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6 Tips For Cleaning Your Home’s Air Filter

Have you ever noticed how your kitchen cabinets seem to collect dust no matter how often you clean them? It’s not just your imagination – airborne dust particles are everywhere, and they’re constantly looking for a place to land. No one wants to spend time in a dusty environment. Unfortunately, this is the case in many homes when HVACs don’t function as they should due to dirty air filters. Not only does this cause respiratory issues, but it also makes your HVAC inefficient, leading to increased electricity bills. Luckily, it is an easy fix. The only thing a homeowner needs to do is to clean the filters to make them effective. 


A dirty air filter can not only reduce the quality of the air in your home, but it can also lead to problems with your kitchen cabinets


If cleaning an air filter is a procedure you’re planning on doing, continue reading to understand how to proceed. You can also refer to an air filter manufacturer manual to understand if your filters are ideal for cleaning or replacement and how to proceed.

Tools Required To Clean An Air Filter

When cleaning air filters, you’ll need the following:

  • A bucket of warm water
  • Vacuum
  • Screwdriver
  • Sponge
  • Soft-bristled bush

Prepare these items before cleaning so you won’t have to go back and forth to get supplies.

Cleaning Tips

Here are practical tips on how to wash your home’s air filter successfully:

Switch Off The Filter

Before cleaning the filter, ensure the HVAC system doesn’t receive any electrical currents. If you’re dealing with a small appliance, unplug it from the power source to avoid being electrocuted. Leaving the HVAC system running when cleaning or replacing the air filter will only allow the system to draw in excess dust into the motor.   

Open The Filter Cover

Some filter covers come with latches that you can easily open to access the filter. Nevertheless, some are attached with screws that might require using screwdrivers to remove. If you’re dealing with an air filter with screws, ensure to preserve them safely, and use a sturdy stepladder if you’re working on a wall HVAC. 

Brush And Vacuum The Filter

Once you’ve accessed the filter, take it outside to avoid contaminating the indoor air with dust. Then, using a soft-bristled brush, remove debris from the filter. Ensure to run it across the entire filter to loosen any debris attached. Then use a vacuum to suck off any remaining dust.

Clean The Filter With Warm Water And Vinegar

Depending on how dirty the filter is, it might require deep cleaning. If you’re cleaning a filter with too much dirt, fill a bucket with equal amounts of warm water and white vinegar. Then, soak the filter and allow it to sit in the solution for not less than an hour before rinsing it with clean water. If the filter is large to fit in a bucket, consider using a garden hose pipe to wash it. 


When using a hose pipe, it’s vital to ensure the water runs towards the opposite direction of the airflow. You must also be careful of the water pressure lest you damage the filter.

Dry The Filter

Before putting back the filter, it’s vital to dry it completely. Here, you need a sponge to dry it up. If necessary, allow the filter to dry under the sun or place it before a fan to ensure there’s no water left on it. While the filter is drying, consider cleaning the appliance openings where the filter rests to ensure that both the appliance and the filter are clean.

Reload The Filter

Once the air filter has dried, the next step is to reload it into the system. Ensure you reload it safely and in the right direction. This process should be easy since many filters have an arrow marking indicating how they should be placed. You can also depend on the user’s manual concerning air filter replacement and installation.

After How Long Should You Clean The Air Filter

Cleaning the air filter isn’t among the procedures you do once a year, especially if you want it to function optimally. You should consider cleaning the air filter at least once every three months if your space doesn’t experience too much dust. However, if you reside in a dusty area, you should clean the filter more often. 



Regarding how often you should clean the air filter, it’s advisable to trust your eyes. If you notice too much dust build-up after only a month, consider increasing the cleaning frequency.

Should You Clean Or Replace The Air Filter?

Dirty filters can be easily cleaned and continue functioning as they should. Nevertheless, some filters aren’t ideal for cleaning; hence they must be replaced. 


Filters that can’t stand up for cleaning are designed for one-time use and aren’t expensive. They usually come with a cardboard frame. On the other hand, washable filters are a bit pricey and come with plastic or metal frames that can withstand water. 


Among the best way to determine if your filters are ideal for cleaning or replacing is by referring to an air filter manufacturer’s direction. These directions are commonly found in the user’s manual and direct one on effectively using and attending to the filter to avoid destroying it.


Air filters determine the condition of your indoor air quality. When they’re dirty, the air in your home will be dusty until they’re cleaned and free from dust and debris. Unfortunately, many people have no option but to inhale dusty indoor air since they don’t know how to clean their filters. While it sounds challenging, cleaning an air filter is an easy activity. With the knowledge of how to go about the process, it might last for a few minutes and might not pose a challenge. If you’re planning on cleaning your air filters, consider this guide and say goodbye to unhealthy indoor air.

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