Things Air Purifiers Can Get Rid Of

How To Clean An Air Purifier Filter The Right Way

Air Purifier Filter

I am not sure why but as though HEPA filters are the only type of air purifier filters, most of the info I find when looking for instructions on how to clean air purifier filters is about cleaning HEPA filters. However, there are many other types of filters out there and here I cover cleaning instructions for several common types of air purifier filters, in case anyone is looking to clean more than just a HEPA filter.

Before we begin our discussion though, in summary, how do you clean an air purifier filter? How an air purifier filter is cleaned depends on the type of air purifier filter. Some air purifier filters cannot be cleaned and simply have to be replaced. Other types can be cleaned only by vacuuming or blowing with compressed air, some can be wiped with a damp cloth, while others can be washed by soaking in water.

Besides showing you how to clean your air purifier, in this post I am also going to share with you safety tips, what tools you should use for cleaning, links to user manuals with cleaning instructions for various common brands of air purifiers, and much more. My aim here is to help you find out exactly how to clean your particular air purifier filter, so this post is accordingly quite lengthy as I try to cater for everyone's type of air purifier filter.

To save time, do feel free to skip around to the sections of this post that are most relevant to you. However, before you skip around, for those of you who are completely clueless about cleaning an air purifier filter, I suggest you cover the first three sections of the post for some useful background information that will give you a deeper understanding of what you are doing when you are cleaning your air purifier filter.

Should You Clean Your Air Purifier Filter?

Before you try and clean your air purifier filter, the first thing you should ask yourself is whether your air purifier filter can even be cleaned or not.

Whether you can clean your air purifier filter depends on a couple of things. First and foremost, it depends on the type of air purifier you have. Secondly, it depends on the state of your filter.

There are many different types of air purifiers out there. Some have filters and others are filterless and there are even further differences between the various filtered and filterless types.  

If you happen to have a filterless air purifier then you technically have no filter to clean. Regardless you may be able to clean the section of the purifier that gets dirty as your device purifies your air. 

Air purifiers without a filter usually have a  component that plays the same fundamental role as a filter would in an air purifier with a filter.

Just as a filter traps airborne pollutants, a given component in a filterless air purifier gets rid of indoor air pollutants and this component also eventually needs cleaning or replacement to continue operating efficiently. For this reason, in this post, allow me to also use the word filter when referring to the purification component of filterless air purifiers. 

Usually, the component that is equivalent to a filter in a filterless air purifier is either some form of UV bulb or a set of metal rods or plates or some kind of purification container or chamber whereby indoor pollutants are trapped or neutralized. 

For some filterless air purifiers, their filtration system equivalent may need cleaning while others can operate well for their entire life without the need for cleaning at all.

As for air purifiers with filters, as I said earlier, not all filters are the same. Accordingly, you will find some filters are washable or cleanable while others absolutely cannot be tampered with. The common type of air purifier filter is a HEPA filter. 

Some of the other types you get are electrostatic filters, charged media filters, activated carbon filters, and pleated filters. Filters are further classified into permanent or disposable filters and you can refer to these as mechanical filters as they do not mainly use chemical reactions to get rid of air pollutants.

Permanent filters usually last up to the lifetime of your device but they can be replaced should the need arise. On the other hand, disposable filters need to be periodically replaced depending on how often you use your air purifier.  

Now, when it comes to cleaning these filters, you will find that, though they can be cleaned to some extent, it is not a good idea to clean HEPA and activated carbon filters. 

HEPA filters are made of paper fibers and if you try to clean them, either by washing with water or vacuuming you end up destroying the fibers and making your filter less effective at cleaning your air. This applies to most mechanical filters as the materials they are made of are not water-resistant.

That said some HEPA filters are designed to be cleanable and reusable. You can extend the life of these types of HEPA filters for a little while by washing them.

However, eventually, you will have to replace your filter. Washing it is likely to make it less effective though this is likely not going to be as bad as in the case of non-washable filters. 

