Dear Home Ec 101,
I admit I wanted one of those – a bagless vacuum cleaner! What an amazing idea! No thought was given to what I was going to do with the container full of dust and debris. I’ve figured out that dumping out the junk is fairly easy – although many people including myself dislike the cloud of who-knows-what that comes from dumping days’ worth of stuff sitting in the canister. What I can’t figure out, nor find online, is how the heck to clean the filter. Everything says, “clean the filter,” but then I see, “don’t touch the filter.” How does one clean the filter of a bagless vac? I’m pretty confident I’m getting lower performance because the filter is, um, gross. (The same can be said for my hand vac but I’ll be satisfied today with knowing how to clean the filter on my less-than-a-year-old hoover.)
So, I turn to the experts. How do I clean the filter on a bagless vac?
Could Be Cleaner
How to clean the filter of a bagless vacuum
After emptying the canister, pull the cartridge filter out. Bang it carefully on the inside of your trashbin. (This will help contain some of the dust that is going to fly out). Be sure only to tap the rubber gasket portion of your filter. If you hit the paper portion, it may be damaged by the impact. This should loosen most of the debris. If you have access to an air compressor, blow any stubborn dust away once the loose debris has been removed. Using a rag or paper towel, wipe out any lingering dirt and debris from your dust cup before replacing the filter.
With care, these filters can last for quite a while, but they must be replaced on occasion. Before ordering a new filter, inspect your vacuum carefully. Occasionally, small toys, change, or string can lodge in a tube or hose, reducing the suction. Don’t forget to examine the agitator and vacuum belt while you are down there. A beater bar full of hair will certainly reduce your machine’s capability. Use a box cutter or scissors to carefully cut away tangled hair and string. Hopefully, you’ll be back to hoovering the floor in no time.
I did have a refurbished Dyson that ran well for six years, which was a good run.
*Update for Autumn of 2016* I purchased a Bissell Pet Hair Eraser in July. The filters are easier to access than the Dyson, and after almost three months of use in a home with a dog and my long hair, I have no need to clear the beater bar of hair. I cannot immediately see what the brush has done differently, but it does not collect hair, and I am thrilled with this. The dust canister is also very easy to empty without getting dust everywhere. Currently, it’s $200 cheaper than a Dyson, so it’s the clear winner for this busy household.
*Update for Fall of 2020* The Bissell lasted four years, which isn’t too bad, but I am tired of regularly replacing appliances. Over the last three years, I did some research, including an incredibly interesting AMA (ask me anything) thread on Reddit by a vacuum repair person. I knew that my Bissell would not last forever, so I began saving for a Miele, as recommended in that thread. It is not a bagless vacuum, but it IS very well made with two filters, and I do not see myself going back. We have a stick vacuum for quick sweeping cleanups for the hardwood and linoleum, and I don’t mind the dirt cup. (That’s also the chore I assign to the teenagers.)
*Update Spring 2023* The Miele is going strong, and love it. Yes, I do have to change bags, but it’s nice not to have to deal directly with the dust/pet hair any longer. The only thing I miss is the way hair didn’t wrap around Bissell’s brush. I have gotten back into the routine of dealing with long hair and a vacuum. It is what it is.
*Hey, refurbished was half the price of new.
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