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How to Empty a Shark Vacuum – Complete Guide In 2023

how to empty shark vacuum

Having a Shark vacuum is great, right? It sucks pretty well, comes with handy tools and will not cripple your budget. Most of their vacuums are suitable for various surfaces and different users. With that kind of versatility, no wonder that Shark managed to find their place on the market. But one of the most important things when you own a Shark, or any other vacuum brand, is maintenance. Proper maintenance will ensure a long life of your vacuum and optimal performance.

This is why we decided to begin from the basics and talk about how to empty a Shark Navigator vacuum. Emptying a bagless vacuum seems pretty straightforward. But several Shark vacuums are designed a bit differently. One of them is the Shark Navigator, so to make it easier for you to figure out how to maintain it properly, we prepared a short guide with steps you should follow.

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How to Empty a Shark Navigator – Step by Step Guide

This unit has a lift-away canister, which means you can detach it and use the vacuum as a handheld. But normally, this model is an upright vacuum, so it picks up a lot of dirt and debris thanks to the suction power. This is why you need to empty the dirt cup fairly regularly.

The first step in any maintenance process is to unplug the unit. Doing anything while the vacuum is plugged in puts you at risk. Next, you should detach the dust container from the unit. Shark Navigator has dust cup release tabs which you should slide until the dirt cup is released.

how to empty a shark vacuum
Empty a Shark Navigator

There are two release tabs – upper and bottom. If you want to empty the container, you should press the bottom one after you put the dirt container above the trash can. But to completely empty the container, you should also flip it upside down and push the upper release tab. This way, you get the debris from both ends of the container. If you use your Shark vacuum for pet hair, some fur may be stuck in the container. Make sure you take it out before putting the dirt cup back into place.

This process is still pretty simple, but it differs slightly from other Shark models. This is why a short guide, or maybe even a video guide can help you do this quicker and easier.

When to Empty a Shark vacuum

how to empty shark navigator
When to Empty a Shark vacuum

Since all Shark models come with a dirt container, how frequently you need to empty it depends solely on the size i.e. capacity of that container. In general, you will see a MAX indicator on every container, and this is the absolute upper limit you should allow. But it is better not to push it and empty the dirt container every time the dirt fills up a half of it.

To see when this happens, you just need to look at the container from time to time, and you can easily spot how much dirt there is since all dirt cups are see-through. Try to be regular, empty the dirt container when it gets half full, or a bit more than half full, and you will do a lot for the longevity of your unit and performance.

Why Empty a Shark Vacuum

shark vacuum how to empty
Why Empty a Shark Vacuum

Of course, it makes sense that you need to empty the dirt container so there would be enough room for new dirt you are about to vacuum. But this is not the only reason why you should regularly empty the dust cup. By doing this, you are ensuring optimal performance and your vacuum will work well longer.

First, by emptying the container, you are ensuring consistent and powerful suction. Sometimes, the debris build-up can lead to clogs or obstruct the airflow, so the suction weakens. Even though you do not lose suction completely, there is no reason why you should vacuum with a fraction of suction power, when you can easily use the full potential of your unit.

Another thing you are doing with regular maintenance is protecting the motor. When the dust cup is full, as we said, the airflow weakens. The motor then struggles to give you enough power so you could continue to vacuum.

This is how it comes to the overheating of the motor and over time, the motor gets damaged and you cannot use your vacuum anymore. This is especially important if you use your vacuum for pet hair since hair can get entangled and form balls. ‘

Pros of Bagless Vacuums

empty shark navigator
shark bagless vacuum

Shark vacuums come with a bagless design. Now, we know that many of you are a fan of vacuum bags and for good reasons. But the bagless design also has some great advantages.

First, it is more cost and time-efficient. You do not need to run to the store and buy bags all the time, nor do you need to spend money on them. A dirt container comes with a vacuum and it is completely reusable. You can use it as long as you have your vacuum, without ever having to replace it.

Another great point is that by reusing this dirt container, you are protecting the environment. This is one of the biggest problems our generation faces, and surely the biggest problem the future generations will face. So if you want to make more eco-friendly options and produce less waste, you can do that by choosing a bagless design.

Finally, the dirt containers are always easy to empty. As you can see, the push of a button gets rid of all the dirt. Most of the time you do not even need to take anything out with your hands, so it is also hygienic.


One of the most important things maintenance-wise you should do, is always empty your Shark’s dust cup before it gets completely full. If you have a Shark Navigator, now you know exactly how to do it. Good luck and happy vacuuming!

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