Other types of mechanical air purifier filters that can be washed include Two Pole Active (TPA) Tech and metallic filters. These filters are more suitable for cleaning as they are made of stronger and water-resistant materials.

Let us now consider how the state of your filter affects whether you can wash it or not. This is more straightforward. Whether you can clean your filter or not will also highly depend on how worn out your filter is. In other words, if your filter is worn out and has pretty much served its useful life, there is no use cleaning it and you would rather just replace it altogether.

So from everything I have said so far you can immediately see that in certain circumstances you should clean your air purifier filter while in others you should not. In summary, based on what I have said you should generally clean your air purifier filter if your air purifier has a filterless purification component. 

The decision becomes more complicated when you have an air purifier with a filter. The first step when it comes to filters is to check what your air purifier manual says about cleaning your filter. 

If you cannot find your manual anywhere, the next step is to determine whether your filter is a HEPA filter or any other type of filter that is known not to be wash friendly. If you find your air purifier filter is one of those that gets damaged easily if washed or mishandled, my suggestion is not to bother cleaning it.

This applies mainly to HEPA, pleated, and activated carbon filters. Should you ever be tempted to clean these, rather opt to replace your filter. Worst case scenario, you can attempt to clean a non-washable filter only if you plan to replace your filter within the month. This way you won’t be running a filter that does half the job for too long. 

Which Air Purifier Filters Can You Clean And Not Clean?

So if you have read this far, you would have seen earlier that I mentioned depending on which type of air purifier you have, you can clean an air purifier filter.  

There are many types of air purifiers out there but unfortunately, when you look for info on how to clean an air purifier filter, most people will only tell you about how to clean one type of air purifier filter namely, a HEPA filter.

This makes it seem like there is only one type of air purifier, however that's not the case. There are several types out there and they all come with different filtration or purification components that you may or may not be able to clean.

The most common types you will find besides purifiers with HEPA filters include activated carbon air purifiers, ionic air purifiers, electrostatic air purifiers, thermodynamic sterilization (TSS) air purifiers, photocatalytic oxidation (PCO/PECO) air purifiers, Ozone Generators, and water-based air purifiers. 

Among air purifiers that use a filter in its traditional form (i.e. a sieve that captures pollutants), besides HEPA filters, other types of filters include electrostatic filters, Two Pole Active (TPA) technology filters, and charged media filters. Then you have less common air purifiers like biotech air purifiers, which rely on biological decomposition processes to clean your air.

I won’t show you how to clean all of the different types but in summary, after quite a bit of research and from my experience I found that most types of air purifiers can be cleaned in one way or another. 

The main types of air purifiers you will struggle to clean or not be able to clean at all are the ones with a molecular sieve-like your typical HEPA air purifier. This is because the materials used to make these types of filters are quite fragile.

Without further discussion below is a table summarizing the types of air purifier filters you can clean and not clean.

Types Of Air Purifiers That Can Be Cleaned

List of Washable/Cleanable Types of Air Purifier Filters

List of Types Air Purifier Filters That Should not be Cleaned

  • PCO filters
  • UV filters
  • TSS filters
  • Ionic filters
  • Biotech filters
  • Ozone Generator filters
  • Water-Based air purifier filters 
  • Air Revitalizer filters
  • Electrostatic filters
  • TPA filters
  • Elementary/Prefilters

  • Most HEPA filters
  • Most Activated Carbon filters
  • Other types of soluble material filters









If you would like to discover more about each of these types of air purifiers, you can read my post about different types of air purifiers here.

Common Tools Used For Cleaning Air Purifier Filters

Now that I have shown you which air purifiers you can clean I thought it would be wise to quickly show you which tools you should expect to use when cleaning before we jump into the discussion on how to clean the different types of air purifiers.

