How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Its Filter

Keeping your Shark vacuum cleaner and its filter clean is essential for maintaining optimal suction power and extending the life of your vacuum. A clogged filter or dirty vacuum parts can reduce performance and could potentially damage your Shark vacuum over time. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to properly clean both your Shark vacuum and its filter.

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, make sure you have the following supplies on hand:

  • Soft brush attachment or old toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Small screwdriver
  • Replacement filters (if needed)
  • Water
  • Mild soap or vacuum cleaner detergent
  • Paper towels or soft cloth
  • Empty container or bag to hold removed debris

Preparing to Clean the Vacuum

Take a few moments to prepare your workspace and vacuum cleaner for cleaning:

  • Clear an open, flat area where you can access all sides and parts of the vacuum easily. This can be done on the floor, table, or countertop.
  • Unplug the vacuum from any power source.
  • Remove the dust cup, filters, brush rolls, and any other attachments/parts that are easily detachable. Set them aside carefully to clean later.
  • Inspect each part and use the brush or screwdriver to loosen any built-up hair, dirt, or debris before cleaning. This prevents pushing any dirt further into the parts.
  • Have trash bags, towels, cleaning supplies, and spare filters close by.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Clean the Vacuum

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean each component of your Shark vacuum:

Cleaning the Dust Cup

The dust cup collects all debris picked up from floors and needs regular cleaning:

  • Empty the dust cup over a trash bag to dispose of any dirt, hair, and dust accumulated from previous use.
  • Use a soft brush or towel to gently wipe down the entire dust cup, dislodging any stuck-on debris.
  • For a deeper clean, fill the dust cup halfway with warm water and a small amount of mild soap or vacuum detergent.
  • Swirl the water gently, scrubbing corners with a soft brush. The soap helps cut through grease and grime.
  • Empty the dirty water out and rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is removed.
  • Wipe the dust cup dry with a towel and allow to fully air dry before replacing onto the vacuum.

Cleaning the Filters

Shark vacuums rely on filters to trap particles. Follow these steps regularly:

  • Remove filters from all compartments, including the main motor filter and any secondary filters in the dust cup, accessory hose, or other areas specified in your model’s manual.
  • Use a soft brush or towel to gently brush off any dirt or debris from the filter surface. Avoid overly aggressive scrubbing.
  • For foam filters, rinse under lukewarm running water until water runs clear. Squeeze gently to remove excess moisture but do not wring or twist tightly.
  • For paper filters, use a handheld vacuum crevice tool to suck off dirt. Do not rinse paper filters, only air dry.
  • Let all filters air dry completely before reinstalling, usually 24-48 hours. Replace if torn, damaged, or unable to be cleaned.

Cleaning the Brush Rolls

Pet hair, long hair, carpet fibers, and strings can wrap around the vacuum brush rolls. Check and clean them regularly:

  • Use scissors to carefully cut away any visible strings or hairs tangled around the brushes.
  • Remove the brush roll from its housing by releasing the end caps according to your vacuum’s manual instructions. This may require a screwdriver.
  • Wipe down the entire brush roll with a dry towel to remove surface debris and dust. Use scissors again on any remaining tangled hairs.
  • For a deeper clean, use warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush to scrub the brushes, caps, and housing. Rinse and air dry completely.
  • Spin the brush rolls by hand and visibly inspect for any remaining strings or blockages. Remove debris and replace into housing.

Cleaning the Vacuum Body

Don’t forget to wipe down the vacuum’s exterior body, hoses, and attachments:

  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to dust the vacuum body, crevices, hoses, and attachments.
  • For sticky spots, use a damp cloth with warm water and mild soap.
  • Avoid submerging the vacuum body in water. Use a damp cloth and minimal liquid applied only when necessary to tough spots.
  • Wipe exterior until dry and polished using a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

Deep Cleaning Tips

For periodic deep cleaning sessions to maintain your Shark vacuum’s best performance:

  • Change filters more frequently – Replace foam filters every 3-6 months and paper filters every 6-12 months or as needed.
  • Clean all detachable parts – In addition to the dust cup, brush rolls, and filters, clean crevices, extension wands, hoses, accessories, and any other removable parts.
  • Vacuum smells bad? – Eliminate odors by sprinkling baking soda in the dust cup and vacuuming it up. You can also use white vinegar or lemon juice diluted in water for scrubbing.
  • Have tough grease or dirt? – For really sticky messes in the dust cup or on filters, let them soak for 10-15 minutes in warm water with added oxygen bleach detergent before scrubbing.
  • Store a clean vacuum – After deep cleaning, let all parts dry fully for 24-48 hours before reassembly to prevent mold or mildew growth.

FAQs About Cleaning Shark Vacuums

How often should I clean my Shark vacuum?

  • For optimal performance, clean the detachable components about once a month. This includes the dust cup, filters, brush rolls, and accessories. Quickly wiping down exterior surfaces can be done more often.

What is the best way to clean the Shark vacuum hose?

  • Use a hose attachment brush to scrub the interior. For exteriors, use a microfiber cloth dampened with warm water and mild detergent. Rinse and let air dry before use.

How do I clean pet hair out of my Shark vacuum?

  • Use scissors or a small knife to cut away hair tangled on the brush rolls. For the dust cup and filters, use a soft brush or towel dampened with warm water and mild detergent to scrub away hair and dander.

Why does my Shark vacuum have a bad smell?

  • Odors are often caused by dirt buildup or moisture allowing mold/mildew growth. Clean all parts thoroughly, allow to dry fully, and replace any filters. Baking soda or vinegar can help absorb foul smells.

How can I unclog my Shark vacuum?

  • Check all intake openings, hoses, brush rolls, and filters. Use a butter knife or tweezers to gently remove stuck debris in crevices. Clean parts as normal. Avoid puncturing any vacuum components while unclogging.

What should I do if my Shark vacuum is not sucking?

  • Lack of suction usually indicates a clog. Clean filters, brush rolls, hoses and unclog all passages. Also, check dust cup seals for damage, empty when nearly full, and replace filters regularly to maintain airflow.

Can I put water in my Shark vacuum?

  • Avoid submerging the main vacuum body in water. However, the dust cup, filters, hoses and attachments can be rinsed in water during cleaning. Ensure all components are completely dry before reassembling to prevent electrical damage.

Where can I buy replacement parts and filters?

  • Replacement components and filters specially designed for your Shark model are available on the company’s website or Amazon. Only use manufacturer-approved replacement parts to ensure proper functioning and prevent damage.


Regularly cleaning your Shark vacuum cleaner and maintaining all its parts is the best way to keep it functioning at peak performance. Follow the steps outlined above to thoroughly clean the dust cup, filters, brush rolls, accessories, and full vacuum body. Refer to your owner’s manual for model-specific guidance. Deep clean for tough messes when needed. Replace worn parts and filters as required. With proper care and routine cleaning, your Shark vacuum will help keep your home in tip-top shape for years to come.