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What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?

What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?

Indeed, HEPA filters are good for our health. Why do we search for the solution if we can wash and reuse it? The information you need is provided in this post.

Both yes and no are the responses to your query. The properties of the HEPA filter will determine its use and washability. HEPA filters are made by several manufacturers in washable and reusable varieties as well as ones that can only be used once.

And to get the most out of your HEPA filters, you need to know them better.

Can HEPA Filters Be Washed And Reused?

A HEPA filter that is permanent can be cleaned and reused. To prevent breaking it, you must, however, handle it with the utmost care. Most HEPA filters can be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner, although doing so requires extreme care. On the other hand, you can use cold water to rinse a washable HEPA filter.

It is important to note that there are no specific standards or definitions for what qualifies as a washable or permanent type of HEPA filter. Therefore, if you are unsure, we advise you to seek for the “washable” or “permanent” mark on the website or the air purifiers’ packaging box.

How To Care For A HEPA Filter To Prevent Ruining

What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?

The most typical way for cleaning a HEPA filter is utilizing the brush attachment of a vacuum. To employ this method, you must have the vacuum cleaner’s speed set to the very low setting. Pet hair, surface dust, detritus, and mites should all be vacuumed as gently as you can without applying pressure on the filter.

The HEPA filter can also be cleaned by running it under cold water. You may clean your filter of all the stuck-on particles with this technique. Let the filter completely dry after cleaning it before replacing it on the device. It normally takes a whole day to let it dry.

However, you might try shaking the filter off a little to get some of the water out of it to shorten the drying time.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the HEPA filter, if there are any, to the best of your ability. However, instead of cleaning a True HEPA filter if you can’t discover anything from the packaging box, you should throw it away and replace it.

While you’re at it, remember to:

  • To lessen the likelihood of breathing in the toxins in the exiting air, wear a facemask.
  • The best way to stop all airborne toxins from returning to your home is to clean the filter outside.

How Dangerous Is Cleaning A HEPA Filter?

What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?
Man replacing a filter on a home air conditioning system.

For a variety of reasons, including the possibility of damage from improper cleaning, the majority of HEPA filters are not washable. Before you begin, you should do some research to help you comprehend the danger.

1. Frequently Cleaning The HEPA Filter

The density of the HEPA filter’s fibers will be harmed by routine washing. And if it does, anticipate that it will become less effective at capturing all the tiny particles. The HEPA filter might not function as effectively as it did before cleaning even if you clean it with the utmost care and gentleness since it might have lost some of its quality.

2. The Filter Will Let Pollutants Out

It is inevitable that dust, dirt, or other pollutants will leak out of a HEPA filter during cleaning. You will have to do this on a regular basis to prevent your filter from becoming clogged with all the pollutants and particles, which is not only inconvenient but also possibly dangerous. In contrast, a disposable HEPA filter only needs to be changed about once per year.

3. Drenched HEPA Filter

The filter should be completely dried because if you leave it damp, germs and other microorganisms might grow and spread on the filter. The majority of HEPA filters will require 24 hours to fully dry.

Additionally, you must avoid using a hairdryer to hasten drying because the heat from the dryer will harm the HEPA filter’s fiber. Additionally, it will prevent indoor air filtration while drying is taking place.

4. Health Dangers

You will come into contact with dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mildew, and other contaminants while cleaning the filter. Additionally, there is a great chance that you will inhale the allergens, which could result in allergic reactions.

If you begin to experience congestion, cough, sore throat, red eyes, and other symptoms, you will know it has happened. Additionally, it can ultimately result in respiratory issues like bronchitis, asthma episodes, and COPD.

5. Pollutant Transfer From One Filter To Another

Simply put, you are moving dirt from one filter to the next. For instance, when the filter is vacuumed, the HEPA filter’s particulates are transferred and captured in the canister vacuum cleaner’s filter. And when the filter is no longer practical or beneficial, you must throw it away.

Are Washable HEPA Filters Effective?

Up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, and other airborne pollutants can be reduced by washable HEPA filters. That is how successful it is. However, the more you clean, wash, and reuse washable HEPA filters, the less effective they may be.

Once you discover that the indoor air is not what it used to be, check to see whether the HEPA filter is damaged. If necessary, swap out the filter.

How Can I Tell Whether The HEPA Filter Needs Cleaning?

If you notice that your air purifier is having trouble capturing all of the airborne particles, that will be a sign that the HEPA filter is already unclean. By simply looking at a dirty HEPA filter, you may tell if it contains dirt, dust, or hair.

And in this case, if it is washable, you can replace it or clean it. Additionally, you should be aware that oxidation, not dirtiness, is indicated by a yellowish filter.

As an alternative, you can choose the best filterless air purifier to avoid the hassle of upkeep.

What Parts Make Up A HEPA Filter?

What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?

A HEPA filter is made of a variety of components, including:

  • Plastic Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethylene Terephthalic (PET)
  • metals
  • wools
  • foils
  • dietary fibers
  • nylon
  • filaments of delicate glass

To create a filter mat with a diameter of less than one micron, the threads of the filter glass entangle and compress in different directions. The use of numerous folded sheets of fibrous material increased the filter’s effectiveness and external component.

Approximately 2,500 layers of interlaced glass threads make up a typical HEPA filter, which is designed to capture tiny particles like pollen, mold, PM2.5, bacteria, and, most importantly, viruses.

How Does A HEPA Filter Function?

An air purifier’s HEPA filter traps all airborne pollutants as they pass, releasing only clean, fresh air. Furthermore, all potentially dangerous particles that pass through the HEPA filter’s small aperture will stay on the fiber in either of the following ways:

  • Direct interference
  • Sieving
  • Diffusion
  • Interception

Particles impinge directly on a fiber when they travel straight, collide, and stay there.

Conversely, sieving happens when the particles are large enough to pass through the openings and become entangled in the surrounding threads.

Diffusion happens when incredibly small particles collide with fiber, enter volatilely, and get bonded to it.

The wind delivering the particles around the fibers results in an interception, to finish. They will ultimately, though, stick to the fiber sidewalls.

A pre-filter that captures large particles like dust and an activated carbon filter that gets rid of odors, smoke, and chemical vapors are commonly included with HEPA filters.


According to this article, HEPA filters can be washed, cleaned, and reused. If you were to ask us, we wouldn’t advise the washing and reuse approach, though. Depending on how many chances you are ready to take, you can clean and reuse it.

We advise sticking with the traditional method of “using and replacing” filters if you like to use the most effective HEPA filter possible. Alternately, if you’re ready to take a chance on air pollution and the filter’s reduced efficacy, you can wash and reuse them.

What You Need To Know About HEPA Filters: Can They Be Washed And Reused?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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