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Collecting dust is just the first step

Finish cleaning your dust-collection bags with your shop vacuum, but don't worry about getting it as clean as new. A light coat of sawdust on the inside actually helps trap the tiniest dust particles, keeping them out of the air.

Q:

MOF dust has clogged the bags of my dust collector, and I can tell the machine Isn’t pulling in as much air as it used to. What’s the best way to clean those bags?
—Dean Thompson, St. Petersburg, Fla.

A.

Dean, it’s a straightforward task with one important distinction based on the bag material. Colton bags can go in the washing machine after the steps outlined be/ow. Don’t wash nonwoven felt bags, though, or you’re likely to leave hardened clumps lodged in the fibers.

No matter what Iype of bags you own, begin by rapping the sides with a light stick or dowel to knock loose the caked dust. Put on a dust mask, take the bags off the dust collector, hold the openings closed, and give each one a good shaking to take even more dust off the walls. Take the bags outdoors, and empty them into a garbage can or trash bag. Use a shop vacuum to clean the bag interiors further.

For future reference, you can judge a bag’s condition by poking it with your finger while the machine is running. It should give easily under modest pressure. If the bag feels hard, it’s time to clean again.

Finish cleaning your dust-eollecllon bags with your shop vacuum, but don’t worry about getting it as clean as new. A light coat of sawdust on the inside actually helps trap the tiniest dust particles, keeping them out of the air.

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