Spotless Vacuum may earn commission on purchases through links at no extra cost to you. Learn More.

How to Clean a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner (For Upright Vacs)

Written by James Hall |

How to clean a Dyson vacuum cleaner

Does your upright Dyson vacuum need a clean? Here’s a simple process for cleaning your Dyson and restoring lost performance.

Dyson vacuum cleaners provide excellent suction power, but all vacuums need regular cleaning to function at maximum efficiency.

Unfortunately, many people assume that a loss of suction means they need to buy a new vacuum. This is rarely the case – and a deep clean of your Dyson vac can often be the solution.

In this article, we’ll go through how to clean an upright Dyson vacuum cleaner. While many of these tips will also apply to cordless or cylinder vacuums, you may need to adjust some of the specifics.

Warning: Make sure to check your Dyson vacuum’s manual before cleaning it. All Dyson vacuums are slightly different, so the exact steps may not match those below. Incorrectly cleaning your vacuum could invalidate your warranty.

5 Step Guide to Cleaning a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner

1. Empty the Dust Canister

Start removing the dust canister from the device. On most Dyson vacuums, you can do this by pressing the red button at the top of the canister, but check the manual if you’re not sure.

Empty the Dyson canister into a bin and give it a shake. Make sure any clumps have been pulled out to make it easier to scrub the canister later.

As the cleaning process is going to get messy, we recommend doing all of this outdoors!

Are You Overfilling Your Dyson?

Overfilling the dust canister is one of the most common mistakes we see from people with a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Never let your Dyson fill above the “Max” line, as doing so prevents the cyclones from accessing the required airflow. This leads to a loss of suction, reduced airflow, and can even clogs the filters faster.

In fact, it’s often best to empty your vacuum before it reaches the “Max” line, just to get into good habits.

2. Clean the Dust Canister

Over time, dust and grime builds up on the sides of a Dyson vacuum canister. This is one of the downsides of a cyclonic and bagless design, as there isn’t a bag to contain the dirt.

To clean the canister, start by detaching the clear dust canister from the cyclones. There is usually a separate small button, but check your manual if you’re not sure how to do it.

Once the clear bin is separated, clean it with a microfibre cloth that’s slightly damp. You don’t want to soak the interior of the canister, but some moisture makes it easier to remove caked on grime. Make sure it’s allowed to fully dry before reattaching it to the vacuum.

The cyclones also need to be cleaned, but you shouldn’t use water for this. Instead, wipe away dust, dirt, and pet dander with a dry microfibre cloth.

Tip: Dyson recommends not using any air fresheners or detergents to clean the bin. These could be sucked into the motor or other parts of the vacuum, causing potential damage. You also shouldn’t immerse the cyclone in water or run it under a tap.

3. Clean the Filters

As all Dyson vacuums have a bagless design, there isn’t any bag to act as a first filter. This makes the filters vital for preventing bacteria, dust, pet dander, and other fine particles from escaping into the home.

When these filters become blocked, they can reduce airflow through the vacuum. This reduces suction and makes your Dyson vacuum much less efficient.

Start by checking how many filters your Dyson has, where they are located, and whether they are washable. Not all filters are washable, so it’s important to consult the manual.

The Dyson DC40, for example, has a filter at the top of other cyclone unit and another in the Dyson Ball.

While we can’t provide instructions for every Dyson filter, here are two common examples. Make sure you check your manual for instructions that are specific to your filter.

Important: Never use hot water or detergents to clean a Dyson filter. You should also allow plenty of time of the filter to completely dry before using it again (at least 24 hours.)

Washing Dyson Pre-Filters

Dyson Pre-Filter

Pre-filters are often located at the top of the cyclone. Here’s an example of how to clean the pre-filter on a Dyson Small Ball vacuum cleaner:

  1. Hold the filter under a cold water tap, with the open side facing upwards, until the water runs clear.
  2. Turn over the filter to allow water to drain out.
  3. Run cold water all over the outside of the filter until the water is clear.
  4. Gently squeeze out excess water.
  5. Allow the filter to fully dry.

Washing Dyson Post-Filters

There’s a lot more variety in the shape and size of Dyson post filters. Here’s how to clean the post-filter of a Dyson Small Ball, but check your manual for specific instructions.

  1. The post filter on a Dyson Small Ball has an outer filter and inner roam ring. Separate these before washing.
  2. Run cold water over the inner ring until it runs clear.
  3. Rinse the outer filter all over until it runs clear, then tap the plastic rim to remove excess water.
  4. Allow both filters to fully dry.

4. Remove Hair from the Brush Bar

If you have pets or humans with long hair, then the brush bar will become tangled. A few hair fibres won’t affect the vacuum, but a lot of hair can prevent the brush bar from functioning properly. Obstructions in the brush bar can also cause the vacuum to switch off until they are removed.

  1. Start by laying the vacuum down then remove the floor head (there is often a red latch or silver bracket for removing the cleaner head.)
  2. Take a look at the brushroll and check if there are any clumps of hair.
  3. If there are clumps of hair, use the latches to remove the base plate, then remove the brush roll. Some Dyson brush rolls can be removed with just a coin, while others need a screwdriver.
  4. Remove any hair, string, or other objects twisted around the vacuum cleaner. You can use scissors to cut it out, but be careful not to damage the brush bar.

After removing any tangles, you may want to use a microfibre cloth that’s damp with cold water to clean off dust and debris. Make sure that the floorhead is fully dry before reassembling it though.

5. Clean Your Dyson Vacuum’s Accessories

Don’t forget to clean your vacuum’s attachments! Just like the rest of a vacuum, these can become clogged or covered with dirt, which may reduce performance.

In most cases, a damp microfibre cloth is all that’s required to clean dirt from an attachment. If there are any clogs or blockages, you may need to use your fingers to remove them. Make sure the tools are dry before using or storing them.

6. Check for Any Hose Blockages

Blockages can occur anywhere in a vacuum cleaner, but are most common in the hose.

Start by removing the hose and checking for any visible clogs. You may need to check the manual to find out how to remove the hose (or if it’s even possible to do so,) as this process isn’t always obvious.

If you find any blockages, then use a broom stick to gently dislodge them, before rinsing with cold water.

Make sure the hose is completely dry before reattaching it. A damp hose will cause dirt to stick to the sides and could allow mould to grow inside the vac.

7. Clean the Vacuum Exterior

You’ve now cleaned your upright Dyson’s filter, bin, hose, and brushroll. If your vacuum was filled with dirt before, then this could make a big difference to suction power!

The final step is to wipe down the vacuum’s exterior. This won’t improve performance, but leaves your Dyson looking fresh and new again.

It’s best to just use a damp microfibre cloth for this. Dyson doesn’t recommend using detergents or cleaning products when cleaning their vacuums. As always, makes sure the entire vacuum is completely dry before using it again.


While Dyson vacuums are pretty good at working with minimal maintenance, a quick clean of the bin, brush roll, filters, and tools can make a big difference to suction power.

Always check your vacuum’s manual before cleaning it. The steps above are suitable for many Dyson vacuums, but it’s vital to check whether there are any differences for your specific model.

We hope this article has helped you clean your Dyson vacuum cleaner. If you’re looking for a new vacuum, you may want to read our guide to the best Dyson vacuums.

Leave a comment