Thread Number: 38193  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
How to clean a Kirby
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Post# 406702   3/15/2019 at 12:18 (385 days old) by kirbybb (Ohio)        

Hello. I've don'e some searching on the forums about cleaning a Kirby and there are many posts about polishing but none really about cleaning the machine. My used Sentria II doesn't smell like smoke or pets but does have that "used in someone else's home" smell. I'd like to wash the bag, wash the black bag fill tube, and wash the vacuum head, rubber pieces, and floor plate.

I'd like to use Pine-Sol as it is a disinfectant and has a nice smell. Any caution against using Pine-Sol?

Can I take the head apart and dunk it in the tub to clean it up? If I should keep the head dry, what is the best method of cleaning out the dirt and debris? Just a bristle brush of some type?

Post# 406709 , Reply# 1   3/15/2019 at 15:13 (385 days old) by superocd (PNW US)        

The very first thing I do is reassemble everything and put all non-electrical parts (head, trim pieces, em-tor, aluminum shell, fancase and motor base) into a plastic tub. I hose everything off until it is free of dust and debris. I pay special attention to the head and fancase, where I scrub the inside with dish liquid (no-name Dawn works the best) in between hosings. I move everything in another plastic tub with hot water and Lysol lemon antibacterial liquid, being careful not to scratch anything. Meanwhile, I vacuum the bag out with my shop-vac, finish it off (outside my garage) with my air compressor, and wash it with Persil and hot water. I clean the cord with bleach water.

As far as the motor goes, I blow it out with my air compressor, then use alcohol pads to clean it up a little. I take the fan off and clean behind the fan -- this may be a bit source of that "somebody used this before" smell. I vacuum first, use a rag dampened with the Lysol lemon liquid I mentioned, then finish up with alcohol.

I wear a mask for all steps up until I clean the motor and nothing enters my home until it has been finished.

Post# 406723 , Reply# 2   3/15/2019 at 21:04 (385 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

To me, a pre-owned vacuum is not clean until it has been broke down like this and EVERYTHING cleaned!

I typically do this to anything I get second-hand as part as its restoration. I also inspect everything and replace parts as needed. Bearings are usually replaced if over 10 years old as grease drys up.

All non-greasy parts not held together with rivets or wires were disassembled and washed with simple green. Mineral spirits removed old grease from non-plastic parts. Pine-sol could be used if it seems to clean well.
I used soft-medium bristle brushes. Brass wire brushes were used inside the nozzle and fan case to remove all caked on dirt or corrosion.

Big parts were washed on the patio, placed on a thick trash bag to protect them. Spray with hose, then with cleaner, brush well, hose off, dry with leaf blower and place in sun.

Small parts I washed in the kitchen sink with simple green and toothbrushes. PArts were placed in front of the fridge fan to dry quickly.

The bag was washed and rinsed in a bucket a few times then run through the washing machine.
Dump bags should always be washed in a bucket first - there is often a layer of dirt and animal hair at the bottom when done.

Electrical parts were brushed with dry toothbrushes and acid brushes to remove all dust. It takes a while but works great.

Kirbys are easy machines to restore. The polishing is the most tedious.

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Post# 406725 , Reply# 3   3/15/2019 at 22:39 (385 days old) by vexorgtr (Sheffield, Ohio)        

Although not Kirby specific... An all-purpose cleaner like Fabuloso works well, deodorizes well, and is cheap. 1/4 cup to a gallon. For crud in the corners, washing and brushing it with a toothbrush will free the dirt, but to get it out of the cracks, compressed air (air compressor or canned air) will help big time.

Post# 406744 , Reply# 4   3/16/2019 at 10:13 (384 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        
90% of the time, I clean it all

rivstg1's profile picture
I wanted to write what I to the discussion ... But Texaskirbyguy, superocd,, & vexorgtr said it all...

Post# 406818 , Reply# 5   3/17/2019 at 14:06 (383 days old) by Kirbybb (Ohio)        

Wow. Very helpful but with my 2 toddlers running around and my crazy work schedule I donít have the time for that kind of tear down and cleaning. I assume if I send it to Kirby for a rebuild they will send it back in like new condition? I may end up going that route and Iíll likely be selling out Miele C3 also. Today was the first time using the Kirby attachments and Iím very impressed with this machine and all itís cleaning ability.

Post# 406831 , Reply# 6   3/17/2019 at 19:53 (383 days old) by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Sending it to Kirby will be costly, but it will be made as good as new. However, the plastic and cloth parts may not be the same colors as it was originally. They will use whatever is in the parts bins that will interchange if the original color is no longer available.

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