How to Dispose of Vacuum Cleaner [Broken & Working]

The household vacuum has a lifespan of around 8 years. The brand you bought and the way you look after it will make a big difference to how long your vacuum cleaner lasts, but if you’re approaching 8 years with your cleaning friend, you may need to start preparing yourself to say goodbye.

When the time comes, it can be hard to know how to dispose of a vacuum cleaner. In this day and age, none of us should be leaving our bulky trash on the curb and turning a blind eye to whatever happens to it. Unfortunately, knowing how to get rid of your electronic waste items is not very intuitive. 

Luckily, there are a lot of options available to you; there isn’t just one correct way to dispose of a vacuum cleaner.

You can give it away to one of your local shelters, donation centers, homeless shelters, or community centers. Alternatively, you can recycle vacuums in other ways. You could sell it for parts, take it to a recycling center, arrange for a pick up, repurpose it yourself, or try to save it by visiting one of your local repair shops.

We will go through the various options one by one so you can see both the benefits and caveats to each, and we will also include a little bit of information on how recycling helps the world and those around us!

how to dispose of vacuum cleaner

Ways to Dispose of Old Vacuum Cleaners

If the time has come for you to dispose of a vacuum cleaner, and you don’t want to simply get it fixed at your local repair store, there are plenty of ways to do so. Number one rule: don’t even think about putting it in the trash bin! We’ll show you how to recycle your electronic waste items without much of a hassle.

Ways to Dispose of Broken Vacuum Cleaners

If your vacuum cleaner is broken, you may have a hard time taking it to one of your nearby donation centers or repair shops. However, you can salvage plastic and metal components from it if you so wish. More importantly, a vacuum that seems broken on the surface may still be useable with some luck. Before you get rid of yours, make sure you check the following options.

Way 1 – Check if it can be repaired first

If you’re planning to get rid of your vacuum cleaner because it doesn’t work anymore, the first thing you should do is make sure this is really the case. Knowledge of how a vacuum cleaner works, what damages it, and how it can be fixed varies from person to person.

If your vacuum cleaner suddenly stopped working and you instantly assumed this meant it was broken for good, it may be worth looking into the issue a little more deeply. It might be that a bit of repair work could save your vacuum cleaner, especially if it is significantly younger than 8 years old. A durable vacuum won’t break down so easily, so if you’re using something made by a top brand such as Bissell, you should think twice before you give up on it.

Try to diagnose the problem yourself

The first thing to try when attempting to repair a vacuum cleaner is to give it a good clean. Blockages and clogs can cause a vacuum cleaner to completely lose its suction power, and an overly full vacuum bag can cause unpleasant or even burning smells.

Related Read: Why is My Vacuum Smelling Like Burning?

Check the roller brush, hose, and main body for clogs and tangled hair, give everything a wipe with soapy warm water, and then replace the vacuum bag with a new one. After leaving the parts to dry completely, you can put them back together and take your old device out for a spin. There is a genuine possibility that this will fix all of the problems!

If it doesn’t work, however, you may need to replace some worn-out parts. You can buy new vacuum filters, roller brushes, and vacuum belts to replace your current ones. This can be done quite inexpensively. The vacuum belt is a rubber ring that makes the roller brush spin, and it does need to be replaced after an amount of time. If you’ve never replaced yours, this could be the problem. 

If new parts don’t help, you don’t need to write off your vacuum just yet. The last thing you can try is asking a professional handyman or taking it to a vacuum repair shop. A consultation will cost some money, but at the end of it, you will know for sure whether your vacuum cleaner can be saved and whether it will be cost-effective to do so. 

Note: if you went to the trouble of buying new parts but were ultimately unable to save your old vacuum cleaner, don’t worry! Those parts don’t need to go to waste. It is very likely that you’ll be able to use them with the new vacuum cleaner you buy, especially if you’re planning on staying with the same brand. 

Way 2 – See if it can be taken away when your new vacuum gets delivered

Some vacuum manufacturers will offer to get your old vacuum cleaner away to be recycled when they deliver your vacuum cleaner. This is a super convenient and easy way to recycle your vacuum cleaner and is worth doing even if there is a fee. The amount of time and effort it could save you would definitely be worth the money, plus you’re still reducing your carbon footprint like this!

The company will take the vacuum cleaner from you and make sure it gets recycled, repurposed or reused properly, so you don’t need to worry about it yourself. Larger organizations know how to recycle old devices according to local laws.

You will need to give the company you are buying from a call to see if they offer this service and whether you need to do anything specific to arrange it. If they do, you’re in luck, because this is probably the most hassle free way to dispose of a vacuum cleaner on this list!

