How To Clean Air Purifier? – Much Easier Than You Would Expect

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A clean and well-functioning air purifier can indeed purify the air that you breathe from pollutants. However, a dirty and clogged air purifier can’t perform as well because it can’t work as required.

How to clean air purifier? Well, you can do 2 things:

  • Wash the filter if it’s washable.
  • Change the filter if it’s not washable.


You see, airflow will be restricted if the filters in your air purifier are dirty. Aside from causing your unit to work hard in purifying the air, it can also result in the following:

  • Higher energy consumption
  • Shorter life

Don’t worry – this post is meant to be your guide in cleaning the filters in your air purifier. It will cover the methods for cleaning and maintaining different types of air purifiers and filters.

Importance of Filter Change Indicator

Some air purifiers come with filter change indicator (usually in the form of light or message). If this is the case, you simply need to pay attention to this feature.

Changing filters can either be based on its condition (if it’s dirty) or in the number of hours it was used (if the unit has a built-in sensor).

In both cases, the filter indicators only serve as your guide, as this is the standard set by the manufacturer of your air purifier. Still, if you want your unit to perform at its optimal best, you will closely follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Wash Air Filter

Now, changing filters will greatly depend on the type of filter that your air purifier is using. There are filters that need to be changed every 3 to 6 months and there are those that can last for a couple of years (especially the washable types).

How to Clean the Pre-Filter in an Air Purifier

Pre-filters are usually washable. And if this is the case, you can remove the filter part from the air purifier easily.

Read the instruction manual to learn how to properly clean the filters on your particular model of air purifier. Usually, however, the following steps can be performed:

  • Unplug the device from the electrical source.
  • Remove the filter.
  • Wash the filter with mild soap and water.
  • Rinse it well.
  • Airdry or wipe with paper towel.

Note: Make sure that the filter is completely dry before returning it to the air purifier. Also, make sure that the part is reinstalled well.

How to Clean HEPA Air Filter

When cleaning an air purifier, make sure that you unplug it first from the main electrical outlet. In the case of HEPA fil?ters, they can be any of the two:

HEPA filter with functional description via Wiki

HEPA filter with functional description via Wiki

Not Washable (or disposable) – You need to replace this type of filter once or twice a year. Therefore, expect an additional cost of about $40 every time you need to change your air purifier’s HEPA filter.

Washable (or permanent) – If your unit’s HEPA filter is permanent and washable, follow the steps below when cleaning it:

  • Remove the filter from the device.
  • Wash the filter with mild soap and warm water.
  • Let the filter drip and airdry.


  • Only return the HEPA filter into the air purifier when it’s completely dry.
  • To extend the life of a HEPA filter (whether permanent or disposable), you can vacuum it regularly (use the most appropriate brush attachment for this task).

HEPA Filter via Smart Clima

How to Clean Carbon Filter

Carbon Filters are either of the two:

Not Washable (or disposable) – you need to replace this type of carbon filter as soon as it gets dirty and all clogged up.

Washable (or permanent) – Permanent carbon filters are usually made from charcoal-based plastic materials. The procedures to washing this type of filter are as follows:

  • Unplug the device from the electrical outlet.
  • Remove the filter.
  • Wash it with warm soapy water (unless it has its own cleaning procedures in the instruction manual).
  • Let it airdry.

How to Clean the Filter in an Ionizer

Most models of ionizers (or negative ion generators) don’t have filters. However, you still need to clean this type of air purifier. Just follow the steps below.

  • Unplug the unit from electrical outlet.
  • Open the unit (the chamber usually comes with a door).
  • Use a soft brush to clean the internal parts from dust.

How to Clean Ozone Generator

An ozone generator air purifier is very easy to clean. Depending on use (only shock treatments are recommended), you can clean its ozone plate every couple of months or so. Follow the instructions below when cleaning the filter on this type of air purifier.

  • Unplug the device from the electrical source.
  • Remove the ozone plate (this can either be pulled out or ejected).
  • Clean using hot water combined with ammonia (use 50-50 proportion).
  • Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the ozone plate gently.
  • Allow the ozone plate to dry completely before returning it to its slot (you can use a blow dryer using the hot setting for this).


  • Make sure that you return the ozone plate on the device properly.
  • Before returning the ozone plate, clean the plate cage using a cotton swab with alcohol.

How to Clean the Exterior of an Air Purifier

Of course, you also need to clean the air purifier itself – otherwise, it will collect dust on its surfaces and only add to the air pollutants in your indoor environment. Just follow the steps below.

  • Unplug the air purifier from the wall outlet.
  • Use a soft damp cloth to clean the unit’s surfaces.
  • Use a small brush with soft bristles to clean the air vents and other small spaces.

How to Clean the Interior of an Air Purifier

Note that the interior part of an air purifier can also get dirty (not just the filters). Since the device is mainly comprised of electrical components, make sure that you do not introduce water or moisture inside while cleaning.

Basically, the internal components of your air purifier can be cleaned using the following methods:

  • Wipe the internal parts with a dry, soft cloth.
  • Use a small brush to remove dust from the unit’s internal components.

General Steps to Cleaning an Air Purifier

Before wrapping up this article, let me provide you with the most basic steps to cleaning your air purifier. The points below can serve as your guide when maintaining this type of home appliance.

  • Make sure you have all the cleaning tools you need before opening the air purifier.
  • Turn the unit off and unplug it.
  • Cleaning in an open space (or outdoors) is recommended as dust and allergens can escape from the air purifier when you open it.
  • When cleaning the filters, use only mild soap and water (no harsh detergents, please).
  • Make sure that the filter is completely dry before returning it into the air purifier. You have several options for drying an air filter such as:
  • You can allow it to drip and airdry.
  • You can use a hair dryer.
  • You can place the filter in a well-ventilated place.
  • You can put the cleaned air filter under the sun (but remove it immediately as soon as it dries up as overexposure to the sun can make it brittle).

A Clean Air Purifier Will Provide You With Clean Air

Make sure that your air purifier is always clean (inside and out) and you can be sure that you’re always breathing in clean air while in your indoor environment. Just follow the pointers I have set for you in this post and you’ll be fine – and your air purifier will have a longer lifespan as well.

If you have other concerns about your air purifier, you can leave me a note below (I’m always waiting for your messages). And if you have friends who own air purifiers, make sure that you pass this post onto them, too, as they also need to know how to maintain their home appliances.

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