How to Clean an Air Purifier

Cleaning your air purifier is definitely not the most fun part of owning one. When I first got my air purifier, I had little to no idea how to use it – let alone how to clean and maintain it. And if you’re reading this – chances are that you’re in the exact same boat as I was over four years ago.

The first few times it can be quite challenging, but eventually, you will get a grip of things.

It’s also worth mentioning that the cleaning process will typically depend on the model of your air purifier.

Despite that – every air purifier needs to be cleaned and the manufacturers know that, which is why these units aren’t the most complicated out there.

So, to give you a helping hand, in this article – I will be showing you how to clean an air purifier step by step, tell you how often you need to clean it, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions such as if you can wash your air purifiers filter, and more.

Do Air Purifiers Need Regular Cleaning?

Yes, air purifiers need to be cleaned on a regular basis. This is because all of the dust, pollen, fur, and other harmful particles that constantly fly around in the air get trapped inside the air filtration system of your air purifier. And since they have nowhere to go and cannot escape – the volume of these particles in your unit’s filtration system will start to build up.

That’s when you need to clean the filters and all of the other parts that make your air purifier such a worthwhile investment. And if you’re like me – a little bit lazy with it and say it can go for another week – your air purifier can actually get clogged up quite badly and only worsen and prolong the cleaning you have to do. Not to mention that if you don’t clean your air purifier, you might actually affect its lifespan.

What Parts of the Air Purifier Do I Need to Clean?

Knowing that your air purifier needs regular cleaning and maintenance is not quite enough. You also need to know exactly what parts of the air purifier need to be cleaned and taken care of the most.

They include:

The Filter

The most important part of your air purifier is the filter. This is the part of the device that captures all the dust, pollen and other harmful particles.

The filter is what makes the unit go from just being a fan to purifying the air and capturing up to 99.97% of all harmful particles in the air.

With time, all the particles trapped inside will start to build up, and if you don’t clean the filter – all the fur, dust, pollen, and hair can clog up the filter and cause your air purifier to lack in terms of performance.

I remember when I first bought my air purifier. I probably didn’t clean it for more than three months, and when I finally decided to open it up and clean it – I knew I was too late and should have definitely done it sooner.

Other filters like an activated carbon filter also need to be treated with care.

This means gently rinsing the filter to remove the pollutants that it has caught up.

However, unlike using a real HEPA filter – carbon filters can only be cleaned two or three times before they need changing, so do keep that in mind.

Inlets & Outlets

The inlets and outlets are the two other parts of the air purifier that need regular cleaning as they too can get clogged up and cause your air purifier to underperform. I personally never cleaned the inlets and outlets until maybe a year or two after buying my air purifier, and to be honest – it wasn’t the prettiest of sights.

The Case

Lastly, since you’ve already taken apart your air purifier to clean it – you might as well clean up the case both inside and outside to make sure there aren’t any builds up of dirt, dust, or hair that can prematurely clog up your air purifier. I’d recommend you to use a damp cloth to clean the case.

How to Clean an Air Purifier

Now that you know the parts of the air purifier that need cleaning and why they need cleaning, it’s time to get into the details.

In this section, I’ll be explaining the steps you need to take to clean your air purifier.

With that said, keep in mind that air purifiers vary across the market. So, there may be some steps in this list that don’t apply to you.

To make sure you’re cleaning your air purifier according to the manufacturer’s instructions, I recommend checking out the purifier’s user manual.

Get All the Cleaning Essentials

Before you start taking apart your air purifier, make sure you have all the cleaning essentials that you’ll be using to clean the unit. All you need to get is a damp cloth and a hoover.

Aside from those, make sure you get a face mask, gloves, and even goggles. This way, you’ll prevent all of the dust, allergens, and pollutants trapped inside the filtration system from ending up in your lungs all at once.

I personally made that mistake once and since then, I always wear a face mask and use gloves.


Once you have all the tools you need for cleaning the air purifier, you can start preparing the area where you plan on cleaning the air purifier.

If you have a spare room or a wide space without furniture at home, I recommend cleaning the air purifier there.

