WE ARE OPEN! All filters are made in the USA in our Alabama warehouse.

Washable Air Filters: Can You Actually Reuse It?

reusable air filters

The air filters in your home are tools used to keep the airflow coming in clean and comfortable to breathe. The air filtration process involves a tight mesh weaving trapping and absorbing the airborne issues. Over time, the air filters become so clogged with captured smaller particles that their efficiency will drop.


When you are deciding on what type of air filters to purchase, there are several options to choose from. You may order disposable air filters for your home that only require you to periodically swap out the old ones. Disposable air filters are convenient but wasteful and require certain procedures for recycling. Washable air filters provide your home with an easy, cost-effective way to keep your ventilation systems clear of contaminants. 


Reusable air filters provide a simple, affordable tool for HVAC system protection.  When you have cleanable filters installed, then HVAC filter efficiency rises after washing them out. Air filters will require maintenance, and if you are not replacing the filter, then you will need to wash it consistently. When air filters are not kept clean, then the burden affects both home indoor air quality and budget.

Issues with Dirty Air Filters

dirty air filter


Eventually, as the air filters in an HVAC system cleanse passing airflow the smaller particles they capture start to clog the mesh weaving. The fresh air passing past into your home is unable to pass dirty air filters and the effects evident through problems in indoor air quality. Air filters are especially strained in areas with large amounts of airborne irritants such as smoke, dust, or pet dander. The lack of airflow in a home will begin to create an uncomfortable atmosphere over time.


Fresh air is healthy for the lungs and helps keep your home feeling comfortable and safe, especially when the air is clean. When your home lacks incoming airflow, then the air quality inside begins to stagnate. Dry, stagnant air is not healthy to breathe in and may lead to the development of breathing problems if not handled promptly. Poor air quality in your home may also cause clogging irritants like smoke and pet dander to build up. The air system will attempt to push past a blockage but that may cause further complications down the line.


When an HVAC system tries to bypass the blockage a dirty air system causes, it will increase system functions. Your air system will continue to use energy and wear out its parts as it continues to push the airflow forward. If the air system works too hard for too long, then there is a risk of mechanical failure or even a complete breakdown. You will see a rise in energy billing as the increased mechanical output continues until an hvac filter cleaning.

Permanent, Cleanable, Reusable, Or Washable Furnace Air Filter

washable air filters

The washable furnace filters need regular maintenance as well. Permanent air filters are able to save time and money by providing a washable alternative to disposable filters. You will need to be sure to maintain your furnace filters or the effects could be severely damaging to the system.

Cleanable furnace filters are reusable tools capable of protecting a heating system clean for long stretches of time. The furnace air system works by having air pumped in from the outside for heating inside. The heated air then passes through the washable filter before distribution into your home. The air is free of any harmful microscopic particles but like regular HVAC filters will eventually need a replacement.

 Your furnace filters keep the heated airflow coming through clean, but clogging puts the system is at risk of serious damage. When the heated air in a furnace is unable to pass a blockage, then the temperature buildup goes beyond the system's ability. An overheated furnace can be seriously damaged with creates significant repair costs. Your home will also see temperature fluctuations as the airflow has trouble reaching its intended destination. Washable furnace filters need periodic cleaning, how often depends on the environment and MERV rating.


Filter King does offer a subscription service that eliminates the need for washing by simply replacing the HVAC filters. If you are aiming to save, then you can wash the washable filter yourself in order to prevent air quality problems. The filters require cleaning every 3 to 5 months depending on their MERV rating.

Air Filter MERV Ratings

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings for a washable filter tell you how effective it is. Washable air and furnace filters consist of mesh weaving, the tightness of which determines MERV rating. The higher the air filter's MERV rating the smaller the particles it is able to capture, but the larger an effect it has on airflow. High MERV filters require more effort from the system to have airflow pushed through, making them ideal for commercial or industrial buildings. Permanent air filters for the home are best kept in the 4-12 MERV range where protection and affordability balance out.

When to Wash Your Cleanable Air Filters


You will need to clean your air filters regularly in order to avoid any incidents with the air quality or flow in your home. You will be able to better plan when to clean your filters by taking their environment and efficiency into account. Context is important to understanding just how frequently your washable air filter needs maintenance.


Your washable air filter will become dirty over time. How quickly this happens normally depends on filter quality and environment. Air filters rank on the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value(MERV) system, which determines a filter’s efficiency. High MERV rated air filters have mesh weaving able to block out airborne particles as small as microns in size. Permanent air filters become dirty faster with higher MERV ratings and in certain environments.


The air that passes through your washable air filter can contain a wide range of issues depending on the surrounding environment. Homes in areas with high levels of allergens, pollutants, dust mites, mold spores, and debris have a washable air filter constantly capturing airborne particles. Internal conditions are important as well, with air filters preventing the spread of smoke or pet dander. Your permanent air filters will become clogged with particles and require cleaning to prevent any type of problem.

How to Clean Your Reusable Air Filters

Cleaning your reusable filters is a simple process.

Check and see if a washable filter is dirty. Filters in need of cleaning are usually caked in a layer of dirt or dust.

Remove the filter. Be careful in handling it as not to let any of the trapped irritants into your home.

Rinse the filter in water, washing in a sink or tub would work best.

Use a brush and detergent to clean the filter.

Shake the excess water off and drain the frame.

Put the washable air filter back in place. The airflow will dry out any remaining water.

Benefits and Cons of Reusable Air Filters

When you use reusable filters, this eliminates any need to buy additional filters to replace them. The cleaning process is simple and easy to follow and is only needed every few months. You will save on additional filters and on waste by not using a filter that needs replacement every few months. You more save money in the long run by using a reusable filter, even if the initial costs are more expensive.

Washable Filters vs Disposable Filters

Washable filters provide a reusable alternative to disposable filters with their own unique qualities. You may use washable filters until the time they break. The cleaning process is easy and quick but requires a consistent schedule.  Air filters need maintenance every 3 to 5 months in order to prevent any airflow or quality issues. Disposable air filters allow you to skip the work and simply have a new air filter put in place. You may even have the new filters delivered straight to your door.

Talk to an Air Filter Provider About What Filters Would be Best For Your Home

Filter King offers a variety of filters to buy in order to keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Washable filters and reusable furnace filters both provide filtration benefits that keep pollutants out and fresh air in. Contact us and see what options are available and see how you can raise the indoor air quality in your home today.

Popular sizes