The common tools used when cleaning air purifier filters include, 

  1. Screwdrivers
  2. Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
  3. Handheld Steamers
  4. Compressed Air Duster Can
  5. Cloth
  6. Neutral Liquid Soap
  7. Hair Dryer
  8. Cleaning Sponge
  9. Gloves
  10. Face Mask
  11. Brush
  12. Alcohol Wipes
  13. Razor Blade
  14. Dish Washing Machine

Out of all the tools listed above, I have found it is always good to have a set of screwdrivers on standby. Some air purifiers may not need you to unscrew anything to open them up and get to the filters but if your air purifier does, you will be glad you came prepared with some screwdrivers.

Before cleaning anything, my philosophy is to always have the necessary cleaning supplies so you can clean things thoroughly and without ruining them

Accordingly, in the table below, based on what I have seen as common practice, I have tried to show you the specific tools you will need depending on the type of filter you are cleaning. Use this table as a quick guide to get the proper tools to clean your air purifier well.

Cleaning Tools Required By Type Of Air Purifier Filter

Type Of Air Purifier Filter

Tools Needed To Clean Filter

PCO

Cloth, Compressed Air Duster Can, Liquid Soap, Screw Driver Set

UV

Liquid Soap, Cloth, Compressed Air Duster Can

TSS 

Cloth, Brush, Liquid Soap

Ionic

Liquid Soap, Cloth, Brush, Screw Driver Set

Biotech

Cloth, Brush, Liquid Soap

Ozone Generator

Cloth, Razor Blade, Alcohol Wipes, Screwdriver Set

Water-Based/ Revitalizer

Liquid Soap, Cleaning Sponge, Steamer

Electrostatic

Liquid Soap, Cloth, Brush

TPA

Dish Washing Machine, Cloth, Liquid Soap, Cloth, Cleaning Sponge, Hair Drier, Brush, Screw Driver

Some Molecular Sieve Filters

Compressed Air Can, Vacuum Cleaner

Elementary/Pre-Filter

Liquid Soap, Cloth, Compress Air Can, Brush

How To Clean The Various Types Of Air Purifier Filters

With the knowledge of what air purifier filters you can clean and what tools you need to clean each type of filter, we can now have a look at how to clean each type of air purifier.

Besides general advice on how to clean the various cleanable filters, I have also listed some common air purifier brands and links to their manuals where you can find step by step cleaning instructions. 

If you are more of a monkey see monkey do type of person, I have also included videos showing you step by step how to clean a couple of popular types of air purifiers

How To Clean PCO Air Purifier Filters

PCO filters are normally located at the core of an air purifier. Some come with pre-filters, and some even with an activated carbon filter. The PCO filter consists of a high spectrum UVC bulb and titanium oxide catalyst metal plate.

Normally PCO filters can go without cleaning. However if you for whatever reason want to clean this filter, the only part of the filter you can clean is the bulb and its compartment. You will struggle to reach the metal catalyst part of the filter and even if you could, do not tamper with it.

Avoid touching that part of the PCO filter when cleaning as it's easy to damage and once you damage the catalyst your PCO filter becomes pretty much useless. The part you want to focus your cleaning efforts on is the bulb. Make sure the bulb has cooled down and is not hot when cleaning.

To clean the bulb, make sure you turn off the air purifier and unplug it from any power supply. Next, open the air purifier up to gain access to the filter. Most PCO air purifiers open up easily without the need for tools but always have a screwdriver on hand just in case there is a latch or screw to unscrew to get to your filter.

Once you have access to the filter which is normally known as the cell, you usually need to twist and unscrew the bulb to pull it out. When you manage to pull it out, use compressed air or a vacuum to remove dust & debris.

Once you have cleaned the bulb, and filtration area, close up the air purifier and that’s it you have cleaned your PCO filter.  Please note that your cleaning approach here will not apply to all PCO filters. Some filters are a closed system or in some sort of chamber in which you cannot access the bulb or metal catalyst plate.

