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Your Position: Home - Environment - Can You Clean an HEPA Filter?

Can You Clean an HEPA Filter?

If your HEPA filter is not specifically labeled as washable or “permanent,” then the answer is no – while it may still filter the air it will have reduced effectiveness after washing. You can rinse the filter in water, tap excess dust off of it or remove some dust with a vacuum, but this can definitely damage the mesh of fibers that allows the filter to remove particles from the air. Even if the filter looks undamaged, some of the fibers will be broken or stretched out. You will end up with a somewhat clean looking filter that does not do the job of filtering properly.

Double Profile HEPA Filter


What allows a HEPA filter to meet its claims is the consistency of the “weave” of glass fibers. If the fibers are stretched or torn, it will create gaps in the filter through which air and any contaminants will take the path of least resistance and bypass the fibers completely. The integrity of the frame is important as well. If the frame itself or the gaskets that provide a seal between the frame and the location it is mounted in are compromised, air can flow around the filter instead of through it.


If the filter is marketed as being washable or permanent, then it is possible that you can wash it or clean it off and it will still function. However, there is no standard for washable HEPA filters, and there have not been public studies testing how well these filters work after they have been washed. It is possible that the manufacturer has found a method of making filter fibers that will not be damaged by cleaning, but there really is no way of knowing for sure.


Why might cleaning a HEPA air filter be a bad idea?


As discussed, cleaning a HEPA filter almost certainly will cause damage to the extremely fine mesh of fibers that allow the filter to do its job. But even if you could be 100 percent sure the filter would not be damaged by cleaning, there are other reasons that cleaning a HEPA filter is not a great idea.

Aluminum Frame with Partition HEPA Filter


• Cleaning a filter is a dirty job. Unless you take the filter outside to clean it, there is a good chance that the act of cleaning it will introduce some airborne pollutants to your house. Getting rid of those pollutants is the reason you may want to use a HEPA filter in the first place. The pollutants introduced back into the air may include any microbial growth that has taken place on the filter.

• You may inhale some of the pollutants from the filter. Even if you can clean your HEPA filter outdoors, some of the particles from the filter will be in the air while you clean it. Unless you wear some type of respirator, you can inhale those pollutants, which could trigger an allergic reaction.

• You will need a filter for your filter cleaner. If you use a vacuum to clean out a HEPA filter, the vacuum will also need to have a HEPA filter, or it will not be able to keep the particles from the dirty filter in the canister. It will disperse all those particles into the air. And if the vacuum does have a HEPA filter, what will you use when it is time to clean that one?

• The filter must be completely dry before using. A wet HEPA filter could further allow mold to form on the filter surface. Because of the fine mesh of fibers in a HEPA filter, they take a long time to dry (manufacturers recommend at least 24 hours). The whole time the filter is drying, you are not filtering air.


We are an HEPA filter manufacturer. If you are interested in our products, please contact us now!





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