How to clean your air purifier and filter – 5 easy steps to keep your home feeling fresh

Use this guide to clean your air purifier and filter properly so it's works best and lasts longest

Clean your air purifier
(Image credit: Xiaomi)

So it's time to clean your air purifier and you've dutifully come online to work out how that is best done. The good news is you're in the right place and this job is going to be made as easy as possible. The bad news is you're still going to have to get in there to do the clean itself.

Why do you need to clean your air purifier? Primarily this is so that it can work optimally. That means that it will continue to make your air as clean and pure as possible. A clean filter, for example, means the purifier can work most efficiently while making sure to keep your air microorganism free.

By not cleaning your air purifier these potential pathogens can build up in the filter. This can mean the air being pushed out isn't much better than that being pulled in. Or, if microorganisms are multiplying in there, it could end up being worse.

So if you've already got one of the best air purifiers then it's time to treat it right to make sure it stays that way. Here's how to clean your air purifier.

How to clean your air purifier

1. What parts of your air purifier should you clean?

Dyson

(Image credit: Dyson)

While cleaning the outside of your air purifier is always a good idea to have it looking good in your home, there are some internal parts that need essential cleaning to run well.

The main three parts you need to clean are the air inlet, the air outlet, and the air filter. All of these being clean means the air can pass freely allowing the machine to do its job of cleaning the air itself. How to clean each one effectively is laid out below.

2. Clean your air inlet and outlet

Philips AC3829/60 Series 3000i 2-in-1 Air Purifier

(Image credit: Philips)

The air inlet and outlet are relatively easy to clean so can be done regularly without taking up too much time. Essentially, take a look from time to time to see if any fuzz has built up on those grilles. If it has, then reach for your soft brush and work in and around the vents to clear them. 

It can also pay to give these areas a good wipe clean regularly with your home cleaning products. This can slow down any build up on the inlet and outlet, meaning you have less cleaning work to do in the long run when maintaining your air purifier.

3. Clean your air purifier filter

Philips AC3033/30 Expert Series 3000i air purifier

(Image credit: Philips)

Most manufacturers will tell you to change or clean your filter every three to six months, depending on the type you have. It also depends on how much you use it, with those months of guidance based on it being used all day everyday. 

Refer to your manual here for the clearest guidance on your machine specifically. Lost that? Don't worry you can search online and it'll be there for you to use.

Once you get to the HEPA filter itself it's important to know if yours is washable or non-washable. Then you have two ways to clean.

4. How to clean a washable HEPA filter

Blueair Classic Series 480i air purifier

(Image credit: Blueair)

Once you've established that your HEPA filter is definitely washable, you can take the next step. But know these are very sensitive bits of kit so you need to be certain it is washable before you follow these steps or you may do damage.

Firstly turn off your air purifier then remove the air filter, having checked the manual on how to do this correctly. Rinse the whole HEPA filter under cold water, but gently – not at full force. Do this until there is nothing but clean water coming out of the filter. Do not use any cleaning products as this will damage the filter. 

Leave the wet filter to dry, not directly on a heat source, ideally. Then once it is totally dry to the touch you can put it back in the air purifier and power back on. Be sure not to put it back wet or you may find mold begins to grow there.

5. How to clean a non-washable HEPA filter

best air purifier: Blueair Classic Series 480i

(Image credit: Blueair)

If your machine uses non-washable HEPA filters, don't worry it doesn't mean you necessarily need to buy a new one – they can still be cleaned. The key here is that you just can't use water.

First up, consult your manual, or online manual, to check how you remove the HEPA filter safely. Once out it's time to grab a soft brush, or with a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If you're using the brush, or your vacuum doesn't have its own HEPA filter, then be sure to do this outside or you're simply going to be putting all the dust and dirt collected right back into your home's air.

Once the filter is visually clean then it can be popped straight back in for use right away.

Luke is a veteran journalist and editor of over two decades where he has written about everything but specialises is technology, science, health and fitness, smart homes and health. He contributes to Real Homes, T3, Tom's Guide and TechRadar, among many other titles. As a father of two, any spare time he gets is enjoyed surfing, reading, hiking, camping and generally getting out in nature.