How to Clean a Vacuum Filter (In 4 Important Steps)

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clean a vacuum filterRegular preventative maintenance is the key to maintain the condition of your vacuum.

And perhaps the single most important thing you can do is clean the filter regularly. A clean filter ensures the efficiency of your vacuum cleaner and reduces the risk of other damages.

Here’s exactly how to clean a vacuum filter.

Consult Your Owner’s Manual

Most modern vacuums (made in the last decade) work in much the same way.

Yet it’s still important to consult your owner’s manual to find out exactly how to clean the vacuum filter on your specific model.

The biggest piece of information is the type of filter in your device. Many filters nowadays are reusable while others must be replaced whenever they get too dirty.

Your owner’s manual will also tell you the best way to clean that specific brand and model of filter.

Remove Dust and Debris

removing dust and debrisDon’t attempt to clean your vacuum filter inside your house.

Taking the filter out of the vacuum often causes dust and dirt to billow in all directions as its released from the device.

So, head outside or into the garage before removing the filter.

Once the filter is removed, you can empty the filter into a garbage can or garbage bag. Gently tap on the underside of the filter to remove as much dust and debris as possible.

Run a soft brush (a toothbrush works well) or your hand over the inside of the filter to remove any material that’s attempting to cling on to it.

Wash and Rinse

Not all filters are designed for actual washing with water.

Check the manufacturer specifications in your owner’s manual to see if it’s okay to clean your vacuum filter with water.

If it is okay, simply rinse the device under warm water in the sink. Never use soap on a vacuum filter.

Once the filter is rinsed out, set it somewhere to air dry for at least 24 hours. The filter must be completely dry before you reinstall it into your vacuum.

Replace Your Filter

Some models of vacuums come with a filter that must be replaced with each cleaning.

Most current models, however, have reusable filters that can be washed and reused several times. Even these will eventually need replacement though.

Inspect your clean vacuum filter for damages. If you see any damages, it’s probably time to replace the filter.

Your vacuum owner’s manual also contains information related to the filter’s lifespan. Replace yours according to the manufacturer recommendations.

Consider Additional Cleaning Steps

emptying the vacuum bagThe filter is just one component of your vacuum cleaner that requires cleaning.

Since you’re already cleaning the filter, consider cleaning and inspecting the other components as well.

At the very least, empty the bag and inspect the hoses and brushes. One of the most common vacuum problems are clogged hoses that reduce suction power. Inspect the hoses for clogs and remove them as needed.

Finish your vacuum inspection by checking the belts. If you notice they are frayed, it might be time to order a replacement set.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a vacuum filter greatly increases the lifespan of the device.

Luckily, it’s a very simple process to remove, clean, and reinstall the filter on the vast majority of vacuum models.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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