Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: July 23, 2021
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When you shop for a filter or a vacuum cleaner, you might have noticed the acronym HEPA. The term appears on many products that have filters in them too.
What are HEPA filters
HEPA stands for ‘High Efficiency Particulate Air’. It is an efficiency standard measure for air filters. You might have noticed that manufacturers of filters brag of their products meeting True HEPA standards. A filter that can arrest 99.97% of airborne particles such as mold spores, allergens and dust is referred to as a HEPA filter. These particles should be 0.3 microns. HEPA filters are used in a myriad of applications. They are found in hospital equipment, vehicles, home and office air purifiers, disk drives, and so many other areas. HEPA filters are made of interlaced glass fibres that are intertwined to create a fibrous maze. When particles transverse this network, they are trapped and hence taken out of circulation.
What you need to clean HEPA filter
HEPA filters can be cleaned. However, unless the filter is specifically written ‘permanent’ or ‘washable’, you should not clean it. It is common to find people rinse a filter with water, tap it or vacuum it to remove excess dust but more often than not, this destroys the filter’s capacity to perform optimally. Of course, many are the times you won’t see any damage after you have vacuumed a filter, even though this may give you a ‘clean’ filter that isn’t performing.
What you need to clean HEPA filter are several things among them a dust mask. You should unplug the appliance and take it outside where there is plenty of air. Have a brush attachment and a vacuum cleaner hose with you too.
There are instances that you will find it absolutely necessary to clean a HEPA filter. Even a replaceable one. When you are faced with such a situation, you will need clean water. If your HEPA filter is labelled ‘permanent’, you should use a vacuum cleaner. A permanent filter should not be washed with water. To get the maximum value out of your HEPA filter, you must know its specifications. If you don’t have your product user manual, search for it online. Visit the manufacturer’s website with the serial number of the appliance and download a digital manual.
How to clean a HEPA vacuum filter
Any HEPA filter marketed as washable or permanent can be washed or cleaned and still continue to function perfectly. However, when the real question on how to clean a HEPA vacuum filter is asked, there is no standard way to wash it. It is for this reason that you must check with the product manual to confirm whether and how to clean your vacuum filter.
Here are simple steps you can follow when cleaning a washable HEPA vacuum filter;
Establish whether your HEPA filter is supposed to be cleaned. You will get this information from the appliance’s manual.
Turn off and unplug your appliance before taking it outside or to a place with good ventilation. This will help prevent releasing debris and harmful particles back into your home or office. It would be best if you also were within reach of a water faucet.
Remove the panel or canister that holds the HEPA filter from the appliance. The user-manual may have instructions on how to remove the canister or panel and the filter from inside the canister. If the filter is a bit clogged with dirt, you can tap it on to the garbage can to remove the excess dirt.
Read the user-manual to establish whether your filter should be washed using cold or warm water. Open the faucet to moderate and start rinsing the filter. High-pressure water can ruin the filter. Rinse both sides of the filter until the water coming out on the other end is clear. For the cylindrical filters, make sure that the interior does not get wet.
Finally, leave the filter to dry for 24 hours. Never use a wet/ damp filter. Never use your appliance without a filter.
Cleaning a non-washable HEPA filter
Start with turning off and unplugging your appliance.
With these types of appliances, you will find a charcoal filter or a foam alongside a non-washable HEPA filter. The accompanying filters should be rinsed until the water runs clear. Dab the filter with a towel or a piece of cloth and leave them out for 24 hours to dry.
Using a vacuum cleaner hose attachment and a brush attachment, clean the HEPA filter. While ensuring that you have removed all debris and particles from the filter, take care not to puncture the filter.
After everything is clean and dry, reassemble the vacuum cleaner. Remember to reset the ‘filter clean reminder’ every time you clean your HEPA filter.
How to clean Shark Rotator HEPA filter
If you have a Shark Rotator Vacuum cleaner, you will need to arm yourself with the right information on how to take care of your equipment. You will need to be cleaning the unit regularly. But first, you will need to identify the signs of when the HEPA filter needs cleaning. These signs are when;
Cleaner leaves an unpleasant smell
The unit sounds different than normal
There’s a general loss of suction and
The unit leaves dirt behind
On how to clean HEPA filter Shark Rotator, here are the easy steps to follow:
Please switch off the vacuum cleaner and unplug it.
