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Maintaining Vacuum Filters
Filters require cleaning too

How to Clean Vacuum Filters

Please, before you attempt any vacuum filter cleaning, make sure the machine is unplugged.

The basic rule with cleaning them is to make sure you follow the cleaning tool set by individual manufacturers as cleaning instructions vary across models.

How vacuum filters get dirty

Vacuum filters get dirty from months of vacuuming up dirt and dust from your furniture, carpets and maybe even bedding. Even when it is not being used, it is gathering dust all over the machine.

In fact, even if you used your vacuum machine every day, you will never get every single particle of dust vacuumed up – there is just too much of it! As the dust is suctioned into the machine, it is deposited into the filter or the bag and so after a couple of uses it gets full of dust then does not work as efficiently as it should.

How often to clean vacuum filters

As soon as you notice the machine making a strange noise or not sucking properly, you will know there is something not right and generally the problem will be that the vacuum filters need to be cleaned or changed. The noise is as a result of the machine having to work that much harder to suck up the dust, and over time, if the vacuum filters are not cleaned or maintained on a regular basis, the machine could literally cease to work entirely!

You may well ask how often should I clean the filters? If you vacuum every day, you should clean your filters every week, but if you vacuum once a week, then cleaning them once a month should be fine. Generally, you should clean the filters after every 4 or 5 uses. If you don’t, dust will build up in the filter and eventually leak out onto bits of the motor then you have a much bigger problem than simply a dirty vacuum filter. You will know it is time to clean your vacuum filter when the vacuum cleaner starts making a noise and when the suction is not working as well, as it should.

Ways to clean vacuum filters

Among the many ways to clean vacuum filters is to take it out of the machine and hold it over the garbage can, then knock it on the side quite smartly so the dust can all come loose and it will fall straight into the garbage can.

And remember when you take the filter out – do so outside so loose pieces of dust do not waft off and settle back on all the surfaces you have just cleaned. Then you can use a baby’s hair brush or a toothbrush and brush it gently to loosen more stubborn dust.

Avoid the following cleaning methods

  • Remember to never throw the filter willy-nilly into the washing machine – check the manual first. Some filters can be washed in a machine or even just rinsed in the sink.
  • If they are made of plastic, foam or something similar, they can be rinsed thoroughly in the sink.
  • Do not wash paper filters – they might dissolve into nothing or come out all soggy. Once the filter is clean, let it air dry thoroughly before putting it back into machine.
  • Also, do not hose down the filter. The pressure of the water could break the delicate fibres, and then you would have to go out and buy a new filter.
  • Make sure the filters have at least 24 hours to dry – water and electricity do not mix!
  • Put the filter and all the related removeable parts – as long as they are rust proof – into the dish washing machine as opposed to the clothes washing machine. I read about someone who did this and she said her filter has never ever been as clean as it was after this wash! The other great thing is that it took away the dingy, dusty smell of the filter – and it came out good, and clean and fresh!


Please be very careful putting your filter and filter parts into any dish washing machine – Vacuumable does not take any responsibility for any damage or damages incurred to yourself, to the dish washing machine or to the vacuum cleaner. Phone the dealer if you have to, but do not do this without a professional go ahead.

And there you have, all the steps to clean and purify your vacuum filters. These methods are tried and tested, so if you have any problems, go back to your manufacturer’s manual and check the instructions there. Check all the safety steps, make the parts dry and you should be fine. After all, cleaning vacuum filters is not rocket science, but it pays to follow instructions.