The Best Way To Clean Your Dust Collector Bags????

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Forum topic by Delta356 posted 08-22-2010 06:21 PM 33045 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Delta356's profile


463 posts in 3916 days

08-22-2010 06:21 PM

Hi all, I have had my dust collector for about year know, (JET DC-650) and I think it most have tool, because it keeps the air cleaner, and keeps the shop cleaner. It’s like a shop Vac on super sized. Anyways, I like to clean my Dust collector bags, both top and bottom,when every the bottom bags gets full. I find that the more I clean the bags the better the machine runs. Well I clean my bags with the shop Vac, going up down in rows on the bag, and when I don’t see any more dust I say its CLEAN.

Is this the best way or are there other ways that you guys have found out to clean your dust collector bags?
Can you Wash them?
Clean with water??

Thanks, Michael Frey
Portland OR


11 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4774 days

#1 posted 08-22-2010 07:55 PM

My understanding is that the bags work best when they are not super clean. Apparently the efficiency of the dust collection goes up once the bags are initially dusty. I think if I were getting caked on dust on the inside or obvious dust coming through the bag I would worry about it, otherwise I don’t think I’d ever wash a bag…my 2 cents worth :-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 4148 days

#2 posted 08-22-2010 08:22 PM

I replaced my upper bag with a pleated filter with a cleaning handle on top of the filter. I move the handle after heavy use to clean the pleats in the filter. The bottom bag is plastic and I will never go back to filter bags again. I would like to have a cyclone but the cost of a good unit is beyond my current budget.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View ABrown's profile


102 posts in 3973 days

#3 posted 08-22-2010 08:31 PM

The bottom on my DC is plastic so I just toss is when its full. The top bag I blow clean with air, just wear a mask and do it outside.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7163 posts in 4256 days

#4 posted 08-22-2010 08:39 PM

Greetings Delta,

Under NO circumstances wash the filter bags…..two reasons…(1) You loose the coating that is put on the bags to get them down to the micron rating. All of the coating(?) will wash out and disappear, and dust will seep through sooner or later. (2) When you wash the bags and dry them, they will shrink up, be short, and hard to get back on…I know…I experienced this years ago when starting out…....I did away with the bags, got a Wynn canister filter(best mun I ever spent) for the top, and a plastic bag for the bottom…..
Side note: If you buy a Wynn canister filter, you get 3 heavy-duty plastic bags with it….free….yea right….

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View ChuckV's profile


3371 posts in 4589 days

#5 posted 08-23-2010 01:06 AM

I agree with Mark. In the book Woodshop Dust Control, Sandor Nagyszalanczy writes:
“As counterintuitive as it sounds, the small-particle capture ability of the filter media in a good dust-collection system actually improves as the filters get dirtier. This is because the film of dust, or dust cake, that forms on the inside of a filter bag begins to act as a sort of filter itself: The accumulated particles block the passage of progressively finer and finer particles.”

Later he writes:
“In a small shop, the standard cleaning method is to grab a filter bag or tube and shake it gently. The secret is to remove the excess buildup yet leave a fine layer of the dust cake intact, so that the bag’s extra-fine particle-filtering ability continues to work.”

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View Ger21's profile


1100 posts in 4193 days

#6 posted 08-23-2010 02:36 AM

Your machine “runs better” with clean bags because dust is blowing through them into your shop. “Dirty” bags don’t allow as much air to flow through them, but they filter the fine dust out much better.

-- Gerry,

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3928 days

#7 posted 08-23-2010 01:45 PM

Interesting post. Dust is always a problem.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Raymond's profile


683 posts in 4789 days

#8 posted 08-23-2010 03:58 PM

I second the do not wash the bags. Been there and done that. I just tap my dust collector bags with a stick and then empty the collection bag.

-- Ray

View Kelly's profile


3506 posts in 4006 days

#9 posted 08-03-2015 01:38 AM

Old post, but good information.

I would add the suggestion to shake your entire collector. Since I started doing this on each of my three collectors (3hp, 1-1/hp & 1hp), their efficiency went up considerably.

Before I started shaking the collector, after running the paddles on the canister or beating the bags, all the dust would drop and land on the plate between the upper and lower bags. Then, when I started the collector again, the dust sitting on the plate would get drawn back into the upper bag. By shaking the collector, the dust on the plate dropped on down and the collector worked much better.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2486 days

#10 posted 08-03-2015 02:17 AM

Toss it out and get a filter that goes down to 1 micron or better and also has a lot more surface area to reduce clogging while still providing plenty of flow.

Treat Dust Collection as a health concern and your family will thank you.

Wynn Environmental

-- Brad, Texas,

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2878 posts in 3984 days

#11 posted 10-27-2016 09:19 PM

I have a Grizzly dust collector with 2 HP 240volt motor that I bought in 2010. I recently moved it from an, outside the shop, closet to an 8’x8’ metal shed. When I moved it I decided to wash the upper bag. I had not cleaned it since I bought it six years ago. Even though I lengthened the 6” metal duct 18’ the suction is way up from before the move. Never thought to clean that upper bag before this. What an improvement! I will be cleaning that bag more often now. If this allows a little more dust through the bag….no matter it is outdoors. Seems to work just fine.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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