The Science Behind Vacuum Cleaners: How Do They Really Work?

Vacuum Cleaner Working

Vacuum cleaners are electric gadgets promoting the cleaning of any floor by collecting dust or small particles. In general, they are often called vacuum sweepers. While a historical point of view, they were first introduced to the world in 1899 by John S. Thurman. 

Talking about how vacuums work, they work by means of suction. There’s a motor present inside, which creates higher vacuum pressure when the fan and impeller rotate. And that induces airflow pressure in angled bristles or cleaning brushes and forces dust into the hose.  Here’s more in-depth about how vacuum cleaners work.

Vacuum Cleaners Working Procedure – Step by Step

Vacuum cleaners follow no rocket science to operate their system, but a simple suction procedure occurs when airflow pressure is greater enough – created by a suction motor. The machine might look intricate, but that’s not. It has a few essential parts working together; a suction motor, intake and exhausting port, a fan, bag, and housing containing all the other components. 

For your better navigation, we have described thoroughly how vacuum cleaners work step by step in simple words below. 

  1. In step one, the vacuum motor is operated and turned on with the help of an electric current. The motor is permanently attached to the fan containing bristles blades which rotate on the electrical supply. 
  2. The second step includes forwarding the airflow pressure towards the exhaust port when blades move with high RPM.

To understand the third step, you need to understand the relationship between air pressure and the density of particles. According to physics, density is directly proportional to pressure, which means an increase in pressure will also increase the density of particles. 

That’s what going on here. 

  1. When air particles are driven forward because of the higher pressure created by the motor and fan, the density of dust particles increases in front of the fan and lower behind the fan. 

And yes, things always move from higher to lower, upper to bottom, and that’s the universal rule. Similarly, dust particles will be left towards the lower pressure area – outside of the vacuum. 

The bottom line vacuum traps dust particles inside, creating higher pressure in front of the fan and lower behind it, so they move backward outside the vacuum. 

Vacuum Anatomy – The Functional Parts

To understand the vacuum cleaner pressure, you need to understand the vacuum anatomy thoroughly because understanding the functionality of parts and their adjustment always helps you know how it works and should be operated well. 

There is nothing complex about understanding the anatomy and parts of a vacuum cleaner. Below, we have compiled all of the core parts of a vacuum cleaner and its functionality. 

Here are the vacuum cleaner parts and their functionality. 

Suction Motor

Undoubtedly, the suction motor is the top core part of a vacuum machine that is attached to the fan, operating all the functionality and running other parts. It involves creating pressure and supporting the fan bristles to force airflow through the exhaust port. It creates higher pressure in front of a fan and lowers it behind it. 

If we describe the functionality of the suction motor, it gets electrical power from the electric source and converts it into mechanical power to such air particles with airflow. 

Suction Brush

A vacuum needs brushes to sweep and then force dust particles onto the hose. They usually have angled bristles that keep airflow close to the floor surface, so dust can be easily gathered in one place and sucked. 

Brushes are necessary for every vacuum, but their structure and efficiency in functionality might be changed depending upon the vacuum quality. Sometimes, you get flat-moving brushes with non-moving bristles or softer ones. 

The Collector

As shown by the name, a dust collector is an excellent addition to a vacuum cleaner diagram. Now, dust collectors are found in two types; dust collectors with bags and bagless. If you’re using a bag dust collector, you might need to change it after intervals. 

In contrast, bagless dust collectors are divided into two types; single cyclone and multi-cyclone. Using a single cyclone is more effective than bag collectors, and you don’t need to change after short intervals. Or in other words, it has more longevity. While multi-cyclone one, it has a complex internal structure and is essential in all the meantime.  You don’t need to change it for a long time without worrying about efficient working. 

Exhausting Filter 

The exhaust filter is responsible for capturing dust particles at different stages and emitting clean air. It has been observed on deeper analysis that a vacuum filtration system has three stages.

  • The first stage where captures such dust particles measuring more than 10 microns.
  • The second stage where captures particles between 0.3 – 1 micron.
  • In the third stage, it captures fine dust and carbon powder to emit dust-free air.

Hose and Cord

Talking about the Cord first, it refers to the source to channel electricity to the suction motor. Most large-sized vacuums power suction units with cords; otherwise, an automatic retract is fitted to channel electricity. There are different lengths of cords, and you can get one accordingly.

In contrast, Hoses provide an extended cleaning range and a great feature introduced in specific vacuums. It has been observed that some hoses also provide attachments for more versatile cleaning. 

Brush Roller

Brush rollers are agitated fibers to provide in-depth cleaning on carpet areas and rugs. These fibers have electric power nozzles and avoid any damage to bare flooring in the meantime. They are often called roller brushes and are known for greater features of increasing cleaning efficiency.


It always presents on the electric nozzle of a vacuum cleaner and illuminates the cleaning path. In this way, you can quickly check the path and dirt which you need to be cleaned. Among people, the headlight is essentially helpful when performing cleaning under beds and areas with lower light. 

The Bottom Line

In the above article, we have shared with you the exact procedure of how do vacuum cleaners work. Plus, all of the parts, their working, and specific functionality of promoting the overall principle of working

Richman Aurthur

Hey, it's me, Richman Arthur - your cleaning guru with 18 years of vacuum wizardry under my belt. Let's chase away those pesky dust tumbleweeds and make cleaning fun

Leave a Comment