How to clean air filter?

You are here now because you want to know how to clean the air filter, right? The air filters are necessary when you need to filter your home air from most of contaminants like dust, dust mites, mold, fungi, pollen, pet hair and pet dander… Due to constantly trapping these pollutant objects, the air filter will be dirty and you need to clean it.

No matter you use your air filters in your home air vents, DIY air purifiers or a real air purifier, you will need to clean them regularly. Most air filters can only work their best for 2-3 weeks. Cleaning an air filter regularly will make your air filter last long and improve the efficiency of your air filtration.

In this article, Breathe Quality will show you how to clean the air filter properly.

Air Purifier Definitions: 

How Often Should You Replace Air Filters?

For most of the HEPA filters, you should change the air filter at least once a year. It depends on different brands of air filters, but generally an air filter need to be replaced after 6 months to 1 year. For example, Honeywell air purifier brand requires their customers to change the filter once after 6 months for maximum benefit. However, brands like Rabbit Air guarantee to run the HEPA filter for up to 3 years without replacement.

One thing you should keep in your mind is that air filters only need to be replaced if you use it frequently, like about 8 to 16 hours per day. This is reasonable because an air purifier need to run for a long time to keep your air quality safe. You can read more about “Can You Run an Air Purifier All the Time?” to know why you need to keep running your air purifier all day.

With high frequency of using, there are lots of criteria to decide the lifetime of your air filters. Like the number of your family members, or how many pets in your house, they all affect your air filters. Especially for a common HVAC air filter (which is slightly inferior to HEPA filter), sometimes you need to change it every two months.

Some air purifier brands make their pre-filter or HEPA filter permanent, meaning you can use it as long as you take time to clean and vacuum it. These filters don’t wear off after a long time because HEPA filters have a better methods to trap the large objects of contaminants. If you have these air purifiers, the only thing you should need to know is how to clean your air filters.

Finally, you still need to replace your Activated Carbon filters. These filters are able to adsorb the smoke, smell and odors. Typically, after 3 months of using a carbon filter, you should replace it.

List of best air purifiers in 2021

How to clean air filter?

Now let’s find out how to clean the air filter. Having clean furnace and air purifier filters not only keeps dust and allergens out of your home, it keeps your air filtration working its best. Typically the air purifiers are using a washable HEPA pre-filter. This pre-filter is reusable, meaning you can simply wash and dry then re-install it to your air purifier.

* Expert tips: Replace your HVAC air filter instead of cleaning if you use it for a long time.

Sometimes, you need to clean your air filter with hot water. Soaking the air filter in hot (just short of boiling) water might be necessary if it’s very dirty. When you wash air filter with warm soapy water, just make sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Other air purifiers restrict their users to wash the air filters and only allow to vacuum them. So make sure you have read the user manual carefully. Also, you can use compressed air or a stiff brush to clean your air filters.

To clean the activated carbon filter, you don’t need a brush or a vacuum. In fact, this air filter type is only for adsorbing smells and odors, not for capturing particles. That’s why you don’t have to wash the air filter. The best way to “clean” the carbon air filter is applying it directly to the sunlight. You should lay your air filter under the sunlight for about 2-3 hours and it would be fine.

Below is the infographic of How to clean air filter in your home:


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