How To Clean Shark Filter in 5 Easy Steps

How To Clean Shark Filter

Vacuum cleaners in use keep the air clean by utilizing different types of filters. Shark vacuums mostly use two types of filters: foam & felt, and HEPA filters, which have to be cleaned routinely if the vacuum is to work properly. Manufacturers suggest that you replace your filters regularly, but you wouldn’t need to replace your shark filter so often if you knew how to clean it properly.

To clean the foam filter, first, tap it to remove any loose dirt. Then you can either submerge it in water, squeezing it so that the remaining dirt can escape, or wash it under running water only – no soaps. For the kicks, add some drops of essential oils to the foam to give the air around a nice scent. Then dry the filter for 24 hours before replacing them. 

On the other hand, whether to wash HEPA filters is debatable. Since they are designed to be highly effective for trapping microscopic particles, HEPA filters are made of woven materials. Washing them may damage the fibers and render them ineffective for capturing extremely small allergens. While you can wash your Shark primary filter cleaner once or twice monthly, you should wash the HEPA filter only once a year to preserve its quality.

To know more about your Shark filter, download an instruction manual for your model on the manufacturer’s official site. 

How to Clean Shark Vacuum Filter

Here is a more detailed procedure for cleaning your shark vacuum filter. Take a peek:

  1. First, unplug the vacuum cleaner to prevent electrical mishaps. 
  2. Remove the dust cover to access the foam and felt filters. 
  3. Then lift the foam filter on the top followed by the smaller filter underneath it. 
  4. Hand-wash the filters with cold water only – don’t use soap. 
  5. Air-dry the filters for 24 hours to make sure they are thoroughly dry before replacing them. 

Can Shark HEPA Filter Be Washed? 

HEPA filters are built with one goal in mind: to trap 99.9% of the tiniest particles – that’s why they are called highly efficient particulate air filters. For this reason, they’re made with special fibers which may deteriorate over time with every wash. 

To answer the question ‘can shark HEPA filters be washed?’ Yes, you need to wash your shark filter every year. To wash your Shark HEPA filter: 

  • Press the button at the bottom of the filter door. 
  • Then lift the door to access the HEPA filter.
  • Wash the HEPA filter with cold water only. Make sure to wash it gently so you don’t damage the filter. 
  • Air-dry the HEPA filter for 24 hours before replacing it. 

However, we figured that after washing a HEPA filter twice, it would do no good to wash it a third time. Because its particle-trapping ability may become less than excellent. Three years is a reasonable lifespan for a HEPA filter; after that, we suggest that you purchase a replacement for your Shark vacuum model. 

How Often Should I Wash Shark Filter? 

Ideally, you should clean your shark filter every month; twice per month if you use the vacuum to clean more mess than usual; for example, if you need to clean up after a toddler. After a particularly heavy cleaning, it’s a good idea to wash your filter afterward. That way, your Shark filter will be better equipped to filter the air more thoroughly during your next cleaning cycle. 

The various Shark models may have different cleaning schedules. For more model-specific instructions for filter maintenance, it’s best to consult the owners’ manual that came with your unit. If you can’t get your hands on it, download an instruction manual for your model on the manufacturer’s official site. 

Note: You must allow the filter to dry thoroughly every time you wash it. A moist filter can introduce moisture to the vacuum circulatory system and wreak havoc on it. 

Can I Use Shark Vacuum Without HEPA Filter?

You should never use a Shark Vacuum without the HEPA filter. If you take out the HEPA filter from your Shark vacuum(assuming it still works), you might find that your vacuum develops more suction, hence it will clean surfaces better. But you would be releasing allergens into the air because the primary filter cannot trap all the dust – only a majority, not all.

In essence, you should not use your Shark without the HEPA filter. The dust particles that get released will make you cough and sneeze. Even more, sensitive users may inhale the allergens in the dust particles and develop allergic reactions. Besides, if you have a dog or cat at home, using a vacuum cleaner without the HEPA filter will very easily fill your living space with pet smell, and we’re pretty sure you don’t want that. 

It is a good idea to have replacement filters handy for when you wash the current filter but need to use the vacuum ASAP.

What Is the Best Shark Vacuum With HEPA Filter?

The truth is, Shark vacuum cleaners are top of the line. So you can strike out quality from your list of worries. Consequently, when choosing your next Shark vacuum to handle your cleaning needs, you only need to consider the vacuum type: upright, stick, or handheld; the price, suction power, design, weight, maneuverability, and other extra features. 

