How to Empty a Shark Vacuum Step by Step

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Lost the instructions for your Shark Vacuum cleaner? No worries, we’re here to help!

Part of proper vacuum maintenance is the annoying job of emptying the dirt from the dirt cup. If you’re reading this article then you’re most likely wondering how to do this as fast as possible.

We’ll go over all that in this article, as well as answers to commonly asked questions regarding when to empty the vacuum and more.

When Should You Empty Your Shark Vacuum?

Most of the time the vacuum will have a line near the top that shows the maximum amount of dirt it should hold before it needs to be emptied. This is commonly known as the “max fill” line.

We recommend that you don’t wait until the dirt reaches this line though. It’s better if you empty the cup when the dirt reaches just over the halfway line. This is because when the cup is packed full of dirt it decreases the suction power of your vacuum.

You can also consider emptying the dirt cup anytime you notice that the vacuum is loosing suction or giving off a bad smell.

Washing the dirt cup from time to time is also good.

How to Empty Shark Vacuum Step By Step

The process that you go through will actually vary depending on which model of vacuum you have but here is how you empty a Shark Vacuum.

  1. First disconnect the power. For cordless vacuums shut it off and remove the battery.
  2. Remove the dirt cup from the vacuum.
  3. Hold the dirt cup over top of the garbage can.
  4. Press the release button to empty the dirt.
  5. Put the dirt cup back into the vacuum

This might seem too easy, but there are little details that are different for some models. Below we’ll go over how you empty all the specific models of Shark Vacuums. One thing to keep in mind is to always disconnect the power source before you start.

How to empty the Shark Rotator Lift-Away Vacuum

The first step is to separate the dust cup from the Vacuum. This can be done by pulling up the dust cup release latch or pressing the dust cup release button which is located at the top of the cup.

Then hold the cup over the garbage and press the bottom door release button. Then close the dust cup and put it back into the vacuum.

How to Empty the Shark APEX DuoClean Vacuum

Just like with any other vacuum, make sure that it’s turned off and unplugged. Then press the release button located near the wand and the top of the dust cup to separate it.

Once it’s out, empty it over the trash bin by pressing the lower release tab. You can also use the release tab on the upper part to further empty it while it’s over the trash.

Once it’s empty, the final step is to place it back into the unit.

Emptying the Shark ION, Shark IONFlex, and Shark ION Rocket Cordless Vacuums

Press the power button located at the handle to turn off the vacuum. Then remove the battery. Now you need to separate the hand vac from the wand by pressing the release button. Empty the dirt by pressing the dust cup’s release button while holding it over the garbage.

Finally, close the dirt cup and put the hand vac back into position.

How to Empty the SharkFLEX Vacuum

Once you’ve turned off and unplugged the vacuum, you’ll want to separate the hand vac from the wand or separate the dust cup from the hand vac. Pick whatever you think is easier.

The next step is to put the dirt cup over the trash and press the release button to empty the dirt. Once this is done you can put the dirt cup or the hand vac back into position.

How to empty the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum

The first thing you’ll want to do is to slide the dust cup release tab at the top of the dust cup to separate it. Then hold it over the garbage and empty the dirt.

In order to open the dust cup at the bottom just press the lower release tab. To ensure that all the dirt has been emptied from the cup, open the dirt cup from the top by pressing the upper release tab. Then turn it so it’s upside down over the garbage. When finished, put it back into position.


Although the process for emptying your Shark Vacuum may differ a bit by model, the overall steps are very similar.

The most common issue to run into is not being able to find the release latch. These are normally located either on or next to the dirt cup. However, if you’re still unable to find the dirt cup you can always look at the user manual which will most likely be available online.