This story is part of, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Air purifiers are fairly straightforward appliances withand upkeep. Still, you want to make sure your unit continues to work correctly -- and lasts as long as possible. That's why we're going to walk through the process of cleaning a plug-in portable air purifier here, so you know how to keep yours in good shape as it takes on the allergens in your home.
How to clean an air purifier
- Unplug your air purifier
This is always the first step. Make sure your air purifier is unplugged before you begin.
2. Check the filters
Most air purifiers come with two different filters: a prefilter and a HEPA filter. Some even have a third filter. Each manufacturer's recommendations will vary in terms of cleaning the filters. Honeywell, Winix and Levoit all say not to wash or otherwise clean their HEPA filters, but instead to replace them regularly.
Levoit suggests replacing its HEPA filter every six to eight months, while both Honeywell and Winix say their units last up to one year.
Levoit's prefilter should be cleaned every two to four weeks with a gentle brush or vacuum. You can wash the Winix prefilter every few weeks; just make sure it's completely dry before you put it back. And Honeywell says not to wash it's prefilter at all, but instead to replace it every three months.
3. Wipe off the air purifier
All of the manufacturers I checked suggested wiping off the air purifier with a dry cloth about once every few months. Do not use water or any cleaning solvent to clean off your air purifier.
4. Store the filters when not in use
If the air purifier isn't going to be used for a month or more, Honeywell says it's best to remove and store its filters in tightly sealed bags.
One final note
Keep in mind that the specific cleaning requirements might vary slightly depending on the brand and model of air purifier you purchase. Make sure to check the printed or online user's guide that comes with your air purifier to confirm its maintenance needs. Regardless, your air purifier will need some sort of upkeep and it will likely follow the information detailed above (or very close).
Take a look at our guide onto get more information on how to position it in a room so it runs optimally.