Monday, July 30, 2012

TIP: Clean Vacuum Filters in the Dishwasher

I'll admit it, I'm an obsessive vacuum-er.  I hate stepping on little pieces of stuff.  Especially with kids - there is ALWAYS stuff on the floor - something is being spilt, knocked over, or deliberately dumped onto the carpet.

So, I vacuum, a lot.

Which means if I don't clean or change my filter regularly the vacuum gets that NASTY smell it throws out when using a dirty filter.  Filters are expensive.  The filter for my vacuum is $27 (which is 1/5 of the cots of my vacuum! Crazy).

I had heard years ago that you could wash your filter in the dishwasher.  I have to say I've been a total skeptic.  Which is probably why after owning this vacuum for 7 years, purchasing a number of new filters, and it taking ONE HOUR to vacuum two rooms last week, I finally tried this.

Fed up with this stinky filter, I dumped the dust/trash out and tapped my filter a few times to get the extra dust and allergens out (sick, I know). then I tossed it all in the dishwasher with one of my dishwasher soap pods.  Actually, the little mesh divider thing I washed by hand, I didn't want it to rust.


Here is how it came out!  I was pretty surprised by how clean it got.  And, it wasn't until I compared both pictures that I noticed just how clean everything came out.


I put the filter in the window sill to dry for a day or two.  Then I ran my dishwasher empty to clean it once or twice - just in case, because I'm paranoid like that.

The filter seems to be working fine.  My vacuum doesn't smell and....it finally SUCKS again!

86 comments:

Sari Asenith said...

This was just the information I was looking for! My filter is so dirty and isn't washing up by hand the best anymore and I wanted to put it in a power cycle of the dishwasher but I was afraid that it would destroy it. One simple Google search pulled up your post and hurray.... I'm gonna go wash mine now! Thank you!! xx Sari

Charmain said...

Sari, did you try this? Did it work for you? I've been using my washed filter for a little over a week now. So far so good. The best part - that stinky smell is GONE!

Tutus & Tea Parties said...

Sweet! What a great tip! Pinning this. Thank you for sharing at our
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Deidra Schaefer said...

That's one nasty-looking vacuum filter! Having vacuum cleaning equipment in the house is truly a lifesaver. It cleans the carpet magnificently. A vacuum cleaner must have good specifications and features such as watts, capacity, noise, filtration system, and horsepower.
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Sharen Ambrose said...

Thank you for this great tip you shared with us. I haven’t thought of using the dishwasher to clean my vacuum filters. I would just clean it by hand, and no matter how I try to clean it, the results just wouldn’t satisfy me. This is a really helpful insight and is economical at the same time. I’m excited to try it now!

Sharen Ambrose

Maisie Hood said...

It's ideal to change filters regularly to ensure that the vacuum works properly. Apart from collecting dust and debris, vacuums can also help improve indoor air quality, as I'm sure you've noticed. But I do agree that frequently replacing filters can be expensive. This is a great alternative to that. Thanks for sharing, Charmain! -Maisie@JBW Technologies

Matt Cooper said...

Every time I empty the bin, I always give it a good blowing out with my leaf-blower (outside). Just keep going until you don't see any more dust coming off of it. Pro-tip: Wear a dust mask unless you want to breath in every allergen that used to be on your floor.

Amber Holdaway said...

Just wondering....the filter you washed was like a disposable one right? Not a reusable one that some vacuums have. My filter almost feels like paper so I'm wondering if that is the same kind that you washed before I dare wash it. Thanks!

Charmain said...

Amber - yes, this was a replaceable vacuum filter. I hope this works for you.

Matt - thanks for the tip! I leaf blower is a great idea. Before I resorted to washing this filter, I would take a hand-broom and brush the filter until the cloud of dust wasn't so bad anymore! Yuck!

Linda had a little Lamb said...

That's awesome! Thanks for the tip. I would never have thought to put it in the dishwasher.

PURPLEIRIS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PURPLEIRIS said...

I have some pricey air purifier filters...will have to try this on one of them! Thanks!!!

Deanna said...

Do you change/clean your dishwashing filter? We have to every few months. Just wondering how washing this filter affected the dishwashing filter. Ours is always so gross.

Jayden Eden said...

The idea to put my filter in the dishwasher never crossed my mind! I used to try running water over mine to clean them. This looks a lot easier, though. I appreciate your advice!
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old crank said...

What is a dishwasher filter?

caroyllee said...

fyi you can also clean your fan light covers in the dishwasher so u could wash em together to make a fuller load in the dishwasher...along with any glass knick knacks or vases that need washing...















Amber Laura said...

with my vacuum i feel this would melt the plastics? need feedback on this.

Tracy said...

@ Amber Laura -

If you use the china setting (or lightest delicate setting on your dishwasher), you will not have a heat-melt problem with your plastics.

Something I've found over the years is to add a quarter cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle - just pour it in the bottom of the dishwasher - turn the machine on with the dishwashing soap and let 'er rip!

Aliscia Coffer said...

Great idea! I can throw them in along with my air conditioner filters!

Donna Gause said...

