How to Clean Vacuum HEPA Filters

should I wash or how can I clean hepa


Most cordless vacuum cleaners are equipped with HEPA filters and you may wonder why and how it works. These filters are designed to effectively trap microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, and even mold spores, ensuring thorough home cleaning. It is essential to keep them clean, especially when you encounter a weak suction issue in the vacuum. In the long term, it helps extend the life of your vacuum and improve indoor air quality. In the blog post, we'll discuss what it is, how it works, and how to clean HEPA filters.

Table of Contents

➡️What is a HEPA Filter?

➡️How does a HEPA Filter Work in Vacuum Cleaners?

➡️Different Types of Vacuum HEPA Filters

➡️Can You Wash a HEPA Filter?

➡️How to Clean Vacuum HEPA Filters Correctly?

➡️How Long do HEPA Filters Last?



What is a HEPA Filter?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is a type of pleated mechanical air filter that can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 micrometers. These filters are designed to capture a wide range of particulates, including dust, pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and even bacteria and viruses.

Do HEPA Filters Remove Mold?

HEPA filters in vacuums can remove mold spores from surfaces, carpets, and upholstery. Using a HEPA vacuum cleaner in mold-prone areas can prevent spores from being released into the air. However, vacuuming alone may not eliminate the source of mold growth, so additional measures like addressing moisture and cleaning with mold-killing solutions are important.

How does a HEPA Filter Work in Vacuum Cleaners?

In vacuum cleaners, HEPA filters are used to trap a large number of very small particles that other non-HEPA vacuum cleaners would simply recirculate back into the air of your home. They work by utilizing two different mechanisms to clean the airstream. The first mechanism is interception, where particles that are close to the filter fibers are captured as the air flows through the filter. The second mechanism is diffusion, where smaller particles move randomly and collide with filter fibers, ultimately getting trapped. The cleaned air is then released through the exhaust.

Different Types of Vacuum HEPA Filters

There are several types of HEPA filters used in vacuum cleaners, each with its unique characteristics and filtration capabilities:

1. True HEPA filters

These filters meet the strict standards set by the EPA and can remove at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micrometers. True HEPA filters are ideal for allergy sufferers and those looking for the highest level of filtration.

2. HEPA-type filters

These filters are designed to mimic the performance of true HEPA filters but may not meet the EPA's strict standards. HEPA-type filters can still provide a high level of filtration, but their efficiency may vary depending on the manufacturer and model.

3. Washable HEPA filters

Some vacuum cleaners come with washable HEPA filters, which can be cleaned and reused multiple times. While this type of filter can save money in the long run, it is essential to follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions to maintain optimal filtration performance.

Can You Wash a HEPA Filter?

Always check the manufacturer's instructions as you cannot determine if it is washable or not from the HEPA filter's appearance. However, most HEPA filters are not washable and must be replaced when they become dirty or clogged, take INSE's cordless HEPA vacuums as examples. Suggest buying a HEPA replacement filter if the HEPA filter is not washable.

How to Clean Vacuum HEPA Filters Correctly?

1. Gather a soft brush or vacuum cleaner for cleaning the HEPA filter.
2. Unplug the vacuum cleaner for safety.
3. Identify and carefully remove the HEPA filter from the vacuum cleaner.
4. Gently tap the HEPA filter on a clean surface, using your hand or a soft brush to dislodge dust and impurities without damaging the filter.
5. If the filter is extremely dirty or oily, gently rinse it with clean or warm water, avoiding cleaning agents and chemicals that could harm the filter's structure. Alternatively, use a vacuum cleaner to gently remove surface debris.*
6. Thoroughly dry the filter in a well-ventilated area.
7. Reinstall the HEPA filter into the vacuum cleaner.

*Ensure the vacuum cleaner is equipped with a HEPA replacement filter for effectively capturing dirt and debris from the standalone HEPA filter during cleaning.
wash or clean HEPA filter using vacuum

image source: wikihow

How Long do HEPA Filters Last?

Typically, vacuum cleaner filters require replacement every 3-12 months, depending on usage. Replace the HEPA filter if:

● Suction decreases.
● Unpleasant odors arise.
● Manufacturer recommends it.

Remember, the cleaning frequency depends on the environment and usage. Harsher conditions may necessitate more frequent filter maintenance.



Regular maintenance of HEPA filters is essential to ensure the optimal performance of vacuum cleaners. A clean HEPA filter not only enhances the efficiency of HEPA vacuums but also significantly improves indoor air quality, providing a healthier living environment for you and your family.

If you encounter any issues with your cordless vacuum cleaner, and a clean HEPA filter could not fix them, check this cordless vacuum general troubleshooting guide to give it a go. Or if you need help with your INSE vacuums, don't hesitate to contact us at