Way 3 – Take it to a recycling center

If you have an easy way to transport your vacuum cleaner and there’s a recycling center nearby, it can also be fairly low effort to take your vacuum cleaner to a recycling center. 

you can dispose of your old vacuum cleaning by taking it to the nearest recycling center

Over 90% of a vacuum cleaner can be recycled, so taking it to a recycle center is definitely an appropriate option! Metal components can be melted down to make new products, and the plastic casing will be used to make things like shampoo bottles, plant pots, traffic cones, car dashboards, and even furniture. Hoses and brushes may also be taken as is to be repurposed for new vacuum cleaners.  As you can see, you can recycle most parts of a vacuum.

Recycling centers can be large and fairly complicated places: different things need to go in different places and it’s quite important that you don’t put your vacuum in the wrong place. It can be worth contacting the recycling center before you travel there, to double-check that they can indeed receive your broken vacuum cleaner. Make sure to also ask which recycling bin to use or confirm that there will be on-site staff that can direct you.

Way 4 – Take it to a scrap yard

If you don’t have a recycling center near you, you may have a scrap yard instead. This option requires a little more effort. This is because, while there’s a chance scrap yards may pay for some of the components of your broken vacuum, there’s also a chance that they will only take those metal parts and nothing else.

This means that you will have to find somewhere else to recycle the other parts, and you’ll need to take the vacuum cleaner apart to separate the metallic parts from the plastic parts. (You may want to buy a good screwdriver if you don’t already have one!). 

Scrap yards may not usually be on your radar, but you’ll find that they are quite plentiful if you search for them. You may want to call a few of the yards in your area to see if any of them will take the whole vacuum, rather than just choosing the first one you find. 

Way 5 – Take it apart and sell the parts

take apart and sell parts of your vacuum to dispose of it

If you’re confident in your DIY skills and want a bit of a project, you can try taking the old vacuum cleaner apart yourself. If you do this, you’ll be able to sell the re-sellable parts separately. It won’t make you a lot of money, but it’s a green way to dispose of your vacuum and you will receive something to compensate you for your recycling efforts. 

You can try this out even if you’re not experienced (taking different devices apart can’t go as wrong as putting them together!), but be careful when dealing with the electrical elements. 

You can put the parts up on sites like eBay and Craigslist, as well as any local auction sites you might have in your area. Parts from older models are harder to find in normal stores, so they will be in high demand.

Ways to Dispose of Working Vacuum Cleaners

If your vacuum is still in okay shape and you just want something new that requires less maintenance, more power to you. Fortunately, there are many ways to repurpose your old vacuum and let someone else enjoy it instead.

Way 1 – Give it to a friend or family member

Sometimes you might end up buying a new vacuum before your old one stops being usable. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing this awesome Dyson vacuum for a while and you want to upgrade, or a change in situation has caused you to need certain features your current vacuum cleaner doesn’t have. It may even be that you’ve found a really good deal on a vacuum cleaner and would rather buy it now than wait for your current one to give up. 

When this happens, you will likely still want to dispose of your old vacuum cleaner. They are pretty bulky and cumbersome after all, and the space could be better used for something you actually still use. 

The first thing you can try and one of the easiest ways to get rid of your old vacuum cleaner is to give it to someone you know. Whether this be a friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague, it doesn’t really matter. The perfect person to give your used vacuum cleaner to is anyone that will take it! You could also check out your local Facebook groups and let someone pick it up from you.

Recycling your vacuum cleaner this way is definitely green, and you can feel good knowing that someone else is getting good use out of it. 

Way 2 – Take it to a donation center

you can dispose of vacuum cleaner at a donation center

If no one you know is particularly in need of a used vacuum cleaner, you can bet there are plenty of others out there that are. And just because you don’t know them, it doesn’t mean you can’t give them your vacuum! Yes, if you take your vacuum to a donation center, you’ll be able to keep it from being burned or thrown in a landfill site and you’ll be able to help out someone less fortunate than you. 

To donate your vacuum, you will need to make sure it is working and in usable condition (so give it a good clean and throw a new vacuum bag in there). You should also give the donation center a call first to make sure they can accept your vacuum.

If you have any spare parts, brushes, vacuum bags or vacuum belts that you won’t need for your new vacuum cleaner, you can also donate these with your vacuum as a joint package. If you’re getting a new model, you might as well get a new set of attachments, anyway.

In some cases, you can also arrange for your donation to be picked up and taken to the donation center or thrift store, so you don’t need to take it yourself! Big organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill are likely to do this. If the Salvation Army offer this service near you, you can try the website Donation Town instead. This site organizes charity pick ups and will pick up donations for free.

