Tired of purchasing fresh air filters for your air purifier and HVAC unit? Reusable air filters can save you money and reduce waste, however, they require thorough cleaning.
Learning how to clean reusable air filters extends the lifespan of your unit and keeps them running smoothly. Thorough cleaning also keeps the air in your home fresh and clean. It also helps cut waste products by minimizing the demand for disposable filters.
In this post, we’ll show you the simple steps to take to keep your reusable air filters working like new. We’ll also help you determine which filters are reusable and which ones are not.
What Types of Air Filters Are Reusable?
It’s worth noting that not all filters are reusable. Some filters, such as those made of soft, pleated filters simply can’t be reused due to their design. If the filter is made of fiberglass, given the way they collect particles from the air, reusing it may defeat its purpose.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, while working wonders at removing dust, pollen, and even the tiniest particles from the atmosphere, are typically not reusable. In fact, most powerful HEPA air purifiers have disposable filters.
Getting them clean is impossible once they get clogged with dirt and must be replaced. This is due to the fact that HEPA filters are made of highly thick fibers, and the collected particles are difficult to remove without damaging the filter.
Plus, the filter’s efficiency may decline with cleaning. So it may not be able to trap particles as effectively as a new one.
That said, you’ll find several filters that can be cleaned and reused. They are cost-effective since you won’t have to replace them often. Think washable HVAC filters, vacuum filters, furnace filters, and reusable filters in your car. Electrostatic filters used for air cooling or other HVAC applications can also be cleaned and reused.
Important note: While you can clean and reuse them multiple times before replacement, they will still lose their efficiency with time and may need to be replaced eventually.
Also, you can’t always tell when it’s time to clean your filters. So, it’s always a good idea to consult with the manufacturer.
Reusable vs Disposable Air Filters
There is an obvious contrast between the two in terms of environmental sensitivity. Both filters are designed to improve indoor air quality by getting rid of pollutants and particulates in the air. However, these filters require different levels of upkeep and come with varying efficiency.
Reusable air filters help improve good indoor air quality in various settings. And it does so while costing the least throughout its lifespan. They are ideal for filtering particles 0.5 microns or larger.
Disposable filters, on the other hand, cannot be cleaned or washed thoroughly. In air conditioning units, washing them may affect their efficiency, or worse, encourage mold growth. It’s usually a good idea to just replace them every 1 to 3 months.
Washable filters usually have a higher upfront cost but they survive for a longer period of time. If you have a Dyson air purifier, learn how to keep its filter clean and working its best.
Benefits of Including Air Filters In Your Routine Cleaning
Reusable air filters will accumulate dirt and debris over time. And this can lead to clogging and can drastically impede airflow, especially in HVAC units. If the air doesn’t flow smoothly through the unit as it should, it will cause the HVAC system to overwork.
It’s one of the reasons why many air conditioners and heating systems overheat. And this will decrease their lifespan.
The best way to make sure they’re functioning efficiently is to keep them clean. Aside from the filters not performing efficiently, waiting for dirt buildup to clog them can result in mold and growth. It’s usually a good idea to wash or clean them at least once every three months.
Including your hardworking filters in your regular cleaning schedule helps to keep them doing their job efficiently. It also helps extend your HVAC’s lifespan.
How To Clean Reusable Air Filters: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now, it’s time to learn how to clean reusable air filters thoroughly. Follow our four easy steps below:
Step 1: Locate the Air Filter. Most air purifiers have a reusable filter located in the back or side of the unit. You may have to take out the top or front of the unit, or you can access the filter behind a detachable panel or door. In an AC unit, they’re usually behind the return air duct, the wall or ceiling, or in the blower compartment.
Step 2: Carefully Remove the Air Filter. Before removing the filter, turn off the air conditioner or air purifier. Then, remove the air filter carefully to not damage the unit.
Step 3: Clean the Air Filter. Using a soft bristle brush, scrub the air filter to get rid of any thickened dirt or particles that are difficult to wash away with only water. Some filters can be cleaned with soap and water, while others can be brushed or vacuumed—it’s up to you!
After washing, rinse thoroughly with clean water. It is also critical to allow the washable filter to dry completely before reinstalling it. You can also shake it to remove any excess water.
Step 4: Reinstall the Air Filter. Once it’s completely dry, reinstall the air filters. Check that the lines on the filter are properly aligned.
Note: It is still best to follow the manufacturer’s directions and apply the right cleaning procedure for the kind of filter when cleaning reusable air filters.
Can You Clean Air Filters With Bleach?
It’s generally OK to clean your air filters with bleach due to its sanitizing properties. However, it may just do more harm than good. Bleach might be too harsh and could be damaging to the sensitive parts of the filter.
It can cause the filter to degrade more quickly. This not only reduces its lifespan, but it can also void your warranty, which is why most manufacturers don’t recommend using bleach.
How Often Should You Clean a Reusable Air Filter?
How often you should clean your reusable filters may vary depending on the type of filter and the quantity of air pollution in your home. In general, reusable filters should be cleaned every 1 to 3 months. You may need to clean them more often if you live in a high-pollution area or have pets.
Proper Storage for Reusable Air Filters
Even when not in use, if not stored properly, reusable air filters can become clogged with dust, debris, and dirt. Make it a habit to clean your reusable air filter every few months even if you haven’t used your air conditioning or air purifier in a while and keep it in a dry area.
Keep it away from damp and humid locations. Avoid storing it in places such as your basement, garage, or other areas where they’ll be constantly exposed to dust and moisture. And if you’re not going to use the filters for a month, make sure to remove any dirt and dust and that it’s dry before storage.
How Long Can You Use a Reusable Air Filter?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, while washable air filters can be used multiple times, you need to replace them eventually. A reusable air filter’s lifespan might vary depending on various factors, such as the type of filter and how and where you use it.
That said, a well-maintained reusable air filter can last you 5 to 10 years before you can replace them. Some reusable air filters may also last for up to 2 to 3 years, while others may need to be replaced every 6 months or so.
The manufacturer should give you recommendations on when to replace the air filter. And make sure to check the filter on a regular basis for any signs of wear or damage.
Maintaining a clean and functional reusable air filter is essential for maintaining the quality of the air in your space. Regular cleaning can help prolong the filter’s lifespan. It can also improve its performance.
It’s a simple job that you can complete by referring to the manufacturer’s instructions or by following our easy step-by-step guide.
We hope you find this post helpful in keeping your filters running smoothly. If you have any other questions about the cleaning process, let us know!