How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter – Simple Instructions

In this article we take a look at how to clean Shark vacuum filter - from explaining how to disassemble the device to learning when it's time to change the filter
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Last updated: August 09, 2023
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Of all the amazing brands of vacuums available, one of the best-performing has to be Shark. This innovative company has revolutionized the way we think of vacuums and has created an impressive line of vacuums that can function in the best ways possible.

One attribute that many Shark vacuums have is a reusable filter. This, then, begs the question of how to clean Shark vacuum filter. First, we’ll go over the different filters that your Shark vacuum may have, and then provide in-depth advice on how to clean them. With the right knowledge, you can ensure your Shark vacuum and its filter last for as long as possible, thus providing you with real bang for your money.

Types of Filters in Shark Vacuums

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter - Simple InstructionsThere are many different types of Shark vacuums, including stick models, cordless models, and even robot vacuums. Really, there is a best Shark vacuum for any type of home. As such, your vacuum may have a different type of filter. Here are the three most common filters. It’s important to take a look at your vacuum and understand which filter it uses before you start to clean it.


HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air Trusted Source What is a HEPA filter? HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. It is an acronym for “high efficiency particulate air” (as officially defined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy). and is one of the best filters you can find. The construction of a HEPA filter works to trap very tiny particles, including allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dirt, and smoke. It has an incredibly fine mesh construction.

Foam and felt

Just as you would think it is, a foam and felt filter has two parts to it. One is made from foam and the other is made from felt. Together they work to filter out all the things you don’t want in your home, including pet dander, dust, and pollen.

Post-motor filter

This reusable filter works with stick and corded Shark vacuums. It helps to trap fine particles of dust so that they aren’t released back into the air as you go about cleaning your home.

How To Clean Shark Handheld Vacuum Filter

As more and more people suffer from allergies and asthma, cleaning your vacuum filter is especially important. Right now, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness Trusted Source Allergy Facts More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, yet often overlooked, diseases. in the United States, and having a vacuum filter that works is the first step in the fight against dust, pollen, and pet dander.

Disassemble and check

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter - Simple InstructionsExcept from when you first purchased your Shark vacuum, when is the last time you had a look at all the parts? Shark vacuums are easy to assemble and this will work in your favor as they are also easy to disassemble.

Start by taking apart your Shark vacuum. You don’t need to take al the tiny pieces apart. Rather, just remove the canister, any parts of the hose or handle, and of course, remove the filter.

Even if you just want to clean the filter, this is a good chance to clean all of the vacuum. There are a lot of moving parts and even though Shark vacuums are constructed well, there may be clogs you aren’t even aware of.

While you may not use all of the accessories on your vacuum, if you have stairs, and have one of these best vacuums for stairs, then be sure to clean any extra brush attachment.

Check for clogs

Now that everything is taken apart, go through and look for any clogs within the vacuum. They are especially common if you have a hose extension or at any parts of the vacuum that connect to each other.

Start by simply looking with your eye but if you have a longer hose or handle, you can also use a chopstick or a long utensil to make sure there is nothing obstructing the flow. Homes that have tile floors can especially attract large dust bunnies. If you live in a home with a lot of tile, you may want to consider this selection of the best Shark vacuums for tile floors.

Clean dirt canister

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter - Simple InstructionsIt’s pretty neat being able to see all of the dust and dirt that your Shark vacuum has picked up. It makes you feel pretty accomplished knowing that this debris no longer lives in your carpet. However, that dirt canister can get pretty dirty so you should regularly clean it.

Although you will periodically empty it when it becomes full, you should also give the canister a good cleaning with warm soapy water.

Place the canister in a sink with warm soapy water and use a non-abrasive cloth to clean it. There may be a few nooks and crannies in the canister, so be gentle but be sure to get into all of them.

After the canister is clean, you can either leave it to air dry or use a microfiber cloth to dry it.

Clean filter

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter - Simple InstructionsNow it’s time to clean the filter. This step will vary depending on the type of filter your Shark vacuum uses.


Cleaning your HEPA filter is fairly easy. Simply rinse the filter under tepid, clear water. Don’t use any soap. One the water runs clear through the HEPA filter, you can then place it on a rack to dry fully.

The important step here is that you don’t want to place the HEPA filter back into your Shark vacuum until it is completely dry. Otherwise, it can quickly grow moldy and you have to purchase a new filter, which can be expensive.

Instead, expect to leave the HEPA filter on your counter overnight to air dry.


With your foam and felt filters, place them in the sink or a bucket with cold water. It’s important not to use soap as the tiny parts in soap can actually clog the filter.

