Why Is My Bissell Vacuum Not Suctioning? [6 Possible Reasons]

Is your vacuum not picking up dirt like it used to?

If your Bissell vacuum is not suctioning anymore, it can be due to a variety of things, such as a clogged filter, a blocked brush roll, an incorrectly seated dirt container, a faulty motor, and more.

Let’s take a look at each possible cause and troubleshoot together to try and get your Bissell Vacuum‘s suction back to what it used to be!

Why Is My Bissell Vacuum Not Suctioning/Picking Up Dirt?

If your Bissell upright vacuum cleaner is experiencing a loss of suction, it could be down to many things.

Below is a list of the most probable reasons.

Before checking your Bissell, do make sure it’s unplugged.

Then, check each of the following in this order:

1. Remove The Filters

There are multiple filters on Bissell vacuums, and it is important to clean them on a regular basis in order to maintain high suction levels.

  • The pre-motor filter is the one that keeps dust out of the motor.
  • The post-motor filter removes any excess dust that has filtered through before it can reach the motor.

Remove both pre-motor and post-motor filters and ensure there is no debris or stones stuck inside.

Both filters in a Bissell vacuum need to be washed after use.

Once washed, they should be air-dried for 48 hours before putting them back into the appliance.

Now, if you’ve checked the filters and you’re still experiencing a loss of suction, it could be due to the hose.

2. Check The External Hoses

Thoroughly inspect the external hose to ensure there isn’t anything large stuck inside, like coins or stones.

Repeat the process with the internal hose.

I wrote a full guide on how to clean Bissell vacuum hose.

In addition, check for any splits that may cause loss of air.

3. Blocked Brush Roll

The brush roll on a Bissell vacuum cleaner can become blocked with dirt and debris, which will make the vacuum cleaner ineffective.

If this occurs, it may be necessary to manually clean the brush roll.

First, remove all debris from the brush roll housing area.

This is where the brush roll sits and can get clogged up quickly.

If this area is not clean, the vacuum will not have good suction.

Secondly, wipe the brush roll housing area clean before replacing the brush roll.

This will ensure good contact between the roller and your Bissell vacuum belt.

4. Full or Incorrectly Seated Dirt Container

When your dirt container is overloaded, there will be no suction, and your vacuum cleaner will not be able to pick up any dirt or debris.

Empty the container and make sure to keep it seated correctly in order for it to function properly.

To clear your Bissell vacuum‘s dirt container:

– Press the “Tank Release” button

– Remove the dirt tank

– Release the debris over a garbage can by pushing the “empty” button

– Replace the container with a snapping sound confirming that it is secure

5. Replace The Bag

If your Bissell Vacuum comes with bags and both the filters and hoses seem fine, then it might be time to change the bag in your vacuum.

Do that and test your vacuum again to see if that solved the suction issue.

6. Ensure The Motor Is Still Working Correctly

Now, if you’ve checked all the above and you’re still experiencing a loss of suction in your Bissell vacuum, it could be due to your motor.

You would know if it was your motor because there would be a change in sound.

A bad motor will produce a characteristic noise that is easy to recognise and distinguish from normal sounds.

In addition, bad motors often produce a burning smell.

If you detect either of these symptoms, it is likely that the motor needs to be replaced.

Although it is possible to replace the motor, it is not an easy job, but it’s doable.

I personally recommend replacing your vacuum at this point.

But here is a video on how to change your Bissell vacuum‘s motor:


If your Bissell vacuum isn’t suctioning properly, there could be a few reasons why. The good news is that, in most cases, you can easily fix the problem yourself.

In summary:

  1. Check that all your vacuum filters are free of debris. If they are not, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Inspect the hoses for any large objects or splits. Replace it if necessary.
  3. Clean the brush roll.
  4. Empty the dirt container and ensure it sits correctly.
  5. Ensure that the vacuum bag is not full. If it is, simply replace it with a new one.
  6. Finally, if you’ve tried all of the above and your Bissell vacuum still isn’t suctioning properly, you may need to replace the motor.


  • Hey there, I’m Kevin, from Colorado! I have been passionate about repairing appliances and electronics for the past 18 years. Modern vacuum cleaners break or malfunction way too often, so I have decided to contribute to vacuupedia.net and help my online readers with anything related to vacuums repair. I can’t wait to help you get your vacuum cleaner working again!