Washing dust collector bags

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Forum topic by agallant posted 03-18-2015 07:33 PM 1777 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 3689 days

03-18-2015 07:33 PM

My dust collector has felt like its lost power. I figured the bags may be plugged up. I took them off, emptied them out, gave them a good beating to remove as much dust as I could then stuck them in the washing machine for two cycles. Is this normal? Did I mess up my bags by washing them?

8 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6310 posts in 3296 days

#1 posted 03-18-2015 07:43 PM

Maybe, some places say don’t wash others say do so with care. I’m sure somewhere there’s some that say go ahead and wash, I’ve just not seen that. My cleaning routine for bags started with the beating you described, but it was outside with the bags turned inside out. Then I took my shop vac and vac’d over the inner surface which really always got them cleaned up enough. My bags were AFF, and they suggested that I not wash them. But let me ask, if you’ve lost air flow you did check the other stuff as well? Like a clog in the ducts, or maybe a blast gate left open. If you run the DC without the bags on does the air flow return to the ductwork (that would sure say you are correct). BTW, don’t run it too long without the bags, it’s possible you could burn up the motor. Anyway, nothing to do now but put them back on and see what happens. I suppose the bags could be so clogged they can’t be cleaned (that happened to the canister filter on mine) in which case you would need new bags.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 2024 days

#2 posted 03-19-2015 01:35 AM

I don’t put my bag in the washer, it has a metal band in it that’d probably rust out in no time. Mine is a 5 micron bag that filters some weensy particles but even that lets the real small ones through. I invert and beat it till it screams then I put the compressor to it with a blower nozzle. Then I hit it with the garden hose and hung it over the swing set beam to dry.

-- I meant to do that!

View iminmyshop's profile


319 posts in 2796 days

#3 posted 03-19-2015 03:09 AM

If you are using the old cloth dust bags stop. These collect the large particles very well. Unfortunately they are the perfect dispersal units for the small particulates that actually cause lung disease as they push them out of the bag under great pressure. There have been some excellent articles in Fine Woodworking and other magazines about dust collection. Think of a good dust collector as a good health insurance policy. Expensive? Depends on what your lungs and health are worth.


View joey502's profile


558 posts in 2320 days

#4 posted 03-19-2015 04:06 AM

I am not saying this is a good idea or not. There was no research done before I threw mine in the washing machine. Washing it did not seem to harm the bag but I guess excessive washing cycles could do damage. To be completely honest I did not read the manual… I may do that tomorrow.

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 3692 days

#5 posted 03-19-2015 04:41 AM

Buy a Winn, its cheap health insurance.
When you get COPD, turn on the dust collector and still wear a really good dust mask you’ll understand.
60+ yrs in the shop. Whats that? Don’t hear very well either.
Wish I’d have some attention to those OSHA dudes.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Robert's profile


3788 posts in 2283 days

#6 posted 03-19-2015 12:29 PM


Listen to this guy, men.

If you work with MDF you’re dealing with some really bad stuff.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View b67mack's profile


60 posts in 2222 days

#7 posted 03-19-2015 08:18 PM

Have you thought about all the grit you are subjecting the washing machine to?
Bags are cheaper than new laundry appliances.
Kind Regards

View bigblockyeti's profile


6633 posts in 2523 days

#8 posted 03-19-2015 10:50 PM

I used to wash the factory bags that came with my Delta AP400 with just a garden hose and given how poorly they blocked fine dust it’s hard to tell if it did any damage. I replaced them with a much larger top bag from AFF and a plastic lower collection bag. I have noticed the air flow when brand new was tremendous and after seasoning has dropped dramatically. When it gets really bad, I’ll beat it from the outside knocking some of the dust down into the plastic bag, then stick a broom inside after removing the lower bag to further clean it out. This process has never allowed me to regain the new flow capability, but works well enough to keep things flowing the way they need to.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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