Clean your vacuum filters!

October 19th, 2015

Appliance Hack Appliance Talk Small Appliances Vacuums & Floor Care

Clean your vacuum filters!

No appliance lasts forever, but you’d be surprised how much a bit of simple maintenance can do to extend their lifespan.  Taking proper care of the hard-working components of your appliances can allow you to keep experiencing awesome performance from your appliances for longer.

Bissell Powerforce Vacuum Cleaner 1292U

With this in mind… when was the last time you cleaned your vacuum cleaner’s filter?

What’s the purpose of a vacuum cleaner’s filter?

HEPA_Filter_diagram_en.svgDiagram of a HEPA filter

  • To trap dirt from your carpets – When you switch on your vacuum cleaner, its motor forces air through its innards, creating a powerful suction to draw dust and dirt out of your carpets. This dust and dirt passes through the vacuum until it hits a filter, which allows air to past through but traps larger paricles  in a disposable bag or a reusable dust container.
  • To protect the motor – filetering the air as it passes through the vacuum prevents fine dirt and dust particles from gettign into the motor and building up over time. If a vacuum motor becomes gummed up or clogged with dust, your run the risk of expereincing dangerous and expensive mechanical failures.
  • To help keep your home healthy – Normal vacuum filter can let ultra-fine dust particles through, as well as microbes and allergens, leaving them to return to your home’s environment and play havoc on the sinuses of anyone with asthma or allergies. Some filters (notably HEPA filters) are specifically designed to trap these fine particles inside the vacuum, allowing you to breath more easily at home.

How often should I clean my vacuum filters?

Different manufacturers have different recommendations for how often you should clean the filters in your vacuum cleaner, but a good clean roughly every three months should be enough to keep your vacuum running smoothly. If you make regular use of your vacuum, you’ll likely need to clean the filters more often to maintain consistent suction.

How to clean vacuum cleaner filters:

Different vacuum cleaner models use different filters, so you should always check your manual before undertaking any maintenance. But in general, there are a few basic steps to follow:

Unplug your vacuum cleaner

Safety first!

Open up your vacuum

DC37CORIGIN filter 1

In most case, your vacuum’s filters should be easy to access, with no need for screwdrivers or other tools.

Are they disposable filters?

Some vacuums use disposable filters that need to be replaced when they fill up with dust – cleaning and reusing these filters is not very effective. If you don’t have spare filters available, contact the manufacturer or retailer to buy more if you don’t have spares available.

Tap and brush off the dust

vcp6b2000 filter clean

Tap the filter against a hard surface (such as the rim of your bin) to shake off loose dust, then using a dry brush (an old toothbrush will do) to gently remove the remaining dust.

bbhmove4au filter clean

Do this outdoors or above the bin to ensure the dust doesn’t end up back in your carpets! And if you’re allergic or asthmatic, protecting your eyes, nose and mouth is a smart move.

Rinse the filter

Any fine dust remaining in the filter can usually be removed with a gentle rinse under a cold tap – hold the filter under the running water until the water runs clear.

DC37CORIGIN filter 2

You shouldn’t need to use any detergent – just water.  Also, while running the fitler through the washing machine or dishwasher may sound like a time-saver, in most cases this is not recommended by the manufacturer, and may void the vacuum’s warranty.

Leave to dry

Simple air drying in sunlight should be all your filter needs. Using a tumble dryer or other heat source is typically not recommended.

DC37CORIGIN filter 3

It’s important that your vacuum’s filters are COMPLETELY dry when they go back in the vacuum. Even a small amount of water running through an electric motor can be a Very Bad Thing.

Clean the dust container while you’re at it

At the same time as you’re cleaning the vacuum filters, it’s usually also worthwhle to give your vacuum’s dust container a bit of a clean, to ensure it keeps running smoothly. Change the vacuum cleaner bag if it’s looking a bit on the full side, or remove and rinse the plastic dust container of any residual dust and grime, remembering to let it completly dry before reassembling.

Enjoy your vacuuming!

With a clean and clear filter, your vacuum cleaner should provide the kind of powerful and reliable suction needed to give your carpets the deep cleaning they need. Plus, the motor won’t have to work as hard to draw air through, which should help it last for longer.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

2 responses to “Clean your vacuum filters!”

  1. Thanks for the post! It’s extremely helpful. I need to get my vacuum cleaner cleaned today, because since I bought it I never did it. My neighbor told me that I have to do it often, in order my hoover to last longer. Greetings

  2. Mark Bristow says:

    Thanks Katherine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *