How to Clean HEPA Filters: A Complete Guide

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Imagine having to replace HEPA filters regularly to ensure its proper functioning. All the extra expense and time allocated to the airbornepure8-20nt process makes it a turnoff for sure. But what if we tell you that there is a cost-effective alternative to replacing the HEPA filter?

Well, yes, you can clean your HEPA filter without compromising on its cleaning efficacy. If you are wondering how to clean HEPA filters, then don’t worry because we will walk you through the entire procedure and will give you some important information to make sure you clean HEPA filters safely and effectively.

An Overview of HEPA Filters

Many consumer products available in the market today have HEPA filters installed in them to help clean the air. Some of these products include air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, and HVAC systems.

A general standard followed by HEPA filters is that they remove 99.97% of dust particles. Thus, making things better and safer for you and your family.

It does not mean, though, that the rest of the airborne particles other than dust, such as pollen and pet hair, are not filtered because most HEPA filters can efficiently trap those as well. The percentage is just a standard that needs to be met.

That means most of these filters go through a series of tests and then get approval. As such, when you buy an appliance with a HEPA filter installed, you can expect good quality. 

On another note, HEPA filters are made by different manufacturers using different materials, including metals, foils, metallic wools, and synthetic foams. Sometimes manufacturers use an extra filter as well. The manufacturers install the additional filter before the HEPA filter to make them more effective for the screening of large particles.

Why Buy a HEPA Filter

The answer is simple: if you want to breathe-in quality and clean air, you need HEPA filters. 

You can find hundreds of airborne particles that are invisible to the naked eye in the environment. In fact, the air in the house has more dirt particles than the outside. These particles are harmful to everyone, but some people are more sensitive to these, especially the following:

1. New Parents and Babies

Parents with newborn babies need HEPA filters to keep the good air quality in their houses. This protects the child and the mother from respiratory and immune issues.

how to clean hepa filter

2. Smokers

In an environment where people smoke, HEPA filters are helpful. HEPA filters reduce the smoke particles and some other associated odors. They help in creating an ideal healthy environment.

3. Pet Owners

Pets shed their fur or hair without you even knowing it. HEPA filters can trap those; thus, they won’t stick to your furniture, clothes, and other stuff. Pet owners also need HEPA filters to protect themselves from allergy-causing germs that may be carried by their pets. 

4. People with Asthma

Those who have asthma can benefit from using a HEPA filter. When the indoor air is clean, asthma prone people are less likely to get sick.

5. Individuals with Allergies

People who are allergic to dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and other such particles in the air need the HEPA filter. HEPA filters will trap all these pollutants and create an allergy-free environment for people.

Why You Need to Clean a HEPA Filter

While HEPA filters clean the indoor air for you and your beloved ones, they come with the risk of releasing the pollutants back into the air once they get saturated. That makes you and your loved ones vulnerable to the dust particles and mold spores that may trigger allergies and other health symptoms.

The risk increases if sensitive people, especially infants and adults, come in contact with the polluted air. Therefore, it seems reasonable to clean the HEPA filters after regular intervals. This makes sure they continue to offer their claimed benefits.

To start with, you need first to check the instructions manual that came along with the HEPA filters. If the manual describes the HEPA filters as washable or permanent, then you are good to go.

In case the manual does not specifically mention that the HEPA filters as washable, you should avoid washing them. This is because you will probably end up with a clean HEPA filter that does not perform its primary purpose.

We are sure this is not the outcome you are looking forward to. That said, there are methods of cleaning non-washable filters.

how to clean hepa filter

How to Clean HEPA Filters

As there are two types of HEPA filters, we will discuss how to clean each one.

The Washable Type

Once you are sure about your HEPA filters being washable, you can follow the step-by-step procedure mentioned below.

1. Take Your Appliance Outside for Disassembling

We recommend taking your appliances for disassembling outside your house. This will prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris inside the house, especially in the case of large filters that contain more dirt particles.

If your HEPA filter is small, you can consider cleaning it indoors like in the sink. You need to make sure you are somewhere close to the water faucet.

2. Remove the HEPA Filter

Once you turn off your device and unplug it, you can remove its HEPA filter. Usually, devices have a panel that has a HEPA filter fitted in it. The HEPA filter will slide out when you remove the panel.

You can always consult the product guide if you’re confused about where to access the HEPA filter. 

3. Tap the HEPA Filter Over a Dustbin

The filter might be loaded with dirt, so it is a good idea to tap it a few times over a dustbin gently. The amount of dirt and debris on a filter depends on how often you clean it and the type of your appliance. 

When you tap the filter over a dustbin, all the excess dirt or debris that has built up over time will loosen. You will be left with small dust particles that are easier to wash.

