HEPA filters are known to remove various air pollutants and particles, such as mold spores and allergens. However, they are not as effective when they are clogged with debris. They will release pollutants trapped in between filter weaves back into the air when saturated. However, it can be expensive to replace a true hepa filter. This post will talk about safe ways to clean HEPA filters and everything you should know before cleaning one.
How To Clean HEPA Filters
It is generally recommended that HEPA filters never be cleaned. Instead, they should be replaced. Unfortunately, these filters can be too expensive to replace periodically. There are two ways to clean a true hepa filter if you absolutely must. The method you choose will depend on the type of the filter you have. It is important to understand that there are no official guidelines for cleaning these filters even when termed washable.
Cleaning a Washable HEPA Filter
Washable HEPA filters can be cleaned by rinsing under cold water. Make sure you don’t touch any filter weave or material. Only allow cold water to come in contact with the filter. Damp filters can grow mold spores making it necessary that you dry the filter completely before reinstalling it. Before you undertake cleaning the filter, check whether it comes with any special instructions. Follow all instructions and you should be able to clean the filter without any damages.
Cleaning a Permanent HEPA Filter
Filters marketed as permanent should ideally be replaced and not washed. However, if necessary you can use a low-suction vacuum cleaner to gently suck away any debris or dirt from the filter’s surface. Do not use any water in cleaning these filters.
Things to Know
HEPA filters that are not specifically marketed as permanent or washable should not be washed. They should be replaced instead. Permanent and washable filters can be cleaned to some extent. However, there are no standard guidelines for washing HEPA filters. Fortunately, not all filters need to be washed. In some cases, it is enough to simply tap any excess dust off or use a vacuum to suck away dust and debris.
Fiber Mesh Can Get Damaged
It is important to note that any attempt at cleaning a true hepa filter can damage its mesh of fibers. This fiber mesh is what removes air pollutants and particles from the air. Sometimes, the filter may seem undamaged, but the fibers could be stretched out or broken. You may just end up with a filter that is somewhat clean but fails to do the job properly. When fibers are torn or stretched, gaps are created in the filter. This allows particles and pollutants to pass through into your indoor air.
You may end up damaging the frame as well. The integrity of the filter frame is important in maintaining the quality of indoor air. If any of the gaskets or frame gets damaged, it will fail to provide an effective seal. Air will pass around the filter, instead of through it.