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How To Clean a Dirt Devil Vacuum Filter

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Cleaning a Dirt Devil vacuum filter is a straightforward process that can significantly improve the efficiency of your vacuum and prolong its lifespan. However, it’s crucial to know the correct cleaning process and how often to do it. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through each step, share some tips, and answer the most common questions about cleaning a Dirt Devil vacuum filter.


To clean a Dirt Devil vacuum filter, first, turn off and unplug your vacuum. Remove the filter from its compartment. Tap the filter against a trash can to remove as much dirt as possible, then rinse it under running water if it’s washable. Let the filter dry for 24 hours before reinstalling it. If your filter is not washable, consider replacing it instead of cleaning. Regular cleaning should be done every time you empty the dirt container.

Signs That Your Vacuum Filter Needs Cleaning

Regular maintenance of your vacuum filter is crucial for optimal performance. However, certain signs indicate that your filter needs immediate cleaning. Here are a few:

  1. Decreased suction power: If your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt and debris as efficiently as it used to, it might be due to a clogged filter.
  2. Ineffective dirt pick-up: You may notice that you need to go over the same spot several times to clean it.
  3. Unusual or unpleasant odor: If there’s a strange smell coming from your vacuum, it could be a sign that your filter needs cleaning.

In general, Dirt Devil recommends cleaning your vacuum filter every time you empty the dirt container and replacing it every three to six months, depending on usage.

What You’ll Need

Cleaning a Dirt Devil vacuum filter requires a few basic supplies:

  1. Warm water
  2. Mild detergent (optional, only for washable filters)
  3. Soft brush
  4. Dry towel
  5. Replacement filter (in case the filter is damaged or too dirty)

Steps to Clean a Dirt Devil Vacuum Filter

1. Turn Off and Unplug the Vacuum

Before starting, ensure the vacuum is turned off and unplugged. This is a crucial safety step to prevent any electrical accidents.

2. Remove the Filter

The location of the filter depends on your specific Dirt Devil model. For upright models, the filter may be within the dirt container or in a compartment below it. For canister models, the filter could be inside the dirt container or attached to the back of it. For handheld models, the filter is usually within the dirt cup. In all cases, you’ll need to release the dirt container or cup from the vacuum body and then remove the filter.

3. Clean the Filter

Tap the filter against the side of a trash can to remove as much dirt as possible. If your model has a foam filter in front of a pleated filter, remove the foam filter and brush off any surface dust with your hand before tapping the pleated filter against the trash can. Then, rinse the filter under running water to remove any remaining dirt. Avoid using soap or detergent as it could damage the filter.

4. Dry the Filter

After rinsing, tap out any remaining water and let the filter dry for 24 hours before reinstalling it in your vacuum. Ensure the filter is completely dry before reinstallation to prevent mold and mildew growth.

5. Reinstall the Filter

Once the filter is completely dry, reinstall it in your vacuum. The process for this will depend on your specific Dirt Devil model, so refer to your owner’s manual for precise instructions.

Best Practices for Cleaning Your Filter

To clean a filter without causing any damage, follow these best practices:

  • Determine if your filter is washable or permanent. If it’s not labeled as washable, consider replacing it rather than cleaning it.
  • Use a soft cloth, cotton balls, or a soft brush to clean the filter gently. Avoid using paper products, as they may scratch the filter.
  • If you’re cleaning a washable filter, rinse it under cold water, being careful not to touch the filter material. Allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling it.
  • For permanent filters, gently use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the surface of the filter. Avoid using water on these types of filters.

By following these steps and maintaining regular care of your Dirt Devil vacuum filter, you can ensure optimal performance and prolong its lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process of the filter?

No, it is not recommended to use a hair dryer or any type of forced hot air to dry your vacuum filter. The heat can cause damage to the filter material. Always allow the filter to dry naturally in a well-ventilated area.

How often should I replace the Dirt Devil vacuum filter if I hardly use my vacuum cleaner?

Even if you don’t use your vacuum cleaner frequently, Dirt Devil recommends replacing the filter every six months. This is because dust and other particles can accumulate over time and affect the efficiency of the filter.

Where can I buy replacement filters for my Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner?

You can purchase Dirt Devil vacuum filters from various online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, home appliance stores, and directly from the Dirt Devil website. Always ensure to buy a filter that is compatible with your specific vacuum model.

Can I clean my Dirt Devil vacuum filter with a vacuum cleaner?

Yes, you can use another vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the surface of a permanent filter. However, make sure to do it gently to avoid damaging the filter. Remember, permanent filters should not be washed with water.

Is it safe to clean a washable filter with mild detergent?

Yes, for washable filters, you can use a mild detergent to clean the filter. However, make sure to rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove all soap residues. Be sure to let it dry completely before reinstalling it.

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