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How to Clean the Shark Navigator Vacuum and Filters

I love my Shark Navigator vacuum, and I hope my guide to cleaning it is helpful to you.

Shark Navigator Vacuum

Shark Navigator Vacuum

Clean Your Shark Navigator Vacuum

The Shark Navigator Vacuum is a great addition to any home. It uses the same "no loss of suction" technology as a Dyson at a fraction of the price. But what do you do if your vacuum seems to lose its suction power? All you need to do is give it a good cleaning!

Signs of a Dirty Vacuum

A dirty vacuum is less efficient than a clean one. When the filters become blocked, it decreases the suction power tremendously. You also need to make sure that the rotating brush on the bottom is clear of materials that become wrapped around it over time.

Signs Your Shark Navigator Needs Cleaning

  • Loss of suction
  • Leaves dirt behind
  • Sounds different than normal
  • Leaves an unpleasant odor

If you are experiencing any or all of the problems above you will want to give your vacuum a much-needed cleaning. This way you can once again enjoy the benefits of a clean home.

Step 1: Clean the Rotating Brush

A good place to start is with the rotating brush underneath the vacuum.

  1. First and most importantly, make sure your vacuum is unplugged!
  2. Lay the it down on the floor. You may want to place a bag underneath to prevent an unwanted mess.
  3. You want to remove any material that has wrapped around the brush, like string and hair.
  4. Once all the debris is cleared, you are done with this step.
Dirty rotating brush

Dirty rotating brush

Clean rotating brush

Clean rotating brush

Step 2: Clean the Dirt Container and Plastic Filters

The Shark Navigator is a bagless system. All of the dirt that is picked up is stored in a removable plastic container for easy disposal. This is an area of the vacuum that does need to be cleaned. The filter system can become blocked, causing you to lose suction power.

  1. Remove the dirt container and empty any dirt particles into the trash.
  2. Open the top of this container and remove the filter system.
  3. Empty and dirty or dust particles out of the filter by gently tapping on the side of your trash can.
  4. Once all the loose dirt is emptied you can begin cleaning these parts with water. (I use plain tap water to clean mine.)
  5. When rinsing the plastic filter system, you will need to keep spraying with water until the water comes out with a clean appearance. Rinse the dirt container thoroughly.

Note: Allow time for it to dry completely. You'll need to allow adequate drying time (and you don't want to operate a vacuum if it's still wet!). Lay all the parts out separately to dry. Once everything is dry, you can put them back together.

Dirt container and plastic filter system

Dirt container and plastic filter system

Emptying the dirt container

Emptying the dirt container

Removing the plastic filter system

Removing the plastic filter system

Step 3: Clean the HEPA Filters

The HEPA filters should also be cleaned regularly. Most come with two sets of HEPA filters, so it makes it easy to clean these on a more regular basis because you will not have to allow for drying time when needing to use your vacuum.

  1. Remove the HEPA filters. These can be found underneath your vacuum's dirt container.
  2. Rinse them thoroughly by hand until they become clean. (I use a small amount of Dawn dish detergent on mine every time I clean them.)
  3. Squeeze excess water from the filters and allow them time to dry. The drying time for these is longer than the drying time of plastic filters.
  4. You can wait for these to dry completely, or you can use the second set of HEPA filters to began vacuuming sooner. I generally rotate between each set.

By alternating HEPA filters with each cleaning, you are ensuring that the filters are drying completely before the next use.

Lifetime washable HEPA filters

Lifetime washable HEPA filters


Step 4: Reassemble and Vacuum!

Once you have completed all of the steps to clean, you are ready to put it back together and began vacuuming again. You will notice a change in the suction power right from the start. This is because all of the filters are clean and free of debris. If you were experiencing any foul odors, they should have also been eliminated when you cleaned your HEPA filters.

Now you can once again enjoy the "no loss of suction" technology and vacuum your way to a cleaner home!


Cheryl Adelmeyer on March 21, 2020:

What about my hose. It has a hole in it. How do I replace or clean it?

Norma B on March 03, 2019:

Can you put the filters in the dryer after washing them to dry?

laura g on August 08, 2018:

i thought my roller was not working either but hahaha you have to have the foot pedal down and then the roller starts will not roll while totally upright.

Evelyn on June 18, 2018:

I have a shark NV355 Vacuum. Does it matter which side of the Pre-Motor Foam Filter I use/ Both sides look the same

Tanya on March 21, 2018:

Need to know how to get to the belt on my Shark Navigator..Think its broken..

Rosalie Brady on February 13, 2018:

I hate my Shark all that money for a dud.

