If you’re reading this, I assume you have questions. Questions regarding your HEPA filters.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that you’re in the right place because today, you will learn the answer to a common and important question:
Can HEPA filters be washed and reused?
HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters do an excellent job of eliminating harmful particles in the air.
People like you and I may use HEPA filters in our air purifiers almost all the time. Why wouldn’t we?
Given the drastic air pollution we’re all subject to, air purifiers and HEPA filters have become necessary.
But how do you take care of your HEPA filters?
Read on to find out…
Can HEPA Filters Be Washed And Reused?
Some HEPA filters can be washed, while others cannot. There are several kinds of HEPA filters. One is a filter that is specifically labeled as washable. These are the only HEPA filters that can be washed.
By saying this, I do not mean you can’t wash a non-washable filter.
However, rinsing it can ruin the fibers, preventing the HEPA filter from functioning correctly.
Even in the case of washable HEPA filters, there is a lack of research on whether washing affects the filter’s efficiency.
There is no guarantee that the filter will work properly after it has been washed.
That isn’t all. The damage to the fibers is not the only risk of washing HEPA filters.
For one thing, cleaning a HEPA filter can create serious air pollution.
During the cleaning process, you might also accidentally end up consuming some of these pollutants.
After you’re done cleaning the filter, it can take a long time for it to dry.
Also, using a HEPA filter when it is still wet further messes up the situation.
This may be a lot to take in, and it might be disappointing to hear for those of you who wish to clean your filters.
Luckily, there are, in fact, ways in which you can wash HEPA filters if you need to.
Don’t worry; I’ll talk about them in a while.
For now, let’s move on to addressing whether these filters can be reused.
HEPA filters can be reused if they are properly washed or cleaned.
Fortunately for you, this can be done with non-washable filters too!
However, it is important to clean the filter properly with a vacuum cleaner.
Though HEPA filters can be reused, experts advise against them due to the risks associated with them.
How Do I Know If My HEPA Filter Is Washable?
The answer to this is simple. All you need to do is look at the label on the HEPA filter. If it specifically says “washable,” you’re good to go!
If not, you probably shouldn’t wash it.
Alternatively, the HEPA filter may also say “permanent,” which means that it can be cleaned too.
Also Read: Do Hepa Filters Have Fiberglass In Them?
How To Wash A Washable HEPA Filter?
Washing a washable HEPA filter, while risky, is easier than you think. All you need to do is rinse it using cold water!
Still, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. When you’re washing the filter, make sure that your fingers do not come into direct contact with the filter material. The only thing that can touch the material is the cold water.
I already mentioned this, but I’ll say it again because it’s important: you need to let the filter dry before you use it again!
Don’t worry. I’ll explain how to dry a filter later.
Many washable HEPA filters may have special instructions on how and where you are supposed to wash them as well. You can also refer to those.
How To Dry A Reusable HEPA Filter?
When drying a HEPA filter, the first step is to shake it so that excess water can leave the filter material.
After that, all you need to do is place it outdoors, leaning it against something solid. Make sure it gets air from all sides, and it will be dry soon!
Before using it again, make sure that the HEPA filter is completely dry. Using a wet HEPA filter can result in the filter being less effective and can create mold.
Are Washable HEPA Filters As Effective?
Yes, they are. A washable HEPA filter is 99.7% effective.
Still, as mentioned before, there is not enough evidence to prove that after being washed, the filter will be as effective as before.
How Many Times Can A HEPA Filter Be Washed?
You are advised to wash your HEPA filter once every three or six months.
However, you can easily wash it more often than that.
There is no limit to the number of times you can wash a HEPA filter.
Also Read: How To Tell If An Air Purifier Is Working?
How to Clean A Non-Washable HEPA Filter?
Experts say that a non-washable HEPA filter should simply be replaced. Still, many people wish to clean it.
First, you need to separate the HEPA filter from the air purifier by taking it off.
In most cases, you can refer to your user manual for help on how to do that.
Once that is done, you should dampen a cloth, making sure the extra water is squeezed out. This is important to stop the water from seeping into the filter material.
After that, you need to clean the surfaces of the HEPA filter with that cloth. You may dampen the cloth multiple times and keep cleaning until the filter is immaculate.
Lastly, air dry the filter and put it back on the air purifier!
The instructions on air drying a HEPA filter were mentioned earlier in this article.
Why You Should Not Clean And Reuse a Disposable HEPA Filter
HEPA filters should not be cleaned and reused. There are several reasons for this that you should keep in mind.
For one thing, vacuuming the filter is a bad idea. This is because it is impossible to extract all of the particles trapped in the filter using a vacuum since the filters are made of very strong fibers.
If you tamper with the filter in any way, the reliability and effectiveness of it are reduced.
This is because coming in close contact with the filter can damage it.
In the case of a disposable HEPA filter, you just need to use it and replace it once it wears out.
Final Thoughts – Can You Clean And Reuse HEPA Filters?
The answer to this question depends largely on the number of risks you are willing to take.
If you want the HEPA filter to function properly in any event, you should go with the old-fashioned “using and replacing.” This is the best way to ensure that your filter works properly and does not harm you or the environment.
Alternatively, if you are ready to risk air pollution and reduced effectiveness, you can wash and reuse them. The risks have been discussed in detail above.
That being said, I would still advise against washing non-washable filters.
Yes, there are ways to do it, but these can damage your filter and create further harm, both to the environment and you.
If you absolutely need to wash your filter, I suggest only doing that with washable or permanent filters.
Even in those cases, it is imperative that you take the right precautions, be careful, and minimize all possible risks.
When making such decisions, it is necessary to have all of the information at your disposal.
Good luck with cleaning or replacing your HEPA filters!
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Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.