When Should You Clean Your Air Purifier?

When I first got my air purifier, I thought it was as simple as turning it on and just letting it be while all I had left to do was reap the benefits of the clean air in my room. And for the most part, that’s exactly what owning an air purifier is like.

However, after a few months – I started to notice that the air purifier wasn’t performing as well as it once did. So, I went on the internet to do some research and see if anyone else was experiencing the same thing.

After all – the air purifier is just a few months old and has been in the same place since the day I bought it. So not performing as well as it once did made little to no sense. That’s when I found out that the air purifier needs to be cleaned once in a while.

When you leave your air purifier on, the filter keeps capturing dust and other particles. And after some time, the accumulation of particles ends up clogging up the filter, which affects how well the air purifier can work.

So, to prevent you from going through the same experience as me – in this article, I’ll let you know when you need to clean your air purifier and how to tell if it’s time to clean the filter. But before we do that – let’s take a quick look at why you need to clean your air purifier regularly in the first place.

Why Do You Need to Clean an Air Purifier?

To understand why you need to clean an air purifier – it’s important to understand how an air purifier works in the first place. In the most basic terms – air purifiers are devices with a fan and a filter.

When you turn on your air purifier – the unfiltered air is sucked in by the fan and blown into the filters, which capture and absorb as many particles as possible before blowing the air out of the air purifier and into your room. The result is perfectly purified air that is free from allergens, dust, and other irritants that can affect your respiratory system.

When the filters inside the air purifier catch these particles – they will remain trapped within the filter and after a while, the number of particles, dust, fur, and other irritants will start to build up with nowhere to go. If you don’t clean the filters – the sheer volume of particles will start to clog up the air purifier and cause it to underperform.

On top of that, eventually your entire unit will get clogged up and that can start to not only impact your air purifier’s ability to circulate air properly but can even damage it. So, if you want your air purifier to work to the best of its ability for longer, proper maintenance and regular cleaning are necessary.

How Often Should I Clean My Air Purifier?

Determining the exact time frame of when your air purifier needs to be cleaned can vary depending on a number of factors including the air purifier you’re using, the size of your room, whether you have pets or not, its positioning within the room, and more.

As a general rule of thumb, air purifier manufacturers and experts say that you should clean the filter of your air purifier at least once every two months. That way – not only will you see just how much dust, fur, and other particles your air purifier has caught during that time but will also prevent it from not performing to the best of its ability.

However, cleaning your filter is not enough. After some time – you will need to change the filter with a brand new one. To help you out, below you can find the estimated amount of time each of the different filters can run for before needing a replacement.

  • True HEPA Filter: Once every 12 months or after 8,760 hours of use
  • Activated carbon filters: Once every 12 months or after 8,760 hours of use
  • Mesh pre-filter: Once every two to three weeks

Do note that how often you should clean and replace your air purifier’s filter will also largely depend on how often you use the machine. It goes without saying that if you use it 24/7 – you’d need to clean and replace it much more often than if you only used it during the night.

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

When you first try to clean your air purifier, it’s important not to get scared or intimidated by all the parts.

This is because while it’s best to clean all the components of your air purifier, it isn’t absolutely necessary.

In my experience, it’s best to pay extra attention to three things: the air inlet, the outlet, and the filter.

These are the three parts of the air purifier that have a direct effect on performance if they are dirty.

All of these components can clog up and restrict the airflow of the air purifier when they are dirty and cause the air purifier to not work as well.

Remember, just because you have one of the best air purifiers on the market, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to clean it. No matter how fancy the air purifier is, it will collect dust inside, especially near the inlets, outlets, and filters. So, pay close attention to those as these are the components of the machine that truly require regular cleaning.

Cleaning the Air Purifier

You don’t need to be a specialist to clean your air purifier and make it look like new again. I remember the first time I cleaned my air purifier. It took me around 30 minutes and was both fun and very satisfying.

