Can You Wash and Reuse Air Filters?

Reusable air filters can be washed and replaced, but disposable filters used in HVAC systems are not meant to be reused after getting wet. Moisture can encourage mold growth, which can spread throughout the house. Cleaning and reusing a car's air filter is acceptable practice, but standard air filters should be replaced. High-performance air filters are designed to be reused and can be cleaned with a vacuum or cold water.

Reusable air filters provide a simple and affordable tool for HVAC system protection, and they should be washed regularly to avoid any issues with air quality or flow. Cleaning a car's air filter is an easy job and a great introduction to DIY car maintenance. Air filters are rated in the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system, which determines the efficiency of a filter. The higher the MERV rating of the air filter, the smaller the particles it can capture, but the greater the effect it will have on the airflow. As air filters in an HVAC system clean up the passing airflow, the smaller particles they capture begin to clog the mesh fabric.

Fresh air passing into your home can't get through dirty air filters and the effects are evidenced by indoor air quality issues. When you have cleanable filters installed, the efficiency of the HVAC filter increases after washing them. But you must ensure that it is an air filter designed to be reused. Disposable air filters can't be cleaned enough, and attempting to clean them could lead to AC efficiency problems or even mold. You can clean and reuse a permanent HEPA filter, but you should do this as carefully as possible to avoid damaging it. You can clean most HEPA filters with a vacuum, but that will require maximum smoothness.

On the other hand, you can rinse a washable HEPA filter with cold water. Here are some guidelines to help you clean your air filter and put it back in the air cleaner for use. Finally, you can easily attach the filter yourself, in many cases, most cars use an air cleaner housing without tools. Washable filters and reusable oven filters provide filtration benefits that keep contaminants out and fresh air in. Washable filters consist of a mesh fabric, the tightness of which determines the MERV rating.

Electrostatic filters and activated carbon filters can usually be cleaned and reused, as can some HEPA-type filters.