laundering dust collection bags?

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Forum topic by Gary Fixler posted 05-29-2009 01:21 AM 2426 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3587 days

05-29-2009 01:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: delta dust dust collector dust collection filter filtration bag bags cleaning particles particulate washing question

I’ve been meaning to research this for weeks, and I finally remembered. I found this on the subject, which is pretty fancy. I have a Delta AP400, bought on a sale from Rockler (no longer sold on their site). I only just realized how bad the collection bags are: 30 micron! Still, it’s way better than nothing.

The suction has been greatly reduced of late, however, and shaking the top bag out in the yard, factory smokestacks worth of crap blew away. I couldn’t find the end of it. It’s completely impregnated. It would probably take 2 hours of pounding and shaking to really clean it, and then only mostly. It got better, but still isn’t ‘like new.’ I wondered if I couldn’t just throw the Delta-brand bags in the washer, let it suck all that powder down the drain, and them tumble it dry on low heat (don’t want to melt the silk-screened rubber paint logos!).

Thoughts? Will this drop the 30-micron rating to something even worse? Will it damage the bags? Anyone know?

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

17 replies so far

View CutNRun's profile


122 posts in 4052 days

#1 posted 05-29-2009 01:24 AM

I seem to recall hearing/reading that you are not supposed to wash the felt type bags. Mine is getting pretty clogged as well, although I believe it is a 1 micron bag. My plan is to knock what I can out before removing it and then turning it inside out and using the shop vac on it.

-- CutNRun - So much wood, so many trails, so little time

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Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3587 days

#2 posted 05-29-2009 01:29 AM

CutNRun – But then how will you clean the shop vac filter!? It’s a vicious cycle :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View a1Jim's profile


117342 posts in 3783 days

#3 posted 05-29-2009 01:30 AM

Hey gary
Still looking at my keys. any how I’ve heard the same thing CuyN said, it will mess up your bag. I try to talk people into mounting the dust collector out side if at all possoble then it does’nt matter if it’s 200 micron bag.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4194 days

#4 posted 05-29-2009 01:47 AM

You could buy an extra bag and wash your old one. You never know. It may be an old wives tale.
I think I would take it to a laundromat though. Don’t want to piss off the wife.

Maybe a dry cleaner?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3854 days

#5 posted 05-29-2009 01:49 AM

Gary, someone posted the same question 2 days ago, and one of the responses was from a guy that contacted the mfg. and was told these bags are NOT TO BE WASHED! as this will loosen the material, and will reduce the filteration to 1000 micron…

just blow it with compressed air. and beat it outside.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4194 days

#6 posted 05-29-2009 02:02 AM

PurpLev – Which manufacturer and what type of bag? Some are just made from cloth.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Bureaucrat's profile


18340 posts in 3858 days

#7 posted 05-29-2009 04:05 AM

I thought that as the filter got clogged it got better at keeping the air clean. I realize that suction goes down but I would think that you don’t want to get that 30 micron bag too clean. It will just spew stuff into the air.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3950 days

#8 posted 05-29-2009 05:18 AM

I don’t really think there are any 30 micron bags that are shaker felt. You’re not suppose to wash the shaker felt bags. I have the old 30 micron bags that originally came on my DC and they appear to be just canvas. I don’t think washing them would hurt them. The only thing 30 microns stop is wood chips.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3934 days

#9 posted 05-29-2009 05:47 AM

something I just thought of (never researched) is what about putting the bag on inside out (while outside) and running the machine while GENTLY tapping it with a stick. Would this blast the dust out by adding some pressure (for those of us that don’t have an air compressor)? I think you’d just need to make sure your intake hose is far upwind from the dust (so you don’t get both sides dirty). Just thinking aloud. I love overusing parenthesis (anyone notice?).

View bamasawduster's profile


321 posts in 3800 days

#10 posted 05-29-2009 06:26 AM

I was the one who posted the same question a couple of days ago. I washed mine on delicate cycle, then air dried. Worked fine and it works like new now. I am definitely not recommending going against manufacturer directions, just telling you what worked for me. Could be they sell more bags that way, don’t know. If you do choose to wash, I would certainly do the delicate cycle and air dry.

-- Gary, Huntsville. Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3934 days

#11 posted 05-29-2009 06:41 PM

i think the trouble is knowing whether performance is affected by washing or not. the particles that come through may be smaller than you’d be able to see.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3587 days

#12 posted 05-29-2009 10:59 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I’m pretty sure they’re just something like canvas. That’s what they feel like.

Taking in all the advice here, I’m a little bit skeptical about washing them, but if I happen on some new bags in the future, I will probably give it a shot with the old ones. One of these days I’m going to pick up a little digital microscope. They’re pretty cheap now, and I thought it would be fun to catalog wood end-grains for my ID’ing shenanigans. I could take some closeup pics of the weave pre and post washing to empirically solve this mystery. I’d be able to see if it opened up any.

Gary – thanks for being the guinea pig! I appreciate your real-world input on this.

Hokie – at 30 microns, I can already see dust come through it. A little tap, and a plume of microfine dust will waft from the surface. I hope someday to upgrade to a <1> I have now.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View gbvinc's profile


628 posts in 4152 days

#13 posted 05-30-2009 07:05 PM

I wash mine about once a year. Works greats, doesn’t seem to affect the bag and revives the suction. I have no idea as to whether it alters the size of particles it filters…but my dust collector is in a different room from the tools and I haven’t noticed any increase in dust floating/settling around. Your mileage may vary.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3791 days

#14 posted 05-30-2009 08:24 PM

I bought two very nice thick industrial felt bags from an auction .However they needed (like yours) a good wash. I asked my wife to do me a favor and washed them both in the washer and then dry on the washing line outside.It did the job wonderfully. I have to emphasize that these were good thick industrial quality bags and would be reluctant to be responsible for ruining anyone’s good felt bags by my advice but I would emphasize you could always wash gently by hand in a cool wash I think my wife spin dried mine now I come to think of it best of luck I feel sure you will be fine as said my two were great after a good wash. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View ART LACKEY's profile


113 posts in 3585 days

#15 posted 05-28-2012 12:31 PM

I was given a dust collector that has the felt bag and it was full of metal dust (black!) and i took it down to the car wash and washed it with a pressure wand on the ground and it came out pure white! i was shocked. so when it was dry I tried it out and it works well. now off course that is a little extreme but it was worth a shot and it’s ok.

-- Old turners don't die, they just turn to dust!

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