How to Clean an Air Purifier Filter?

how to clean air purifier filter
You can often vacuum the pre-filter of an air purifier. © Canva

To maintain good cleaning performance of an air purifier, it is important that you regularly clean the filter. An air purifier has – in many cases – several filters for purifying the air. Exactly how you should clean a filter and whether this is possible at all depends on the type of filter.

To help you get started with cleaning an air purifier filter, I’ve created a complete maintenance guide. Discover how you can best and efficiently clean the filter.

Why clean an air purifier filter?

First, let’s briefly consider why it is so important to clean the filter regularly. As I mentioned in the introduction, a dirty filter can cause a poorer cleaning result. When an air purifier purifies the air, dirty air passes through the filter, after which dirty (dust) particles remain in the filter.

Main reasons at a glance:

  • Maintain good cleaning performance
  • Less chance of spreading polluted air
  • Longer life of the air purifier
  • Prevent air purifier problems
dirty air purifier filter
Prevent higher dust emissions by cleaning the filter regularly. © Canvas

What problems can occur?

Various problems can occur with an air purifier if you do not clean or even replace the filter in time. I list the most common problems.

  • The air purifier may start to smell
  • The device can suddenly make a lot of noise
  • Increase in dust emissions
  • The air purifier may break
  • Other filters become clogged

It is now clear that it is very important to clean the air purifier filter regularly. Let’s take a quick look at how you can do that.

Cleaning the air purifier filter: this is how you do it!

In my article ‘How does an air purifier work?‘ I already showed that an air purifier often has several filters. Most air purifier filters should not come into contact with water. Let alone that you use cleaning products for this. It is important to always check the manual carefully to see whether the filter of the air purifier is washable at all.

A filter that you can often vacuum or in some cases wash under the tap is the ‘pre-filter’. It is very important to check which filter is which and whether you can wash it at all. Most filters cannot be washed, but must be replaced.

Cleaning the pre-filter step-by-step plan

If you are dealing with a washable filter, which is the case with many Philips air purifiers, for example, you can wash it under the tap. So check this in the manual of your air purifier.

Have you checked whether the filter can be cleaned? Then you can follow the steps below.

  1. Turn off the air purifier and unplug it
  2. Remove the pre-filter from the air purifier (check whether it is really the pre-filter)
  3. Grab the vacuum cleaner and use a soft dusting brush
  4. Hold the filter under the tap and wash it out carefully
  5. Let it dry completely, do not speed it up
  6. Do not replace the filter until it has dried completely

I therefore advise you to use a soft dusting brush and not a crevice tool. A crevice tool can damage the filter. In addition, the hairs of a soft dusting brush can often reach the filter better.

vacuum air purifier filter
My tip: use a soft dusting brush instead of a crevice tool. ©

How often should you clean the air purifier filter?

Now that we know how to clean the air cleaner filter, it is also interesting to know how often you should do this. This depends entirely on the type of air purifier you have and how often you have it on. Where you place the air purifier also has an influence. Do you have it in the kitchen? Then you will have to clean the filter more often than in other rooms.

In any case, it is advisable to check the filter regularly. Fortunately, there are also more and more air purifiers with built-in sensors that give a signal when it needs to be cleaned or replaced.

I hope my maintenance guide helped you clean the filter. Do you have additional questions? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page!


Bram Tigchelaar

Bram Tigchelaar

Bram is the co-founder of Together with his brother, he gives advice for cleaner air quality in your home. He combines decades of experience in the world of air quality products with a passion for product testing. Questions about his approach? Feel free to send him a message!

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