How To Clean UV Air Purifier Filters

To clean your UV filter, you follow pretty much the same steps as you would a PCO filter. You have to switch off and unplug your device from the socket. Then open up your air purifier to pull out the bulb. 

Wipe the UV bulb with a damp cloth and place it back in the air purifier after drying it thoroughly. Make sure the bulb has completely cooled down before cleaning. Some Air purifier manufacturers with the UV feature advise against touching the bulb because the oil and filth on your hands can make it less effective.

If that is the case for your air purifier, you can alternatively use compressed air or a vacuum to get rid of dust and filth accumulated on and around your air purifier’s UV filter.

How To Clean TSS Air Purifier Filters

TSS air purifiers have a ceramic core that heats up to over 400 °F and the heat burns all pollutants that pass through the purifier. Based on all the info I could find, it is not recommended to clean TSS air purifier filters.

Even if you tried to open up the device to try and clean the ceramic core, chances are you will just end up messing up your air purifier. This kind of air purifier filtration/purification system simply does not need cleaning. So if you own one of these types of air purifiers you never have to worry about cleaning.

How To Clean Ionic Air Purifier Filters

I am not a big fan of ionic air purifiers because they produce a dangerous byproduct called ozone but nevertheless if you happen to own one they are one of the easiest air purifier filters to clean. The filters are usually metal rods placed at the core of the air purifier.

The filters generate static and this causes them to attract and neutralize air pollutants using ions. Because of the way they work, ionic air purifiers end up collecting a lot of pollutant particles on their filters and this happens quite often.

Eventually, the filters get so covered up with pollutants that they begin to be ineffective and the only way to get them working properly is cleaning them. Fortunately, all you have to do is wash the filters the same way you would wash ordinary dishes.

Most ionizer filters can be removed from an air purifier easily. Some air purifiers may need you to use a screwdriver to open the ionic filter compartment, so have one on hand in case. If you cannot remove yours, then to clean your ionizer simply wipe the filter with a damp cloth with soapy water, being careful not to let any water drip into your air purifier unit.

If yours has a removable ionic filter then you can simply pull out the filter and wash it clean with soap. Once it's washed, dry your ionic filter with a cloth and leave it in the sun or let it catch some air for an hour before placing back into your air purifier. Just make sure to only clean your filter once you have unplugged and turned off your air purifier.

How To Clean Biotech Air Purifier Filters

Biotech filters vary but they usually consist of a chamber whereby you add a solution that encourages certain microorganisms and bacteria to grow which digest all kinds of air pollutants and turn them into harmless by-products.

Accordingly, when it comes to cleaning these air purifiers, all that's involved is washing the chamber area whereby the bacteria are housed. Biotech air purifier filters are designed to be cleaned. You simply empty the chamber whereby the bacteria are housed and wash it with soap and water.

Thereafter you wipe the purification chamber dry and reassemble the air purifier once the chamber is completely dry. Other parts of the air purifier link to the filtration compartment that need to be cleaned as well and some biofilter based air purifiers come with extra layers of filtration.

If that's the case for yours then you just clean your additional filters as I have instructed here for the particular filter. If your type of filter is not on my list, just ask in the comments and I will try to help you find out how to clean it. Otherwise, that's pretty much it about cleaning biotech filters.

How To Clean Ozone Generator Filters

Ozone generators use a set of metal plates to create ozone which in turn cleans your air. Over time these plates get dirty as stuff sticks to them through oxidation. As more filth accumulates on the plate your ozone generator becomes less effective and you have to either clean or replace its plates.

To clean your ozone generator’s air-cleaning unit, for most ozone generators you will need to start by unscrewing the device to gain access to the plates. On the plates, you will usually see some silver or gold metal lines, and these are usually covered with some solid dirt that can be scraped off.

If yours looks as described above, scrape off the gunk using a razor blade. If there is no gunk then you can skip the scraping and continue by wiping your appliance’s metal plates with alcohol wipes. Make sure to pull out the plates from your device so you can wipe and scrape them properly.

