How to Clean Your Vacuum Filter

We have looked at the main types of vacuum filters and the best way to care and clean them. These are our top tips on how to clean your vacuum filter.

Where would we all be without a good home vacuum cleaner? Perhaps we’d be living in a thick layer of dirt and constantly coughing from the dust particles. That’s why the beloved household vacuum cleaner needs a little bit of TLC to keep it in working order. If you don’t already know how to clean your vacuum filter, you should learn how and add this to your cleaning routine so your home can stay in good shape.

The filter is possibly one of the essential parts of a vacuum, but it can get overlooked. Vacuums filter massive amounts of dust, dirt, and grime every time you use them. This dirt and other particles will build upon the filter over time, reducing the efficiency of the appliance and increase the demand of the vacuum’s motor.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the vacuum will help the vacuum work well.

Types of Household Vacuums

The type of vacuum you have depends on the needs of your household. These are the most common types of vacuums.

  • Canister vacuum: The vacuums are for hard surfaces or small carpeted areas. These devices feature a retractable cord for easy maneuvering and a suction hose to pick up dirt.
  • Deep cleaner: These are for carpet treatment and stain removal.
  • Handheld vacuum: These vacuums are a portable and cordless way to clean smaller carpeted areas. They are excellent for cleaning up after pets and children.
  • Robot vacuum: A robot vacuum will clean the floor for you. All you need to do is set the sensor boundaries, pick your settings, and press start.
  • Stick vacuum: These options are best for kitchen and bathroom floors for a quick clean-up job.
  • Pet vacuum: It can be hard to keep your house clean with pets. That’s why a vacuum specially designed to clean up pet hair and minimize pet order from around your home is ideal.
  • Upright vacuum: Upright options are for carpet treatment and stain removal. They use an upright motor-driven beater brush to loosen and remove dirt. This type is ideal for large carpeted areas.
See the Best Handheld Vacuums

Types of Vacuum Filters

There are several different types of filters, depending on the type of vacuum you have.

These are the most common filters found in vacuum cleaners:

  • Cartridge filter
  • Foam filter
  • HEPA vacuum filter

Top Tip: Always read through the manufacturer’s manual before cleaning a filter to ensure that it can be cleaned and if any provisions need to be taken.

We have looked at the main types of vacuum filters mostly found in the home and the best way to care and clean them.

These are our top tips on how to clean your vacuum filter.

How to Clean Foam Vacuum Filters

how to clean foam vacuum filters

sdrug07 / Shutterstock

Foam vacuum filers serve a secondary purpose within the appliance. Once the air has passed through the primary filters in the vacuum, the foam filer will further clean this air before it reaches essential parts of the appliance.

Foam filters need to be clean because if the filter gets congested with dirt, dust, and any other debris, those particles might go back into the household environment.

You can wash and reuse foam filters, which will help the machine run more efficiently.

Cleaning a Foam Filter

  1. Submerge the filter in water. Put the foam filter into the water until completely covered.
  2. Squeeze the filter. Squeeze out any water and any dirt trapped within the foam.
  3. Air dry the filter. Put the filter somewhere to dry out.
  4. Add some oil. Add a few drops of your favorite scent of essential oil to the foam roller. This oil will make the room smell lovely when you are vacuuming.
  5. Replace the foam filter. Once the filter is dry, put it back in the vacuum.

Top Tip: Do not wash single-use filters. This may damage your vacuum and affect its ability to function correctly.

How to Clean a Vacuum Cartridge Filter

how to clean a vacuum cartridge filter

Nor Gal / Shutterstock

Cartridge vacuum filters can be different materials such as synthetic products, pleated paper, and foam. The filters are disposable, so you should replace them occasionally.

However, before opting to replace the cartridge, you can give it a quick clean which will make the filter last for longer. This maintenance will help your vacuum be more reliable.

Here’s how to clean a cartridge filter.

