How to Clean Air Purifier Filter and Save Money (2024’s Tips)

Hello there, fellow clean-air enthusiasts! As an indoor air pessimist turned pure-air evangelist, I know how critical proper maintenance, including cleaning our air purifier filters, can really be. Doing it wrong? Well, that could reduce the efficiency, make your air purifier work harder, and even compromise the air quality in your home. Ouch, right?

Fear not; this guide, gleaned from my own experiences and blunders, is designed to help you master the art of how to clean air purifier filter effectively. Read on as we navigate this vital but often overlooked element of air purifier maintenance. Let’s breathe easier together!

Key Takeaways
1. Not all air purifier filters can be cleaned with water or another liquid. Before cleaning, check to see if your filter is washable.
2. A gentle cleaning solution is ideal for washable filters.
3. Vacuuming is a temporary cleaning method before replacing non-washable filters such as HEPA or activated carbon.

How to Clean Air Purifier Filters: Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to dive in? Here’s my hands-on, step-by-step guide to cleaning your air purifier filters. Whether you’re a beginner or looking for advanced tips, I’ve got you covered! It’s time to roll up your sleeves; let’s clean those filters and get your purifier back to its top performance.

Identifying If Your Filter's Washable or Not

Alright, let’s get this show on the road! First, you must identify whether your air purifier filter is washable. How do you tell the difference, you ask? Well, it’s simpler than you think.

Washable filters are typically made from specific materials designed to withstand water, like certain types of foam or specialized synthetic fibers. These filters are usually marketed as such, and your user manual should explicitly state if the filter is washable. If you’re still in doubt, look for terms such as “washable,” “permanent,” or “reusable” by the manufacturer.

On the other hand, non-washable filters mainly consist of HEPA filters or carbon filters. These are made from fine, damage-prone materials that could be destroyed when exposed to water. Washing non-washable filters can actually cause them to lose their air purification ability – the last thing we want!

Look carefully at your purifier’s manual or consult the manufacturer’s website if you need help finding the information. We want to treat our filters right, after all!

To delve deeper into the specific types of filters and their best maintenance practices, feel free to check out my post on “air filter materials.” I’ve got tons of great info ready for your perusal!

how to clean air purifier filter

Now that you’ve determined your filter is washable, let’s walk through the steps to clean it properly. Following these steps will help extend the life of your filter and, by extension, your air purifier. Plus, a clean filter means cleaner air for you and your loved ones!

Step 1: Turn off and unplug your air purifier

Safety first! To prevent accidental damage or injury, ensure the air purifier is turned off and unplugged before starting the cleaning process.

Step 2: Remove the filter

Carefully remove the washable filter from the air purifier housing. Be gentle, as you don’t want to damage any components!

Step 3: Clean the filter

Now that the filter is in hand, follow these simple steps to clean it:

  • Gently shake off any loose debris from the filter.
  • Fill up a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild dish soap.
  • Submerge the filter in the soapy water and gently agitate it to remove dirt and impurities.
  • Rinse the filter thoroughly under running water to remove all soap residue.

Step 4: Allow the filter to dry

Place the filter in a well-ventilated area to air-dry. Ensure it’s completely dry before reinstalling it, as excess moisture could lead to mold or mildew.

Step 5: Reassemble your air purifier

Once the filter is thoroughly dry, reinstall it in your air purifier. Make sure it’s seated correctly, and everything is snapped back into place. Plug the purifier back in, and you’re good to go!

How to Clean Non-washable Filter

Now, let’s move on to non-washable filters. While it seems you have little control over these filters, regular maintenance can help keep them at peak performance for longer. Ready?

Let’s dive into our 3-step guide!

  • Step 1: Power off and unplug the air purifier. As with washable filters, safety comes first. Ensure your purifier is off and unplugged before you start the cleaning process.
  • Step 2: Remove the filter. Gently remove the non-washable filter. Exercise caution during this process to avoid any potential damage.
  • Step 3: Gently clean the filter. For non-washable filters, a simple, careful vacuuming often does the trick. Use a brush attachment on a low setting to gently remove dust from the filter’s surface. Be thorough but gentle to avoid potential damage to the filter.

Funny story: when I first started maintaining my air filters, I used to vacuum them right inside my living room. You can already guess what happened next: a dusty sneezing attack! I quickly learned that vacuuming these filters can release some trapped particles into your indoor air. Not what we want. So, from personal experience, I highly recommend doing it outside.

Also – and here’s a pro tip – I quickly realized that vacuuming cannot remove all the tiny particles from the filter. Ironically, it felt like I was moving them from one filter to another, especially if your vacuum doesn’t have a built-in HEPA filter.

That was also confirmed in an experiment done by SmartAir. Vacuuming the air filter isn’t my favorite step since it feels like a temporary band-aid over a problem that needs a more permanent solution.

