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Tips for Replacing Vacuum Filters

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017

Bagless vacuums need frequent filter changes

FH09MAR_VACFIL_01-2Family Handyman
Since they don't use vacuum bags, bagless vacuums need more frequent filter changes and cleanings. Find them all (there may be several) and clean them thoroughly, so your vacuum will keep doing its job.

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Change filters every three months

Photo 1: Find the filters

Depending on the model, a bagless vacuum has two or three filters in various locations that need to be replaced or washed every three months.

Photo 2: Replace or clean

Use gentle water pressure from a sprayer or faucet to clean both sides of the filter.

Our vacuum cleaner expert has a repair shop that’s brimming with bagless vacuums, and most of them are there for the same reason: filthy clogged air filters and air passages. The repair? Ten minutes of a repairman’s time and a large bill.

It’s critical to replace the filters on bagless vacuums every three months. That’s because instead of having a big paper bag filtering out the dust and hair, bagless units rely on relatively small filters, which get clogged fast. Clean air filters are critical for air movement on bagless models; even a modestly dirty filter can cut a vacuum cleaner’s suction in half.

The tricky part is knowing exactly where the filters are located (Photo 1). Some bagless vacuums have two or more filters that need to be washed or replaced (depending on the model) every three months to keep the vacuum in tiptop condition. If you have a washable filter, you can use gentle water pressure from the kitchen sprayer or outside spray nozzle on your hose to clean both sides. To prevent mold or mildew, let the filter dry thoroughly before reusing it.

You can find replacement filters for most models at hardware stores, home centers and vacuum repair shops. For hard-to-find filters, go to the Web site of your vacuum cleaner’s manufacturer to get a list of locations.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • New filters