You can write off your donation

Remember that a lot of charity donations are tax-deductible, so you can get yourself a little reward for being a good citizen! Have a read of this WikiHow article if you’re not sure how to get tax-deductible receipts.

The amount of money will depend on the donation type. This is a great way to recycle your vacuum cleaner while helping the less fortunate and even getting a bit of money.

Way 3 – Take it to an electronics store

Another way to recycle your vacuum cleaner is to take it to an electronics store. A lot of stores around the country are offering recycling services as a way to contribute to looking after the environment.

Not all stores will be doing this, so you should look up some websites and call around a bit to see if you can find one that does. You can also do this with other electronics, be it other appliances or entertainment devices, not just old vacuum cleaners.

Way 4 – Take it to a swapping event

If you couldn’t give your vacuum to a friend or neighbor, you could try widening the scope of your search a little and try a local garage sale or swapping event. At these kinds of events you can sell your unwanted items for a small price, or swap them for something someone else has.

Maybe you’ve got an old vacuum, and another person has an old blender, and you do a swap. It’s a great way to get involved in the community and dispose of your bulky unwanted items. 

Can I Put a Vacuum Cleaner in the Garbage?

No, you cannot put a vacuum cleaner in your usual garbage. The garbage men will not take it because it is too bulky. It’s also not environmentally friendly to dispose of hazardous materials this way.

You will need to arrange for a special pick-up for bulky items if you would like to have the garbage men take your vacuum, but this will cost you money. It could be easier and more cost-effective to find a place to donate or recycle your vacuum instead.

Can I Donate or Sell Old Vacuum Cleaners?

Yes, you can! You can sell a working vacuum on a site like eBay, or sell the individual parts of a broken one.

You can also donate working vacuum cleaners that are in good condition to places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. 

Does Goodwill Take Broken Vacuum Cleaners?

No, Goodwill will not take a broken vacuum because they cannot give it to anyone to use. Goodwill will also not take a broken vacuum apart and give its parts to the less fortunate. The same applies to most similar organizations.

In general, you need to consider a scrap yard or another method of recycling instead of donating to charities if your vacuum is broken.

Why You Should Recycle Your Vacuum?

When it’s time to throw away your unwanted or broken vacuum, your first instinct may be to leave it on the curb for someone who wants it to take it. If your vacuum disappearing from that curb really did mean that someone in need of a vacuum had taken it, it wouldn’t be such a terrible option.

But in actuality, it’s very unlikely that another person will actually take the vacuum. What really happens is that the city takes it, and where they take it is straight to an incineration plant. 

Vacuum cleaners have hazardous substances in them that create toxic fumes and are extremely bad for the environment when burned. Vacuum cleaners, along with other home appliances like TVs and microwaves are considered an electronic waste item (or e-waste item).

E-waste is a real problem

As we make and use more and more electronics to fuel our modern lifestyles, the amount of e-waste we create grows and grows. It is currently recorded that around 50 million tons of e-waste are produced each year, and only 20% of that e-waste is recycled. That’s a staggering statistic.

When we fail to recycle e-waste, it pollutes the air we breathe, uses up valuable resources, costs us money, and hurts the planet we live on. Conversely, when we do recycle, we help the environment, save energy, create less waste, use fewer resources, and help the economy. Recycling centers and the recycling industry are useful to the economy and make a lot of jobs.

You may not think that reducing your own insignificant carbon footprint will make a difference, but that is not the case. The effort to recycle and look after our planet will only ever succeed through millions and millions of individuals making billions and billions of small choices. (That, and a smaller number of people making some very big choices, but that’s a different story!). 

Even though you are one individual, you are never alone in your choices and opinions. The day you decide to join the recycling effort will also be the day thousands of other like-minded individuals do the same. It won’t just be one measly extra vacuum that gets recycled that day, it will be many. And we will all benefit from the slight decrease in hazardous substances being burned!


There are a whole host of ways you can dispose of an old vacuum cleaner, whether it’s in perfect working condition or completely and utterly broken. When it comes to choosing between recycling or throwing away your vacuum, you may be surprised to find how easy some of the recycling methods are compared to paying the city to send the garbage men to pick it up. Plus you can even receive money from some of the recycling methods! It’s really a win-win situation.

Many countries are becoming more and more serious about recycling, so it makes sense that it is becoming more and more accessible to the average person. The less effort it costs us, the more likely we are to do it, after all.

We hope this article has given you some good information and ideas on how to dispose of your broken vacuum cleaner in a way that benefits you, other people, and keeps the planet clean!

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