Vacuuming your filter should be an interim solution while waiting for your next filter replacement. It’s not the ultimate fix, but it can help keep things cleaner in the meantime. Just remember, at the end of the day, nothing beats a brand-new, clean filter!


Tips to Maintain Air Purifier Filters

Tips to Maintain Air Purifier Filter

Knowing how to correctly clear the air purifier filter is not the end of the story. Maintaining an air purifier isn’t just about cleaning or replacing the filters! To ensure the longevity of your air purifier and its filters, consider these helpful tips:

  • Keep your surroundings clean: A cleaner environment means less work for your air purifier. Regular housekeeping—like vacuuming and dusting—can help reduce the dust and pollutants your air purifier needs to filter out.
  • Avoid areas with high pollution: If possible, place your air purifier away from pollution-heavy regions, like the kitchen or a smoker’s room. These places bombard the filters with pollutants, pushing them to their limits and reducing their lifespan.
  • Manage your indoor humidity: High humidity encourages the growth of mold and mildew, which can clog your air purifier’s filters. Maintain a healthy indoor humidity level, ideally around 30%-50%. Use a high-quality dehumidifier when necessary.
  • Regularly check your air purifier: If available, check your air purifier’s indicators regularly. Some air purifiers have indicators for when filters need cleaning or changing. Don’t ignore these indicators – they’re there to help keep your air purifier running efficiently.

These simple and practical steps can help ensure not only clean, breathable air but also prolong the life of your air purifier and filters. Regular maintenance is critical – after all, our ultimate goal is to keep that fresh, clean air flowing!


The Best Time to Replace Air Purifier Filters

The Best Time to Replace Air Purifier Filters

It’s important to know when it’s time to replace your air purifier filters to ensure optimum performance. Here’s a quick guide depending on the type of filter:

  • HEPA Filters: HEPA filters should typically be replaced every 12-18 months. However, this can vary depending on the air quality in your environment and the amount of usage.
  • Activated Carbon Filters: These filters are excellent for removing gases, fumes, and odors. They should generally be replaced every 3-6 months, depending on the level of odors in your home.
  • Pre-Filters: Used for trapping larger particles, these should be cleaned monthly and replaced every 2-3 months for optimal performance.
  • Washable Filters: While these filters can be cleaned and reused, they also need replacement eventually—usually every 3-5 years or as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember to check your air purifier model’s guidelines, as they may differ! Frequent replacements ensure your device can effectively purify the air for a healthier home environment.



Can I clean my air purifier filter instead of replacing it?

Yes, if your air purifier has a washable filter, you can clean it. However, it will still need replacement eventually, depending on your manufacturer’s recommendation.

Can air purifier filters be cleaned and reused?

Washable filters can be cleaned and reused multiple times. Non-washable filters cannot be cleaned and should be replaced when dirty.

Can you clean air purifier filters yourself?

Yes, air purifier filters can be cleaned at home, provided they are washable.

How to clean HEPA filter air purifier?

HEPA filters should not be cleaned as they can easily be damaged. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for replacement guidelines.

Can air purifier filters be vacuumed?

A gentle vacuum can be a temporary solution for non-washable filters, but it won’t clean it thoroughly.

What is the best way to clean an air filter?

The best way to clean a washable air filter is with mild dish soap and lukewarm water, followed by air drying.

FAQs about cleaning air purifier filter
Can I wash the air purifier filter with water?

Only washable filters can be cleaned with water. Non-washable filters like HEPA and carbon filters should be replaced when they become dirty.

How do I know if my air purifier’s HEPA filter is dirty?

A HEPA filter is dirty if you notice decreased airflow or increased noise or your air purifier’s filter indicator signals it’s time to change.

What is the lifespan of a HEPA filter?

The HEPA filter’s lifespan varies depending on use and environment, but typically, it should be replaced every 12-18 months.

What happens if my air purifier filter is dirty?

A dirty filter weakens the performance of your air purifier, limiting its ability to effectively purify the air, which can lead to poorer air quality in your home.



Knowing how to clean air purifier filters is essential for both performance and hygiene. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and replacement, ensures your purifier functions optimally, helping you achieve cleaner, fresher air.

Though the process differs for washable and non-washable filters, the goal remains the same—maintaining an environment conducive to good health.

I encourage you to implement these practices and share this article with others who might benefit. Don’t underestimate the impact of a well-maintained air purifier in your quest for a healthier home environment!



Beryl, a Pharmacy graduate, combines her academic expertise with a passion for cozy homes at Hometoppicks. With 3+ years of experience in researching and testing household and home care products, Beryl manages related content at Hometoppicks. Trust in her meticulous nature and profound knowledge to provide reliable advice and product suggestions, ensuring your home remains comfortable and convenient. You can find more about her here.

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