That stinky smell is a sign that dirt, germs and bacteria are escaping from your vacuum back into the air you breathe. Not to mention all the dead bugs, etc that decompose in your bag before you empty it. Yuck!! Invest in a cleaner that actually cleans and leaves the air you breathe much cleaner too. I used to sell Rainbow cleaners. Well worth it. Believe me. I won't use anything else!! Find you a distributor and get one.

Donna Gause said...

If you use a Rainbow cleaner all that dirt, germs and bacteria go into a water pan. It doesn't fly back into the air you breathe. Just empty that yucky stuff from your water pan outside. You need to see a demo. Contact a distributor.

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jowdjbrown said...

Which means if I don't clean or change my filter regularly the vacuum gets that NASTY smell it throws out when using a dirty filter. Filters are expensive. The filter for my vacuum is $27 (which is 1/5 of the cots of my vacuum! Crazy). Smart Vacuums

Tracey Jarrard said...

I clean houses..when my filters get dirty I take the blower nozzle on my air compressor and blow all the dirt out of them...works great..one of my clients has dogs and it makes the vacc smell...I put a few drops of lavendar oil on the exhaust filter and that solves the issue..may try washing them in the dishwasher...Rainbow vaccs are great...but not everyone can afford one!

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Nicole Williams said...

Great idea! I will have to try this one!

Simply Put Sincerely Us said...

This worked amazingly! I am so glad I stumbled across your post! Great tip!

Rhen Nicey said...

Filters are critical parts of air conditioning systems. If they clog or if they wear out, the air conditioner filters can't function correctly. It's a good idea to keep an eye on your air conditioner's performance, and check filters for signs of problems. Regular change of filters will improve product life and air quality. Likewise, thanks to this article now I know that not only air conditioner need to be filters but also in dishwasher.

Koboclio said...

I have been having a major problem buying the replacement filter for my vacuum. The store I originally purchased the vacuum from has gone out of business. I'm in the process of searching on-line fir a supplier, but it's not been easy. Right now, I don't even want to use it in its present state and I may have to buy a new vacuum. Maybe this will buy me some more time.

Grace Boender said...

Can you do this with the disposable filters on a shop vac, too? Anyone tried it???

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April Miles said...

I have the same vacuum as you do...I am going to try this method. I get tired of having to take my filter outside, throw it on the sidewalk, then brush it off and it still looks dirty....gonna throw my a/c filters in while I am at it....and I might find a few other things...

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Ridge Annie said...

I use the Electrolux vacuums i know that they are the best vacuum cleaner i have ever owned compared to Hoover and the other brand vacuums. I'm Winnie Gilbert. Thank for your helpful tips.

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Lauri Kohler said...

I TOTALLY AGREE! I used to sell RAINBOWS and WON'T use anything else!!! I've had my bow for 7 years and it works as well as the day I got it! I have seen every type of vac and filter and every vac works the same way!!! EVERY VAC! 1exception, n that's the RAINBOW bc it uses water as its filter. Water doesn't clog AND wet dirt doesn't fly so it won't go back into the air! All vacs have filters, @ least 3, and they clog with dirt, fast! Once clogged, air can't move through, which pulls the dirt into the vac. We're told suction is what counts to make ur vac pick up dirt! THATS TOTALLY WRONG! Suction is the lack of air movement! It's AIRFLOW that picks up dirt and the only way ur vac will have good airflow is with New or CLEAN FILTERS. It's like the lint screen of ur dryer, u have to remove the lint every time or the clothes don't dry. It's bc the air can't pass through the lint screen. It's the exact same thing with ur vac!!! The second u start vacuuming the dirt passes through the filters and clogs them up. Once the filters r clogged u r only making pretty lines in ur carpet n picking up ALOT OF FUZZ AND POLLUTING THE AIR WITH BACTERIA! What happens is the beater bar is beating the deep down dirt that the vac can't pick up and cutting ur carpet. Does ur carpet have all that fuzz on it before u vac? NO. If u r in disbelief, like I was, take some of the fuzz from ur vac n wet it. It's probably the same color as ur carpet! If u have a bow this doesn't happen, bc water can be changed and dumped and allows for constant airflow. Also, u can wash ur SEPARATOR on the top rack of ur dishwasher. It's well worth ur time to c a RAINBOW DEMO! It's the only solution to the filter issue. Ur vac is the ONLY APPLIANCE to keep ur home clean and healthy so the investment is worth it! If anyone has asthma or allergies u HAVE TO C THE DEMO, BUT the person who suffers shouldn't be there bc once u c the dirt fly into the air from ur vac, u will be glad that person was removed! Sorry so long, but it's SOOOO IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW EVERY VAC WITH FILTERS WORKS! SO CLEAN UR FILTERS ALL THE TIME AND MAKE SURE THEY'RE TOTALLY DRY BEFORE PUTTING BACK IN THE VAC OR U WILL CAUSE BACTERIA TO GROW AGAIN!!

Lauri Kohler said...