The next step involves a bit of elbow grease. Use your hand, although if the water is too cold, you may want to wear a glove, and gently squeeze the filters. As you squeeze, any dust and fine particles the filters have absorbed will be squeezed out.

Let water into the filters again and then squeeze. You will have to repeat this step multiple times. You want the water that comes out of the filters to be clear, so you may have to add freshwater to your sink.

At the end, your foam and felt filters should be white in color, although over time they will stay a cream or grey color, and that’s ok. Foam and felt filters are not very expensive to replace. For example, the GreenVacShop 4+2 Pack Shark Navigator Lift-Away is less than $50 and comes with two felt filters, two foam filters, and a HEPA filter.

Clean brush and hose

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter - Simple InstructionsThis next step is perhaps the least pleasant of all of them. Turn your vacuum head over so that the brush bristles are visible. Over time, these can pick up a lot of debris which may become stuck in the bristles.

If there are a lot of tangles, cut them to remove them easier, but be careful as to not cut any of the bristles. You may want to put a towel underneath the vacuum at this stage to collect any dirt that comes off while you are cleaning it.

As for the hose, you can clean this part in the sink. Just make sure there are no electrical components to the hose, as cleaning it with water will cause a lot of damage.

Use warm soapy water and clean the outside of the hose. Then, try to use a long-handle brush to gentle work your way through the inside of the hose.

Rinse and leave the hose to dry.

Dry and assemble

After all of your Shark vacuum parts are clean, you want to give them ample time to dry. While any plastic parts, such as the canister or hose, can be dried with a cloth, the filters need to be air dried.

Once everything is dry, you can then reassemble everything. If you aren’t quite sure how the parts go together, you can look at your manual, or even check online, just in case.


Below are a few common questions you may have about how to clean a Shark HEPA filter and its other parts.

When to clean Shark vacuum filters?

While you should get in the habit of cleaning your Shark vacuum cleaner once a month, you may forget or be too busy.

Your vacuum will let you know if there are issues, so be on the lookout for these signs that your filter definitely needs to be changed and your whole vacuum could benefit from a thorough cleaning.

Dirt residue

Vacuums are meant to clean your home so when there is dirt left behind, this is a sign that your vacuum is not working to its full potential. Be sure to clean all parts of your vacuum, including your filter.

Weak suction

Vacuums rely on air flow for suction and if there is an obstruction, then they simply can’t suction up everything you want them to. Be sure to disassemble all the parts and check for clogs. If your vacuum still has weak suction, take apart one part at a time to test for clogs. For example, the hose might work but if you attach the bristle head and there is weak suction, then this is probably where the clog is.

Unpleasant odor

The construction of a Shark vacuum is such that all the parts function well and don’t smell. An unpleasant odor is a sure sign that something is wrong. While it is probably the filter, you should definitely take apart the entire vacuum to look for any clogs that are causing the odor.

Clean your filters and make sure you give them plenty of time to air dry. The worst case scenario is that the filters weren’t dry the previous time you cleaned everything and mold has set in. If this is the case, you will need to purchase new filters right away.

Each model of Shark vacuum has a filter specially made for its shape, so while replacement filters aren’t too expensive, you still need to purchase the right ones. For example, these are a good option for Replacement Filters for Shark Rotator Pro.

 Subdued sound

Even though Shark vacuums don’t make a lot of noise, they do make some.

If you are finding your vacuum experience to be quieter than normal, this may be a sign that the vacuum simply isn’t suctioning up a lot of debris.

How often should I clean Shark vacuum filters?

Ideally, your Shark vacuum filter should be cleaned one a month. If you use your vacuum cleaner very often, or if you have multiple pets in the house, you may want to clean the filter more often.

When is it time to replace Shark vacuum filter?

You can expect the foam and felt filters to last about a year, and the HEPA filter should be about the same, too.

If you have a lot of trouble with suction, even after you properly clean your filters, then it is a sign that you need to replace the filters.

Always match the filters and accessories to the type of Shark vacuum model you have. This LesinaVac Accessories Kit for Shark ION Robot is a good example of what to look for.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your Shark vacuum can be a bit of a chore but with the right knowledge, each step shouldn’t take too long. And the result will be a vacuum that works well and keeps your home nice and tidy. There are many types of Shark vacuums and some have different filters, so start by understanding just what sort of model you have. Then, you can get on to understanding how to clean Shark vacuum filter. We hope we have given you all the information you need and you can have a vacuum and filter that meet all your cleaning needs.


What is a HEPA filter?
HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. It is an acronym for “high efficiency particulate air" (as officially defined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy).
Allergy Facts
More Americans than ever before say they are suffering from allergies. It is among the country’s most common, yet often overlooked, diseases.

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