Regardless of the Dirt Devil model you own, regular care and maintenance includes cleaning the filter for optimum performance. Most bagless models -- upright, canister and hand-held -- have a high-efficiency particulate air filter that traps ultra-fine dust and pollen particles. When your vacuum shows signs of low suction or no longer picks up dirt, the filter may need to be removed and cleaned. Removing it may vary slightly among models, but the filter-cleaning process is similar. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the filter every time you empty the dirt container and replacing it every three to six months depending on the level of use.
Filter Removal Process
Step 1: Turn Off and Unplug
Turn the vacuum off and unplug it from the electrical outlet. For upright models, continue to the next step. Otherwise, skip to Step 3 for canister models or Step 4 for hand-held models.
Step 2: Remove the Filter From an Upright
Examine the vacuum to locate the filter. Some models, such as the Bagless Extra Light, have a visible filter inside the dirt container, while others have the filter located below the container in a compartment. For filters located inside the container, push the button at the top of the container and remove it from the body of the cleaner. Open the lid, reach inside, grasp the top of the filter and pull it out of the container. For vacuums with the filter below the container, remove the dirt container, press the button located at the front of the filter compartment, open the lid and remove the filter cartridge. Empty the dirt container into a trash can. Skip to the Filter Cleaning section.
Step 3: Remove the Filter From a Canister
Press the button at the top of the dirt container to remove it from the body of the cleaner. Depending on the model, the filter may be inside the dirt container or attached to the back of the container, such as with the EZ Lite Bagless Canister model. If your model has the filter inside the container, open the container's lid, grasp the filter and remove it from the container. To remove a filter from the back of the dirt container, press the lever at the top of the filter holder to release it from the container and separate the filter from the holder. Most canister models have a secondary filter located at the back of the canister behind a small trap door. Press the lever at the top of the door to remove the filter. Empty the dirt container into a trash can. Skip to the Filter Cleaning section.
Step 4: Remove the Filter From a Hand-Held
Remove the dirt cup from the cleaner. While bagless hand-held models come in several designs, -- corded, cordless and rechargeable -- most have a filter located inside the dirt cup. To remove the dirt cup, press the release clip that holds it to the body of the cleaner and remove the cup. Pull the baffle out, grasp the filter and separate it from the baffle. Empty the dirt cup into a trash can.
Step 1: Shake Off the Dirt
Tap the filter against the side of a trash can to shake loose as much dirt as possible. If you removed a filter cartridge from below the dirt container of an upright model, remove the foam filter in front of the pleated filter and brush it off with your hand to remove any surface dirt and then tap the pleated filter against the trash can. For canister models with a secondary filter, brush it with your hand to remove any dirt.
Step 2: Rinse the Filter
Hold the pleated or sponge filter under running water to further rinse away any dirt. Avoid using soap or detergent.
Step 3: Tap and Dry
Tap the excess water off and allow the filter to thoroughly dry -- 24 hours -- before putting it back into your vacuum.
The manufacturer does not recommend rinsing all filters with water. Check your owner's manual for specific filter-cleaning instructions.
Michele M. Howard
Michele M. Howard began writing professionally in 2009, producing sports, fitness, home improvement and gardening articles for various websites. In addition to writing, Howard is a United States Professional Tennis Association tennis instructor and a professional racket stringer. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Southern Connecticut State University.