Why Is My Vacuum Cleaner Spitting Out Dirt? (SOLVED)

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If you’re wondering, “why is my vacuum blowing out dust?” then you’ve come to the right place.

The most likely reason your vacuum cleaner is blowing out dust is reduced airflow. You’re not alone—this question is common amongst vacuum cleaner owners. Don’t worry—this article will provide you with tips on how to resolve this issue.

Importance of Resolving the Issue

Resolving this issue is important because keeping clean floors is a vital part of maintaining good health. Also important to know, vacuum dust may contain the infant botulism-causing toxin called clostridium botulinum.

Quick Guide: Resolving the Issue

Here is a quick step-by-step guide you can start with if your vacuum cleaner is spewing dust:

  1. Ensure that your vacuum’s dirt collection bag or tank is not full.
  2. Check for any clogs in the vacuum head.
  3. Make sure there is not a clog in any of the vacuum’s suction hoses.
  4. Inspect any belts for possible damage.
  5. Bring your vacuum to a vacuum repair shop.

Continue reading for more detailed instructions.

5 Reasons Why Your Vacuum Cleaner Is Spitting Out Dirt

No matter the brand, whether your vacuum cleaner is Dyson or Bissell, a vacuum cleaner can spit out dirt or blow out dust because of 5 reasons. Here are each reason explained in greater detail:

1. Full Vacuum Bag/Tank or Dirty Filters

If your vacuum cleaner is blowing out dust, the first thing you should do is check to make sure the replaceable vacuum bag or dirt-holding tank (depending upon which model vacuum cleaner you’re dealing with) isn’t full. A full bag or tank may cause reduced airflow resulting in your vacuum spitting out dirt.

Next, clean any and all filters.

2. Clogged Vacuum Head

Your vacuum bag or tank is empty and your filters are clean. If you’re still wondering, “why is my vacuum blowing out dust?” then it’s time to check for a clog in your vacuum head.

Vacuums That Have Easily Detachable Parts

Simply remove the vacuum head (the part that rolls along the floor when in use) and disassemble the parts of the head. Newer vacuums, like Dyson or Bissell upright vacuum cleaners, have parts that are easily removable to enable proper cleaning and maintenance.

Remove any hair, dust, and dirt that may be causing reduced airflow then reassemble and see if the problem has been resolved. Nine times out of ten, clearing built-up dust will solve the issue instantly.

Vacuums That Do Not Have Easily Detachable Parts

Older vacuums may not come apart as easily as newer models. Unclogging an older vacuum’s cleaner head (the part that rolls along the floor when in use) may be more of a challenge.

Try to visually inspect the cleaner head for any clogs you can remove then refer to the owner’s manual for additional unclogging methods if needed.

3. Clogged Suction Hose

Are you still wondering why your vacuum cleaner is spitting out dirt? Then you should check the vacuum’s hoses for possible clogs. Sometimes debris can get jammed up in a vacuum hose. 

To check whether or not this is the culprit of your issue, simply remove the vacuum hose, hold one end to a light spot such as a window or near a light then look through it. There is something stuck inside the hose if you cannot see through it.

You’ll need to use something to remove the clog from the hose.

A tip from an experienced vacuum hose debris remover (such as myself who suffers from this issue often due to having multiple shedding pets and a handful of messy children) is to find a common household item that works well for reaching down that long tube, such as:

  • an unraveled metal hanger
  • a metal measuring tape
  • a properly-sized dowel rod
  • a fishing pole
  • anything else you can “MacGyver” into a vacuum hose snake

4. Damaged Belt

Most vacuums’ mechanics require the use of a belt to rotate the vacuum’s roller or brush bar (or bars depending on your specific model). If your vacuum is still spitting out dirt, power it on and check to see if the roller or brush bars are rotating. 

Did You Discover Your Roller or Brush Bar Is Not Rolling?

If your roller or brush bar(s) is/are not rolling then you may be dealing with a damaged belt. The bad news is: you may have to order a belt, take a trip to the store for a new belt, or bring the vacuum to a repair shop if you’re not the handy type. The good news is: vacuum belts and vacuum belt repairs are relatively inexpensive.

5. Other Needed Repairs

Have none of the above do-it-yourself resolutions worked to solve your vacuum cleaner issue? Unfortunately, you may be faced with the decision regarding whether you’d like to bring your vacuum cleaner to a repair shop to allow a professional to take a look and try to resolve your issue or consider purchasing a new vacuum.

Newer Vacuum Model

Don’t Vacuum Pine Needles

If your vacuum is a newer model, you may benefit from contacting the manufacturer. Your vacuum may be under warranty qualifying the repairs to be free or reduced cost due to the short length of time you’ve owned and used the vacuum cleaner. 

Vacuums can be costly, so you would be wise to pay for the problem to be resolved by a professional vacuum repair shop in the case the manufacturer proves unhelpful.

Older Vacuum Model

Older vacuum cleaners may simply be at the end of their life, as unfortunate as that sounds. In this case, you may want to consider skipping the trip to the vacuum repair shop and buying a new upright vacuum instead.


Figuring out your vacuum cleaner blowing out dust is a down-right dirty dilemma for anyone. 

Restricted airflow is most often the cause of this issue. Repairs other than unclogging your vacuum’s airways are possible which can prove annoying even for people who have the utmost measure of patience, but there is a solution to that as well although it may be a more costly solution.

Hopefully, this article will help your ability to resolve your vacuum issue on your own. If the issue has proven too big a challenge then you should be sure to have your vacuum professionally repaired or consider purchasing a new one. 

Clean floors are important in maintaining good health and vacuum cleaners are the most proficient way to ensure you’re able to maintain sanitary, sparkling clean floors. 

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