As for the filtration system employed, most Shark vacuum cleaners come with a HEPA filter. The only exception to this rule is Shark handheld vacuums. The few ones that don’t come with a HEPA filter come equipped with Shark’s unique anti-allergen complete seal protection, which is arguably better than a HEPA filter. Needless to say, all the shark vacuums in this review come equipped with HEPA filters. These vacuums are the best of the best. Let’s dive in:

Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum

We saved the best for first. The Shark Vertex DuoClean is one of the best Shark vacuums you can lay hands on, with powerful suction for cleaning a variety of surfaces. It is a cordless vacuum with rechargeable batteries that can deliver a full hour of operation on a single charge.  For a battery-powered vacuum cleaner, it excels at deep-cleaning carpets and can do so in one or two passes. It is great for vacuuming various surfaces such as hardwood floors, tiles, and carpets.

Its flexible wand enables users to easily clean under furniture so that no place is unreachable. Roller wheels with rubber fins at the head enable it to effortlessly grip the floor and glide smoothly while you vacuum the floor or carpet. Although battery life is not a problem here, the Shark Vertex DuoClean features a small (1.4-quart)dust cup, so you may need to make a trip to the waste within the 60 minutes you’re using the vacuum. 


  • Brilliant Suction Power
  • Long-lasting battery life (60 minutes)
  • A powerful motor makes pushing it easy


  • No accessory for storage

Shark HV301 Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Stick Vacuum

Next, we have a stick vacuum from Shark: the Ultralight Shark HV301 Rocket vacuum cleaner. But don’t let ‘lightweight’ fool you, this unit has great suction. Unlike the Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight model, it is corded and uses it to its advantage, scoring high for effectiveness on low-pile carpets. For use on high-pile carpets, however, it may struggle slightly but it gets the job done. 

The Ultralight Shark HV301 Rocket vacuum cleaner is effective for cleaning all floor types and can seamlessly navigate around the areas to be cleaned, including under furniture. However, this model is not self-standing, so if you need to take a break during a cleaning cycle, you may need to rest it on something. It can easily detach from the stick to transform into a handheld vacuum for use in above-ground cleaning. 


  • The dust cup is very easy to empty
  • Can generate adequate suction for every floor type
  • Can convert to a handheld


  • A bit noisy
  • Not a self-standing vacuum

Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum

The Shark NV360 Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe is a basic, budget-friendly vacuum that can deliver a great cleaning experience, just like every other vacuum in this review; it just has fewer features. Perhaps, for this reason, it is extremely easy to assemble out of the box. 

It is corded and can deliver reasonable suction for a variety of surfaces. However, it scores low for mobility on carpets because it may be difficult to push except the carpet is adequately low-piled. However, it makes up for this in maneuverability on hardwood floors and tiles.

However, we like the transparent 0.9 quartz dust cup that allows you to know how full it is for timely emptying. The large capacity dust cup means that you may not need to visit the waste bin during a cleaning cycle. The unit also comes with the two most effective filters: one HEPA filter and one anti-allergen seal, keeping the air fresh and clean. 


  • Impressive air cleaning ability
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to assemble
  • Swivel steering


  • Struggles with carpets
  • Easily gets tangled with hair

When Do I Replace My Shark Filter? 

Shark vacuum cleaners typically come with two types of filters: the primary and HEPA filter. The primary(or foam) filter can last up to a year before it needs to be replaced. Depending on usage, you may need to replace the foam filter sooner if you notice reduced vacuum cleaner efficiency. According to your shark owner’s manual, the foam cleaner should be cleaned every three months, but it is recommended that you clean it every month if you use it heavily. 

On the other hand, the HEPA filter is the one that absorbs the tiny dust particles that escape the foam filter; you can see them as a secondary, fine-tuned filter. For this reason, they generally don’t get dirty fast. They’re uniquely made to capture 99.7% of dust particles and require less – or better, no – washing. You can generally use them for two years before you need to replace them. 

Final Thoughts on How To Clean Shark Filter

The filters in your Shark vacuum are there for one reason: to capture dust particles and allergens to keep the air in your home clean and fresh. However, they cannot do their jobs effectively unless they’re clean themselves. Thankfully, cleaning a Shark vacuum filter is an easy task. On most models, it’s as simple as removing the dust cup to access the filter. 

However, take care with the HEPA filter by following the instructions outlined in this article. The other types of filters can be easily washed, dried and returned to the Shark vacuum. Now that you’ve known how to clean your vacuum cleaner, you can now maintain your vacuum filters for healthier, fresher air in your home. 


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