Cleaning a Cartridge Filter

  1. Remove the cartridge. Take out the cartridge filter from the vacuum.
  2. Tap the cartridge filter. Lightly tap the filter against the garbage to loosen all dust dirt trapped in the pleats.
  3. Shake the filter. If has been a long time since the filter has been cleaned, shake the filter for longer to dislodge any stubborn debris into the garbage.
  4. Replace the filter. Once all the dirt and dust has been removed, put the filter back into the vacuum.

Top Tip: Never put the filter back into the vacuum until it is fully dried. If it’s wet, the filter may affect the electrical parts of the appliance.

How to Clean a HEPA Vacuum Filter

how to clean a hepa vacuum filter

Quality Stock Arts / Shutterstock

HEPA is an acronym for high-efficiency particulate air. These filters use special-size fibers and an electrostatic field to effectively removing 99%+ of microscopic particles.

Cleaning these filters once every 30 days will remove dirt and dust build up and keep the vacuum working efficiently.

Cleaning a HEPA Vacuum Filter

  1. Remove the HEPA filter. Take out the filter from the air purifier as instructed by the manufacturer.
  2. Wipe down the filter. With a damp cloth wipe down the surface of the filer. Rinse out the cloth and repeat until the surface of the filter is clean.
  3. Allow the filter to air dry. Place the HEPA filter in a safe area to sou dry.
  4. Replace the HEPA filter. Once the filter is fully dry, put it back in the vacuum.

Replace your HEPA vacuum filter with a new one every six months to ensure that the vacuum will function correctly and at it’s best.

How to Clean a Vacuum Bag

how to clean a vacuum bag

Georgy Dzyura / Shutterstock

Some upright vacuums contain a bag. These bags have been designed to be either disposable to reusable. If a vacuum bag becomes overfilled, the motor has to work harder to operate the appliance, which can cause problems with the machine.

Regularly replacing or cleaning the bag is important to ensure that the vacuum’s motor runs correctly.

How to Clean a Vacuum Bag

  1. Remove the bag. Take out the vacuum bag as directed in the manufacturers manual.
  2. Empty the bag. Shake out and any dust, dirt, and debris into the garbage. Do this outdoors as it can cause a cloud of dust.
  3. Tap the bag. Tap the sides of the bag, making sure that all the dust has been removed.
  4. Close the bag. Once the bag has been emptied, close it back up and hit it against a wall to dislodge any stubborn dirt inside and dump it into the garbage.
  5. Use a handheld vacuum cleaner. If possible use a handheld vacuum to remove any excess dust from the interior and exterior of the bag.
  6. Replace the bag. Put the empty bag back into the vacuum.

Before cleaning a vacuum bag, check to see if there is any damage, splitting, or weak spots. If you find any damage, replace the bag.

Top Tip: Do not wash your bag unless the manufacturer recommends it. In some cases, washing the bag damage or weaken it.

How Often to Clean a Vacuum Filter

how often to clean vacuum filters

Budimir Jevtic / Shutterstock

You should wash and clean a vacuum filter after every 3-4 uses to keep it working at its optimum. However, how often you clean a filter depends on the amount of use the vacuum gets. Follow the below as a guideline.

  • Daily vacuum use: Clean once a week
  • Weekly vacuum use: Clean once a month

Top Tip: Wear gloves when cleaning the filter. If you don’t clean the vacuum filter regularly, be prepared for a messy situation. Your hands will get dirty, so wear gloves to keep them protected.

Don’t Forget to Clean the Brushes

The brushes on a vacuum cleaner tend to get tangled up with dust, fur, and hair. These brushes also called the beater bar, spin underneath of the vacuum picking up dirt in the carpet. These brushes aren’t found on all models, but if you have a vacuum with brushes, it’s a good idea to clean them regularly.

Every two weeks or so, sit down and detangle the rushes. The more regularly you clean the brushes, the easier the job will become. However, if you leave the brushes clogged up and tangled with hair and dirt, it will reduce the vacuum’s ability to clean efficiently.

Top Tip: Use scissors or your fingers to remove the tangled hair from the brush. If you are unable to de-tangle the hair with a gentle tug, cut into the hair which will allow it to be more easily removed.

Use the tips is this article to clean your vacuum filter to make sure your vacuum can do what it needs to when it cleans your home.

tips to clean your vacuum filter