Why Should you not Clean and Reuse Disposable HEPA Filters?

Your air purifiers are laborious devices that work day and night for trapping air pollutants like smoke, dust, pollen, spores, etc., and blow out the clean air in your surroundings.

Over time the accumulation of contaminants and air pollutants on the surfaces of air purifier’s filters; results in the clogging of filters. This needs to be addressed immediately as it may hamper the cleaning efficiency of the air purifiers.

To avoid such scenarios, you should regularly clean or replace your filters. Some air purifiers are equipped with reusable filters that can be taken out, cleaned, and inserted back into the purifier.

However, if you have an air-purifier with disposable HEPA filters, you must replace the old clogged filters with new ones. These filters need to be removed from the HVAC cabinet and thrown away. A fresh set of filters need to be installed in their place.

Why You Must Not Clean a Disposable HEPA Filter?

Vacuuming does not provide efficient cleaning of HEPA filters

HEPA filters are equipped with a strong fibre structure that provides efficient cleaning by capturing up to 99.97% of airborne particles. Once the fine particles are captured in the fibre, it is impossible to suck them out completely by vacuuming.

The contaminant particles get deeply buried in the fibres and don’t move anywhere. This results in clogging of the filters over time as you cannot extract all of these particles.

These particles reduce the cleaning efficiency of the air purifier and may damage the HVAC system.

Thus, vacuuming your HEPA filters is not a viable solution. You need to replace the old and clogged filters with the new ones.

Washing HEPA Filters may promote mold growth in your home

Moistening or wetting your HEPA filters for cleaning them with water creates more problems than solving your current issue at hand. Washing your HEPA filters with water may create moisture and promote the growth of mold in your home.

You would have purchased the air purifier for capturing the mold spores circulating in your home air. But washing your filters may do the opposite by helping mould to grow.

This is because the moisture in the filter makes up a good place for the moulds to thrive.

Once the mould grows within your HEPA filters, it starts releasing spores that are thrown into your home air through its ventilation. Thus, you should not wash your HEPA filters using water as it can turn these filters into a breeding ground for moulds.

Moreover, washing HEPA filters with water may also damage fibres in the filter. This hampers the cleaning efficiency of the filters. Thus, avoid washing the filters of your air purifiers and rather replace them with new ones.

Unnecessary forceful cleaning of filters may damage them

You may attempt to clean your disposable HVAC air filters by vigorously shaking them to expel the dust, pet dander, or other air contaminants. However, any forceful handling of the filters may loosen the fibre density or tear holes in the filter’s fibres.

This may completely damage the HEPA filters, and it will no longer provide optimal cleaning.

It loses its ability to capture up to 99.97% of particles. Thus, it is recommended that you should not play with these filters and don’t use any forceful ways of cleaning them.


If you have disposable HEPA filters, you should not think twice about replacing them once they are clogged. It is not recommended to clean them in any way by vacuuming or washing them. These filters are not designed for cleaning, and are meant for replacement.

If you want to replace your filters frequently, you should buy those filters that can be cleaned and reused again. Some replaceable filters can be cleaned by washing. Read your user manual carefully to determine if your air purifier has washable filters or not.

You may get tempted to avoid the costs of buying new HEPA filters and lured into cleaning these disposable filters. But don’t clean your HEPA filters. Replacing them is the best solution for maintaining the optimal cleaning efficiency of your air purifiers.


Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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