This is because dust and other particles from inside the air purifier might end up on your carpet or furniture, which could quickly and easily make a mess.

Additionally, if you’re cleaning the purifier indoors, it would be best to tell everyone else to leave the room unless they have the same protective gear as you.

The dust can be really irritating even if you don’t have allergies, which is why it’s best to keep people away from the device during the cleaning process.

You will also have to turn off and unplug the air purifier.

While this may seem like an obvious step, you’ll be surprised with how many people forget to do that and end up damaging their unit.

The final step in the prep is disassembling the air purifier.

Now, this can be a bit tricky since most air purifiers have different designs. This is why I recommend watching videos on how to disassemble your specific air purifier to ensure that you aren’t making any mistakes.

If you don’t have any luck finding such a video on the internet, you can always refer to your user manual.

Cleaning the Exterior

Once everything is disassembled, I recommend starting with the exterior, which is the easiest part of the air purifier to clean.

All you need is a damp cloth. With the cloth, wipe the case of the air purifier to remove any dirt and dust until it’s clean.

Cleaning the Interior

The interior is a bit more complicated. To start, you can vacuum the inlets and outlets to remove any dust that is just hanging around.

If you want, you can also wipe it down with a wet cloth if you want a deeper clean. From there, it’s time to proceed to the filter.

As mentioned earlier, depending on your filter – the cleaning process can vary.

So, try and do a quick internet search of how to clean your specific filter.

Generally, HEPA filters need to be vacuumed unless the manual explicitly states they are washable. And if you’ve cleaned the filters a few times and find that your air purifier still isn’t working that well, it could be a sign that you need to change the filter as a whole.


Once everything is clean and dry, it’s time to reassemble the air purifier. I would personally recommend you to let your air purifier air dry for at least 24 hours before putting it back together.

That way, you can really make sure that all of the different components are dry before you plug the air purifier in the socket.

Before you even start taking apart your air purifier, I would recommend you to record a video while taking apart the unit.

That way, you can always go back and see exactly what you did if you end up struggling with putting back the unit together.

Don’t ask why I recommend you to do this.

How Often Should I Clean My Air Purifier?

The frequency at which you should clean your air purifier depends on many factors.

The first and arguably most important factor is how long you have your air purifier on during the day and night.

If you keep it on 24/7 like me, then you will need to clean it every month.

If you use it now and again, you can clean it every three or even six months.

Additionally, you want to consider the air quality in your home and how big of a space your air purifier is cleaning. If the air quality in your room is pretty poor and your purifier is operating in quite a large space – then you’ll need to clean your unit more often than usual.

One sign that I personally pay attention to is when the air purifier starts to get louder.

That usually means that it’s time for me to get ready and give it a good and thorough clean. But if you’re ever in doubt – just take a quick look inside and you’ll quickly be able to judge if your unit is due for a clean.

Can I Wash the Filter of My Air Purifier?

The filter in my air purifier is non-washable so I can’t clean it with water.

The way I clean it is with a hoover, which is pretty satisfying.

However, there are plenty of real HEPA filters that can be washed so ideally – you should check your air purifiers user manual.

That will tell you whether or not you can give your filter a wash.

Do note that if you end up washing a non-washable filter – there is a pretty big chance that you would have destroyed the technology that makes the filter work and catch all those harmful particles in the first place.

Do I Need to Replace the Filters on My Air Purifier?

Yes, even permanent HEPA filters need to be replaced every now and again. Generally, HEPA filters are designed to last 8,760 working hours.

It can be hard to calculate just how many hours you’ve used your filter, so the benchmark I use is to replace it every 12 months.

But again, if the air purifier isn’t working as well as it should, this could be an indicator that it’s time to replace the filter sooner.


Cleaning your air purifier isn’t the easiest of tasks – especially if you’ve never done it before.

I’ve owned my unit for over four years and trust me – it gets easier every time.

All you need to do is prep up with the right cleaning essentials and the user manual so you can make sure you take it apart, clean it, and put it back together in the safest possible manner.

And remember that not all air purifiers have the same maintenance requirements. Some might need cleaning more often while others can purify the air for months on end before they need to be cleaned up.