Vacuum Cleaner Filters

One relevant part of any vacuum cleaner is its filtration system. If you’re thinking about getting a vacuum, you might as well get one with an excellent filter. Filters are a point of primary concern for buyers because a vacuum is, to some extents, only as good as its filter.

No one wants to spend much time cleaning only to discover that their vacuum has been blowing dirt back into the air. However, this is the result that you get if your filter is substandard.

Therefore, it is essential that you not only know how filters work, but also understand the various types that we have out there, and how they can be matched or replaced. Some are made for allergic and asthma patients, others for pet hair removal. This post will be taking you on a journey on the kinds of filters, and all you need to know about them, plus how they work.

How Does Filtration work?

Tiny particles that contaminate the air are liable to cause substantial health hazards. People who are prone to allergic reactions tend to suffer more greatly when a vacuum cleaner regurgitates dust particles back into the air as it cleans.

The job of the filter in a vacuum is to trap dust particles, thereby preventing them from escaping the canister. Usually, what allows it to do this are the spaces between the fibers of the filter. These spaces are always tinier than the dust particles, thus trapping harmful pieces of dirt.

Some powerful filters use diffusion to capture air molecules. When Small particles bombard air molecules and scatter them, there is an increased chance that the filter will trap them.

Secondary and Primary Filters

  • Primary Filter

Most cleaners come with more than one filters. While one functions primarily, the other functions secondarily. A primary filter does the most work and collects the most dirt. When a vacuum comes with a bag, the bag usually functions as the primary filter. It catches dust and releases air through a small hole

  • Secondary filter

On the other hand, secondary filters only complement the primary filter. Many vacuums have a secondary filter. They usually trap smaller particles of dust which the primary filter has not been able to capture.

Different Types of Filters

1. Cartridge Filters

This kind of filter is one of the most frequent types of vacuum filters. They come in a circular design and are usually made with synthetic materials or folded paper. This increases the surface area allowing for better filtration. Though some cartridge filters can be washed, others need to be replaced from time to time. It is better to remove the filter every two to three times after use.

2. Foam Filters

Because foam filters are placed after the canister or primary filter, it is more like secondary filter. They don’t collect that much dirt. They only filter dirt after the whole thing has passed through the primary filtration method. Foam filters last longer than cartridge ones. Though you should read the manufacturer’s instructions first, most foam filters can be removed and washed. The major disadvantage of this filter is that it gets clogged easily.

3. Cloth Filters

Cloth filters are usually found in industrial models of vacuums because they are more robust. They are built to withstand heavy cleaning and large particles. Cloth filters are strong. They can be washed and reused. These filters are best suited for use in site locations and workshops. So, they are entirely different from your standard home vacuums. However, this kind of filter can be inefficient in removing small particles of dirt. They usually need to be used alongside a secondary filter.

4. Disk Filters

Disk filters are perhaps the most popular choice when it comes to cordless sweepers. They separate big particles and are usually the primary filter. They look like coffee filters and are either from cloth or paper. Of course, this filter will need to be changed relatively frequently. However, those made with a cloth may be washable. Find out from your manufacturer first.

5. Bag

The bag that takes all the dirt also functions as a primary filter. This means that a secondary filter will probably be needed to complement it. Bags are usually made from cloth, paper or synthetic materials. Air enters the bag and goes out through a tiny hole. Thus, any dirt that is bigger than the hole remains in the bag.

Standard Features of Vacuum Cleaner Filters

Micro Fresh Filters: Micro fresh stops bacteria and fungi from building up in the filter. The chemical sterilizes the air output effectively before allowing it to go out. Though the chemicals harm microorganisms, it does not hurt humans in any way. Those who have allergic reactions will profit more from this.

Allergen Filters: These are built to trap even the tiniest of particles. As such, the air released will not have been contaminated by allergens. Though it is a basic type and can’t be compared with more advanced options like HEPA, at least it is affordable.

Washable Filters: Washable filters are designed to last for a long because they can be washed over and over. You only need to ensure that it dries thoroughly before returning it into the vacuum. Note, however, that it is not every filter that is made with cloth is meant to be washed. Reading the manufacturer’s guide will help.

UPLA Filters: Ultra Low Penetration Air filters are an extremely high-performance filter feature. Though they help to clean effectively, they aren’t meant for home use. Instead, they are used in such places as a laboratory. They can’t be washed and do not last for long.

Water Filtration: Water filtration removes dirt and particles from the air, after which the air is then pushed back out again. It works well for trapping debris of different sizes. It also helps to clean out allergens. There’s no need to empty or replace the water filtration every time it is used.

HEPA Filter: High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Vacuums employ the use of fibers of a certain size and an electrostatic field to extract even the tiniest piece of dust. They are quite efficient when working with a good vacuum. They remove up to 99.95% of the dirt. However, they cost a fortune.

Vacuum Cleaner Water Filter or HEPA?

Both will remove dirt effectively. However, there’s no denying that HEPA’s performance is slightly better, especially when it comes to eliminating allergens. The water filter tends to be mucky, but it is not considerably less effective than HEPA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I replace my HEPA filter?

The best place to go for the best deals is Amazon. Check online for replacements. Also, you might want to visit the store where you bought your sweeper from. Chances are you’ll be able to get replacements there. For ease, always check the availability of substitutes while you’re choosing your model.

Can you wash and reuse vacuum filters?

This depends on the kind of filter that you own. Cloth and foam are usually washable, though it is safer to always check with your manufacturer first.


You now enough information to guide you when buying a filter for your vacuum. You, however, would need to consider many things before coming up with a final decision.

HEPA is nice but do you have the budget? How often do you think you’ll be using the filter? Do you have an asthmatic family member?

All these questions and many more should be asked before choosing. When you finally choose, make sure it’s the best one for you.

About Mosabbir

As the Executive Director of Houzhold's Home Care and Cleaning department, Mosabbir brings over 12 years of experience as a consumer products expert to the table. He utilises his advanced analytical skills and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, and housekeeping products to provide valuable cleaning and home care advice for Houzhold. Mosabbir also holds a Masters degree in business management, which enables him to oversee the department efficiently while producing insightful content for the company.