Dyson airway blocked: how to solve this message?

dyson airway blocked
A completely blocked airway from a Dyson v8
In most cases, when a Dyson airway gets blocked, you can fix it by changing the (old) Dyson filter. Dyson suggests doing this every year. Plus, getting a new filter will also make your vacuum's battery last longer. It's a smart choice because replacing the battery is much more expensive than getting a new filter.

You can easily order new filters here at Amazon:
Dyson V8 filters (ULPA 15)
Dyson V10 filters (HEPA 13)
Dyson V11 filters (HEPA 13)
Dyson V12 filters (ULPA 15)
Dyson V15 filters (ULPA 15)

By doing this you can get rid of this annoying ‘airway blocked' message within 24 hours. A filter costs about 12 – 15 dollars each. Usually, they are often sold per 2 filters.

Dyson v11 or v12 airways are blocked but no blockage

When you get the warning ‘Airways are blocked' but you see no problem or the filters and airways are empty you have to take a look at how you installed the V11 or V12, we asked the following to a Dyson employee:

What would be the main reason for a blockage without anything being blocked?
The main reason could be that the filters weren't put in correctly. After cleaning the filter, when you put it back into the vacuum, make sure to turn the cap to the right until it clicks. If you turn it the wrong way (left), the filter won't fit properly, and this can make the vacuum not work right.

When the airway of a vacuum cleaner becomes clogged, the suction power of a vacuum cleaner can decrease. In fact, he might not even be able to suck at all. It is important to solve this problem immediately, new filters are a logical move, but of course, you can also try to clean everything.

Reasons for a Dyson airway blockage

A Dyson's airway can become clogged for a number of reasons. Although people often think that it always depends on what you are vacuuming, there are even more reasons that cause a blockage:

  • Poor maintenance of the filters of a Dyson
  • Failure to empty the dust container in time
  • Vacuuming too large dirt
  • Vacuuming sticky dirt
  • Things not installed in a good way
  • Worn Dyson Parts
  • Wrong connection of parts*

* What I often hear around me is that the use of attachments that are not from Dyson itself can also cause blockage messages in the long run. Want to know more about the different parts? Check out a detailed explanation of all Dyson parts.

Consequences if you do not quickly resolve an airway blockage

If the airway of a Dyson vacuum cleaner is blocked, the vacuum's suction performance will immediately decrease. In fact, the vacuum cleaner might even have no suction power at all. It is therefore necessary to clear the blockage quickly. Failure to do so may result in the following consequences:

  • Reduced suction power, decreasing performance
  • Appearance of the famous ‘blue flashing light
  • The vacuum cleaner motor is not cooled properly, which can cause the Dyson to break
  • The vacuum cleaner can start to smell (for example, like a dog with accumulated dog hair)
  • Dust emissions can increase dramatically, with an increased risk of allergic reactions

If the airway of a Dyson vacuum cleaner is blocked, the vacuum's suction performance will immediately decrease.

How to know if your Dyson is clogged

When a Dyson suddenly no longer sucks, there does not necessarily have to be a blockage. It is also possible that your battery may need to be replaced, which greatly reduces the suction power. If there is actually a blockage in the air duct of your Dyson, the following will happen:

  • An ‘Airways blocked' message on the LCD display of newer models (Dyson V11, V12 and V15 series).
  • The vacuum cleaner does not suck or the suction power is greatly reduced
  • You can't see through the vacuum cleaner rod
  • Dyson stops automatically (this can also happen if the filter needs to be washed)
  • The blue light continues to flash (if it stays on, the battery is too low)

Please note: when checking the Dyson for blockages, it is important to be careful with the on/off button. Switching on a Dyson vacuum cleaner when it is disassembled can be dangerous.

dyson airways blocked message
Image of the airway being blocked ar our Dyson v11.

Resolving Dyson airway blockage

When there is actually a blockage in the air duct, it is important to find out where the blockage is. Watch the video below or my step-by-step plan to find out and solve the problem.

