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Can You Wash Charcoal Filters? (Explained)

A charcoal filter is pretty convenient because it absorbs the impurities in the charcoal. Charcoal filters are used in different places to filter water, gas, and other impurities.

Generally, activated carbon is placed in the charcoal filters. So, the filters often get dirty with impurities and dirt.

So, you might be curious about whether you can wash charcoal filters or not. Well, you have to know the consequences of washing charcoal filters.

Moreover, you have to know whether the charcoal filter will work after washing or not. If the filter works well after washing, then you can wash it.

Can you wash charcoal filters?

Whether you can wash charcoal filters or not depends on the type of filter. Because charcoal filters can be different types including dry, wet, microwave, compost, etc. Each of these charcoal filters has different requirements. But generally, you can wash most of the charcoal filters.

Charcoal filters can be of many types. Even the purifying elements can also be different. Sometimes, you might have to use a vacuum to clean the filter, sometimes, you might need water to clean it. 

So, let’s see where charcoal filters are used and whether you can wash them or not.

Charcoal filters from air purifiers:

You can clean charcoal filters from an air purifier simply with warm water. You don’t need to clean the air purifier’s charcoal filters because these types of filters don’t capture any impurity particles.

They only prevent the bad odor. The charcoal pre-filter for my air cleaner is the same as this filter.

So, whether you wash charcoal filters from an air purifier or not is the same. Besides, never wash the charcoal filter for queen defender with soap or detergent. Because these types of washing elements decrease the efficiency of charcoal.

The activated carbon of these charcoal filters will lose the ability to filter air. The same goes for the Winix charcoal filter. So, you can vacuum clean the charcoal filters from an air purifier.

Microwave charcoal filters:

Don’t clean the microwave charcoal filters with soap or detergent. Because these materials will make the activated carbon of the charcoal filters less effective.

Moreover, most people don’t clean microwave charcoal filters because cleaning in a normal way is not possible.

People generally change the microwave charcoal filters every 6 months. If you still want to clean the microwave charcoal filter, you can use a can of compressed air.

Range hood charcoal filters:

Range hood charcoal filters are washable. Sometimes, vacuum-cleaning might be sufficient to keep the range hood charcoal filters clean. For the cleaning process, you need to remove the charcoal filter from the hood first.

Then you have to fill the filter 1/3th portion with warm water. After that, you can pour some baking soda on the filter and soak the filter in hot water for about 10 to 15 minutes.

It’s not recommended to use harsh soap or detergent. You can scrub and rinse the filter with warm water and dry well. Thus you can wash your range hood charcoal filter.

Charcoal compost filters:

You can wash your charcoal compost filters. Generally, using harsh chemicals and detergents is prohibited while cleaning charcoal compost filters. You can remove the filter from the place and first vacuum clean it.

Then you can wash it with warm soapy water and scrub well to remove all the greasy dirt from the charcoal compost filter. Then you have to rinse the filter with warm water and dry it well.

Charcoal filter storage bags:

Charcoal filter storage bags are washable and reusable. The activated carbons in the charcoal filter storage bags will not lose their strength if you wash them. So, you can wash these storage bags with soaps.

Generally, charcoal filter storage bags have to store in an airtight container so that they might not be damaged. But these bags are reusable. So, if you want to wash these bags, you can soak them in soapy water for a couple of minutes.

Then you have to rub these gently and wash them in the warm water. After drying well, you can again use these charcoal filter storage bags.

What happens if you wash a carbon filter?

If the carbon filter is for purifying water or air, then you should not wash the filter. Because, if you wash a carbon filter with a chemical elements or harsh detergent, these elements can damage the filter permanently.

Even the filter’s activated carbon will lose its ability to filter air and water. Besides, the water or air might be contaminated if you wash the filter with scrubbing or abrading materials.

But if you wash a carbon filter with a vacuum cleaner or simply water, it will not cause any harm to the filter. Moreover, if the filter is charcoal storage bags or charcoal compost filters, you can wash them with soap and warm water.

Can you wash a charcoal filter in the dishwasher?

You can’t wash a charcoal filter in the dishwasher if the filter is an air purifier or microwave charcoal filter. You only can vacuum clean or water clean these types of charcoal filters.

But if the charcoal filter is a range hood, storage bag charcoal filter, or compost charcoal filter, you can wash them in the dishwasher.

For washing these charcoal filters in the dishwasher, you can use an intensive washing cycle. Ensure that the temperature is not more than 70 degrees centigrade. Moreover, don’t use any harsh detergent or chemicals to wash the filter.

You can use warm water in the dishwasher to clean the filter. Otherwise, the harsh chemicals or soap might damage the activated carbon in the filter.

Can you clean and reuse charcoal filters?

Yes, you can clean and reuse charcoal filters. But generally, people change the microwave charcoal filters after 6 months. But you can clean the charcoal filters if they are compost charcoal, storage charcoal filter bags, or other types.

Generally, if you clean the charcoal filters gently with warm water, it will not harm the charcoal or the activated carbon in the filters.

But if you harshly rub scrub the filters or use harsh detergents to clean them, the filters will not filter the water and air thoroughly. Even the water and air can be contaminated.

So, if you clean the charcoal filters appropriately, you can clean and reuse them. Otherwise, the filters will not remain usable.

How to clean a charcoal filter?

Now that you can clean a charcoal filter. But knowing the appropriate way is a must. Otherwise, the effectiveness of filtering will be damaged.

The cleaning process of dry and wet charcoal filters is slightly different. For example, Ikea charcoal filters are available in both and dry filters. So, let’s see how you can clean dry and wet charcoal filters.

Dry charcoal filter:

  • At first, you need to remove the charcoal filter from where it is attached to.
  • Then you have to clean the filter with a vacuum. Try to use the vacuum from one side to another.
  • Rub the filter with a damp or soft piece of fabric to remove greasiness and other dirt.
  • Dry the filter well and place the filter in the earlier position.

Wet charcoal filter: 

  • Like the dry charcoal filter, you have to remove the filter from the place it is attached to.
  • Then you have to soak the filter in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • You can dislodge the debris and other dirt with a narrow pipe of water and use the flow of water to remove dirt.
  • Simply rub the filter with a piece of microfiber cloth and rinse with clear water.
  • Dry the filter well and return it to the filter housing.

How long does a charcoal filter last?

Generally, a charcoal filter can last for 2 to 4 years. How long the charcoal filter will last depends on the use of the filter. If you use the charcoal filter in a high demanding environment with high humidity, and temperature, the filter might not last for 2 years.

But if you use the charcoal filter in a less demanding situation, the filter will last longer. The quality of the charcoal filter is another issue.

A high-quality charcoal filter can last up to 4 years. So, how long your charcoal filter will last depends on the usage, quality, and environment.

Final Thoughts

You can wash and reuse your charcoal filter. But the cleaning process has to be gentle. You should not use chemicals or detergents to wash the filters. Moreover, you should not scrub the filter harshly. You can wash the filter with warm water. Besides, vacuum-cleaning might also be helpful.