What To Do With An Old Vacuum (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Vacuums are one of the most important cleaning tools you can own, but that doesn’t mean that they last for ever. If you’re like me, a vacuum will last about two years before it begs for the sweet release of death. But, what exactly are you supposed to do with an old vacuum?

The best way to get rid of an old vacuum is to sell it on eBay or give it to someone who refurbished them. Donating functional and gently used vacuums are also an option. Otherwise, your other best option is to recycle whatever parts are allowed.

Old vacuums are one of those items where “waste not, want not” truly matters. To find out what to do with a used vacuum, keep reading.

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What Can You Do With An Old Vacuum?

Vacuums are not 100 percent recyclable, so if you want to be good to the earth, you have to choose an earth-friendly disposal method. These below are the most popular methods to help your parts avoid landfills.

1. Sell It On eBay

The easiest way to make sure that you get the best possible use out of your old stuff is to try to sell them. A lot of companies buy and refurbish old vacuum cleaners they find on eBay. You can sell it, get a little money on it, and maybe help a business out. Neat, right?

I’m not saying that you’re going to make a fortune this way, but it is a good way to get a broken or used vacuum off your hands and also make some money back. Most people will make between $10 to $50 this way, though there are always exceptions to the rule.

2. Donate It To Goodwill (Or A Similar Group)

If you want to potentially get a tax write-off and do a good deed, you might want to consider donating the vacuum to a charity. Groups like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are always looking for items that can help people keep their homes clean.

It’s important to realize that most charities will not accept vacuums that are broken or poorly cleaned. However, they will be happy to take a gently-used vacuum that still works off your hands. This may not give cash like eBay, but it will give you the satisfaction of a good deed done.

3. Check Out Your Local Recycling Plant

Did you know that most modern vacuums are almost entirely made from plastic? That means that they are technically recyclable. Awesome, right? Well, there’s still a catch. You can’t just throw it in the recycling dumpster outside your home and hope for the best.

It’s important to emphasize that many recycling plants won’t be interested in an old vacuum. You need to seek out an electronics and appliance recycling drop-off near your home. (Protip: You can go to any Best Buy and drop off your vacuum there.)

4. Give It To Someone Else

If you have a freegan in your area, then you might be able to give them a gently-used, still-functioning vacuum. You can find freegan sites online or by issuing out a “curb alert” on your local Craigslist site. Most people who are freegan will be happy to take something off your hands.

5. Sell It For Parts On Your Own

Are you the type of person who is handy with a screwdriver and has a knack for taking stuff apart? Mechanically-inclined individuals might have a better way to sell off their vacuum cleaners. You can actually make more money from selling your vacuum cleaner by taking it apart and selling each part individually.

Obviously, this requires you to do and know several things. It’s more work than most people are willing to do, especially when you consider the lower price of vacuums. Here’s a quick explanation of what this would entail:

  • You will need to fully disassemble your vacuum. I mean, the basic body probably will be sold as a unit, but you will need to be able to remove the motor, the brushes, the rollers, the tubes that funnel the air, and everything else. This can take 1 to 2 hours.
  • You also have to sanitize any part that you want to sell. This is something that you will have to do while wearing rubber gloves. A lot of these vacuum parts will get gnarly, even after 3 months’ of use. If you have allergies, then you may need to wear a face mask while you do it. (Trust me on this.)
  • It’s important to know the make and model of the vacuum before you sell it or even take it apart. A little research is in order. You will need to know whether this model still is being sold and how much money you can expect to ask from each part.
  • Finally, you also need to be aware of the fact that you can’t sell every part. For example, most people will look at you a bit funny if you try to sell a used vacuum filter, even if you ran it through the wash. Parts that you cannot sell individually should be recycled or thrown out.

6. You Can Repair It

It’s always nice to have a backup appliance, right? Well, you can always repair the vacuum you want to replace and keep it as a backup. If your new vacuum doesn’t work as well as you hoped, then you will be able to still get your cleaning done. Obviously, this isn’t a good idea if you’re a minimalist, but it’s still an option worth remembering.

Can You Throw Out Your Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum cleaners, for the most part, are recyclable. They’re made of the “good stuff,” which means that the best course of action for the planet is to recycle them. However, we’re going to be honest. Most people do not do this. The vast majority of vacuum cleaners eventually end up in landfills.

After all, getting rid of all the vacuum means that it won’t be reused. It also means that you’re probably missing out on money, a tax write-off, or just some good karma. Unless you are in a serious bind or have no way to move it to a recycling plant, try to avoid doing this if at all possible.

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Related Questions

How long should you expect a vacuum to last?

Vacuums may be labeled as “built to last,” you would expect them to last for at least a decade. Sadly, this is not really the case. Most vacuums will last anywhere from five to eight years with proper maintenance. If you have a low-end vacuum or a vacuum that is being used daily in a large, messy home, then you might have your vacuum die after as little as three years.

How do I clean my vacuum filter?

Each vacuum will have its own guide to caring for your filter, but most are pretty straightforward. A filter will need to be cleaned with water and scrubbed for a bit. Ideally, the filter will then be dried or sanitized with a cleaning solvent. After some serious use, a regular cleaning might not be enough to keep it clean.Filters may need to be replaced every three to four years, even if you have a pretty clean home. If you notice reduced suction, it’s time to clean or replace that filter.

Does carpet powder harm vacuums?

Carpet freshening powder may seem more like a waste of money, but it’s actually not that bad to use. For the most part, carpet powder is just pure baking soda. It does not harm vacuums because it’s not corrosive. If anything, it might fill up the filter a bit faster, but that’s about it. We personally think it’s well worth the fresh smell it offers, not to mention the way it makes your carpet look healthier.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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