How Do Vacuum Cleaners Work?


Even if your house is clean, it’s absolutely filthy! That’s because most of the dust in your house is too small to see. Fortunately, most of us can live without knowing this truth about our homes, and a quick lap with the vacuum cleaner is enough to keep us happy

The simple and effective design of vacuum cleaners eliminates the need to manually clean surface dust and other small particles, making house cleaning more efficient and fast. A vacuum cleaner uses nothing but suction to sweep away dust and store it for disposal.

We all know that vacuum cleaners suck up dirt, but how exactly do they work?

Why Are They Called Vacuum Cleaners?

The name “vacuum cleaner” is a little bonus for understanding how your machine works: vacuum cleaners work by suction. (” Vacuum cleaner “is a better name than a vacuum cleaner, in fact, because there is no actual vacuum. Air pressure varies, but there is no absolute vacuum.) If you’ve ever tried this cleaning technique with a paper towel and comb, you know how effective suction is at removing dirt. If not, try it now! Wrap a paper towel around the comb. Exhale as much as you can and hold your breath. Hold the comb and paper to your mouth. Now lean back in a dusty armchair and press your mouth and comb against it. Breathe in quickly so that you can breathe directly through the comb. Take the comb out of your mouth and check the paper towel. Look how dirty it is!

Now imagine what would happen if you could maintain this technique hour after hour, like a vacuum cleaner. Eventually, dirt builds up on the paper towel so that air can’t get through properly. Your ability to clean as a human vacuum cleaner will be greatly diminished. This is very important: to work effectively, a vacuum cleaner must maintain a strong airflow at all times. If its bag is full or its filter is clogged, its airflow is greatly reduced and it does not kick up dust. This is a problem that plagues almost every type of vacuum cleaner, even the bagless cyclone that is very popular right now.

How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work?

Vacuum Cleaner

Negative pressure

The easiest way to explain how a vacuum cleaner absorbs debris is to think of each vacuum cleaner as a straw. When you sip a drink through a straw, the sucking action creates a negative pressure inside the straw: a pressure lower than the surrounding atmosphere. Just as in a space movie, a tear in a spaceship’s outer shell sucks people into space, and a vacuum cleaner creates negative pressure inside, causing air to flow in. 


The filter is a folding paper cylinder attached to the orange section at the bottom of the dust box that you can see. Air is drawn in through a filter, leaving dirt in the bin.

Motor unit

A vacuum cleaner uses an electric motor to spin a fan that sucks in the air — and any small particulate matter that’s in it — and pushes it out the other side and into a bag or tank to create negative pressure. You’d think it would stop working after a few seconds because there’s only so much air you can force into a confined space. To solve this problem, a vacuum cleaner has an exhaust port that pushes air out the other side so that the motor continues to work normally.

What Affects The Working of a Vacuum Cleaner? 

Now that you know how vacuum cleaners work, it’s time to consider the factors that affect the performance of a vacuum cleaner. In many ways, factors to consider when buying a vacuum cleaner are related to this.

Vacuum cleaners absorb dirt and debris by creating a differential pressure. Air flows through the filter, leaving behind all dust particles and debris.

Clear Air Path

When the path is blocked by dust and debris, air particles face resistance. As a result, the air will slow down. As a result, moving air creates less friction, making it impossible to pick up dust.

In addition, the size of the air intake also plays a key role in creating a lot of air pressure and suction. In most cases, the fan speed of a vacuum cleaner is constant. Likewise, the gas flow rate remains constant.

This also shows that the same amount of air passes through the vacuum cleaner regardless of the size of the intake. However, when the inlet size is reduced, the air particles move at a rapid rate.

As airspeed increases, it lowers the pressure in front of the fan, causing suction to increase. Because narrower air intakes create more suction, they are preferred for cleaning heavier dust particles and debris.

Motor power and fan speed

For perfect execution, the machine should generate strong suction. This depends on a number of factors, including the speed of the vacuum cleaner’s fan and the condition of its air passages. The speed of the fan is critical to generating the required suction. It depends on the power of the motor that rotates the blades.

If the motor is powerful enough to rotate the blades at the required speed, there will be no problem at all. Conversely, a less powerful motor cannot provide sufficient fan speed. In addition, the air intake or air passage should provide a clear path to the airflow.


In this article, we try to explain how vacuum cleaners work. The basic principles involved in the operation of a vacuum cleaner are the same, but there are many factors that make them different to some extent.