How to clean a Shark vacuum cleaner

Get your Shark vacuum back to its best with these cleaning tips.

Keeping your Shark vacuum clean is essential to maintaining its suction power and prolonging its lifespan.

The main thing to remember is to stick to water and a damp cloth for cleaning – some cleaners or chemicals can be too abrasive and may ruin your machine.

It’s also important to allow the various parts of your machine to air-dry for 24 hours after cleaning. If you use the machine wet, it risks water being drawn into it, which could damage or break it.

A man vacuuming the carpet with a Shark vacuum to illustrate how to clean a Shark vacuum cleanerCredit: Shark
Cleaning your Shark vacuum cleaner regularly will improve its performance


Project overview

Maintaining your Shark vacuum cleaner isn’t a lengthy process and will only need a few items to do it, including a microfibre cloth, a small brush and water. Remember to allow up to 24 hours for drying time.

18 mins
£1 – £4

1. Get prepped to clean

Empty the dust cup

Woman emptying a Shark vacuum cleaner into the bin to illustrate how to clean a Shark vacuum cleanerCredit: Shark
You should empty the bin on your Shark vacuum cleaner after each use to ensure suction is at a premium

Once unplugged, remove the cylinder or dust cup, as Shark refers to it. Empty the contents of it into a bin, and then give it a good wash.

Water alone should be enough to remove anything but if you feel it needs some extra help, use a mild washing-up liquid to do the job. This will also help get rid of any musty smells, which can happen especially if you have pets.


Adding a specially made vacuum freshener is a great way to stop bad smells from building up. Simply place the freshener into your dust bag or cylinder for a nicer way to clean. Try Vac N Fresh Hoover Bag Fresheners (£2.99, Amazon), which comes with five different fragrances.

2. Clean the brush roll

Remove any trapped hair

Shark is known for its anti-hair wrap technology, which actively removes hair from the bristle brush roll as you clean. The idea is that the more you vacuum, the more the hair is broken down and sucked up into the cylinder. But sometimes the hair may need a little bit of extra help.

If you have hair trapped in the brush roll, you can run your Shark on hard flooring for a couple of minutes, which should then break down any hair.

Don’t have a hard floor? Remove the brush tool (consult your instruction booklet on how to do this), and then you can get rid of any excess hair by pulling it off or snipping with scissors.

Close up of the head of a Shark vacuum cleaner to illustrate how to clean a Shark vacuum cleanerCredit: Shark
Some Shark vacuums have floorheads with two brushes

If you have a Shark Duo model, there will also be a softer brush to remove. You can then run both brush rolls under a tap to get rid of any other debris. Remember to leave them to dry for 24 hours before reusing them.

3. Don’t neglect the attachments

Give them a wipe over and check for debris

Shark vacuum cleaner attachmentsCredit: Shark
Shark vacuum cleaners come up with a variety of attachments, all of which will need regularly cleaning as well

Shark vacuum cleaners come with a variety of different attachments, so this is a good time to give them all a quick clean.

For attachments like the crevice tool, which has a narrow opening, you may find a toothbrush, paintbrush or even cotton buds are your friends to get rid of any dirt or debris lodged in there. Alternatively, a can of compressed air can help.

4. Check for blockages

Unclog for maximum suction power

While you’re giving your Shark vacuum cleaner a spruce-up, it’s a good idea to check for any blockages. With some Shark vacuum cleaners, a red light on the floor head will show up if there is a blockage.

Otherwise, you can just check throughout the cleaner to see if anything is causing an issue. Try the following:

  • On upright vacuum cleaners such as the Shark IZ300UKT ( £329 from Currys ), check the handle or hose.
  • For stick vacuums such as the Shark Stratos IZ400UK ( £449.99 from John Lewis ), look through the wand to ensure nothing has become lodged in the pipe. You can also shine a torch into the hose to see through the pipe.
  • Finally, for both styles of vacuum cleaners, check the piece between the wand and floor head for any blockages.

Featured product

Shark Stratos IZ400UK

RRP: £449.99

Shark Stratos IZ400UK

Featured product

Shark IZ300UKT

RRP: £329

Shark IZ300UKT

5. Don’t forget the headlights

Ensure your Shark vacuum sparkles all over

Shark vacuum cleaners have LED headlights that show up the dirt and dust, so it’s a good idea to wipe these over regularly to ensure they’re working at their best. It’s best to do this with a damp microfibre cloth.

You can also give the rest of the vacuum cleaner a quick wipe.

Wiping down the Shark vacuum cleaner illustrating how to clean a Shark vacuum cleanerCredit: Exceptional
Your vacuum cleaner can get very dusty so a quick wipe with a damp cloth is a good idea every once in a while

How to clean a Shark vacuum filter

Water is all you need

Depending on what Shark model you have, your vacuum cleaner may come with a thick foam filter, plus one made of felt, and a HEPA filter. Regardless of the type of filter fitted, they can all be cleaned in the same way.

Shark vacuum cleaner foam filters for cordless vacuumsCredit: Shark
Most Shark cordless vacuum cleaners come with foam and felt filters

1. Find the filter

To get an exact idea of where your filters are, it’s best to consult your manual or visit the Shark customer services website.

In most vacuums, the foam and felt filters can be found in the bagless cylinder or dust cup. Remove that and you’ll be able to easily access them.

If there is an additional post-motor filter, this will be found in the handle where the dust cup fits. Just simply pull it away from the vacuum body.

2. Tap off loose dirt

Give the filters a tap to release any surface dirt and debris.

3. Rinse under a tap

Let warm water run through the filter until the water is clear. If you haven’t cleaned the filters for a while, this may take a while.

Rinsing a dirty Shark filter to illustrate how to clean a Shark vacuumCredit: Exceptional
Rinse the filter under the water until it’s clean

4. Allow to air-dry

You need to leave the filters to air-dry, for around 24 hours, otherwise, liquid can be drawn into the electrical parts, which can create problems.

How often should I clean my Shark vacuum cleaner filter?

Shark recommends cleaning the foam and felt kit every month and rinsing the post-motor filter around once a year. Obviously, double check your instruction booklet for more information on your particular model.

You may need to replace your filter if they are damaged or torn. You can buy replacements online – you’ll just need to know the model number, which can usually be found on the actual vacuum or in your instruction manual.

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her


Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 23 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars.

A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

Jayne lives in Kent with a shepsky, her husband and her son, who is attempting to teach her the ways of TikTok, Aston Villa and anime. A keen neurodivergent ally after her son was diagnosed as autistic five years ago, when Jayne does have some rare downtime she enjoys yoga, reading, going to musicals and attempting to emulate Beyonce (poorly) in street dance classes.

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