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How to Empty a Henry Vacuum Cleaner

Written by James Hall |

How to empty a Henry vacuum

The Henry vacuum cleaner has a bagged design, so it’s easy to empty – when you know how! Here’s a simple process for emptying your Henry and replacing the HEPA-FLO bag.

How to Empty a Henry Vacuum

To empty a Henry vacuum cleaner, first unclip the head from the body and remove the pre-motor filter. Remove the self-sealing bag from the nozzle, then dispose of it (standard Henry bags are not re-usable.) Slide a new bag’s rubber seal over the nozzle, re-insert the filter, then attach the vacuum’s head.

Step 1: Decide Whether the Vacuum Bag Needs to be Emptied

Henry vacuum bags have large dust capacities, so they don’t need to be emptied as often as smaller vacuums. The frequency you’ll need to empty the vac depends on how often you clean and the type of debris you’re vacuuming.

How do you know when the bag needs to be changed though?

You can use the “eye test” for this, but don’t wait until the bag is completely full. Instead, aim to empty the bag when it’s around 70-80% filled.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Once the debris starts to become compacted, the Henry will lose suction and become less effective.
  • A completely full dust bag puts extra strain on the motor, which may reduce your vacuum’s longevity.
  • If filled to an extreme level, the bag may tear. This allows dust and other allergens to escape.

Alternatively, if you notice that the vacuum has lost suction or is making a strange noise, then it’s definitely time to change the bag!

Get the Right Vacuum Bag for Your Henry

There are many variations of the Henry vacuum on the market. It’s important to make sure you’re ordering the right bags, so check the sticker in the handle slot to find the model name.

Step 2: Remove the Filled Bag

One of the great things about the Henry range is how easy it is to remove the bag.

The exact steps may vary depending on the model, but here’s the basic process:

  1. Pull the clips out on either side of the vacuum’s head.
  2. Lift the Henry’s head off the main body.
  3. Remove the pre-motor filter (and check whether it needs to be replaced.)
  4. Pull the old bag off the nozzle and put it into a bin.

The HEPA-FLO bags have a self-sealing design, which means that dust or allergens shouldn’t escape. This is one of the reasons why a bagged vacuum is often the best choice for people with allergies.

Does the Filter Need Cleaning or Replacing?

Replacing the bag is a great opportunity to check and clean your Henry’s filters. Remove as much dirt or dust as possible using your hands (wear gloves) or a soft brush, as water could cause damage. If the filter is too clogged with dirt, then you’ll need to buy a replacement.

Step 3: Replace With a New Bag

Once you’ve removed the previous bag, the only thing left to do is add the new one. Again, this is a simple process:

  1. Hold the new bag and push the rubber seal onto the internal nozzle inside the drum. Make sure it’s the right way up.
  2. Make sure the bag is pushed on as far as possible, without forcing it.
  3. Remember to replace the pre-motor filter.
  4. Clip the Henry’s head back onto the vacuum’s main drum.

And you’re done!

Consider Reusable Henry Hoover Bags

Numatic now sells reusable Henry Hoover bags. These have a zip system to keep dust contained, while allowing you to empty dirt and dust when required. You can also wash the bag on a gentle cycle if it’s starting to get dirty.

Reusable bags are a great choice if you want to minimise waste and reduce costs. They may not be the best choice for people with allergies though, as emptying the bag will allow allergens to escape back into the air.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is My Henry Making a High Pitched Noise?

A high pitched noise indicates that your Henry’s motor is being overworked. This is often because the bag is full, so try emptying the Henry to see if this fixes the issue.

If you’ve emptied the bag and are still hearing the noise, then there may be a blockage in either the hose or the floor tool.

  • Start by checking either ends of the hose to see if there is an obvious blockage. You may be able to pull out the blockage using your hand or a non-sharp tool (be careful not to damage the hose.)
  • If you can’t see a visible blockage, squeeze along the hose to try and find it. Once you’ve located the blockage, try bending and squeezing the hose around this area. Reattach the hose and turn on the vacuum to see if the blockage has been loosened enough to be sucked into the vacuum.
  • If there’s no blockage in the hose, take apart the floor tool by removing the pin. Check for any blockages.

Why Has my Henry’s Power Cut Out During a Long Cleaning Session?

Modern Henry vacuums have a cut-out system to prevent the motor from overheating. If your vacuum has stopped working after being on for a long time, then this is likely to be the issue.

The vacuum should start functioning again once it’s cooled down. If it doesn’t, you may need to contact Numatic for after-sales support.

Can Henry Vacuums be Used Without a Bag?

Henry vacuums will function without a bag, but this isn’t recommended. The bag is the primary filter in a Henry, so without it dust and other allergens will escape into the air. You’ll also find that the pre-motor filter will get clogged much faster if you’re not using a bag.


Emptying a Henry vacuum is quick and easy. And, as the bags have a self-sealing design, it’s a much less messy process than with a bagless vacuum cleaner!

If you’d like to learn more about Henry vacuums, including which is the best option for your home, then check out our guide to Henry Hoovers.

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