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How to Empty a Shark Vacuum Cleaner’s Dust Cup

Written by Kaylee Barber |

how to empty shark vacuum

Not sure how to empty your Shark vacuum cleaner? We’ve put together a quick guide on how to empty the various types of Shark vacuum.

Shark vacuums have become increasingly popular in the UK. Their easy-to-use designs, powerful suction, and advanced features make them an attractive choice.

While most Shark vacuums have decent manuals, it can be easy to forget how to empty the machine. In this article, we’ve given three examples of how to empty specific Shark models, including an upright, handheld, and cordless vacuum.

How to Empty a Shark Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

Shark’s bagless upright vacuums are always easy to empty. This is important, as their dust cups are typically smaller than uprights from other brands – particularly bagged models.

Unlike many vacuums, Shark Lift-Away vacuums have two lids for emptying the different sections of the cup. Many owners don’t realise they need to use both lids to fully empty the vacuum.

Check your manual for your machine’s specific instructions, but here’s the basic process for emptying a Shark Lift-Away:

  1. Unplug the vacuum (always unplug a corded vacuum before performing any maintenance).
  2. Remove the dust cup from the vacuum by pressing the button at the top of the main body and tilting the cup towards you.
  3. Hold the dust cup over a bin and press the bottom release tab to allow the contents to fall into the bin. Give it a quick shake or tap to dislodge any stuck debris.
  4. Now use the top release tab to open the top lid while holding the cup over the bin. Again, give it a little shake or tap. We find that hair sometimes gets caught around the metal shroud inside the second compartment of the Shark Lift-Away, so you may need to pull this out by hand (use gloves).
  5. Close both of the lids and reattach the cup to the vacuum.

It’s a good idea to check the pre-motor filter when emptying the vacuum. If it’s starting to look clogged or dirty, then it’s probably time to clean it.

Tip: We always recommend emptying bagless vacuums directly into an outdoor bin. A cloud of dust always escapes during the emptying process, which can affect your home’s air quality.

How to Empty a Shark Cordless Vacuum

Emptying a Shark cordless is usually quick and easy, but the process is a bit different than with Shark corded vacs.

You should check the manual for specific instructions, but here’s the method for emptying the Shark IZ251UK:

  1. Remove the handheld part of the vacuum from the stick and floorhead.
  2. Hold the vacuum with the trap door pointing into an outdoor bin.
  3. Use the slider to open the trap door and allow it to fall into the bin. Give the vacuum a gentle shake or tap to remove more debris.
  4. Check the metal shroud for any debris or hair, as it’s important to keep this clear. You can also use a soft brush to remove any debris.
  5. Close the trap door and reattach the stick.

If it’s dirty, you may also want to consider cleaning your Shark cordless vacuum’s dust cup.

Tip: Sometimes you’ll need to remove the dust cup to get rid of clumps of debris that are caught inside. This is easy to do using the cup release button located on the main body of the vacuum.

How to Empty a Shark Handheld Vacuum

The various Shark handheld vacuums – such as the WV200UK and CH950UKT – have very different designs. You’ll need to read your vacuum’s instruction manual to find out how to empty your model, although the process is always straightforward.

As an example, here’s how to empty the Shark WV200UK handheld vacuum:

  1. Switch off the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Hold the vacuum over a bin, then press the emptying button on the top of the vacuum cleaner (located just below the on/off button.)
  3. This button releases the dust cup on a hinge system, which allows dirt and debris to fall into the bin. Make sure you’ve got your aim correct (or are holding the vacuum deep inside the bin) before pressing the button!
  4. Close the dust cup before using it again.

There’s also the option to remove the dust cup from the WV200UK’s main body, although you’ll probably only need to do this when cleaning your vacuum.

Tip: The hinged dust cup on Shark handhelds is particularly bad for releasing clouds of dust and other debris during emptying. We recommend always emptying these vacuums into an outdoor bin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do If My Shark Lift-Away Dust Cup Won’t Release?

Sometimes the latch on a Shark Lift-Away vacuum gets stuck. You may be able to fix this by pushing down on the dust cup handle until it clicks back into position, which can reset the locking mechanism.

If this doesn’t work, the spring inside the latch may be broken. You should contact Shark or a professional vacuum repair shop to fix this issue, as you’re unlikely to be able to fix it at home.

When Should I Empty My Shark Vacuum?

Shark vacuums have a “Max Fill” line on the dust cup. It’s important to empty your vacuum before the debris reaches this line, as overfilling can lead to a loss of suction and make it more likely for the vacuum’s filters to become clogged. Overfilling also puts more stain on the vacuum’s motor.

How long it takes for the “Max Fill” line to be reached depends on which vacuum you’re using. Most Shark vacuum cleaners have relatively small dust capacities, so you’ll need to empty them more frequently.


The process for emptying your vacuum depends on the type and model, but Shark is well-known for their convenient emptying systems.

Make sure you empty your Shark vacuum before it reaches the Max Fill line. Many people overfill their vacuum cleaner, which reduces airflow through the vacuum and negatively impacts cleaning performance.

You should also clean your Shark vacuum’s filters at least once per month. This ensures that they don’t get clogged, which can reduce suction power. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out our guide to cleaning Shark vacuum filters. We’ve also written an in-depth guide to how to clean Shark cordless vacuums.

Do you have any questions about how to empty a Shark vacuum cleaner? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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