What to Do If a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Has Stopped Picking up Dirt

Updated on February 19, 2020
Susan Hambidge profile image

Susan prefers to use natural ingredients whenever possible in the home and garden. It is usually cheaper, easier and greener.

My Dyson Has Stopped Picking up Dirt Properly

All hoovers and vacuums will stop sucking up dirt at some point. With a Dyson, there are a few simple steps that you should follow to make sure it works properly. Ideally, these things should be done regularly, once a month or so, but in reality we tend to do them only when we notice the hair and fluff has remained on the rug.

Before you rush your machine to a repair shop, try cleaning the roller and filters first to see if you can do it yourself and save time and money. You will be surprised how well these simple things can work. Below, you'll find out how.

When Your Cleaner Stops Working, Check the Roller

The first place to look when your Dyson stops picking up dirt is the roller. If the engine is still working properly and suction seems to be fine, then the roller is possibly the culprit.

  1. Make sure you completely unplug your cleaner before you start work, and then turn it upside down. The roller should be clear of hair, cotton and string but in normal use, it will get clogged up after a while. If you have pets, rugs with edgings or family members with long hair the chances are there will be stuff wrapped tightly around the full length of the roller. As this builds up, the vacuum cleaner will not be able to work as well as it should and the roller will not turn properly, so this needs to be cleaned out thoroughly.
  2. There will be a plate around part of the roller and this plate usually comes off by undoing a couple of screws. With this particular model of Dyson there are three huge screws which undo with just a quarter turn and then the plate comes off. With the plate removed you get better access to the roller and the brushes. I don't suggest removing the roller completely as it is held in place by a tight rubber belt that is very difficult to refit. If the belt breaks, it can be replaced, but if it isn't broken, I would leave it alone and safe yourself a lot of hassle.
  3. Using everyday scissors, cut the hair and cotton caught up in the roller and pull it all out. It will take several minutes to clean it completely, but make sure you have it all clear before you put the guard back on to get the best results.

Clean the Roller on Your Vacuum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My Dyson wasn't picking up because the roller was completely clogged with hairRemove the protective plateCut the hair and cotton strands
My Dyson wasn't picking up because the roller was completely clogged with hair
My Dyson wasn't picking up because the roller was completely clogged with hair
Remove the protective plate
Remove the protective plate
Cut the hair and cotton strands
Cut the hair and cotton strands

Clean the Filters on Your Dyson Cleaner

After cleaning up the roller and brushes, the next step is to check the filters. Most vacuum cleaners will have at least one filter that needs maintaining as it will get full of dust and stop sucking so well. Some will be filters that just need throwing out and replacing with a new one, but the Dyson range has filters which are reusable. These need to be washed and dried before putting them back in place.

My model has two filters. One is underneath the dust barrel/bag and the other one is beside it. They are easy to remove once you know where they are. Take a look at the pictures below so you can locate them and see how they are removed.

Once you have these filters out of the vacuum cleaner, wash them in hot water with a little soap. The water usually runs dirty at first, but once the filter is clean, the water should run clear. Makes sure you let the filters dry completely overnight before putting them back in place. The Dyson filters are made up of several layers and need to be dry all through. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination.

Removing the Filters on a Dyson

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One filter is underneath the dust bag/containerPress the lip and the top will openPull out the filterThe second filter is to the sidePush the blue level and pull the whole piece upwardsInside are two parts will should be washed separately
One filter is underneath the dust bag/container
One filter is underneath the dust bag/container
Press the lip and the top will open
Press the lip and the top will open
Pull out the filter
Pull out the filter
The second filter is to the side
The second filter is to the side
Push the blue level and pull the whole piece upwards
Push the blue level and pull the whole piece upwards
Inside are two parts will should be washed separately
Inside are two parts will should be washed separately

Dyson Maintenance

These simple things should be done once a month so that your cleaner doesn't lose its suction power. Doing often like this means it should only take 10 minutes of time. At the very least, you should carry these things out as soon as you notice that your appliance is not being as efficient as usual.

After a few years of use, you should replace the filters to keep the Dyson working efficiently. It is worth purchasing genuine parts, even though they are more expensive because they fit properly and will last a lot longer. My cleaner was much improved when I replaced mine recently. It is much cheaper than buying a complete new vacuum cleaner.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Susan Hambidge


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    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      Glad you got your working again. You're really handy when it comes to fixing and problem solving. I bought an expensive nice vacuum and the motor blew twice so now I'm back to the cheaper models I can fix myself or easily replace. The Dyson was so terribly loud I decided against brand. Didn't want to scare the cats.


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