A vacuum cleaner filter is designed to allow air to pass, while preventing loose dirt and other airborne contaminants from doing the same. To improve the suction ability of a canister-type vacuum cleaner to suck in air, replace the nominal air filter with a homemade one that can be replaced after every use. A few household tools and supplies from a linen store are all that you will need.
Unplug the canister vacuum cleaner's power cord from the wall outlet. Rotate the vacuum cleaner so that the back is facing you.
Remove the two screws from the grill on the back end of the vacuum cleaner using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the grill off the vacuum cleaner.
Pull the vacuum filter compartment out of the back of the vacuum cleaner.
Place a sheet of newspaper on a table. Upend the vacuum filter compartment over the newspaper. Shake the compartment to dislodge the filter inside. Grip an edge of the filter and pull it out of the compartment.
Place the filter on the newspaper. Measure the length and width of the filter and record these measurements.
Place a sheet of cheesecloth on the newspaper. Place the filter on the cheesecloth. Draw an outline around the filter, on the cheesecloth, with a grease pencil. Dispose of the filter in the trash.
Cut out the outline on the cheesecloth with a scissors or blade of a utility blade -- use a straight edge to cut the lines straight if using the utility knife.
Wipe out the vacuum filter compartment with a water-moistened paper towel. Dry the compartment with a dry paper towel. Wipe the outside of the compartment with the dry paper towel.
Place the filter you have made into the compartment. Affix a strip of cellophane tape to each corner of the filter so it adheres to the inside of the compartment.
Place the compartment back into the vacuum cleaner. Place the grill on and reattach the screws.