Can I Use My Vacuum Without The Filter?

In this article, you’ll find out what you need to know about using a vacuum cleaner without a filter. There’s also more helpful info so be sure to check it out!

Can I Use My Vacuum Without the Filter?

can i use my vacuum without the filter

No, it’s not a good idea to use a vacuum without a filter. While it will work for some time there’s a possibility of permanent damage over time as well as blow dirt back into the room.

Without a filter your vacuum will eventually begin to blow dust and dirt back into the room, defeating the purpose of vacuuming in the first place.

Not only that but using your vacuum without a filter can put unnecessary strain on the motor potentially leading to premature wear and tear. Debris, dust, and dirt can enter the motor and begin promoting corrosion as well as damage the brushes, bearings, electrical contacts, and more.

Should You Use Your Vacuum Without the HEPA Filter?

You can use a vacuum without a HEPA filter, but it has consequences. HEPA filters trap allergens, bacteria, and other particles that can be harmful to people with allergies or asthma. If you take the filter out of your vacuum you’ll be releasing a lot more allergens into the air.

If you’re cleaning up just fine dirt or sand, it’s definitely best to keep the filter in place. You can, however, use your vacuum without the filter if you need to suck up crumbs or other small particles that might otherwise clog the filter. 

I wouldn’t make a habit of it though.

Will Running It Without the Filter Void Your Warranty?

Yes, if you run your vacuum without the HEPA filter it will void your warranty. The same goes for bagless vacuums.

Most HEPA vacuums have a filter that needs to be replaced every few months. Bagless vacuums usually have a HEPA filter that can be removed and washed, but you’ll need to buy a new one if it gets damaged. It’s important to check your owner’s manual to see how often you need to replace yours.

Shark vacuums don’t have HEPA filters, but they do have a pre-motor filter that you should replace every six months to keep your vacuum running correctly. Using your Shark vacuum without that filter is a terrible idea because the motor components (like any other vacuum cleaner) can potentially become damaged when dust, dirt, debris, and organic matter get inside of it.

How Often Should You Clean Vacuum Filters?

how often should you clean vacuum filters

Basically how often you should clean it depends on:

  • The type of vacuum you have. For example, if you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, you’ll need to clean the HEPA filter more often than a Shark vacuum with a pre-motor filter.
  • How much you’ve vacuumed up recently.

If you use a vacuum with a standard filter or HEPA filter periodically clean it like so:

  • I recommend about once a month if you vacuum regularly and every few months if you don’t.
  • If you’re having to clean up a particularly bad mess, lots of dust, pet hair, or so on I would clean it after use before storing it. (When a HEPA filter is heavily covered with hair or dust for example the airflow will be reduced and make it less efficient. The vacuum will have a harder time working well.)

When it gets too dirty, it simply can’t function as it should. It can clog up, make your vacuum louder, and probably burn out the motor sooner. As a result, you might see a drop in suction or not see the same results as usual when cleaning.

Is It OK to Use a Shop Vac Without a Filter?

is it ok to use a shop vac without a filter

Many people vacuum without the filter because it can be a hassle to change it out every time you clean and because they think it doesn’t make that much of a difference. But not having a filter in your vacuum can cause more allergies and spread more dust and dirt in your house.

So, if you have asthma or are particularly allergic to dust, it’s essential to use a vacuum filter. It’s also important to vacuum regularly – at least once a week – to keep your house clean and free of allergens. Using a filter when you vacuum will make a big difference in the air quality of your home.

What Happens if You Don’t Change a Vacuum Filter?

what happens if you dont change a vacuum filter

If you don’t change your vacuum filter regularly you might notice a drop in suction and an increase in noise from your vacuum. That’s because the filter is clogged with dirt and other particles too big for it to trap.

  • Your vacuum will have to work harder to suck up anything. That means it could overheat more quickly, make more noise, and lose suction.
  • Dirt could start to build up in the rest of your vacuum. That can clog up your pipes, trap debris in your motor, or even cause the belt to break.

So, if you don’t change your filter – apart from causing damage to your vacuum – you could be releasing a lot of allergens and bacteria into your home. That’s especially true for particles from nasties like dust mites.

James Marshall
About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »