Can HEPA Filters Be Washed And Reused?

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Updated January 14, 2023

You are not alone if you are confused about proper etiquette regarding air purifier filters. Many consumers are wondering how to clean and reuse an air purifier filter. We are here to provide answers, and you can learn more about the best air purifier buying guide here.


  • Many air purifier air filters can be cleaned and reused, including electrostatic, activated carbon, and HEPA-style filters.
  • True HEPA filters should be disposed of and replaced every six months to one year, depending on usage.
  • Each filter may necessitate a unique cleaning process, so be sure to read the instructions before performing the cleaning task.

What Types of Filters Can be Cleaned and Reused?

Not every air filter can be cleaned and reused, especially if your location has lots of VOCs. True HEPA filters, for instance, should be disposed of and replaced once every six months to a year, depending on usage. Electrostatic filters and activated carbon filters can typically be cleaned and reused, as can some HEPA-style filters. You can read our IFD filter vs HEPA comparison to learn more. Air ionizers and ozone generators do not actually use filters, so there is nothing to clean and reuse. In that case, you’ll want to check out a filterless air purifier. Also, check out our comparison between an air purifier with a washable filter vs replaceable filter.

If your air filter is advertised as washable or permanent, you can clean it and reuse it. In that case, you might want to check out our guide on how to clean an air purifier filter.

Alternatively, some filters can go over a year before being replaced, like the one in our Oransi Max review.

Why Clean and Reuse an Air Filter?

You will want to regularly clean an air filter to improve its overall efficacy and efficiency. Air filters get clogged and dirty with use, and they will no longer function after a while. In other words, your air purifier won’t actually be doing anything when it is powered on. This means it won’t work as the best air purifier for smoking weed, so be sure to clean that air filter regularly.


Air filters get clogged and dirty with use and after a while, they will no longer function.

How Often Do You Clean and Reuse an Air Filter?

This will depend on your individual air filter, but the general rule is to clean most air filters once each month. It’s important to stay on top of maintenance. Otherwise, you’ll need air purifier repair. Or, you may have to buy a new one, like the Winix Plasmawave 5500.

How to Clean and Reuse an Air Filter

Cleaning and reusing a filter is one of the good reasons why you want to use an air purifier. Here are some guidelines to help you get your air filter cleaned and back in the air purifier for use.

Read the Manual

As previously stated, the actual cleaning process for a given air filter will differ depending on the type and design. To make sure you are doing it right, consult the instruction manual that accompanies your air purifier. There should be a detailed list of steps to take to clean your air filter. If you see white powder on the floor by your air purifier, something else is happening.

Allow it to Dry Thoroughly

No matter the cleaning process, be it vacuum or water, you should give your air filter plenty of time to dry before reinserting it into the air purifier. Each filter is different, but electrostatic filters tend to dry the quickest in just 15 to 30 minutes. On the other hand, HEPA-style filters can take more than 24 hours to dry fully. Do not leave an air filter out in the sun. Dry them indoors. Does an air purifier remove smells? It will, as long as you let the filter dry completely, or it’ll stink.

Moreover, if you’re wondering does an air purifier help with flu, you’ll want to ensure your HEPA filter is clean. Otherwise, it won’t be effective against illness at all.


Should you wash HEPA filters with water?

You should definitely not wash true HEPA filters with water, as this will damage the internal fiber layers. As for HEPA-style filters, check the instructions and follow the tips provided. You can check out this article to learn how Air Innovations Max Clean, compact air purifier works.

Can carbon air filters be washed?

Activated carbon air filters, otherwise known as charcoal filters, should not be washed, though many can be vacuumed. These filters are designed to capture particles and absorb odors, trapping them within the filter itself. However, when you’re learning how to use a 2 in 1 anti snoring air purifier, replace these filters every 3-6 months, depending on how often you run your air purifier.

Are washable filters any good?

Washable filters may not be as effective as a true HEPA filter, but they are still good. While a genuine HEPA filter will remove 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants, a washable filter will remove 90 to 95 percent of these same particles. Read this article to learn more about how to fix common air purifier problems. With that said, you’ll find the best Honeywell air purifier models have washable filters.

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