How to Clean And Reuse Air Purifier Filter

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are confused about proper etiquette regarding air purifier filters, you are not alone. 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 filters, activated carbon filters, and some 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. Air ionizers and ozone generators do not actually use filters, so there is nothing to clean and reuse.

If your air filter is advertised as being washable or permanent, you will be able to clean it and reuse it.

Why Clean and Reuse an Air Filter?

The main reason you will want to regularly clean an air filter is to improve its overall efficacy and efficiency. Air filters get clogged and dirty with use and after a while, they will no longer function. In other words, your air purifier won’t actually be doing anything when it is powered on.


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

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 accompanied 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, this means something else is going on.

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. HEPA-style filters, on the other hand, can take more than 24 hours to fully dry. Do not leave an air filter out in the sun, dry them indoors.


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 with the instructions and follow the tips provided. You can check out this article to know 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.

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.

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Lawrence Bonk Profile image