4. Wash the HEPA Filter

Take the filter near a water faucet and rinse it gently. Be careful not to place the filter under high pressure running water because that could damage it. You should use moderate pressure to avoid ruining the filter.

By rinsing the filter under cold water, the dirt and debris will easily fall off. Generally, you should wash the filter on both sides.

Just so you are sure, we recommend you to read the product guide. There are some filters, for instance, vacuum filters that you only wash from the exterior side.

5. Let the HEPA Filter Dry Completely

Shake your filter a few times over the sink to remove excess water. Next, you should air dry it for a minimum of 24 hours. 

You should never use any other method for drying the filter like using a blower. Such methods can ruin your filter, so it is best to place it outside for a day or so and let it dry through natural light.

6. Reinstall the Filter

Carefully check if the filter is completely dry and then proceed to reinstall a clean HEPA filter back to its place. Remember: do not use your appliances without the HEPA filter installed because they are at risk of getting damaged.

The Non-Washable Type

Generally, air purifiers have non-washable HEPA filters installed. If your appliance has a non-washable or permanent HEPA filter, then no worries; you can clean the filter in a way that does not ruin it. 

Below is a step-by-step procedure of cleaning a non-washable HEPA filter appropriately.

1. Separate the Filters from Your Appliance

After turning off and unplugging your appliance, separate the HEPA filter from the appliance. It is not rare for appliances with non-washable HEPA filters to have other filters installed, as well.

Such filters are usually charcoal activated or washable foam ones. You can wash these filters in a similar method described earlier.

2. Vacuum Clean the Filter

You can use your vacuum cleaner brush or nozzle to run the vacuum cleaner over the filter. Continue running the vacuum cleaner on the filter until the filter is free from all the dirt and debris. Be careful while vacuuming the filter, as excessive air pressure can puncture the filter.

3. Reassemble the Appliance

Reassemble your appliance once the washable filters have dried completely, and the non-washable filter is all cleaned. If the washable filters are wet, you can wrap the HEPA filter with plastic until all of them are dry. Then you can install them back into the appliance. 

How to Take Care of Your HEPA Filter

Maintaining your HEPA filter will make sure that it functions well and lasts for a long time. There are a couple of ways to maintain the HEPA filter better. 

1. Check the HEPA Filter Before Using the Appliance

If you make it a habit to check the filter before using the appliance, you will always know the HEPA filter’s condition. Usually, filters need cleaning after three to four weeks. However, the condition of the filter depends on many factors, especially on the frequency of appliance usage. 

It is a good idea to check the filter before usage. If you notice that the filter is covered with dirt, you should remove it for cleaning. This will make sure your appliance stays in the best working condition.

There is no harm in cleaning the HEPA filter before it is due. As long as you use the correct method of cleaning for your appliance’s filter, you can clean it as many times as you want to.

3. Use the Electronic Clean Filter Reminder

Some appliances come with an electronic clean filter reminder feature. This feature is useful because a light starts blinking as soon as your appliance’s filter needs cleaning.

Either this feature works based on the frequency of usage of that appliance, or it keeps track of the number of days. You can consult the product manual to check how the reminder on your appliance works.

If you use the appliance frequently, you might have to clean it more often than the electronic clean filter reminder recommends. On the other hand, even when the reminder says so, you might not have to clean the filter if you rarely use the appliance.

4. Replace the HEPA Filter

Cleaning your HEPA filter will make your appliance’s performance better for sure, but if the filter becomes worn, then just cleaning it would not work. Manufacturers recommend replacing the filter once you notice that it has worn or its color has visibly changed. Inspect the filter’s condition when you are cleaning it, so you know when to replace it. 

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

In addition to the HEPA filter, there are some other ways of improving air quality in your home or cut the number of pollutant sources. Some examples are restricting pets in certain rooms and avoiding smoking inside the house.

Cleaning your home regularly will also make sure that no particles settle out of the air. You should also consider changing bedding frequently and washing them in hot water so that they are properly cleaned.

Another is opening the windows of your house for some time, as it leads to better ventilation. The fresh air entering the house creates a better environment. This option, though, is only viable if you live in an area where air pollution levels are low. Otherwise, you will not benefit from opening windows because polluted air will enter your house. 

Keeping the plants outside your house is also ideal. Indoor plants look beautiful, but they too can sometimes gather dirt. Even plants known for releasing oxygen can trigger allergies for some people.

Lastly, prefer having tile or wood flooring than carpets. Dust particles are likely to gather in the carpet and could lead to allergies.

The Takeaway 

Hopefully, the above guide will help clear all your queries about how to clean HEPA filters. You need not spend much money on replacing them over and over. Also, with clean HEPA filters installed, your appliances will perform up to the mark.

You just need to know what type of HEPA filter your appliance has and then select the relevant cleaning method to get the best results. It is as simple as that.

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