You also want to blow compressed air and wipe the rest of the inside of the ozone generator but be sure to avoid tampering with any electrical connections or visible circuit board parts. Then finally make sure the plates you wiped are all dry and the metal terminals make good contact with each other when you reassemble your air purifier.

How To Clean Water Based or Air Revitalizer Filters

Air Revitalizers clean your air by using water in the filtration chamber to filter out pollutants from your air. Pollutants are sucked out of the air into the filtration chamber and that’s where all the filth you have to clean is.

To clean an air revitalizer, start by turning off your appliance. Next, you wanna take the cover of the revitalizer off and leave it somewhere safe facing downwards for it to dry. The cover usually holds a spinning shaft that's part of the filtration system which you can take off and clean.

Once you have disconnected the spinning shaft, rinse and clean it with tap water and dry it with a cloth or towel. Next, dirty air goes through some gaps either in your revitalizer water chamber or on its cover.

You need to clean these gaps and the quickest way I have found to do this is by rubbing the gaps clean using cotton ear swabs which easily fit in the small spaces. Thereafter you need to use a dry cotton cloth, to wipe off any remaining dirt on the rest of the revitalizer cover.

Lastly, wash the chamber of your appliance as you would a lunch box or any glass or plastic container. Dry all the components of your purifier and reassemble it and you are done cleaning an air revitalizer filter. With Air revitalizers, cleaning the filter is essentially cleaning the whole appliance.

How To Clean  Electrostatic Air Purifier Filters

Just like ionic air purifiers, electrostatic air purifiers are very easy to clean and maintain. In the same way, the filters are usually placed in the middle of the air purifier, and it’s just a matter of opening up your purifier to pull out the filter for you to clean it.

However, unlike ionic air purifier filters which are normally in the form of metal rods, electrostatic filters are normally a set of metal plates. Once you can pull the filter out of your purifier, you soak it in a bucket or sink of soapy water and wash it like you would your dishes.

Once you dry the filter completely, you simply place it back in your air purifier. Like any other purifier make sure your appliance is turned off and unplugged during cleaning.

How To Clean TPA Air Purifier Filters

If you hate the whole idea of replacing filters but you still want an air purifier with the power of a mechanical filter then TPA based air purifiers are designed with you in mind. Once you notice your air purifier is dirty and needs cleaning, you can clean your TPA filter either by hand or by placing it in a dishwasher.

Start cleaning your TPA filter by opening up your air purifier to pull out the filter and wiping the area where your filter sits with a damp soapy cloth and rinsing with a normal damp cloth thereafter once you pull out the filter. After you have done that, you can get to cleaning the filter.

To clean it by hand, soak it in soapy water using a neutral detergent and nothing corrosive. Don’t soak for longer than ten minutes. Thereafter use a brush outside of the filter to get rid of visible pollutants and dirt. As for the dishwasher method, simply wash it as you would dinner plates.

Once you are done washing, by either method the next step is to dry your filter. You can use an air drier, or dry it with natural sunlight. Leave the filter to dray for a day or two. You need to make sure it's completely dry before placing it back into your air purifier.

How To Clean Elementary/Prefilters

A common component of conventional air purifiers is an elementary filter. An elementary filter is also commonly referred to as a pre-filter. When cleaning any air purifier’s filtration system, the first thing you want to do is to check if the system has a pre-filter.

If you have a pre-filter on your appliance, that's the first part of your filter you should clean. Some pre-filters are disposable but most I have seen can be washed and reused. Your pre-filter is the first line of filtration before pollutants reach the rest of your air purifier’s filtration system.

Usually, the pre-filter traps all the bigger-sized pollutant particles in the air like hair, lint etc.. and leaves smaller particles, like smoke, and dust among others, for the rest of the filtration system. This is why it gets quite filthy.

To clean your elementary filter, first, make sure you have turned off and unplugged your air purifier then open up your air purifier’s filtration compartment with a screwdriver or door latch of your purifier depending on how your purifier is designed. 

