Vacuuming is a necessary house chore, even though there are days when we really don’t want to do it.
However, when you’re hoovering, your filter is building up and catching all the dust and dirt particles. Your filter might actually end up clogging if a lot of dirt is accumulated.
This, in turn, will cause your vacuum’s suction power to become weaker and less impressive. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that you need to try and find a new vacuum ASAP, it means that it’s due a wash.
- Types of filters
- Why should I clean my filters?
- How to clean your filters
- Cleaning a non-washable vacuum filter
- Cleaning a washable vacuum filter
- Replacing a vacuum filter
- How often should you be cleaning your vacuum filter?
- How to fix a vacuum cleaner with no suction
- How to clean vacuum brushes
- How to clean HEPA vacuum filter
- How to best dry a vacuum filter
- Can you soak your filter in vinegar?
- Can you machine wash your vacuum filters?
- Can I reuse HEPA filters once washed?
- How long does a filter last without cleaning?
- Cleaning the rest of your vacuum
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Types of filters
These are the most standard designs of vacuum filters and they serve as a filter and a dust container. These bags are usually made from paper or cloth which allows air to pass through them freely.
It also allows for the suction power to be optimised due to the air not needing to travel through many layers of filter. You don’t need to stress about continuously emptying into your dustbin as you can just take out the bag and throw it away.
In order to prevent any large particles, it’s vital for your vacuum to have one of these. Most of the time, your foam filter will be used as an additional filtration system which is usually positioned in front of the main filters.
These can be cleaned easily.
If you can imagine a coffee filter, that is what a dust filter looks like. They are usually made from paper or cloth and are a slight variation of the bag filter.
You most likely find these filters on cordless or robotic vacuums.
These filters are the most common and they have an efficient design which is synthetic material plates or folded paper. These filters increase the surface area of contact on your filter.
This means that there is an enhancement of the filtration applications.
Why should I clean my filters?
You need to ensure that you’re cleaning your filter on a regular basis as otherwise your vacuum won’t perform in the best way. If it isn’t cleaned, then it will just be moving around dust particles and rubbish without picking it up.
If you have clogged filters then this will eventually completely ruin your vacuum cleaner as it will continuously overheat. You should also avoid vacuuming up certain items or substances that can cause your filter to become clogged.
Items that you shouldn’t be vacuuming are soil, plant debris, sharp objects, ashes, liquids and sticky stuff.
How to clean your filters
Before you start taking the time to clean, you should be aware that it can become a messy job. The filter will be storing a lot of dust, and as you’re cleaning, the dust will become released.
Any furniture or items that are around whilst you’re doing this will more than likely cause them to become messy, too. It’s recommended to clean your filters outside so the dust can fly into the air.
Gather together the tools you need for cleaning your vacuum filter before you start. Screwdrivers may be required to take the vacuum apart and a bin bag in order to put any fluff or dust into it.
You will also need some cleaning essentials.
It’s best to find out if your filter can be washed. The best way to find this out is by consulting your appliance manual, or looking online.
You can wash your filters by rinsing them under the tap and cleaning it with mild detergent.
The tools that may be required in order to clean your vacuum filter are paint brushes, air dusters and hairdryers. You could also use an additional vacuum to help you with the job too.
Cleaning a non-washable vacuum filter
Remove your vacuum bin from the body of the vacuum. Use a screw to remove the filter section from the rest of the vacuum bin. Remove the filter.
Any fluff or dust that is attached to the outside of the filter should be brushed off. Take the filter away from the vacuum and you’ll be able to see which areas need cleaning.
The inside of the filter will most likely be clean, so it’s a case of concentrating on cleaning the outside.
Be mindful that different vacuums come apart in different ways and if you’re unable to separate certain parts then don’t force them. Your manual will be able to let you know how your vacuum comes apart.
Cleaning a washable vacuum filter
If your filter is washable, then it might be a lot easier for you, thankfully. Unscrew your vacuum in order to get to the filter.
Remove it once you’ve got to it. Use a mild detergent and wash it in water and rinse clean. Ensure that it is left to thoroughly dry otherwise it won’t work the way it should.
Replacing a vacuum filter
If you’ve gone to clean your vacuum or you realise that it isn’t working as well as it once was and then realise that the filter is damaged, torn or excessively worn, it would be easier for you to order yourself a new one rather than spending time cleaning it.
It’s important that you have your model number to hand if you’re going to order yourself a new one. You can find the number on the sides or base of the vacuum and it will be on a data plate or sticker.
How often should you be cleaning your vacuum filter?
