How to clean a Shark vacuum in 10 steps

Woman with blonde hair using a Shark vacuum to clean a sofa.
(Image credit: Shark)

Learning how to clean a Shark vacuum will make your vacuum cleaner live longer and clean more thoroughly. That means learning good maintenance techniques is a win-win for your home and wallet.

Of course, all of the best vacuum cleaners need some attention from time to time, from a deep clean to a quick rinse of the filter, but some particular features of Shark vacuums make cleaning them a little more specific. Shark uses many terms to describe the features within its vacuum cleaners (do Lift-Away, DuoClean, and Anti-Hair Wrap ring any bells?), and all of these separate aspects need to be thoroughly deep cleaned, too.

Cleaning this vacuum is a good exercise in learning more about your vacuum and its longevity to keep one of the best vacuums in your space for longer. Every vacuum cleaner might be slightly different, so while this is our advice, check your vacuum’s manual before starting.

How often should I clean my Shark vacuum?

If you’re using a cordless vacuum or a corded vacuum with a smaller dust tank, you’ll probably want to empty the dirt and debris you’ve collected after every substantial cleaning session. About every month or so, you’ll want to clean your dust cup and learn how to clean a vacuum filter during that time, too, so you can apply what you’ve learned. 

Shark specifically recommends that you “Clean the pre-motor filters at least once a month and post-motor filter at least once a year.” for a cordless vacuum. Shark also states that “more frequent cleaning may sometimes be necessary with heavy use,” so if you’ve been using your vacuum during renovating or other periods of heavy debris, bear that in mind. 

How to clean a Shark Vacuum in 10 steps  

What the expert says...

Danielle Lessing, SVP of Global Product Development, SharkNinja, recommends, "Rinse filters with cold water only. Do not use soap or cleaning chemicals. Allow all filters to air-dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling them to prevent liquid from being drawn into electric parts."

1. Empty the bin 

Empty your Shark vacuum’s dust bin when the capacity reaches the fill line. Many Shark vacuums now have excellent point-and-shoot triggers, making this step a lot easier, but just stay as close to your bin as possible to avoid any dust clouds. 

2. Clean the dust cup 

Every month, remove your dust cup from the main body of the vacuum and wipe it with a damp cloth. You might find that you’ll sometimes find pockets of dust you need to edge out that you didn’t get during emptying. Some dust cups can be rinsed with water (and just water) before being left to dry, but check that yours can by consulting your manual. 

3. Check the filters

Now your dust cup is clean, move on to your filters. As this is where dust is being captured, your filters might sometimes get blocked, which will spell disaster for your suction. Take the time to remove your pre-motor filter once a month and rinse it with water. Leave it to fully dry before inserting it back into your vacuum.

4. Then rinse 

With post-motor filters, expect to get in and clean them once a year. Again, wash only with water, and be sure to leave the filter to fully dry before putting it anywhere near your vacuum again. 

5. Clear out the vacuum head 

Many of Shark’s vacuum heads, such as the DuoClean heads, are ingeniously designed to suction up more dirt and debris. To clean this head, turn it over and check for any blockages that will be preventing you from getting a full clean. If you have a vacuum with anti-air wrap technology, you shouldn’t find clumps of hair here, but on the rare chance you do, make sure to cut away the hair carefully with scissors (very, very). 

6. Hand wash the heads

Those DuoClean heads we mentioned incorporate soft rollers to maximize pick-up. Clean it by pulling it out of the vacuum head and handwashing it. These rollers can take up to 24 hours to dry (thanks to their fluffiness), so don’t be alarmed if you need to wait a while before reinserting.

7. Keep checking back for blockages

Inspect the handheld wand of your vacuum for blockages regularly, removing any dust or debris you find. Sometimes, a light tap can help remove those disturbances.

8. Wash the attachments

Certain Shark attachments that don’t contain electrical elements can also be cleaned and rinsed in hot water, but nothing else. Cleaning will make using your attachments with the vacuum much easier.

9. Don't forget the sensors

 If you have a newer generation Shark vacuum, you may also need to clean the sensors. The Shark Stratos DuoClean Cordless Vacuum has sensors inside of the handheld element, and these can be wiped clean with a microfiber cloth, carefully allowing you to get rid of any hair and debris. 

10. End with the exterior

For the finishing touch, wipe the exterior of your vacuum using a damp cloth. It’ll keep away any dirt that has gathered on the main outside body of your appliance.

Molly Cleary

Molly is the Staff Writer for the Home Section at Top Ten Reviews, joining the team after finishing college. When she's not writing she enjoys baking and embroidery, as well as getting stuck into a good book. She now enjoys writing about kitchen appliances, gardening tools, and will even dip her toe into writing about fridges and ovens.

With contributions from