Once open, pull out the pre-filter only. Make sure you wear a mask and pull it out gently so that you don't knock the contaminants trapped on the filter back into your air.

Preferably I would do the whole cleaning process outside and away from any area and air I do not want to pollute. Pre-filters are usually quite solid so before doing anything you want to gently beat and shake the filter to get rid of loose dust or debris on it.

Once you have given the filter a good thump, you can then wash it gently with soap and water on all sides. As you shake the pre-filter, you can also use a Compressed Air Duster Can and a soft brush to clear out any stubborn contaminants before starting to wash the filter.

Thereafter, when the filter is clean, wipe it dry with a clean cloth and leave it outside the purifier to dry completely while you replace or clean the rest of your air purifier’s filters. When everything is cleaned up, put your air purifier back together and you are good to go.

How To Clean Mechanical Air Purifier Filters

There are many types of molecular sieve air purifiers. The difference between the various conventional air filters is the type of filter media they use. The most common conventional air filter-based air purifier is the HEPA filter.

You then have activated carbon-based filters which are usually combined with other filters in one air purifier, pleated filters, metal filters, foam filters, polyester filters, and electrostatic filters among others, These all use a mechanical filtration approach and are made from materials ranging from fiberglass, cotton, polypropylene fabric to aluminum.

Many of these types of filters especially HEPA filters cannot be washed or cleaned and you are better off replacing them but there is a category of mechanical air purifier filters including some HEPA filters that are classified as washable.

If your mechanical air filter is labeled as washable then you should be able to safely wash it. That said I always advise caution when attempting to clean any mechanical filter, especially those made out of more fragile materials like HEPA and or foam-based air filters.

When you clean them you have to be very gentle and use low-pressure compressed air and soft-bristled brushes to stroke away loose dust and debris. Once you have powered off and unplugged your purifier, the cleaning process normally starts with taking the filter out of your air purifier.

You should do all your mechanical filter cleaning outside because you risk reintroducing pollutants on the filter into your indoor air if you accidentally knock the filter or as you try to brush off the filth stuck on your filter.

When you are outside you also want to wear a safety mask to avoid inhaling the contaminants as you clean. A pair of gloves will also come in handy if you are like me and hate skin contact with dirt. Once you've covered yourself, for some of these filters besides using compressed air and a brush you can use a vacuum cleaner on low speed to suck up some of the filth stuck to the filter.

Once you have dealt with the loose dirt on your filter, if you have a type that can be washed in water, then the next step is to wash it with water. Usually, that entails running water over the filter or soaking it in soapy water and rinsing and wiping afterward.

With more rigid metal and plastic filters you can even place your filter in a dishwasher or wash it like you do ordinary dishes. Then the next part is drying your filter. 

Depending on which filter you have, some can withstand drying with hot hair from a hair drier but to stay on the safe side rather wipe down your filter as best as you can and leave it in the sun or next to a fan to dry naturally.

You must also be careful of mold and bacteria growth on your filter if it stays moist for too long. So dry your air purifier filter as fast as you can after washing with water. While your filter is drying you can then rinse the area where your filter is placed in your air purifier.

Wipe it with a damp soapy cloth then rinse afterward with a damp cloth with no soap. Then once everything is dry you can put your air purifier back together. Throughout the cleaning process, make sure to avoid tampering with and harshly touching the filter material.

As for anyone who happens to have activated carbon filters, to clean them, you simply let them bake in the sun and the sun does all the work for you. Should you need to shake off the dirt from an activated carbon filter or any filter for that matter, do it ever so gently.

So, this is pretty much all there is to cleaning a mechanical air purifier. I however must repeat this one thing, be careful with cleaning some of these mechanical filters, especially HEPA filters.

The general recommendation for HEPA filters and similarly fragile mechanical filters is to replace them. But if worst comes to worst and you find yourself having to clean filters in the fragile category or even non-cleanable mechanical air purifier filters, please avoid water and vacuum cleaners.