Even if your filter is slightly dirty, it can affect the suction of your vacuum. It’s recommended for you to clean your filter every three months in order to prevent build up.
However, if you use your vacuum very often, then you should obviously be cleaning it more regularly. If your filter is non washable and pleated, then you will need to replace this once a year.
In order to keep your vacuum working at its best, you want to empty the canister every time you use it and give the filter a good clean periodically.
How to fix a vacuum cleaner with no suction
If you’ve noticed that your vacuum is no longer picking up like it used to, then don’t worry too much. A lot of the time, suction problems are caused by blockages.
In order to keep this to a minimum, it’s important to never reuse the bag as it is often part of the filter system.
If your filter gets clogged with it will definitely reduce the efficiency of the machine. Replace the bag as soon as the indicator light comes on.
If you don’t have a visible light then you can open up the body and inspect the bag yourself.
Ensure that you’re emptying the canister after every use if you have a bagless vacuum. There is usually a maximum fill line which will indicate how much dust and debris can be held inside.
If your suction is poor then it will be worth checking to ensure it isn’t full.
Unblocking a vacuum is pretty simple. Switch it off and unplug it first and then try and tease blockages out of the tube.
Check the entrance of the machine by undoing the hose.
How to clean vacuum brushes
Be mindful that before you take time to clean your vacuum brushes that they are free from hair and threads. You can do this by using a sharp knife or scissors.
If you notice that there is hair or thread jammed, don’t pull it, just cut it. Ensure that you’re not cutting any of the bristles.
Once you have spent time removing any caught up hair and threads, you can use warm water to clean it.
Simply massage the bristles to remove dust or fibres and ensure that once you’re done, it is thoroughly dry before putting it back into your vacuum.
How to clean HEPA vacuum filter
HEPA filters are better to be replaced than cleaned and this is what is mostly recommended with manufacturers. However, if you really need to clean your filter then there are two ways in which you can tackle it.
Although, it does depend on the type of filter you have.
If you have a washable HEPA then you can rinse it under cold water. However, be mindful not to allow the filter to come into contact with the water.
You should have the filter completely dry before you put it into the vacuum cleaner. This means you might have to leave it on the radiator all day and night for it to thoroughly dry.
If you have a non-washable HEPA filter then you should clean it gently with an additional vacuum. Doing this will enable you to suck away any debris and dust from the surface.
How to best dry a vacuum filter
You should allow your filter to naturally dry over a 24-48 hour period.
It’s understandable that this might be too long for someone who vacuums every day, but if your filter is dirty and it isn’t working as well as it should, then this time frame will mean nothing when you put your clean one back in.
You could also use your hairdryer on a low setting if you’re looking for it to dry a bit quicker. Simply hold your dryer 4 inches away and move it back and forth in order to prevent burning.
Can you soak your filter in vinegar?
You can add a few drops of vinegar if you’re cleaning a foam filter, but if you’re cleaning a HEPA vacuum filter or cartridge, then no.
Can you machine wash your vacuum filters?
Unfortunately, most filters aren’t machine washable. If you’re cleaning a foam filter then you can hand wash it gently, but HEPA and cartridge filters shouldn’t even get wet at all.
Can I reuse HEPA filters once washed?
You can reuse a HEPA filter if they are cleaned properly. Thankfully, this can also be done with non-washable filters.
It’s important that you always clean your filters using the manual provided by the manufacturers. It is, however, advised that you don’t reuse HEPA filters as there are certain risks associated with them.
How long does a filter last without cleaning?
Most filters last between 24 to 36 months, but it depends how often you’re using your vacuum.
Cleaning the rest of your vacuum
Unplug your vacuum and remove the canister. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe all around the inside and then wash the canister in the sink with warm soapy water.
Remove any soap suds and then leave the canister to dry naturally before putting it back together.
In regards to the base plate, remove it so that you’re able to access and clean the beater bar. Any threads or hair should be cut away and ensure that you’re not damaging any of the bristles.
Remove any debris using a grout brush from the beater bar. Use a dry microfiber cloth and wipe down the base plate.
If you have a vacuum that isn’t working to the best of its ability, then you might have to have a look at the filter to see if it needs cleaning. You should be repeating the process every month.
If you’re unsure of how to clean the filter, then you can return back to this article or have a look at your manufacturers instructions.
There are some vacuum filters that can be cleaned using warm water, but a lot of them are unable to handle detergent or soap. There are two filters included with some vacuums and the instructions may differ depending on each.
If you have spent time cleaning and breaking down your vacuum, but you notice that it still isn’t working great, you might have to buy a new one.
Last update on 2023-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API