How to Clean an Air Purifier Filter The Right Way

One of the most important tasks for ensuring that your indoor air quality is of a high standard is cleaning your home air filter.

We understand, your life is busy enough anyway without going out of your way to burden you week with cleaning your air filter, but needs must and of course, you want to ensure your air purifier filter is producing as clean air as possible.

Cleaning your filter regularly will ensure it’s working effectively; otherwise, why invest in an air purifier at all? This task is also particularly important if you live in an area with high levels of air pollution which can lead to larger particles making their way into the air.

The cleaning process we detail in this guide will remove the dust and dirt that collects on the air purifier filter as well as pre-filter.

These airborne particles will gradually begin to attach to your home air purifier filter, reducing the filter’s ability to clean effectively. In turn this can deteriorate the quality of your indoor air.

Clean or Replace the Filter?

Depending on the type of filter in your air purifier, you may need to remove the filter and replace it, or if you have opted for a washable filter (either intentionally or by chance), you will need to wash it regularly.

The critical question is if you aren’t entirely sure, how do you know which type of air purifier filter you have in your home?

The best thing you can do is consult the manual of your or air purifier or HVAC unit (if relevant). The manual should give you a good idea of whether you have the type of unit that requires you to replace the filtering system or just clean it. Disposable filters usually work for a few months before needing to be replaced; you will likely notice a deterioration in performance before you need to change it or your purifier will have a built-in system to notify you when it is time to do so. You’ll want to check if it’s a carbon filter too because many of the best air purifiers have them, and they are likely to require filter replacement.

We do not recommend that you clean and wash a disposable filter, as it can start to collect mold and mildew, doing more harm than good, especially in the long term.

air purifier being cleaned

How to Clean an Air Purifier Filter – Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you’ve established what type of air filter you have, it’s time to start taking action. If it’s a disposable filter, then you will want to remove the filter and replace it. If it’s a washable filter, then great news – simply follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be done in no time.

You’re going to need the following tools and accessories:

  • Hot water and some cleaning solution or liquid dishwasher soap
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Sponge or brush.
  • Drying clothes.
  • Ladder (if it’s an HVAC)
  • Screwdriver

It is important to make sure the system you’re cleaning is turned off before you start to clean.

Step# 1: Open the Filter Cover

Some, or most, home filters, will have a filter cover or a latch. Use a screwdriver to open that cover and remove it. Some lids can be removed without a screwdriver, while you will need to open others with a screwdriver. You will want to give this filter housing a quick wash with some hot water and a sponge.

Step# 2: Locate the Filter

The next step is to find the air filter you’re looking to clean. Some air purifier filters are part of multiple air filters, so you might need to remove other filters first. Before you remove the filter from the vent, you will want to perform a quick vacuum to ensure the dirt and the dust on the bottom of the filter are removed to avoid the mess dropping on to your carpet or flooring.

Step# 3: Remove the Filter and Vacuum It

Once you have found the right air filter, you’ll want to take it out of the system and inspect it more closely. If it’s especially dirty and dusty, then it will need a more thorough cleaning. In some cases, vacuuming the filter quickly might be enough to get the dirt, pet hair, and dust off.

However, in most cases, you’ll have to be more thorough than that. Only use the vacuum if you perform air filter maintenance regularly (which you should be). Also, it depends on the type of filter, for example, the HEPA filter.

Step# 4: Cleaning Your Air Filter

Now it’s the time to clean the filter. Use the sponge or brush and dip it into the hot water. It’s best to use a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Then, once you do that, you will want to add some solution for cleaning or soap to the water to make the process more effective. Clean it twice and leave the filter outside. Again, before you wash it, check if it’s non-washable, or you’ll damage it and need a replacement filter.

Step# 5: Let the Filter Dry Completely

Now you will want to ensure your air filter is completely dry before you move it back into the system. First, use the drying cloth to get rid of the water and make the filter drier. Then, leave the filter standing to let the water dry out completely.

Step# 6: Reinstall the Air Filter

Once it has dried completely, you can start reinstalling the filter. Put all the parts back in place and ensure that your air filter is the last one that goes in (place them in the way that your system demands). Make sure you take the time to ensure it’s re-installed properly. Indoor air pollution is no joke, and you want your home air purifier to be working effectively to stave off airborne particles and mold spores, especially if you have a large room.

How Often should you  Clean Air Filters?

We hope you now know how you can clean your air filter. But how often will you need to clean it?

The frequency that you clean your air purifier filter will also depend on if anyone in your family suffers from allergens as well as if there is pet dander or dust mites to deal with? The harder the air filter has to work, the more often it will need cleaning.

Ideally, we would recommend you clean it every 1-3 months, depending on how quickly it accumulates dirt. This will ensure that the performance of the filtration system is optimal and good enough to keep your indoor air clean.


So there you have it, this is how you can clean your air home filter with ease. You don’t need to be an engineer to do it; you can do it by following these simple steps.

The goal of cleaning your air purifier is to ensure you keep the permanent filter quality as high as possible. It’s much cheaper to clean your air purifier filter regularly than it is to find a new filter, especially if it’s a true Hepa filter.