Rather use a compressed air can and gentle brush only to get the filter as clean as you possibly can. All ways of cleaning a HEPA filter cause it to become less effective but some cleaning approaches are more damaging than others. So you want to use the least damaging approach and the above approach is the least damaging approach for cleaning HEPA filters I have found so far.

Links To Air Purifier Manuals With Filter Cleaning Instructions By Brand

Now if you are looking to clean a filter for a specific air purifier brand, here is the list of air purifier brands commonly asked about. I could not find links for everything but I found links to most of the manuals as you can see in the table. 

That said for those air purifiers with no readily available cleaning instruction manual, based on the information available and intuition I managed to provide a summary of how to clean their filters. Let me know in the comments below if your air purifier is not on the list and you need some help finding its cleaning instructions.

Air Purifier Cleaning Manual

Cleaning Summary

Cleaning Difficulty

Filters cannot be washed. Pre-filters and air outlet can be cleaned with a damp cloth

Medium

Wash pre-filter in a washing machine on a low-temperature cycle. Alternatively, vacuum pre-filter if not very dirty. Main filter is not washable

Medium

The filter is not washable.  The Pre-filter should be vacuumed.

Medium

Clean the pre-filter with a vacuum cleaner or with water depending on the level of contamination. A3 Medium Filter can only be vacuumed. HEPA and carbon filters cannot be cleaned.

Medium

Dust gently with a soft brush. Filters are non-washable

Medium

Filter is not washable. Can only clean area where filter is placed by wiping with a damp cloth

Easy

Pre-filter can be vacuumed using a vacuum cleaner with a brush nozzle.

Medium

The filter is not washable. The pre-filter can be vacuumed or washed with water or replaced. Some models like the Hitachi EP-NZG70J have a filter that can be vacuumed and gently cleaned with a vacuum nozzle brush.

Hard

Pre-filter and front grill can be washed in warm soapy water for most models. Main filters are not washable.

Medium

HEPA filter can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner attached with a nozzle brush. Do not wash any of the filters

Medium

Most models have a washable filter, ionizer, or cell. Some pre-filters cannot be washed while others can be. Washable parts can be soaked in soapy water and rinsed. Cooldown UV bulb before wiping with a damp cloth

Medium

Pre-filter can be washed in warm soapy water for some models. For many models, HEPA can be vacuumed and gently brushed with a vacuum brush nozzle.

Medium

Filters cannot be cleaned and must be replaced

Not Applicable

Filters cannot be washed with water. Vacuum the filter with a soft brush nozzle to clean.

Medium

Koisos

Filters must be replaced and are not washable

Not Applicable

For some models clean the inside and outside of the HEPA filter using a soft brush or vacuum hose to remove hair, dust, and large particles. Do not clean the filter with water or other liquids

Medium

Place the filter in a sunny and ventilated place to eliminate odors. Use a vacuum cleaner or soft cloth to remove any dust from the ventilation holes and the filter compartment. Filters are not washable

Medium

Novita

The pre-filter is washable in soapy warm water. The rest of the filters cannot be cleaned

Medium

Can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle brush attachment. The filter must be brushed gently and with a soft vacuum brush nozzle. Do not use water.

Medium

Collector cell can be soaked in water mixed with mild nonabrasive detergent and rinsed thoroughly thereafter. Carbon filter cannot be cleaned. Pre-filter can be washed with water. Ozone generators can only be vacuumed

Medium

HEPA filter can be vacuumed with a soft brush nozzle attached to a vacuum cleaner to gently brush away pollutants and dirt. Pre-filters can be washed in water.

Medium

Some models have filters that can be vacuumed while others do not. All pre-filters can be washed.

Medium

Use the brush attachment on vacuum cleaner to remove lint and dirt from all filters. If necessary, wash the pre-filter in warm water with a mild detergent. Only the pre-filter is washable and other filters should not be exposed to water.

