HEPA filters are used in many gadgets like air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, and respiratory masks. How to clean HEPA filter, you ask?
It depends on the type. You can either purchase a washable, permanent, or disposable HEPA filter. True HEPA is the most effective one. Reusable ones don’t require much maintenance.
Permanent HEPA filters, on the other hand, aren’t washable. In today’s article, I will teach you all about HEPA filters, so let’s begin.
What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does it Work?
High-efficiency particulate air filter or HEPA filter is defined by how effective it has been rated to filter particles. It’s not defined by how it’s made.
To meet the HEPA standard, a filter is supposed to banish 99.97% of pieces that are 0.3 micrometers or microns in size from the air that goes through the filter.
Meaning, particles smaller than 0.3 microns can pass the HEPA filter. These filters are made of synthetic foams, synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester, vegetable fibers, coated animal hair, expanded metals and foils, or metallic wools, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
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Those fibers are knotted together by random and compressed into paper-like sheets. They’re pleated to boost the surface place that the air passes through, and fixed onto a frame created of plastic, cardboard, metal, or wood. Companies can add other parts to HEPA filters.
Some include a pre-filter to screen out bigger particles, chemical treatment to get the pieces attached to the fibers, or activated carbon to help remove gases and odors.
What do HEPA Filters do?
HEPA filters were utilized in industrial facilities and research because they were made specifically to get rid of radioactive particles from the air in nuclear testing laboratories.
Today, anyone can purchase a HEPA filter. They’re available in different consumer products like vacuum cleaners, cars, air purifiers, HVAC systems, respiratory masks, and more.
If you wonder why people freak out about HEPA filters, it’s because indoor air quality plays a key part in the immune system of both elderly and infants. Particles like mold spores, dust mites, or other allergens in the indoor air can trigger health symptoms such as asthma or allergies.
Therefore, people search for a technique to get rid of these allergens using filters in HEPA shop vacs, air purifiers, or HVAC systems. And HEPA filters are one of the best air filters.
A HEPA filter in your HVAC system, vacuum cleaner, or air purifier is designed to only filter particles from the air to improve indoor air quality.
Certain studies have shown that air purifiers with HEPA filters can help lower the number of particles in the indoor air to improve the overall air quality. Dangerous pollutants like particles in smoke or airborne chemicals), on the other hand, are smaller than these air filters can catch.
The only disadvantage of HEPA filters is that all the particles that collect on them can provide the perfect set-up for mold development. According to a study in Korea, mold can develop on these filters and come back into the air which is why you need to clean your HEPA filters regularly.
How to Clean HEPA Filter?
Permanent or washable HEPA filters don’t require much maintenance and can save you a lot of coins on replacement filters.
If your vacuum cleaner or air purifier utilizes a HEPA filter, check the manual for instructions on how to clean it. Washable HEPA filters should be washed with water at least once a month. Non-washable ones, on the other hand, can’t handle water. Meaning, water will probably cause harm.
Wash your washable HEPA filter. Then, let it dry before reinstalling it. Use a vacuum cleaner hose with a brush attachment to remove any dirt and debris from a non-washable HEPA filter.
If you’re interested in detailed steps on how to clean the HEPA filter, read on. I will share a lot of useful cleaning tips and tricks.
Cleaning a Washable HEPA Filter
Step 1: Check your manual for cleaning instructions
Before doing anything, check the product manual for any instructions. This will help you determine if it’s washable or non-washable. Some HEPA filters should be washed occasionally.
Others can’t handle water. This is why reading your manual for any cleaning directions is important. You can also search online for your unit’s model number to download a digital copy.
Step 2: Clean your HEPA filter outside to prevent releasing any dirt in your home
Take apart the unit outside to prevent releasing any debris and dirt inside your house. Large HEPA filters can be huge and large amounts of dirt that you don’t want to release into your living room.
Take your gadget to the garage or outside to disassemble and clean the filter if you’re worried about the air quality. Make sure you’re close to a water faucet or garden hose. If your HEPA filter is easy to handle, or you’re not concerned about spilling anything, just remove it indoors and wash it in a sink.
Step 3: Remove the HEPA filter from your appliance
Before you do anything, make sure that your vacuum cleaner or air purifier is unplugged and turned off. Then, remove the panel or canister that accommodates the filter.
Then, take out the filter. If you’re sure how to remove the filter, please check your manual for guidance. Also, never utilize a vacuum cleaner or air purifier without a filter.
Step 4: Shake the filter over a garbage can to loosen the dirt
The filter can be covered in dust and debris, depending on the type of unit and how often you clean it. If needed, you can gently shake and tap your HEPA filter over the can to loosen any built-up dirt and knock off excess debris. Once you’re done, move on to the next final step.
Step 5: Wash the filter, dry it, and reinstall it
Use moderate or gentle pressure when washing the filter. High pressure could damage the filter. Rinse it until the water runs dirt-free and crystal clear.
Some companies recommend washing their HEPA filters with lukewarm water while others recommend cold water rinse only, so check the manual for cleaning instructions.
Generally, you need to wash both sides of a washable filter. Cylindrical dry/wet vacuum filters shouldn’t get wet inside the cylinder. They need to be rinsed on their exterior only.
