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What is a Vacuum Brush Roll? And How to Clean The Brush Roll

Published by: Katherine Frame

What is a vacuum brush roll And How to Clean The Brush Roll

A vacuum cleaner comprises various parts and it may get difficult for an average person to understand every part along with its features and uses. A brush roll is one of the key components of a vacuum cleaner that works to keep your house neat and clean.

In this article, we will enlighten you on what exactly a vacuum brush roll is and how it works.   

What is a Vacuum Brush Roll? 

A vacuum brush roll is a high-speed spinning metal, wood, or plastic cylinder which is equipped with bristles to remove dirt from the carpeted floor (see how vacuum cleaners work).

Vacuum Cleaner Brush Roll

It is also known as a roller brush, agitator, or disturbulator. It is also often mistaken to be the beater bar, which is another component of the vacuum cleaner. 

The beater bar is a rubber or plastic strip that is fixed on the brush roll along with a line of bristles. It was invented by the Hoover Company. Rather than using the beater bar with a single row of bristles, a lot of companies these days prefer to use bristles in two rows themselves.

Types of Brush Rolls

Most of the brush rolls these days are made of wood or plastic and have bristles embedded in them.

Many vacuum cleaners also have brush rolls made of aluminum and steel with brush strips which can be easily replaced. Brush rolls are available in a range of sizes and shapes.

While some of them are completely round cylinders, many are also angled for different airflow as well as cleaning results.

How Does a Vacuum Brush Roll Work?  

Air-driven or electric rotating brush rolls are popular in vacuum cleaners built for carpeted floors.

A brush roll spins at around 6,500 RPM, operated by a belt connected to either a separate motor or the suction motor.

A brush roll’s main function is to reduce dirt from the fibres of the carpet and shift it upwards so that the vacuum’s suction motor can drag it in.

Air-Driven and Electric 

Air-driven turbine and electric motor nozzles are the two most popular kinds of power nozzles that are available for the canister type of vacuum cleaners.

While an electric motor puts in power to the machine, a turbine is inefficient. Here, the power to run the brush roll is provided by the airflow, lowering the vacuum cleaner’s overall suction capacity.

When to Replace the Brush Roll 

The bristles will not clean your carpet efficiently once they have worn out. You must change the brush roll as soon as the bristles wear out, just as you would your toothbrush.

When the bristles have worn out, they will start to feel squishy and soft rather than stiff, and they may even become the victims of split ends. 

The brush roll’s end caps might be hindered with hair strands and fibres of your carpet or the bearings might be faulty if your vacuum cleaner is eating belts or making a lot of noise.

In any case, the brush roll should be replaced, particularly if the bristles are exhibiting signs of damage. Once you’re done replacing the brush roll, you may also consider replacing the belt.

Cleaning the Brush Roll

1. Safety Comes First

Before you begin to do anything with the vacuum cleaner, please ensure that it is not plugged. Only then, move to the next step. 

2. Brush Roller Access 

Make sure the underside of your vacuum is visible. Remove all of the screws that are present on the vacuum’s bottom faceplate with your screwdriver. The average vacuum should have four screws, but each vacuum is unique. 


Make sure you keep all of your screws together so you don’t miss any. Putting them in any kind of small container is a simple way to do this.

3. Pop it Out

You can quickly remove your roller brush after removing the bottom faceplate. In most situations, one end will easily slip out, allowing you to pull the brush roll from the belt. 

Keep in mind that the orientation of the brush roll is important. When you’re done cleaning it, this will make it simpler to put it back. If the brush isn’t quickly removed, try twisting it until it pops out. 

4. Cleaning

Cover the work surface with a piece of paper to make it easier to clean up any dust, debris, or hair. Cut some hair with one end of your scissors. Move the hair away from your roller with the help of your fingertips. Go on in this manner until your brush roll is clean and clear of debris.

Also, take care of the spaces that surround the bearings and the area where the vacuum’s belt will be placed.

Cleaning of Vacuum cleaner brush roll

You’ll need to be patient as this process can take some time. Nonetheless, the payoff would be well worth the effort. 

Scissors made to cut hair, made of stainless steel work great for this as their blades are thin and convenient to slip under that hair.

In case you can’t find a pair of these scissors at your home, the normal ones will suffice. Seam rippers that are used for sewing may also be useful in this case. 

5. Bearings

Pop off the edges on each angle of the brush roll once you’re done. Dust, hair, and debris may get trapped below the endcap frequently. Set the end cap again as it was earlier removing any noticeable debris or hair.

6. Assembling Things Back 

Now, it’s time for you to reassemble your brush roll now that it has been cleaned. In order to do so, just take any paper towel and dampen it. Now, brush away any visible debris or dust. 

Slide the brush roll down the belt in the right orientation in the vacuum cleaner. Since the brush roll should be secure, you will be required to drag the belt a little to properly get it through. This is moreover the best time to replace your belt if it needs to be replaced. Slide the brush roll’s end caps into the appropriate slots. Remove the bottom faceplate and change it. All the screws that you took out earlier should be reinstalled and tightened.

And with this, you’re done cleaning your vacuum’s brush roll. 

You can also watch this video to see how you can clean the vacuum brush roll…

Some Important Tips

You’ll see a specific height adjustment setting for carpets on your vacuum cleaner. Set it to the appropriate level for optimal efficiency.

Here’s how you can do it: 

  • Switch the dial to the highest degree, and then switch on your vacuum and let go of the handle.
  • Or you can simply switch the self-propel option off if your device has one.
  • You must turn the dial down one degree at a time before the ‘tone’ changes.
  • You will notice the brush humming become lower in pitch. This is the best setting for the kind of floor that you’re cleaning. 

Brush roll rotation thoroughly cleans carpets, however, it may be detrimental to Berber and fragile orientals. Berber carpet manufacturers always strictly warn before using a brush roll because the brushing motion may damage the tips of the carpet fibres.


This wraps up our discussion on the brush rolls of a vacuum cleaner. As you can see, they make a very important part of the vacuum and you must take good care of it! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the brush roll the same as the beater bar?

No, brush roll and beater bar are not the same. The beater bar is merely a part of the brush roll that creates a swift beating movement by pushing the carpet away from the brush roll.

How will I know when it’s time to change my brush roll?

You can keep a constant check on the brush roll as well as the bristles. If the bristles start to look soft and loose, you will know that it’s time to change the brush roll. If you are someone who uses the vacuum cleaner regularly, you’ll be required to change the brush roll quite often.

Is it okay to use a brush roll on any kind of surface?

No, you must never clean bare floors like tile, wood, and vinyl using a brush roll. You may either try using an appliance specifically for bare floors, set the height adjustment to the highest degree, or simply turn off the brush roll. This will avoid any scratching on your floor as well as prevent the dirt from spreading throughout the room.

Photo of author

Article by:

Katherine Frame

Katherine Frame is a professional writer and reviewer who worked in higher education for eight years before working on The Hardware Hub. She has written for multiple home magazines and blogs.

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