  1. Disassemble all Dyson parts (attachments, vacuum cleaner rod, etc.)
  2. Press and hold the trigger button for 10 seconds
    • Does the blue light keep flashing? Go to step 3.
    • Does the blue light stop blinking? Then check the vacuum cleaner rod and Dyson parts for blockages to solve the problem.
  3. Look through the hole at the dust container of the vacuum cleaner and remove dirt where necessary
  4. Hold the dust container down and empty the dust container, then look at the opening on the vacuum cleaner to remove any debris where possible
  5. Press and hold the trigger button for 10 seconds
    • Does the blue light keep flashing? Go to step 6.
    • Does the blue light stop blinking? Problem solved!
  6. Remove the dust container by using the red slide on the back
  7. Shake the Dyson vacuum cleaner very carefully above the trash can to remove fine dust and then mount the dust container back on the Dyson vacuum cleaner.
  8. Click the floor brush back on the Dyson vacuum cleaner and hold the trigger button again for 10 seconds.
    • Does the blue light keep flashing? Go to step 9.
    • Does the blue light stop blinking? Problem solved!
  9. Chances are the problem is with a clogged or defective filter. Cleaning and/or replacing the filters regularly is important.

Note: each Dyson series has its own filters and some Dyson series even have two filters.

Dyson seriesFilter typeFilters
Dyson V8ULPA 15See filters
Dyson V10HEPA 13See filters
Dyson V11HEPA 13See filters
Dyson V12 SlimULPA 15See filters
Dyson V15 DetectULPA 15See filters

This is how you prevent a blockage in the future

The steps above show that it can be quite a quest to find out exactly where the blockage in the air duct of your Dyson vacuum cleaner is located. I have some smart tips to prevent a possible blockage in the vacuum cleaner in the future.

  • Maintain your Dyson: It is important to clean your Dyson regularly. Cleaning a Dyson goes beyond just emptying the dust container. View a comprehensive guide to cleaning a Dyson here.
  • Use the vacuum cleaner for what it is intended for: it is important to only use the Dyson on surfaces for which it is suitable. In addition, it is important not to vacuum up crazy large or sticky dirt. For example, did you know that vacuum pine needles can cause a blockage?
  • Empty the dust container regularly, even if it is not yet full: if dirt remains in the dust container of a Dyson for a very long time, it can cause a blockage. The Dyson can even start to smell.
  • Replace wear-sensitive parts in time: some parts of a Dyson vacuum cleaner are prone to wear. It is therefore important to replace them in time. Think, for example, of a Dyson filter replacement.
Make sure you maintain your Dyson vacuum cleaner properly. Clean the filters at least once a month and replace them with a new Dyson filter every 12 months to avoid blockages.

Also, double-check if you installed everything in the right way as a “Dyson v11 airways blocked but no blockage “message often means you missed a click or a move while installing new parts.
Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

  1. I change the filter each time I use the machine due to filter light coming on even after a short vacuum of minutes!
    The blockage light is always coming on, even though I clean it all the time.
    I have tried everything I can, so disappointed.
    I’m not being awkward, but so many people I know have problems and have heard Shark is much better! and more reliable.

  2. Yes. Very disappointed in my v11. Keeps blocking only after a few seconds of using it.

  3. Same here, the steps above do not resolve the issue…

  4. After 3 months I had to change the filter and clean out the suction hole by the filter.
    Not happy. We also had the vacuum head replaced. Not worth the price

  5. Same problem with airway sensor every part is clean and not broken need a answer it’s annoying not happy

  6. I bought Dyson SV 30 just 2 months ago, and it’s not sucking although it’s very clean. What do you think is the problem?

  7. Hi Rob,
    In short, at step 9 above I have replaced the filter with a brand new one, and my V11 still pulses the same as before. I have stripped it down to just the motor (replaced the about break trigger while I was there), and after conecting the battery and putting the filter back on, it still pulses. This with no body at all, could the motor itself have a blockage?
    The vacuum is all original and geniune. Is there another possibility, like the sensor responsible for this functions?

    Would love some help on this, before considerng a replacement


  8. I have a Dyson that when you pull the trigger, it starts and immediately stops. On the tube, it says it is a Cyclone V10 Absolute. under the battery, it says SV12. I bought a new Biswaye battery that says it is for this model. It still starts and immediately quits. I took some parts off and blew it out with an air hose. Lots of dust came out but didn’t fix the problem. I also put a new filter on that came with the battery. The filter is on correctly. Here is a mystery, when I take the tube and attachments off, and hold my hand over the suction intake of the tank, it stays running with my hand sucked to the opening. I am at a loss.

  9. Hi Robbert, in my case it only happens when I’m vacuuming a carpet. The roller of the head stops rolling, it says the airway is blocked and the motor turns off and it stops responding. Can’t power on, but the screen working perfectly. I’m using the Gen5 detect with the carpet head. Do you know why this might be happening?

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