Why You Shouldn’t Clean and Reuse a Disposable HEPA Filter?

HEPA Filters are an essential part of every best air purifier to offer an ultimate filtration and air purification process. To maintain their effectiveness, they need proper cleaning every 3 months to 6 months through washing or other methods but you have to make sure that they are labeled as washable. Other than that, you can also use disposable HEPA filters but they are for 1-time use only. In case you wonder about the reason, here is a guide on why you shouldn’t clean and reuse a disposable HEPA filter.

Why You Shouldn’t Clean and Reuse a Disposable HEPA Filter?

Why You Shouldn’t Clean and Reuse a Disposable HEPA Filter

HEPA filters are the core of any and every air purifier that offers ultimate purified and healthy air due to its powerful technology of capturing 99.97% of microns, small particles to pet dander. Although HEPA filters are sturdy, they need regular maintenance which includes washing and replacement according to the filter type. 

Remember that you cannot clean non-washable filters due to their delicate structure, there are chances that even with a little negligence, the quality of filters may deteriorate. Hence, it is better to replace the filters instead of making them worse.

HEPA filters Construction 

As I said, the HEPA filters are very delicate, as the construction consists of multiple layers of fine mesh fabric that are knitted closely to capture even the smallest particles. These fibers are made of cellulose, synthetic materials, or glass of different thicknesses. 

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The efficiency is based on the filter is based on the working (physical and mechanical) factors. When the air passes through this filter it purifies every bit of air by attracting all the small microns to the mesh to fill the room with filtered air. 

However, you need to keep an eye on the filter replacement. The modern air purifier will let you know with the help of a light indicator when it is needed to be cleaned, but first, you should know that filters can be reused.

What air filters can be reused?

Before you remove the filter from your unit, you should be aware of the fact whether it is reusable or not as not every filter is reusable especially, HEPA filters. There is no point in reusing fiberglass because of the way it captures dust particles. 

No wonder the most powerful air filters are the disposable than the standard HEPA filter air purifier because they do not clean up unless they are washed—washing might ruin the fiber mesh if not done right. 

Remember that, HVAC, furnace, vacuum, electrostatic, and car filters can be washed and are reusable.

In case you are not sure whether or not they are washable, just simply check the label or consult the user’s manual. 

Washing the Air filters could be tricky too

Washing the reusable filters is a convenient and inexpensive method to reuse the air filters but it could also cause harm and damage them. The water undoubtedly cleans and washes out the toughest dirt particles but also, but water is the reason it makes them moist. 

Many air purifiers serve as best for mold killing but the moisture due to the water can build molds within the unit and begin to release spores in the air instead of filtering it with the ventilation system. 

Thus, the best technique here is to let the filtered air dry properly (which can take a few hours) or place them outside but not directly under the sunlight. Flip the sides to ensure it is dried completely before installing it back in your air purifier. 

How to wash a reusable HEPA filter

Washable filters are undoubtedly convenient and are a cost-effective option. However, you have to be very careful as a little negligence can ruin the fiber mesh of the filters, causing an impact on its effectiveness. 

Here is a guide to cleaning and or washing them properly. 

  1. Disconnect your air purifier and remove the air filters from the unit.
  2. Give them a gentle tap to drop the excess dust from them. 
  3. If there is pet hair or other large pollutants on the filter, remove them with the soft bristle brush with a soft hand. 
  4. Now, take them and rinse them with lukewarm runny water. You can also use distilled water. You can run the filters under normal-temperature water as well. 
  5. Take mild soap for thorough cleaning instead of detergent. A dishwashing soap or hand wash soap is perfect. 
  6. Scrub them with the same soft bristle brush for deep cleaning. 
  7. Next, rinse off the soap properly, tap, and shake to remove the extra amount of water. 
  8. Let it air dry. Remember not to use any dryer or blower to speed up the process. 

In case the air filter is only mildly clogged, you can use a vacuum cleaner at low speed and shake off the dust to remove all the pollutants, or just rinse with runny water only. Let it dry for hours before putting it back.

Are Vacuuming filters a good idea?

Yes, indeed vacuuming filters is a good option for cleaning. The pressure of suction can easily suck the dust particles. However, if your filter is clogged, you should wash it instead of vacuuming it. 

Make sure to use the vacuum cleaner at a low speed while sucking the dust. This is because the HEPA filter is made with fragile mesh fiber which can easily get damaged and deteriorates the effectiveness of your air filters. 

How often should I clean my reusable air filter?

Cleaning and washing of an air purifier filter depend on the air quality in your surroundings. However, usually, you need to replace air filters every three to six months, in some cases, after a year. 

Other than that, the timeframe for the cleaning process also depends on the type of air filter. Reusable air purifiers are more likely to clog every three months, so you have to keep a check on them or schedule them.

Can you clean a HEPA filter and reuse it?

HEPA Filters are washable but not all the time. The washable filters can easily be cleaned through running water. However, you have to be very careful about it as the HEPA filters have a delicate structure that can easily be destroyed if not maintained well. 

While cleaning them, tap and shake the filters to drop the excess dust (in case of a thick layer of dust). Bring them under cold running water later. 

Can I use bleach to clean the air purifier filters?

For washable filters, it is always suggested to use mild soap for the cleaning process and to avoid harsh cleaning agents like detergents and bleach. Hence, the answer is, NO. You should not use bleach for washing the filters because the construction involves delicate fiber mesh and harsh agents can ruin them. 

Why You Shouldn’t Clean and Reuse a Disposable HEPA Filter; Conclusively 

The filters come with the properties of washable and non-washable however, cleaning them is necessary anyways. Remember that, disposable HEPA filters are for one-time use which means they need to be replaced instead of being washed. You have to keep an eye on the filter’s health and replace the HEPA filters every 3 to 6 months. However, it also can be determined by the air quality of your area. 

Hope this guide is helpful. In case of any queries or anything that you want to share, feel free to contact us.

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