Remove the dust cup and empty all the debris inside into the garbage can.
Lift the filter together with its plastic accompaniment from their compartment. Below the filter, you will find a coaster-like filter. Remove it too.
The spongy filter will be pretty dirty as it is the one that picks all the dirt particles. After dismantling it from the plastic base, tap it on the side of the garbage can to make it lose some of the excess dust.
Place the filter and the coaster-like filter in a sink and open the water tap. Run the water as you wring and squeeze until the water coming out of it is clear. A simple way to ensure you achieve this fast is to block one end of the hollow filter with your palm as water enters through the other hollow end.
Apply a small amount of detergent on to the filter and rub it until you are satisfied that all the dirt has been dissolved. Use some water now to rewash the filter. The water will be a bit brown because detergent helps remove the stubborn dirt. Rinse the filter as you squeeze it until clean water runs from it. Give it a firm squeeze to remove all extra water. Do the same with the smaller flat filter. The detergent helps remove any odor the machine could be emitting while you clean.
Put the filters in a place where they can dry. Give them between 24 and 48 hours to dry completely. Clean this filter every three months, but if your house is dirty, once a month will do.
Use the tap water to clean the plastic base of the filters.
For those wholly plastic dust cups, wash using running tap water. However, if there is a metallic element at the center of a dust cup, as is the case with the older models, just wipe the cup with a dry cloth. Any dampness can make the metal part rust.
Move on to the vacuum cleaner and using a damp cloth, wipe all parts of the unit. You will find below where the dust cup is, the HEPA filter is located. Though this filter rarely gets dirty, you can remove it and tap it on the ground to remove any dust clinging on to it.
How to clean hoover Windtunnel HEPA filter
Windtunnel is one of the best vacuum cleaner brands in the market today. To enjoy using yours for years to come, you are required to take good care of it. This mainly involves filter cleaning.
Below is how to clean hoover Windtunnel HEPA filter.
Start by putting the cleaner in an upright position. Turn off the unit’s power and unplug it.
Remove the dry/ dust cup from the cleaner and empty the debris into a garbage can.
Flip the lid of the dirt cup and remove the rinseable filter located at the top of the container. It is white.
Rinse the filter for about two minutes or until the water flowing through it is clear.
Squeeze or wring the filter for excess water and let it dry for at least 24 hours. Take care not to apply excessive force as you can tear the filter. Also, never put a wet or damp filter back in the cleaner.
Below the dirt cup, you will find the HEPA media filter. To clean it, tap it on the inside of a garbage can to remove dirt and any debris. Never wash or rinse this filter. Push the filter frame back into place until you hear a click. When properly used and maintained, the hoover Windtunnel HEPA filter need not be replaced and will remain efficient throughout the cleaner’s warranty period.
Emptying the dirt cup should be done after every use. As for the filter washing the filter and cleaner maintenance, you should do this after every month or two.
When you need to replace a filter, ensure that you get a genuine part from an authorized dealer. This will help at making the vacuum cleaner work efficiently and serving you for many years.
HEPA filters are what you need to have in your vacuum cleaner or any equipment that uses a filter. Having said this, you need to know that a HEPA filter in USA standards means a filter that can trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns. In European standards where there are also EPA filters, a HEPA filter should capture 99.95% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size. It, therefore, becomes easy to learn why and how to clean the HEPA filter that is installed in your car, HVAC system, or vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum cleaners form an integral part of our homes’ cleanliness. There are countless air particles, some of which poisonous, that find their way into our homes. A HEPA filter installed in such a vacuum cleaner ensures that all allergens, mold spores, pet dander and dirt particles are removed from your house. It is only possible to achieve this unrivalled health status in a house or place of work if the HEPA filter you are using is properly cleaned. As stated above, you must read your unit’s manual. You don’t want to throw away a washable filter, and at the same time, you don’t want to unwittingly be washing a HEPA filter that shouldn’t be touched with water.