washing them at all because doing so causes the pores to close up, especially if the cleaning agent (soap or detergent) is not thoroughly rinsed out. This obviously will impede air flow and thus cleaning efficiency.


The only time I will wash a bag is if it came from a household with smokers or stinky dogs, or when something nasty was vacuumed up. I'd rather have a bag that smells a bit musty than to risk ruining it by washing it.


When I do need to wash a bag, I hand-wash it in cold water with a little Woolite, not too much, to facilitate thorough rinsing and then to rinse several times in cold, clear water, wringing the bag out somewhat but NOT too tightly lest you squeeze the logo right off of the fabric.

I never machine-dry them, either. The heat will shrink the fabric, possibly to the extent of causing the bag to get so small that it will longer fit, and again, will definitely cause the pores to close up. Line-drying is the best.


After washing and drying, I give the bag a thorough vacuuming inside and out with my bag cleaner to open up the pores. You really do need to give the bag a good "pounding" to open up the pores. You can use an upright or hand-vac with an agitator, or else a power nozzle. One like the Electrolux Sidekick would be easy to use and do a good job. Obviously, you would want to be VERY careful and pay close attention, lest one of your fingers or knuckles get mangled by the agitator brush.


Post# 134029 , Reply# 12   4/25/2011 at 00:14 (4,696 days old) by dualsanitronic (Omaha)        

Congrats and welcome.I noticed on one pic that the dirt cup (Sani EmpTor) was cocked to the side.When reassembling,you will want to push the whole assembly with a downward swing toward the motor housing until you hear a snap. On one of the threads is the whole instruction book for the Dual Sanitronic 50 from 1967,which is basically similar enough to learn alot more. Type in 1967 Dual Sanitronic 50 and you should find it. Make sure to put a new felt strip in the grey tray for a dust tight fit,and don't use the new style Kirby belt,it will be too tight for the motor. Best of luck!

Post# 134031 , Reply# 13   4/25/2011 at 00:33 (4,696 days old) by dualsanitronic (Omaha)        

Correction:I went to the 1967 Kirby thread,and the whole book is not there. However,the whole book for the Kirby Classic III is under owners manuals and still has enough similarities to get the idea though the Classic III is much oxier,but pretty!

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy