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Why Does Your Shark Vacuum Keep Getting Clogged?

Why Does Your Shark Vacuum Keep Getting Clogged?

A sputtering vacuum is one of my worst nightmares when keeping the home clean. After all, it makes keeping things clean difficult, and the loud noises can be scary for younger children and pets. However, as I’ve found, usually, the problem comes down to clogging in the Shark vacuum. If you’re facing a similar issue, you might be wondering, why does this keep happening?

A consistently clogged vacuum usually comes down to a cleaning issue. Your Shark vacuum is sputtering because there is a blockage somewhere down the line, usually in the filters or the hose. To take care of this, you need to deep clean your vacuum. 

Instead of taking out a significant amount of cash looking at repairs, I think you can often save a lot by just cleaning the vacuum yourself. Sometimes, a bit of maintenance goes a long way! So keep reading to learn how I clean my vacuum to help it get back to its usual efficient state.

Why Sharks Vacuums Get Clogged

Shark vacuums can have clogging issues because of several reasons. It may be that the machine is dirty because you haven’t kept up with cleaning them as often as you should. When your dust canisters or filters aren’t clean, some dirt and dust can escape to the inside of the vacuum and break or damage the belt and hose. 

In other cases, a reason for a clog can be that you vacuumed something big that you weren’t supposed to. Marbles, coins, and even small toy parts can sometimes get vacuumed. The best way to figure out what is going on before looking towards replacement or repair is to do a deep, investigative cleaning. 

When To Clean Your Shark Vacuum

Looking at the Shark vacuum instructional manual, the company recommends that you clean the filters once every three months. If you keep up this routine maintenance, you can keep your HEPA filters functional for about two years! If that’s not an incentive to regularly clean your vacuum, I don’t know what is. 

All of that being said, with busy lives, a home to keep up, and work, it’s entirely forgivable for you to miss out on the exact cleaning date. Luckily, the vacuum will let you know when it is time to do a cleaning. You may notice its suction power has drastically gone down or that it is emitting a bad smell. These are all signs that mean you need to clean your vacuum.

Related: Troubleshooting Your Shark Vacuum

Cleaning Your Shark Vacuum

You may have noticed while getting your Shark vacuum that there are a lot of options! With each new model, Shark puts the components in different places. As such, start out by making yourself familiar with where everything is. You can also check instruction manuals for some clarity on placement. Interestingly, once you know where everything is, you can clean it in the same way. 

Photo: The Spruce

To do this, you will need to get the following items:

  1. Room temperature water
  2. A bar of soap or mild detergent
  3. A soft, microfibre cloth
  4. A small, gentle cleaning brush
  5. Gloves to keep your hands safe
  6. Vinegar and baking soda

Now that you have everything in place, you can start by switching off your vacuum. Make sure it isn’t plugged into anything, and then take it to open space. Set up a sheet underneath so it can catch the dirt and dust as you clean.

Clean The Canister

One of the first things you will need to do, perhaps the easiest, is removing the canister and emptying it into a trash can. Now you need to clean up the canister. Mix some soap or detergent in water, and clean it with a microfiber cloth. Next, rinse the canister out with fresh cold water, and let it air-dry over the next day. 

Clean The Filters

Now it’s time to move on to the filters. In most Shark vacuums, the filters are underneath the canister, so they will be the next accessible part of the vacuums. Most models will include either foam, felt, or HEPA filters. If your model includes foam filters, you need to wash them by placing them in a suspension of water and soap. Then, you should let them rinse in cold water and air-dry for a day.

If you have felt filters, you do not want to expose them directly to water. Instead, gently clean them with a damp microfiber cloth after tapping them gently to dislodge any dirt stuck on them. Then, clean them again with another microfiber cloth with a little bit of water, and let them air-dry.

HEPA filters can also be cleaned using the same method. However, since HEPA filters are more refined, they can take longer to dry. You may have to let them air-dry for a couple of days.  

Clean The Brush Rotator

Next up, clean the brush head rotator. You will usually find a lot of dirt, fur, and hair stuck to the brush rotator. Since the brush head is the one component you expose to dirt the most, it definitely needs some care. The first step is to separate the rotator from the handle.

If there’s anything stuck inside, take it out while wearing your gloves. If any hair has gotten stuck, you can also use a pair of scissors to clean it. Finally, with a soft brush, gently clean the inside. 

Clean The Hose

The hose can sometimes face an obstruction if something is sucked up that is too big. In that case, you take it off from both ends and check inside. If anything is clogged inside, put the hose in some hot water, cover the ends with your hands, and shake the water inside. If there are still stubborn clogs, you can use some baking soda and vinegar inside with water to shake it again. This should resolve the issue.

Finishing Up Cleaning

You have now cleaned up the whole vacuum and eliminated any possible clogging issues. Now, you can clean the outside of the vacuum, so it looks good as new! Once everything is air-dried, you can assemble the Shark vacuum again.


Clogs in a vacuum can get pretty frustrating. However, there are ways you can avoid clogging issues. Cleaning is a huge part of it, no doubt, but you can also try and do a pre-emptive cleaning before vacuuming. That way, there’s no risk of large objects being sucked up. This way, you can prevent more extensive harm to your vacuum in the long run.