James Stillman on February 12, 2018:

My vacuum basically shut down. Tried to clean it as per the steps described, but still no good. In poking around managed to pull off the little grill that has the word PROFESSIONAL on it. Behind it was something that looked like an air filter. I started trying to clean that with water from the faucet, and the ugliest black gunk came pouring out. Will this help my problem (just shuts down), or am I hurting it???

harry thompson on February 03, 2018:

I took my big filter out now I don't remember how it go back

Sue on October 26, 2017:

Great vacum! But don't buy the carpet cleaner. It's pieces of carpet that rub on your carpet. I have never been more disappointed in a product!

Stella on August 31, 2017:

I want to change my roller brush on my shark navigation vacuum but they don't show how to replace it

autisticmystic on July 13, 2017:

i have wash my cannister all the time- and i wash the filters too.- I have also taken apart the rotator head,taken the window out & washed the window -cleaned out the elbows- that were clogged..even tho the vacuum cannister still filled with hair & dirt-- the hose was clogged in the head!!!- as long as you do not get water on the electrical you will be fine. There is an excellent youtube video of how to do the whole thing dated feb 21 2015.

tammy on June 16, 2017:

I LOVE MY SHARK!!! the BEST I have EVER had!!!

buy one. you will love it. easy to take care of ... cleans like crazy :)

Cathy on March 21, 2017:

After emptying the dirt collector, the tab is constantly popping off. Why and does this mean I'm loosing suction or leaking dirty air into the room?

Shawn on February 19, 2017:

I have a Shark Rocket vacuum and I have cleaned all filters and hoses. Still there is no suction. What am I left to do?

Erica on February 07, 2017:

I just take mine outside and use an air compressor to blow the filters out and blow out the gunk accrued in the small crevices. Looks and works like a brand new one everytime!

Glory on December 26, 2016:

IL, thank you Tons!!! I popped off the lil wheels and found the hidden screws!! Yeehaw

darla on December 21, 2016:

where can i purchase replacement filters for the NAVIGATOR DLX? I can't find listed anywhere!!!

Terry Hatfield on November 16, 2016:

How do I unplug when vaccum is plugged?

Bonnie on September 05, 2016:

Why does the hepa filter on the front of shark navigator vacuum come off while vacuuming?

Fern on September 02, 2016:

Just purchased the shark navigator after glowing recommendations by friends and family. Have been suffering terribly with allergies and decided to give it a try. Thought my dyson pet vacuum was doing an awesome job. Cleaned thoroughly on Tuesday with the dyson, then used the new shark. OMG! The canister was full. Love it.

IL on April 05, 2016:

Make sure you remove all screws when trying to open the rotating brush section. There are some hidden ones under the small front wheels many people miss.

bossladytexas on March 12, 2016:

Best vacuum I've owned. It's awesome!!! I have dogs, kids, etc. it's truly awesome!!!

Lynn on December 05, 2015:

Love my Shark! Thanks for this article!!!

Mike B on October 06, 2015:

This is ridiculous, I have taken all the screws from the bottom of this and it doesn't seem to come apart, it's acting like it's it's glued together. laying the navigator on the floor and cutting away the hair and nastiness is not how any other unit is, i mean you can of course but it;s not the right way to clean a beater bar. the bearings have all kinds of debri on both ends and the top inside cannot be cleaned this way. there is a clear window to the bar from the top view and its filthy.

LL on September 20, 2015:

Water doesn't penetrate the "Hepa"/exhaust filter! I can't take it anymore I have never had one pet and yet my vacuum cleaner smells horrible when using any settings!!!

alexandra on April 30, 2015:

The manual says not to use water to clean the canister, but it smells when I vacuum. Has this caused any problems in your vacuum?

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on August 11, 2014:

You can try ordering new filters.

JR on August 11, 2014:

I have done all of thes things and it still smells!

rollout on June 15, 2014:

Correction: the foam filters arent the hepa filter ... the hepa fiter is below

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on June 08, 2014:

Did you try rinsing out the filters?

Joyce Bowles on June 08, 2014:

I have a Shark Navigator Lift Away vacuum and I find that the small hose at the bottom clogs after I vacuum one room. The hose has almost no suction whatsoever, even when the collar is rotated. I checked the video to see that I was cleaning the vacuum properly and I was. My vacuum does not have one of the inserts in the top of the canister. Can you help?

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on January 17, 2013:

JeriLT1 - Did you try contacting Shark? You can often get replacement parts straight from them. on January 17, 2013:

I purchased Shark Navigator about a year ago. I have 3 dogs, 2 of them very hairy. This is the mosy fantastic vacuum I have owned. But now I have a problem I need helk right now----The roller brush stopped, would not move. I cleaned all of the hair and etc. Now the brush is free moving but won"t move when I turn it on. I need help FAST, PLEASE

Jill Kostowskie (author) from Pennsylvania on July 29, 2012:

lindacee - I love my Shark Navigator!! It has to be the best thing I purchased in a long time. You will be happy with one! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on July 29, 2012:

I am considering purchasing a Shark Navigator. Now that you have provided this easy-to-follow cleaning guide, I think I'll have to take the plunge and buy one! Thanks for tips!