Help! My Shark Vacuum is Acting Awkward and Stubborn

Did you hear about the shark incident in Florida? A young woman was bitten last Sunday and rushed to the hospital with the shark still attached to her arm!

Rescuers killed the shark before transporting the victim, but still it hung on. That was one stubborn shark and a lot creepier than the stubborn Shark one of my readers has been dealing with.

White Shark vacuum

DEAR MARY: We purchased the Shark vacuum you so highly recommend. I do love the suction and cleaning prowess of the machine, but it seems awkward and difficult to push around on good quality plush carpeting. Marge

DEAR MARGE: Oh dear—something is not right! I can’t be sure which model Shark you have (the one I love, recommend and use nearly every day is Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional) but for sure your Shark should not be difficult to maneuver on carpet!

With the Brush-Roll turned on, you’ll discover the Shark Pro has a self-propelling feature that pushes it forward, similar to a power lawn mower. Something tells me that perhaps you are attempting to use your Shark on carpet without this feature engaged.

Assuming we have the same model, take a look at yours. You should see a Power button and also a button for the Brush-Roll. In Power mode, you’re ready to vacuum hard surfaces like wood and tile. When you move to carpet, you need to press the Brush-Roll so it lights up green. When the Brush-Roll is engaged and you step on the foot release, you can feel the self-propelling feature kick in. Shark will nearly vacuum that carpet on its own!

If the suction is still too much for your plush carpet, you can make another adjustment. Towards the top of the handle, there is a ring you can turn to adjust the level of suction.

Once you’re set, all you need to do is follow behind and steer the thing with minimal effort. I sure hope that helps. There is nothing about a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional that should be awkward to push around.

If yours is a different model than mine, look for adjustments for suction and an indicator that the brush roll is engaged. And don’t forget to make sure that your Shark and filter is clean

DEAR MARY: I recently moved into an older home that has the radiation heat. The previous family that lived here must have never cleaned the radiators! There is a build-up of dust that my vacuum cannot reach and I can’t reach with my fingers, either. Some of the dust is also ground in. I have had the sniffles since I moved in and I believe it’s from the dust. Can you recommend a way to clean these old things that won’t cost me a fortune?

I love getting your daily emails and learning new tricks and methods to save time and money. I especially love when the subject is cooking. I print out almost all of your recipes. Jamie

DEAR JAMIE: Thanks for your kind words and for being such a loyal reader and fellow foodie!

As for those radiators (the best kind of heat in my opinion, so I’m kinda’ envious of your situation) you need a radiator brush— not only to deep clean the radiators now, but to also maintain them going forward.

A radiator brush looks like a giant bottle brush and is often used in the automotive repair and maintenance business to clean everything from hoses to carburetors, engine blocks to radiators and more. I suggest you spend a couple of extra bucks to own a high-quality brush that is not going to fall apart after a few uses.

The Tough Guy Radiator Brush (about $18) will do a great job getting into the tight crevices and interior spaces you cannot reach otherwise. Once cleaned out, the radiators should work more efficiently and stop blowing dust.

Hint:  There’s a short YouTube video, “How to clean a radiator,” that will give you a quick and easy lesson for exactly how to use your new brush.

DEAR MARY: I may have a solution for the reader who splattered hair dye on her white sink. I did the same thing and found that a using hair bleach works great to reverse the stain. You can get what you need online, or go to a beauty supply store and pick up a bottle of “developer” (20 or 30 volume) and a packet or small tub of powered bleach specifically made for bleaching hair. Mix the developer and powder to make a paste and apply the paste on the stains using a dye brush. Wait 10 to 20 minutes and then check the spots. They should be gone. Angie

DEAR ANGIE: Thanks for that great tip!

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4 replies
  1. Deena Still Bronemann says:

    We just purchased the Shark Apex AX950. The self-propelling feature that pushes it forward, similar to a power lawn mower is great when you are moving forward but very hard to pull back – especially when cleaning under beds and other furniture. It actually is hard on your back! We called Shark and they suggested to clean our carpets on the “bare floor” setting. Really? The flaw in this vacuum is that the brushes should stop rotating when the vacuum is being pulled back. We are returning this vacuum and will not buy self-propelled in the future.

  2. Mary says:

    Regarding the Shark roller brush, I initially had this issue until I realized the roller brush was tangled up with hair. I am referring to human hair that rolls around the brush and gets stuck there. Now after every use I pull any hair off that roller brush, and all is well. Hope this tip helps!

  3. Pat says:

    I grew up with radiator heat in Europe. I really really miss it. My brother lived in NY so he is lucky that they still have it. I loved putting my clothes on it at night and getting dressed on those winter mornings with warm clothes. You might want to invest in a water holder (not sure what it is called in American) that hangs on the radiator that you put water in so that the air doesn’t get to dry. We always had them on our radiators growing up.


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