How to Clean a Vacuum Filter – Tips and Tricks Worth Knowing

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Last updatedLast updated: February 03, 2021
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The filter is perhaps amongst one of the most crucial parts of a vacuum. Vacuum filters are responsible for ensuring that the dirt and particles that are picked up off the floor during the vacuuming process don’t flow back out into the air. This is an essential process if you’re to keep the living and working environment clean and healthy all-round. But if you don’t know how to clean a vacuum filter, it can underperform.

Though a vacuum filter is an important component, it often remains ignored. This is until the buildup around the filter results in several health concerns, a vacuum which doesn’t function to its fullest or even causes the vacuum to stop performing altogether.

Fortunately, all of this can be avoided by carrying out a straightforward job – that is cleaning the filter regularly!

How to Clean Your Vacuum Filter?

washing-vacuum-filterYou may be wondering how you need to clean such filters and whether it needs an expert to undertake the job adequately? The good news here is that it does not take a professional to clean your vacuum filter, and neither will it cost you to do so.

How you clean your vacuum filter depends on the type of filter that you have. Even most vacuums under $200 and some of the best vacuums under $100 these days will have a primary filter, which works to absorb all the dirt sucked into the vacuum itself.

Many of these filters are now washable – particularly if you opt for a cordless vacuum – ensuring better environmental purposes, and are cheaper than buying ongoing replacements. However, you need to make sure beforehand that it is possible to get your vacuum’s filter wet.

If your vacuum has a foam filter, a cloth filter or even a disk filter, these can usually be washed and reused. All you need to do is give the filter a gentle soak in some warm soapy water.

It is always worth checking your vacuum’s manual to see whether you can place your filter in the dishwasher, as this will ensure even better cleaning results.

Whether you choose to hand wash or use a dishwasher here, it is essential to make sure that you allow the filter to dry out completely before you place it back into your machine. This is often the more time-consuming task.

However, if your vacuum uses a cartridge filter, which is usually identifiable by foam, paper or synthetic materials, you will not be able to immerse this in water.

To increase the lifespan of this filter type, you can remove them and tap off the dust, brushing it away to reuse a few more times before having to replace this disposable type of filter entirely.

How Often Should You Clean Your Vacuum Filter?

how-to-clean-vacuum-filter_main_4Though there are many different types and models of vacuum cleaners on the market, the same overall advice can be applied here to all of these, when cleaning a vacuum filter. That is, this job should be considered a regular one!

However, exactly how often will depend on the make and model of the vacuum cleaner you use. Or more precisely, the filter you have inside your vacuum. Of course, some modern vacuum cleaners, like the best central vacuum systems, for example, use self-cleaning filters that take all your cares away. The general rule for the rest, however, is – the more you can clean your filter, the better.

  • If you use your vacuum daily, it is a good idea to clean your filter weekly.
  • If you are a more moderate vacuum user, and clean weekly, look at cleaning your filter monthly.
  • For rare or occasional vacuum use, many retailers will suggest checking and cleaning the filter at around the 3-6-month mark, and certainly no longer.

Check Your Filter Cleaning Pattern

It is worth noting that if you find yourself having to resort to cleaning your filter out more often than you feel necessary, perhaps every few days or after just a few uses, you may want to re-evaluate whether the model you have chosen is suitable for your current cleaning needs.

For example, if you have pets, then a pet model vacuum especially will have a filter designed for coping with such pet hair, as well as the odors and bacteria that comes with having pets in the home.

Additionally, if you are vacuuming on laminate flooring, you’ll also need to ensure that you use a vacuum for laminate floors, as it’ll need to be able to provide a stronger suction, without harming the floor. Considering that debris, especially pet hair, is often harder to pick up from this floor type, the filter will work harder here.

Most importantly, get into the habit of noticing when the suction performance in your vacuum is not at its best, and this will include the sounds it omits. Your vacuum’s performance can tell you a lot about the status of its filter. This will then help you determine when the filter needs cleaning, thus preserving the life of your filter and ultimately, of course, your vacuum.

  1. Thanks for the information on how to clean a vacuum filter, there are so many steps I didn’t know about. I had no idea that you had to clean your filter so often, I thought it was maybe an annual thing. My wife and I just got a new vacuum and we want to make sure it lasts a long time, we will be sure to clean it often.

    • Adam Clapton Adam Clapton Jun 1, 2019

      Thank you for your comment! Indeed, it is important to keep an eye on your filter condition, especially if you use your vacuum daily. Our team is glad to hear that the information we shared helped you and your wife!

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