How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Its Filter

The Shark Navigator DLX Upright Vacuum sits in front of a couch during The Spruce's vacuum test at The Lab.

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins - 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Shark vacuums are among the most popular vacuums on the market. Prized for their performance, most models have multiple filters to capture dust as you vacuum.

Julien Levesque, Vice President for Product Development at SharkNinja, on the importance of cleaning a vacuum's air filters: "Cleaning your vacuum’s filters as directed will help maintain your vacuum’s suction power over time so that you get the best clean every time you clean. All of the filters that come with your Shark vacuum, including HEPA filters on models that include them, can be cleaned or washed for re-use."

How Often to Clean Your Shark Vacuum and Filters

Whether you have an upright Shark Navigator, canister Vertex, robotic AI, or PetPro Stick, it should be cleaned regularly. Dust cups or bins should be emptied after every use or when they are around half-full to help maintain suction. Rollers and hoses should be checked monthly for tangles, clogs, or breaks and the outer housing wiped down to remove dust. Levesque states, "we’ve got specific information on the best way to clean and maintain your filters in each product’s instruction manual."

The user manual for the Shark Navigator recommends cleaning the pre-motor filters every three months and the post-motor filter once per year.


If you have lost or tossed your Shark vacuum instruction manual, you can find one online for your particular model by visiting You'll find information on where the filters are located, how to clean them, and recommendations on cleaning frequency.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or large bowl
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Drying rack
  • Soft-bristled nylon brush
  • Trash can
  • Seam ripper or small scissors


  • Cold and warm water


Materials and tools to a Shark vacuum filter

The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  1. Safety First

    Before cleaning a Shark vacuum, unplug the cord from the electrical outlet or remove the vacuum from the charging station.

    Shark vacuum cord unplugged from electrical outlet

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  2. Inspect and Clean the Roller Brush

    The roller brush or beater bar is an essential component of a vacuum to help loosen dirt and dust from carpets and floors. If it is hindered from turning because of threads or matted hair, the vacuum won't perform well. Use small scissors (manicure) or a seam ripper to cut through tangled matter. Check that the roller turns freely.

    Scissors cutting through tangled hair in Shark vacuum roller brush

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  3. Clean the Dust Collection Cup or Bin

    Remove the dust collection cup or bin from the vacuum. Empty the contents into a trash can. Rinse the bin with warm water and use a microfiber cloth or sponge to wipe down the inside and outside of the container. If possible, open the top and bottom hinged pieces and allow the bin to air dry.

    Dust collection bin removed and cleaned from Shark vacuum

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  4. Check the Hose

    With the dust bin removed, disconnect the hose and check for any blockages. Move down the hose, inspecting it for cracks or tiny holes that can weaken the vacuum's suction. Disconnect the hose near the vacuum's head and remove any obstructions there. If you find clogs, use a yardstick or garden hose to dislodge the clump of debris. Work slowly and carefully so you will not puncture the hose.

    Wipe down the hose with a dampened microfiber cloth and reconnect it properly.

    Shark vacuum hose checked for cracks or clumps

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  5. Clean the Filters and Screens

    Locate the filters and dust screens. To clean the foam and/or felt filters, rinse with cold water only. Do not use any soap or cleaning product that might cause damage to the filters. Gently squeeze the filters with your fingers to remove soil. Keep changing the water until it is no longer cloudy. Roll the filters in a microfiber towel to remove excess water. Do not wring.

    For pleated filters, if there is debris clinging to the filter, use a soft-bristled nylon brush (an old toothbrush) to gently brush away the dust. To clean, hold the filter in the plastic housing under a faucet of cold water until the water runs clear.

    Place the filters in a drying rack and allow them to air-dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling them to prevent liquid from being drawn into any electric component.


    Levesque shares, "Our filters are guaranteed for the life of the product, but we do sell replacements for our customers. It’s a great idea to keep a spare set if you’re doing a lot of vacuuming and need to wash one set—then you don’t have to wait for them to dry. Maintenance is model specific, so make sure to check your vacuum’s instruction manual for more information."  

    Shark vacuum filter rinsed under running cold water

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  6. Wipe Down the Housing

    Use a dampened microfiber cloth to wipe down the exterior housing of the vacuum. Pay particular attention to any air vents near the motor and remove excess dust.

    Damp microfiber cloth wiping exterior housing of Shark vacuum

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

  7. Inspect the Electrical Cord

    If you have a corded Shark vacuum, inspect the electrical cord for any cracks or exposed wires. If you see them, it's time for a repair.

    Shark vacuum electrical cord inspected for damage

    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Tips to Keep Your Shark Vacuum Clean Longer

  • Empty the vacuum bag or dust canister often.
  • Check the filters frequently if your home is excessively dusty.
  • Wipe away dust from the vent covers after every use to remove excess dust.