Why Does My Vacuum Spit Out Dirt? A Comprehensive Guide

A vacuum cleaner’s fundamental job is to pick up dirt, dust, and debris from your floors, leaving them clean. But what happens when instead of collecting dirt, your vacuum starts spitting it out? This comprehensive guide will address this common issue, exploring why your vacuum might be spitting out dirt and providing actionable solutions.

Why Does My Vacuum Spit Out Dirt?
Why Does My Vacuum Spit Out Dirt?

Understanding Your Vacuum

Regardless of the specific model or brand of your vacuum, they all operate on the same basic principle: a motor powers a fan, creating suction that draws dirt and dust into a bag or canister. If something disrupts this process, your vacuum could start spitting out dirt instead of collecting it.

Common Reasons Why Your Vacuum Spits Out Dirt

Several reasons could cause your vacuum to spit out dirt. Here are some of the most common, along with their solutions.

1. Clogged Filters

A vacuum cleaner’s filters are designed to trap small particles and prevent them from being expelled back into the air. If the filters become clogged with dust and dirt, they can no longer perform this function effectively, which might cause the vacuum to spit out dirt.

Solution: Clean or replace your vacuum’s filters. Many modern vacuums come with washable filters. If your vacuum has a washable filter, remove it, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and let it dry thoroughly before putting it back. If your vacuum uses replaceable filters, make sure to replace them as recommended by the manufacturer.

2. Full Dust Bag or Canister

If the dust bag or canister of your vacuum is full, the vacuum might not be able to hold any more dirt, causing it to be expelled back out.

Solution: Regularly empty your vacuum’s dust bag or canister. Many vacuums have a fill line indicating when it’s time to empty the bag or canister. Avoid letting it get too full, as this can reduce the vacuum’s suction and cause it to spit out dirt.

3. Blocked Hose or Airflow Path

If the hose or the airflow path of your vacuum is blocked by large debris or tangled hair and fibers, the vacuum may start spitting out dirt.

Solution: Regularly inspect the hose and the vacuum’s airflow path for blockages. If you find any, turn off and unplug the vacuum, then carefully remove the blockage.

4. Damaged Dust Bag or Canister

A damaged dust bag or canister might not be able to contain the dirt properly, causing the vacuum to spit it out.

Solution: Inspect the dust bag or canister for any signs of damage. If you find any, replace it with a new one.

5. Incorrect Settings

Some vacuums come with different settings for different floor types. Using the wrong setting can reduce the vacuum’s effectiveness and might cause it to spit out dirt.

Solution: Make sure you’re using the correct setting for the floor type you’re cleaning. For example, use the carpet setting for carpets and the hard floor setting for hard floors.

Regular Maintenance for a Better Performing Vacuum

Regular maintenance can prevent many common vacuum problems, including the vacuum spitting out dirt. Here are some maintenance tips:

1. Regular Cleaning

Regularly clean all parts of your vacuum, including the dust bag or canister, filters, hose, and brushes. A clean vacuum performs better and is less likely to spit out dirt.

2. Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your vacuum for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks in the hose, tears in the dust bag or canister, and worn brushes. Replace any damaged parts.

3. Regular Filter Replacements

Even if your vacuum has washable filters, they should still be replaced occasionally. Over time, the filters can become less effective at trapping small particles.


A vacuum that spits out dirt can be frustrating and counterproductive. However, the issue is often easy to fix, and with regular maintenance, it can be avoided altogether. If you’ve tried the solutions in this guide and your vacuum is still spitting out dirt, it might be time to consult a professional or consider a replacement. A well-functioning vacuum is key to maintaining a clean and healthy home environment.