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How to Clean a Shark Cordless Vacuum Cleaner [Full Guide]

Written by James Hall |

how to clean shark cordless vacuum

Does your Shark cordless vacuum need to be cleaned? Here’s our guide to cleaning a Shark cordless to restore performance and resolve any blockages.

Shark cordless vacuums are low maintenance machines, but they still need to be cleaned to maintain their suction power and appearance.

In this article, we’ll use the Shark IZ251UKT as an example to show you how to clean a Shark cordless. We’ll also give you some guidelines for how frequently each part of your vacuum needs to be cleaned.

Important: All Shark vacuums are different. The steps below are meant as a general guideline, but you should consult the instruction manual for cleaning instructions that are specific to your machine.

How to Clean a Shark Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Shark produces a range of cordless vacuum cleaners. We’ve chosen the IZ251UK DuoClean as our example vacuum for the cleaning steps below, as this is a popular model that shares many design feature with other Shark vacuums, but the exact instructions may vary for your model.

Step 1: Empty and Clean the Shark Dust Cup

Start by removing the wand from the vacuum and then emptying the dust cup into a bin using the slider.

You’ll notice that the metal shroud inside the dust cup often gets covered in hair and dust. The inside of the dust cup also gets covered in grime quite quickly, so it’s important to clean the dust cup occasionally.

To do this, remove the dust cup from the handheld mode by using the “Dust Cup Release” button. You’ll need to tilt the dust cup to get it to remove.

Once the dust cup is separated from the main body of the vacuum, rinse the inside of the cup with cold water. You shouldn’t use any detergent or soap for this, but you can use a soft cloth to wipe away grime and dirt. Make sure you leave the dust cup to try for at least 24 hours before reattaching it to the vacuum cleaner.

If you don’t want to give your dust cup a deep clean, use a soft brush to remove dust and hair that’s caught around the metal shroud inside the cup.

Tip: We always recommend emptying bagless vacuum cleaners into an outdoor bin to ensure that dust doesn’t escape back into the house. This is especially important if someone in your household suffers from allergies.

Step 2: Clean the Shark’s Filters

The Shark comes with both a pre-motor and post-motor filter. The pre-motor filter consists of two components – foam and felt layers – and the post-motor filter is a single piece.

Here’s how to clean the filters on a Shark vacuum:

  • Remove the pre-motor filter from the top of the dust cup.
  • Tap off excess dirt into a bin.
  • Rinse the filter with cold water only. Do not use detergents or soap.
  • Remove the post-motor filter from the main body of the vacuum.
  • Again, rinse with cold water only until the water runs clear.
  • Allow both filters at least 24 hours to fully dry before putting them back into the vacuum cleaner.

Be careful when cleaning the felt filters, as these are easy to damage. Don’t worry if the filters are discoloured – this is completely normal. Avoid scrubbing the filters as this can cause damage.

If you want to give your Shark a thorough clean, use a brush to clean the filter housing while the filters are drying.

Step 3: Check for Blockages Inside the Shark

Blockages, including partial ones, can interfere with the airflow through your Shark cordless vacuum cleaner. This reduces suction power and affects cleaning performance.

Here are some of the most important places to check for a blockage:

  • The inlet to the dust cup from the main body of the vacuum. It’s also worth checking the entrance to the dust cup itself, although you’ll probably notice a blockage here when emptying the vacuum.
  • The suction entrance on the floorhead. This is one of the most common locations for a blockage, so make sure you check and remove any debris that’s started to gather here. You’ll probably need to unlock the base plate on the floor nozzle to access the entrance (you can do this with a coin when cleaning the IZ251UK series).
  • The opening to the handheld vacuum once you’ve removed the wand. Again, this is a common location for a blockage.
  • The wand itself. If your Shark vacuum has a Flexology hinge, then make sure you check the clog access.

Step 4: Remove Tangles Around Your Vacuum’s Brush Roll

It’s important to regularly remove any tangled hair, string, or rug fibres that are caught around your vacuum’s brush roll (or brush rolls if your Shark cordless has a DuoClean floorhead.)

This is one area where Shark cordless vacuums can vary greatly depending on which model you buy, so make sure you check your manual for instructions on removing a Shark brush roll.

Some Shark vacs have the DuoClean floorhead, but only the soft roller can be removed. Others have a DuoClean head where both rollers can be removed for cleaning. There are also some basic Shark vacuums with only a single regular brush bar.

As a general rule, you can usually remove the soft roller from a DuoClean floorhead using a catch on the bottom of the floorhead. If the bristle brush roll can be removed, you’ll be able to access it using a removable panel on the top of the floorhead.

On the Shark IZ251UK, you’ll need to use a coin to unlock the three locks for the base plate. Once this is removed, you’ll have easier access to the brush rolls.

Here’s how to clean your Shark’s brush rolls:

  • Bristle brush roll. Snip and pull away any tangled hair or string from the brush roll with a pair of scissors. This is easier if you can remove the brush roll, but you should still be able to cut away tangles without removing the brush. It can be quite tricky to pull out all the hair and carpet fibres that are stuck in the bristles, so this step may take some time.
  • Soft roller. Again, snip away hair that’s looped around the brush, but be careful not to damage the softer fabric of this brush roll. Then use a dry cloth to wipe any excess dust from the soft roller. If you want to give it a deeper clean after removing the soft roller, you can use cold water (no soap) – but allow it to fully dry for at least 24 hours before reinserting the brush roll.

What About Shark’s Anti Hair-Wrap Technology?

Shouldn’t Shark’s anti hair-wrap technology prevent hairs from becoming caught around the brush roll?

The answer is “sometimes.” While the anti hair-wrap system does a good job at removing most hairs, it doesn’t remove them all. You’ll still need to manually remove caught hairs and carpet fibres from the brushes.

Step 5: Clean Non-Motorised Tools

While everything else is drying, take a look at your Shark’s crevice tool and other accessories to see if they need to be cleaned. You can usually wash these in cold water, although we don’t recommend this for Shark’s pet turbo tool.

You should cut away any hair caught around the turbo tool’s mini brush roll though, as this can start to interfere with performance.

As with all components, make sure you leave the tools for 24 hours to dry before using them again.


Cleaning a Shark cordless vacuum cleaner isn’t difficult, but it’s important to make sure you’re cleaning your machine correctly. This ensures that you maintain performance and don’t accidentally damage your vacuum during the cleaning process.

Do you have any questions about how to clean a Shark cordless vacuum? Please use the comments section below to get in touch.

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