To clean your air purifier, you need to follow a few simple steps, which include getting all the right tools and equipment, finding a suitable place to clean the machine, disassembling it, actually cleaning the different components found inside the air purifier, and then putting it all back together.

Below, I will break down each of these steps in more detail.

It’s pretty easy but still – pay close attention so you don’t need to repeat any of the processes twice.

Getting the Right Tools And Equipment

You can’t clean your air purifier without using the right tools. Saying that – you don’t need anything special to do a good job. All you need is a clean and damp towel to wipe the machine down, a hoover, and some brushes to really get the filters and all the other components cleaned up.

I also recommend getting some gloves, a facemask, and maybe goggles so you don’t get any of the dust in your face or worse – in your lungs.

When I cleaned up my air purifier the first time, I had a pretty terrible experience with that aspect of the process so make sure you take the necessary precautions.

This is especially important if you have bought yourself a good air purifier. I’m only saying that because good air purifiers hardly let any particles slip by so absolutely everything that was once in the air in your room is now trapped by the filter inside.

If you haven’t cleaned your air purifier in a while – you will be surprised by how much dust, hair, and particles will get stuck in the filter.

Finding a Suitable Place For Cleaning the Air Purifier

I made the mistake of cleaning my air purifier in the living room once, and since then – I tell all of my friends to never do that and find a suitable place for cleaning the unit.

I’m only saying that because once you open up your air purifier, a lot of the dust trapped by the filters will end up on your carpet and furniture during the cleaning process, which defeats the purpose of the air purifier.

Ideally, you should clean your air purifier outside.

That way, you won’t have to worry about dust and hair falling back on the floor. But if you live in an apartment like myself, I recommend you do it in the bathroom or a place where your floor isn’t carpet.

Additionally – if there are people with allergies in your home, they need to leave the room before you open up the air purifier. And if you have allergies yourself, you may want to ask someone else to clean the air purifier for you. If you have no one that can do that for you – wearing a facemask is essential to prevent a reaction.


After you’ve got all of your tools and equipment ready and have found a suitable place to clean the air purifier – the next step is to take it apart.

You have to do that because you won’t be able to reach the filter or other areas of the inlets and outlets without disassembling the purifier first.

This is arguably the hardest and riskiest part of the process, so I urge everyone trying this out for the first time to proceed with caution and take their time.

With that said, there is some cleaning you can do before disassembling.

Wipe down the exterior and vacuum the outside of the inlets and outlets to do some initial cleaning.

Once you’ve done that – you can start disassembling the machine.

When doing this, I recommend using the user manual of the air purifier to check if there are any additional steps you need to take. If not, you can head to the internet and watch videos of people disassembling air purifiers to ensure you do it properly.

Most air purifiers are designed to be taken apart for cleaning, so there should be instructions. If there are none and the manual explicitly states that you shouldn’t disassemble the purifier, then I recommend following the manufacturer’s suggestions.

Cleaning the Purifier

Once you remove the components of the air purifier, you can finally start cleaning it thoroughly. Some people suggest washing the interior components of the air purifier. While this makes it easier to clean, I don’t recommend doing this as there’s too much room for error that it’s not worth the risk.

Remember, components like the HEPA filter of your air purifier rely heavily on structural integrity to do their job. So, if you wash it too roughly or use too much water, you might damage the structure of the fibers, which results in you having to change the filter altogether.

This is why I recommend hoovering all of the components first and then using a damp cloth to wipe them all down – one by one. While this will take more time, it allows you to pay closer attention to each step of the process and make sure that you aren’t doing this too rough.

Putting It Back Together

After everything is done, you can start reassembling the air purifier. To make it easier, I recommend writing down the exact way you disassembled the purifier and following the steps in reverse when it’s time to reassemble.


If your air purifier feels like it isn’t working as well as it used to, this could be a sign that the filter or inlets are clogged up. This is why manufacturers recommend cleaning your air purifier from time to time, which is around once every 1 to 3 months – depending on how often you use your air purifier.

Make sure you don’t neglect your air purifier if you want it to work to the best of its ability and last for many years in the future.