How to Clean Air Purifier Filters

My air purifier is not working properly; could it be that the filter is dirty? Well, before throwing away an air filter that’s still practically new, clean it and see the difference. Today, we look at how to clean air purifier filters properly.

Air purifiers eliminate airborne particles from indoor air, ensuring that air in your home is clean, fresh, and healthy. For the air purifier to clean efficiently, the filter must be clean as well. Clogging can result in under-performance.

Therefore, before investing in an air purifier, remember that maintenance is important.

Air purifiers with HEPA and activated carbon filters are top-rated and most efficient for indoor air cleaning. They get rid of all pollutants such as dust and pollen as well as odours and VOCs. However, you must regularly clean the filters for efficiency.

Air purifiers use fans to pull in contaminated air and pass it through filters that trap dust, allergens, pet hair, and other irritants. Then, it releases clean air, allowing you to breathe fresh air. So, after some use, the filters fill up with dust and dirt.

If not replaced, air purifier filters lose their efficiency. The good news is, you can wash or replace the filters independently. Also, replacement filters are readily available in different retail stores once the filters wear out completely.

Choosing an air purifier with filters

Air purifiers have different filter types that also differ in cost and efficiency. However, some air purifiers are filterless. Therefore, before choosing an air purifier with filters, you must know what it takes to maintain it properly.

Here are a few pointers…

Cost of filter replacement

In addition to the cost of buying an air purifier, it is essential to look at how much you’ll spend replacing the filters. Most air purifiers come with pre-filters and HEPA filters, with the HEPA filters being more effective but more expensive.

Most manufacturers recommend a filter change after three to six months (Some up to 12 or 24 months) depending on your usage. Also, some HEPA filters are washable while others are not.

Therefore, to some extent, your filter replacement budget should determine the brand and model of the air purifier that you buy. If you cannot afford to replace clogged or worn out filters, there is no need to put on your air purifier because it will not work. It is a waste of electricity.

Choose models with cloth pre-filters

How to clean air purifier filters - Coway Airmega pre-filter
Coway Airmega pre-filter

Pre-filters trap large particles so that the air reaching the HEPA filter is not very dirty, therefore protecting it from clogging quickly. Besides, cloth pre-filters are washable and cheaper than the primary filter. Therefore, they’re very easy to maintain.

By extending the lifespan of the HEPA filter, the cost of maintenance goes down.

Related: Best Air Purifier Canada

How to clean air purifier filters

Whether to clean or replace the filters depends on the type of filters in the air purifier. Some filters should only be replaced while others can be cleaned a few times before making a switch. Amazingly, some filters can be last as long as the air purifier itself.

This information about the filters in your air purifier is found on the product description, user manual, or you can search online. Before washing the filters, ensure that the manual says so because washing non-washable filters will damage them.

Also, ensure to adhere to special washing instructions provided by the manufacturer, if any.

Cleaning the pre-filter

Pre-filters are designed to trap large dust particles before they reach the HEPA filter. Most pre-filters are washable and easy to clean because they are made of cloth, unlike the fine meshes and sensitive material on HEPA filters.

However, if it’s not very dirty, you can gently vacuum it using a hand vac.

To clean the pre-filter if it’s too dirty, turn off the air purifier, carefully remove it and wash it with mild soap and water. Ensure to scrape off all the debris and use a damp cloth to wipe away stubborn dirt.

How to clean air purifier filters - washing a pre-filter

Also, be gentle on the filter to avoid damaging it. If you realize that the pre-filter is getting damaged after several washes, it is time to replace it. Otherwise, the large dirt particles will start finding their way to the HEPA filter and cost you more in the long run.

Allow the filter to air dry before putting it back in the appliance (for about 24 hours).

Since most units are different in terms of design, specific instructions on how to remove and replace filters will be in the user manual.

Cleaning HEPA filters

How to clean air purifier filters - Levoit HEPA filter
Levoit HEPA filter

HEPA filters are very delicate and come in two types, washable and non-washable HEPA filters. Only wash the HEPA filters after confirming that the user manual or product description says so.

Washable HEPA filters (sometimes called permanent filters), should be rinsed with cold running water till the water turns clear. Once you are through, leave the filter to air dry for about 24 hours to avoid mould growth inside the air purifier.

If the HEPA filter is too dirty, however, you should start by gently vacuuming the dirt off.

On the other hand, avoid washing non-washable HEPA filters, as the name suggests. To clean such, gently tap the debris off the filter using your fingers. Also, you can use a vacuum cleaner but ensure that you’re very gentle.

How to clean activated carbon filters

How to clean air purifier filters - Rabbit Air carbon filter
Rabbit Air carbon filter

Activated carbon filters absorb most gases, smoke, odours, and VOCs. However, they usually don’t last for long. But, if you feel that the filter is not effective after a short period of use, it may be clogged.

To clean an activated carbon filter, vacuum it gently then put it outside to sun-dry for about two or three hours. There is no need of washing an activated carbon/charcoal filter.

If you own a Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier, here’s how to clean the air filters:


The right air purifier will ensure that your indoor air is clean and healthy, but you must also take care of it by cleaning or replacing the filters. Cleaning the filters the right way and on time will ensure that you always breathe fresh air.

Besides, you will save a lot of money associated with replacing filters in the long run.

Remember to always switch off the air purifier before removing the filters for safety. As you can see, cleaning air filters is a DIY activity. However, if you have any specific queries on how to clean your air purifier filter, do not hesitate to let us know.

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