My Dyson v6 Motorhead vacuum started surging the other day. Really annoying! (Zoom, zoom, zoom…) When you pressed the trigger, it would turn on and off repeatedly. I was disappointed, other than that, I love this vacuum cleaner! Luckily there is an easy fix for this to get it going again, good as new. Follow this picture guide for a super simple fix for this problem!

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(Note: I understand that the Dyson V7 and V8, as well as the DC58 and DC59, can have similar issues with the same fix. It is usually either a stuck flap on the intake head or the filter issue discussed in this article.)

Replacement Filter Cartridges for Dyson v6

This fix applies to the following Dyson Vacuums: 

Dyson V6 Vacuum
The Dyson v6 vacuum is a workhorse!

Why is my Dyson Vacuum Pulsing?

The Dyson v6 has a flow meter circuit that shuts the vacuum cleaner down if the flow rate decreases beyond a certain point. This is a safety feature to protect the vacuum from burning out the motor. The cause of low flow rate is usually a clog of some sort. So the first step is to check the rotating brush and tube to make sure there is nothing clogged or jammed in there.

How do you troubleshoot a Dyson Vacuum?

In my case, there is nothing clogging the vacuum (nice!). If yours has this issue, the next step is to remove the filter and clean it. If you want to skip the filter cleaning step, new filter cartridges are available at this link (price seems to vary somewhat depending on the day):

New Filters – Check current prices on Amazon

The filter is located under the circular cover on top.

Dyson V6 filter compartment
The top of the Dyson v6 filter.

It is kind of tough to grab it by the little knob they have in there, so if necessary, use a pliers to grab it and pull it straight out.

Removal of the pre-filter for the Dyson v6 vacuum
Removing the filter

With the filter removed, try running the vacuum. If it is no longer surging, or revving then your problem is a clogged filter!

The filter for a Dyson V6 removed from the vacuum.
The filter removed from the V6.

Notice the ‘faucet’ icons on the filter. These indicate that you should clean the filter by washing it out.

Filter removed from the Dyson V6 vacuum
Filter removed from the Dyson V6 vacuum

Run water on the filter and squeeze it. You will see a bunch of dirty water come out. Repeat this until the water you squeeze out is clear. Then the filter is clean!

Dyson v6 filter being rinsed in a sink.
The pre-filter from the Dyson v6 vacuum being rinsed out.

For many cases, this level of rinsing may be enough. For me, several months later the same thing happened (the surging) so I had to rinse it out again. This time I disassembled the filter more fully and found a nice little wad of hair inside of it. So it is worth it to take the filter off of its housing. To do this, twist the filter, and pull it off. If it is stuck and won’t twist, take a flat-bladed screwdriver and press in the clips as shown while pulling the filter off of the plastic housing.

Dyson v6 filter removal from housing with a flat-bladed screwdriver
Use a flat screwdriver to remove the filter from its housing.

Once the clip is depressed, pull the filter at an angle, then do the same thing to the next tab.

The dyson filter clip depressed allowing it to be released from its housing.
The filter has been pushed loose of the tab holding the filter onto its housing

Repeat for all 3 tabs until the filter comes loose from the housing. Then pull it off.

The filter is loose from its housing in a Dyson v6 filter.
The filter is now loose and can be pulled off of the housing.

Clean out any new hair and debris.

The filter housing has a clump of hair and dust that should be removed.
The filter housing contains the hair and debris to be removed.

Turn the filter upside down and tap out any loose dirt and dust.

Dust, dirt, and grime accumulated on the inside of the filter.
The inside of the filter shows lots of debris that needs to be rinsed out.

After all the loose stuff comes off, rinse it out with water.

The Dyson v6 filter being rinsed out with water in a sink.
Rinsing out the v6 filter

Be sure to rinse the outside as well, so that the dirt is pushed through the filter from the direction where it came from.

Be sure to rinse out the outside of the filter as well to push dirt back through the filter.
Rinsing the outside of the filter.

Wring out the filter, then repeat the rinsing process.

Wringing out the filter
Rinse, wring, and repeat.

IMPORTANT: The final step is very important. Make sure you let the filter dry out before you put it back into the vacuum and give it a try. If the filter is still wet, the vacuum will continue to surge because not enough air can pass through it.

For me it took about 24 hours for the filter to dry out. I put it on the warm air vent to keep airflow moving around it.

Once the filter is fully dried out, put it back into the vacuum and give it a try. When I did this, it did surge a couple times at first, then I heard a slight popping sound, like the filter expanded into place or something, then it worked fine again!

If after you’ve cleaned the filter and let it fully dry, it still pulses, you may need to replace the filter. You can check the price here:

New Filters – Check current prices on Amazon

Why does my Dyson smell bad?

It seems to me you can get about 3 rinses out of a filter before it is too clogged with tiny particles that it doesn’t make sense anymore. In addition, the filter will usually start to stink! The new filters are pretty cheap, e.g. this is the 3-pack available on Amazon.

This fix should also apply to the following Dyson Vacuums: 

Thanks for reading and check-out these other money-saving home maintenance articles!