How to Clean Your Vacuum Filter Properly?

A dirty filter means having a less effective vacuum cleaner. So, it is important to ensure that your filter is clean and functional. Different vacuum models use different filtering systems; some are washable while others will need to be replaced once they accumulate dirt.


Also, a vacuum may have more than one filter if it uses bags. Plastic filters are dusted with a cloth or brush while foam filters are rinsed under running water and replaced once totally dry. But, whatever your filter type is you must clean it properly and maintain it for long-term service.

types of vacuum filters

Tips to Clean Your Vacuum Filter

1.    Go through your vacuum cleaner manual

As aforementioned, there are many types of filters, and they are cleaned differently. So, you must start by referring to the user manual. The manual will state the type of filter your cleaner uses, how to disassemble it if possible, how to clean it, and how often it should be cleaned.

Follow the cleaning instructions to the latter. For instance, never attempt to wash a filter if the user manual prohibits it. The manual also states where the filter is located.


2.   Remove excess dirt and dust

Before, removing the dust in your filter, take it outside. The dust and dirt will spread and settle on your furniture or clean surfaces. Start by tapping the filter to remove loose dust and dirt then use a soft brush to scrub it gently. A toothbrush could also serve the purpose. A gentle scrub gets rid of most dust and dirt particles wedged on the vacuum filter.


3.   If allowed, rinse the filter

If you have a plastic or foam filter, you are allowed to wash it. You can wash it under cold running water without detergent. Scrub it gently under running water and allow it to air dry for about 24 hours before reinstalling it to the vacuum cleaner.

Run cold water on the filter until the water clears. Tap the filter to remove excess water before air-drying it. If possible, the filter should be dried horizontally.

Watch the video below for more tips on how to clean vacuum filters:

YouTube video


4.   Replace the filter

Once your filter is clean and dry, it is time to replace it. You may have to read the manual about how to replace the filter. But, even with regular proper cleaning and maintenance, filters have a specified lifespan and must be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer.

Do not ignore the recommended lifespan because an overworked filter can cause more damage to the vacuum cleaner as compared to the house service it offers. Traditional vacuum models have a filter lifespan of between 6 and 12 months depending on how often you use your filter and how you maintain it.

However, new model cleaner filters are designed to last as long as the appliance. All you need is to maintain it right.


5.   Vacuum filter maintenance tips

Keeping your filter clean is important to retain your vacuum cleaners’ optimal performance. Filters should often be cleaned as compared to changing bags. A general rule is that filters should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week if the vacuum is used daily and once every month for vacuums used once a week.

If you must clean the filter more times than aforementioned, it means that you chose the wrong vacuum cleaner for your cleaning needs. If you have pets, go for a pet vacuum model that is designed to filter bacteria and odors as well as collect pet hair.

Also, a small capacity or lightweight model would not clean a big home effectively. Just like bags that affect the vacuum’s operating power when full, so do filters after they collect a substantial amount of dust and dirt. While focusing on cleaning the filter, it is important to care for other vacuum parts because they work together to get the cleaning job done.

So, check the belt for cracks or tears, floor head for blockage, and ensure that the roll spins as it should. The internal parts are the heart of your appliance. Hence, they should be checked and maintained regularly. Their replacement costs may be quite high, and some damages may not be repaired. You end up spending more money buying a new appliance while your old one could have served you for more years if you had maintained it properly.



The need to clean your vacuum filter regularly and properly cannot be ignored. Accumulation of dirt and dust in the filter results in clogging and subsequently, poor suction power for your appliance.

A very dirty filter can result in dust particles settling on the interior parts of the machine and with time lead to damage to the motor. This is an expensive loss that can be avoided by cleaning your filter as often as recommended or as necessary.

If you clean your house daily, when not clean the filter more often? Just a little care and maintenance can keep the appliance effective as well as extend its lifespan.


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