Cleaning an Air Purifier Filter Made Easy

How to Clean an Air Purifier Filter

To clean an air purifier filter, start by turning off and unplugging the device, then removing the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The cleaning method depends on the filter type. For HEPA filters, gently vacuum the surface to remove dust.

If it’s washable, rinse with cool water. Activated carbon filters should be dry-brushed and sun-exposed to remove odors. Pre-filters can be vacuumed and, if washable, cleaned with mild soap and water. Washable filters can be rinsed under cool water and gently scrubbed if needed.

After cleaning, I recommend letting the filter dry completely for at least 24 hours in a well-ventilated area before reinstalling it. Ensure proper placement when putting the filter back into the purifier. Remember to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning frequency and when to replace the filter instead of cleaning it.

I highly recommend removing and cleaning your air filter outside because of the amount of dust that will be coming off the air purifier and filter. This is also important for anyone in your home who has severe allergies.

Key Takeaways

  • Always unplug the air purifier before cleaning
  • Remove the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • HEPA – Vacuum gently, rinse if washable
  • Activated carbon – Dry brush and sun exposure
  • Pre-filters – Vacuum and wash if applicable
  • Washable filters – Rinse, soak if needed, gentle scrubbing
  • Allow filters to dry completely before reinstalling
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations for cleaning frequency
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive water when cleaning
  • Never reinstall damp filters to prevent mold growth

Preparation for Cleaning

Before you begin the cleaning process, I suggest gathering the necessary supplies.

  • A vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment
  • A small paintbrush for hard-to-reach areas and cloth
  • Mild soap (if applicable)
  • Clean water
  • Towels or a clean, dry surface

Safety precautions

  • Always unplug the air purifier before cleaning.
  • Wear a mask and gloves if you have allergies or sensitivities.

5 Cleaning Steps for Your Air Filter

  1. Turn off and unplug the air purifier.
  2. Remove the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Gently remove the filter, using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment vacuum the inside of the air purifier.
  4. Using a small paint brush, remove any dust on and around the fan, using a damp cloth, and wipe down the inside of the purifier.
  5. Determine the appropriate cleaning method based on your filter type.

Cleaning Methods for Different Filter Types

HEPA and Common Filters

  • Vacuum gently to remove surface dust.
  • If washable, rinse with cool water (avoid hot water as it can damage the filter fibers).

Activated Carbon Filters

  • Use a dry brush to remove loose particles.
  • Expose to sunlight for a few hours to help remove odors.


  • Vacuum to remove loose debris.
  • If washable, clean with mild soap and water, then rinse thoroughly.

Washable Filters

  • Rinse under cool running water.
  • For stubborn dirt, soak in a solution of mild soap and water.
  • Gently scrub with a soft brush if needed.

Drying and Reinstalling the Filter

Proper drying is crucial to prevent mold growth and maintain filter integrity.

  • Allow the filters to air dry completely before reinstallation, this could take up to 24 hours depending on the humidity levels.
  • Place filters in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Ensure the filter is completely dry to the touch before putting it back in the purifier.

When reinstalling, make sure the filter is placed correctly according to the arrows or markings on the filter frame.

The Timing of Cleaning Your Air Filter

Knowing when to clean your air purifier filter is crucial for maintaining its effectiveness.

  • Check your manufacturer’s recommendations for specific cleaning schedules set up a reminder on your phone, or calendar, and write the date it was changed on a sticker and place it on the air purifier.
  • Look for signs that indicate cleaning is needed, such as reduced airflow or visible dust accumulation.
  • Consider your usage patterns and environment – homes with pets or in dusty areas may require more frequent cleaning.

Sometimes life gets busy, and we need reminders. For months after my first air purifier, I’d been lazy about maintenance, figuring it was doing its job well enough. Then came allergy season. As I sat sniffling and sneezing, eyes watering, I glanced at my neglected air purifier and had an “aha” moment.

That weekend, I gave it a thorough clean and the difference was almost immediate. Within days, I was breathing easier, sleeping better, and

Maintaining Your Air Purifier Between Cleanings

  • Regularly dust the exterior of the unit.
  • Keep the area around the purifier clean and free from obstructions.
  • Address sources of air pollution in your home, such as using doormats and vacuuming regularly.

When to Replace Instead of Clean

  • Look for signs of irreparable damage or wear, such as tears or discoloration.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule.
  • Consider the cost-effectiveness of cleaning versus replacing, especially for non-washable filters.

Tips for Extending Filter Life

  • Use the appropriate purifier size for your space to prevent overworking.
  • Running the purifier at optimal settings as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Maintaining other household systems, like HVAC, to reduce overall indoor air pollution.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Never use harsh chemicals or excessive water when cleaning filters.
  • Avoid cleaning non-washable filters with water or cleaning solutions.
  • Never reinstall damp filters, as this can lead to mold growth and reduced efficiency.

Joel Simon

Joel, a seasoned blogger with a passion for home products, has been making waves in the digital realm for the past seven years. With a knack for crafting insightful reviews and informative posts, He has become a trusted voice in the world of home improvement and lifestyle blogging.

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