I TOTALLY AGREE! I used to sell RAINBOWS and WON'T use anything else!!! I've had my bow for 7 years and it works as well as the day I got it! I have seen every type of vac and filter and every vac works the same way!!! EVERY VAC! 1exception, n that's the RAINBOW bc it uses water as its filter. Water doesn't clog AND wet dirt doesn't fly so it won't go back into the air! All vacs have filters, @ least 3, and they clog with dirt, fast! Once clogged, air can't move through, which pulls the dirt into the vac. We're told suction is what counts to make ur vac pick up dirt! THATS TOTALLY WRONG! Suction is the lack of air movement! It's AIRFLOW that picks up dirt and the only way ur vac will have good airflow is with New or CLEAN FILTERS. It's like the lint screen of ur dryer, u have to remove the lint every time or the clothes don't dry. It's bc the air can't pass through the lint screen. It's the exact same thing with ur vac!!! The second u start vacuuming the dirt passes through the filters and clogs them up. Once the filters r clogged u r only making pretty lines in ur carpet n picking up ALOT OF FUZZ AND POLLUTING THE AIR WITH BACTERIA! What happens is the beater bar is beating the deep down dirt that the vac can't pick up and cutting ur carpet. Does ur carpet have all that fuzz on it before u vac? NO. If u r in disbelief, like I was, take some of the fuzz from ur vac n wet it. It's probably the same color as ur carpet! If u have a bow this doesn't happen, bc water can be changed and dumped and allows for constant airflow. Also, u can wash ur SEPARATOR on the top rack of ur dishwasher. It's well worth ur time to c a RAINBOW DEMO! It's the only solution to the filter issue. Ur vac is the ONLY APPLIANCE to keep ur home clean and healthy so the investment is worth it! If anyone has asthma or allergies u HAVE TO C THE DEMO, BUT the person who suffers shouldn't be there bc once u c the dirt fly into the air from ur vac, u will be glad that person was removed! Sorry so long, but it's SOOOO IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW EVERY VAC WITH FILTERS WORKS! SO CLEAN UR FILTERS ALL THE TIME AND MAKE SURE THEY'RE TOTALLY DRY BEFORE PUTTING BACK IN THE VAC OR U WILL CAUSE BACTERIA TO GROW AGAIN!!

Amanda DeWeese said...

thank you so much for this tip! I have a vacuum that you would think would have an easy to find filter, but it is impossible. It needs to be replaced badly. I will definitely try this!!

Mike Moore said...

Can this be used on a spa filter?

Rachel CEDERBORG said...

I believe I have seen where people have put the ceiling fan decorative glass in the dishwasher successfully. I would put on the top rack to be safe. I have rescued an older oreck vacuum cleaner that requires bags. I found the bags at the local farmers market. I still think that the older bag vacuum cleaner puts less dirt back in the air than the newer ones. I'm allergic & asthmatic & hyper sensitive to mold as well. I can smell if there is a mouse in the house among many of my other allergens. I will try to find the contact information for the vendor with the vacuum cleaner parts and I believe he may repair as well. The 1 dog I had was a 100lbs lab/pit mix & in a 15x15 furnished room I would empty the canister 4 times on a pet hair model.I don't remember if it was a dirt devil or eureka.

Seventy and Hate to Vacuum... said...

Please! Tell me where these filters in vacuum cleaners and how to get to them. Have never seen anything like the one in your pictures and I've had many different brands thru many years.....

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Susan said...

The directions on my filter say never to let it get wet. Is that the kind you are washing in the dishwasher?

Swbuda said...

What kind of Vaccum Cleaners are we referring to?

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Jessica said...

A link to this post was on this blog here: http://www.onecrazyhouse.com/20-cleaning-tips-neat-freaks/

I'm going to have to try this. I was skeptical because they are paper like, but I can't stand the smell. I have a reusable filter for my AC, I'm wondering if it will work on that too!

Thank you!

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Susan said...

Anybody??? My instructions say it can't even get wet. Is this the same filter you are washing in this dishwasher?

jennie p said...

For years I have taken a bottle brush to the filter to clean it. It was so so clean. I love this method! Filters get expensive after a while and by cleaning them this way you will save money. Thank you! I just replaced filters in both vacuums, but when they get dirty they both will be pit in the dishwasher!

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Noreen said...

The one thing I wonder when I read about cleaning everything in the dishwasher is how sanitary that leaves the dishwasher for washing dishes.

Kristin Claudius said...

Susan, what kind of vacuum are you using?

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Unknown said...

I'm disabled and a new filter for my vac was $30.and have been unable to pitches a new one so an owner of 5 dogs there is lots of dog to be vacuumed.I found my self pulling out the vac 2x a day and of course the filter got clogged up .so it was taken my vacuume run crappy so I decided to put my filter in the dishwasher and let it dry for a few days and I figured if it was ruined after I did that NOTHING lost cause I would have had to get a new one anyway, but to my amazement it cleansed and my vacuum is picking up li.e the day I bought it Thank you

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Debbie Gartner said...

Wow, I never would have thought to do this with my filter. I wonder if it works for other types of filters, too. Smart idea to run the dishwasher again afterwards. Thank you for the tip. By the way, I did write an article on the best type of vacuum for hardwood floors, in case that comes in handy. http://theflooringgirl.com/blog/best-vacuum-hardwood-floors.html

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