How to Clean a Reusable Textile Dust Bag


Nel asked: I got a reusable textile dust bag. How do I clean it? It’s from an Electrolux Hoover, and after a few years, I think I may need to wash it or something?

Whether you can simply toss your vacuum dust bag in the washing machine depends on the bag itself, but it’s best not to take that route unless the manufacturer specifically states it’s a good idea to do so. Why? Because these bags are packed with fine dust, and once submerged in water you may end up with caked-on mud. So unless you have directions stating otherwise, this approach will be your best option:

You Will Need:

  • Powerful vacuum cleaner (an indoor/outdoor “shop vac” or industrial system like those found at gas stations will work)
  • Trash can

Steps to Clean the Bag:

  1. Empty the bag. Shake it out over a trash can, preferably one outdoors.
  2. Once it’s empty, close it back up and whack it against a wall or other hard surface. The goal is to shake loose any caked-on dirt that may be stuck inside. If the opening is large enough, or you have easy access to the inside, use your hand or a stiff brush to loosen dirt.
  3. Shake it out over the trash can again to remove any additional loose dirt or dust.
  4. Next, vacuum it with the attachment of a second vacuum, the more powerful, the better. Do NOT attempt to use the vacuum the bag belongs to unless you have another bag in place. If you can fit the attachment inside the reusable bag, you’ll have a more thorough clean. If not, suctioning the outside of the bag will help remove deep set dirt.
  5. Once you can’t get any more debris from the bag, shake it out over the trash a final time, then reinstall it in your vacuum cleaner.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do not wash your bag unless the manufacturer recommends it. You may weaken or damage the bag or its components without realizing it.
  • Your bag may not be as good as new after this cleaning process, but this method will improve the bag’s condition dramatically.
  • Use caution if you notice any damage to the bag. Weak spots or splitting seams may not hold up to the cleaning. If you find weak areas, the bag should be replaced.

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