Medium

Some filters can be washed while others need to be replaced. HEPA filter can be vacuumed and gently cleaned with a brush nozzle attached to the vacuum cleaner.

Medium

Use the brush or crevice nozzle of your vacuum to gently clean the HEPA filter for some models. Pre-filters can be washed. Do not expose the HEPA filter to water.

Medium

Filters must be replaced

Not Applicable

AOC carbon filter for some models can be cleaned by holding under running tap water. Pre-filter can be rinsed with room temperature water. Do not use soap or detergent. HEPA filter has to be replaced.

Medium

Filters must be replaced

Not Applicable

How Often Should You Clean Your Air Purifier Filter?

One of the other questions that I have come across once people figure out how to clean their air purifier filters, is how often an air purifier filter should be cleaned.  The answer varies a lot depending on what kind of purifier you have, how polluted your air is, and how often you use it.

From personal observation, I have seen the cleaning frequency range from weekly cleaning to about every 3 months. With improving technology, you don’t need to even worry so much about this as air purifiers are increasingly being made with a notification feature to tell you when your filter needs to be cleaned or replaced.

That said, the trend I have seen is that air purifiers with permanent and washable filters usually need cleaning every 3 to 6 months. For pre-filters, it’s usually recommended that you clean them every 30 days. But go to some Indian or Chinese cities, washing your air purifier pre-filters weekly is the common pattern as they have higher pollution levels.

When it comes to cleaning frequency, I have found what generally works well is to check your air purifier every 2 weeks to see how your filters are doing. You will easily pick up if any cleaning is needed. 

Otherwise, if you have no time, just schedule monthly and quarterly routine cleaning. Most importantly, get your a user manual to see what is recommended and follow the schedule with your tweaks based on your observation as we all live under different environmental conditions.

Safety Do’s and Don’ts When Cleaning Your Air Purifier Filter?

The other thing you have to make sure you do when cleaning your air purifier filter is to take the necessary safety measures. First and foremost, air purifiers are electrical appliances. Please make sure you turn off the power and unplug your air purifier before attempting to clean it or your filters.

With filters that use UV lights of any form, you have to let the light bulb cool down before you do anything. UV light is also bad for your eyes and body. You can mess up your eyes by looking directly at UV light and if you expose your skin to it long enough it can burn you. To avoid all this, start by shutting your air purifier off before you start cleaning your filters.

Then you have the other side of the story. These are the precautions you take during cleaning. When you are cleaning your filters, you will usually be handling all the junk that was in your air. If you are not careful, you could reintroduce this stuff into your environment. 

To avoid this, clean your air purifier outdoors if you can or somewhere where you contain the effect of any accidental reintroduction of pollutants into your air. I highly recommend you wear a safety mask and gloves to protect yourself. This mostly for air purifiers with filters that trap pollutants rather than destroy them.

Checking your air purifier manual will also go a long way in keeping you safe when it comes to cleaning filters. Your manual can also help you avoid ruining your purifier or its filtration system. You will know what detergents to avoid, which parts of your filter to avoid touching and all the other do’s and don’ts. 

A great place to find air purifier manuals with cleaning instructions is here at Manualslib. They have manuals for almost all popular air purifiers, just visit their site and enter your air purifier brand name and model in their search bar and if they have the manual you can view on their website or download it for offline use.

Low Maintenance Air Purifiers You Can Try If You Hate Frequently Cleaning Or Replacing Your Purifier’s Filter

In conclusion,  if you dread having to clean your air purifier or replacing filters frequently you will be glad to know there are alternative air purifiers that will save you time and money when it comes to maintenance. 

The type of air purifiers you want to go for if this is you are PCO air purifiers. Get a PCO air purifier if you have no patience for maintaining an appliance. For more information on all this, check my post on which air purifiers are easiest to clean here and which PCO air purifier I highly recommend here.

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