Finally, let your HEPA filter air dry before reinstalling it. First, shake off excess water. Then, let your filter air dry for at least one day before reinstallation.
Cleaning a Non-Washable HEPA Filter
Step 1: Remove the filter from your gadget
First and foremost, turn off your unit before removing the filter. Most air purifiers have a non-washable filter. Always check the manual for specific steps on how to remove your HEPA filter.
Step 2: Wash the rest of the filters
At least one activated charcoal or foam filter goes with a non-washable HEPA filter. These filters usually need to be washed for 2-3 minutes, or until water runs dirt-free and crystal clear. Towel dry these filters, then let them air dry for at least one day before reinstallation.
Step 3: Vacuum your non-washable HEPA filter
Use your vacuum cleaner’s hose with a brush attachment or nozzle to clean your filter. Run the nozzle or brush attachment over the filter until it’s completely clean. Non-washable filters can also be dry-cleaned with a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters for better results.
Step 4: Reassemble the gadget
Reassemble your unit after the washable filters have dried completely. While you’re waiting for the rest of the filters to dry, you can wrap your non-washable HEPA filter in plastic. If your air purifier features an electronic filter clean reminder, reset it after the cleaning process.
How to Maintain HEPA Filters?
Proper maintenance is the key to longevity with anything including HEPA filters. Let’s learn how to keep your HEPA filters in good shape so they can serve you for a long time.
Check the Filter Before Utilizing It
You should replace the vacuum filter every 1-3 months or every 4-6 uses. However, this also depends on how often you use your vacuum cleaner.
Check the filter before each use and clean it if it’s caked with debris and dirt to keep the vacuum cleaner and other units in the best working order.
Clean Your Air Purifier Filter Every 3-6 Months
Most air purifier companies suggest cleaning both washable and non-washable HEPA filters once every 3 months. HEPA filters will get dirtier if you utilize your unit more often or you live in a dusty environment. Thus, check the filters occasionally and clean them when necessary.
Don’t be Scared to Clean Your Filter More Often Than Suggested
You don’t need to clean your HEPA filters on a fixed schedule. Clean it whenever you feel it’s necessary. Meaning, don’t be scare to clean them more often than suggested.
As long as you’re following the steps above, you shouldn’t face any issues. Usually, the cleaner they are, the longer they will last and the better your appliances will operate.
Utilize the Electronic Clean Filter Reminder Light for Guidance
Certain air purifiers feature an electronic filter clean reminder. This reminder either keeps track of days or the unit’s hours in use.
However, don’t rely on your reminder only. Check your HEPA filters regularly, especially if the machine doesn’t keep track of the time in use because this is a less reliable reminder.
If you use the unit less, the filter won’t need a cleanup when your timer goes on. If you keep the unit on, on the other hand, but the timer tracks days, it needs to be cleaned more often.
Please, check your product manual to determine if your init tracks calendar days or usage to decide how often you need to clean your filters.
Replace Your Filter When Necessary
Change your HEPA filter as the company recommends or when it’s worn. However, remember that filter replacement standards depend on your unit’s type and model.
Therefore, it’s best to read your manual for detailed information on how often you need to replace your filters. Usually, HEPA filters are made to last longer than disposable filters.
Meaning, some can last for years without needing replacement. Some companies recommend changing your HEPA filters when they become visibly discolored or worn.
2 Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
HEPA filters claim to banish particles from the air and improve the quality of indoor air. Meaning, they can be costly, especially considering the ongoing replacement costs.
If you’re not a fan of HEPA filters or you use them but look for extra low-cost ways to improve indoor air quality, consider the next effective methods to decrease air pollution.
Remove Pollutant Sources and Clean Regularly
First and foremost, remove the pollutant sources. For instance, when you have smokers as guests, don’t be shy to ask them to smoke outside. Also, keep your cute pets in certain areas.
Next, clean your home regularly. If you’re a lazy person like me, maybe a cleaning checklist that includes regular vacuuming can help. Also, keep your windows open for better airflow throughout the day.
Fresh air is a good idea, especially while utilizing chemical cleaning products. Utilize a household vacuum cleaner or a handheld pet vacuum cleaner to keep your home clean at all times.
Use an Air Purifier
Lastly, search the market for a quality air purifier to improve your air quality. HEPA filters aren’t the only products that can help keep your indoor air clean.
The PECO technology, for instance, is a part of the Molekule air purifier that not only handles particulate pollution but also removes organic compounds like mold and airborne chemicals.
This technology doesn’t welcome the comeback of mold growth, unlike HEPA filters. Overall, it destroys certain chemicals which HEPA filters can’t handle.
Washable or permanent HEPA filters can save you both time and money in the long run since disposable filters need to be changed regularly. This is why many opt for reusable HEPA filters.
Cleaning these filters is straightforward. However, you need to determine if you have a non-washable or washable filter first. Hopefully, this article has taught you how to clean HEPA filters properly.
As I already explained in detail throughout this article, washable HEPA filters can be washed with water while non-washable should be dry-cleaned with a brush/vacuum since they can’t handle water.
Do you use HEPA filters? What’s your opinion on these filters? Do they help? Feel free to share your tips, tricks, and questions in the comments below. Also, share this article with your friends.