Can You Clean a Levoit Filter? – Tips for Cleaning HEPA Filters


It is both possible and surprisingly easy to clean the air filters in Levoit air purifiers. Cleaning your air purifier’s filters may decrease your air purifier’s overall ability to clean the air as thoroughly, but it can be a great way to save money. Read on and I’ll share my tips for cleaning most three-in-one air purifier filters like Levoit’s.

Before I dive into today’s post, I’d like to say that I actually do own this Levoit air purifier. (I don’t recommend air purifiers like this unless if I’m certain that I’m right! That means I’ve got to own the product before I say you should get it.) Not only that, but I’ve been using it for some time now as well–hence why I had to answer this question.

As you can see by my photo to the right, my filter got all sorts of dirty in the time that I’ve been using it–which has been about six months.

Not coincidentally, six months is the amount of time that Levoit says their air purifiers will last before they need to be replaced. As you can see, they can get quite dirty in that amount of time!

Now, with that said, let me dive right on into it…

How Do I Know if My Levoit Air Purifier’s Filter Needs Replaced?

Levoit air purifiers, like a lot of the better-made higher-quality air purifiers, will tell you when it’s time to replace (or clean) your filter.

How does Levoit do it?

Well, a scary red light turns on.

Contrary to my initial thoughts about the air purifier, it was not turning into a Decepticon. As it turns out, it was just telling me that it needed some help.

Now, I’m sure some of you were wondering “why is my air purifier’s on button red?” and stuff like that, so let me assure you that it’s perfectly normal. Your air purifier did not become evil overnight. It’s just letting you know that it needs some help.

Now, I’m going to tell you up front that unplugging the air purifier won’t take care of the light. Resetting it (which I’ll go into later) won’t help in the long term either.

Long story short, if your Levoit’s light is on, then you have to do something about the filter. There’s no way around that.

Now, you can clean it like I did, or you can replace it–which is likely a better option in the long run. (Also, I’d recommend replacing your filter completely after cleaning it a few times no matter what. I’ll try to go into that later as well.)

What Do I Need to Look for to See if There’s Something Wrong With My Air Purifier’s Filter?

Besides just going off the red light on your Levoit, there are other ways to check to see if your filter is dirty and needs to be cleaned or replaced.

As you can see in this picture, there are some grey-ish white lines on the black foam part of my filter.

Those aren’t supposed to be there. They’re dust. That’s one indicator that there’s a lot of dust in your filter!

But dust lines don’t mean much. You can see those even if your filter doesn’t need to be changed or cleaned.

What’s really important is seeing how much dust is on the filter itself. As you will see in my next pictures, there was a bunch of dust in my air purifier. In the last picture, you can see the before and after of the filters before and after I cleaned out the filters.

How Do I Clean My Air Purifier’s Filter?

If you have a Levoit air purifier with a three-stage filter like mine, then it’s super easy.

All you’ve got to do is vacuum the filter out (from the pre-filter side).

I made a short little video of me vacuuming it out so you can see how I went about doing it. (Sorry the video quality isn’t great!)

Now, as you can see, I use the hose (or wand) of the vacuum and I go over the filter slowly. I make sure to go over it one more time once I finish, just to be sure that the filter is super clean.

Please, DO NOT vacuum the black spongey side of the filter first. Doing so will just pull dust deeper into the filter and make it harder to clean out. It will also shorten the lifespan of your filters, since you’re clogging them up by doing so. On top of that, the spongey black side isn’t made to be cleaned, so you might end up damaging it too.

I’m going to repeat myself and say that there will be a time where you will have to replace your filter. Yes, you can clean it several times, but there will come a time where the filter won’t be as effective as it once was and it will be more beneficial to just replace it.

Luckily, Levoit filters aren’t too expensive.

If you think it’s time to buy a new filter, then you can do so on Amazon via this link. At the end of this post, I’ve got a link to a list (with pictures) of each Levoit air purifier with a link to their replacement filters as well, so you can pick up the right unit. Be sure to double-check to see if you’ve got the right one! These filters aren’t interchangeable. Here’s a link to that post with the most popular Levoit Air purifiers and their replacement filters.

Anyhows, back to the matter at hand, cleaning your filters.

So, once you finish vacuuming the first filter, you can then clean up the foam around the edges, if you’d like. Once that’s done, you can give the other filter the same treatment.

And before anyone asks if this is a good way to clean your filter and if it works, let me assure you that it does. Lots of industries blow out their filters regularly because a filter’s life isn’t always dependent on how much junk is in it (depending upon the filter and the junk). There is always a time that a filter needs replaced, but sometimes you can get by by just cleaning it out. Save yourself a few bucks and just whip out your vacuum!

What Do I Do After I Clean My Filters?

Once you’ve clean your air purifier’s filters you can put them back into your air purifier. This is different for each air purifier model, but the way you do it on mine is you remove the base and then put the filters in with their black tabs facing you and pointing inward–exactly like how you are supposed to put them in in the first place.

As you can see in my little picture, there still is a little line of dust on the foam. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t clean it out, but that’s alright with me. (It’s also a good reminder that vacuuming out the filters isn’t 100% effective. There will be some stuff left behind.)

Once you’ve got the filters back in, put the base of your air purifier back on, latch it down, and then turn your air purifier back upright.

When latching it down, just line it up and then turn the knob righty tighty.

I know that’s obvious, but I had to say it anyway, since we all have “brain fart” moments where we space information like that.

Now, as you can see in this second photo, the light in my air purifier is on. I don’t recommend replacing your filter with your air purifier plugged in, but I did it for this tutorial so I could tell you all something: the red light will not turn off when you replace your filters!

And that’s perfectly okay too!

So, the light will remain on indefinitely if you don’t reset the unit.

Admittedly, I spent a wee bit of time looking for a reset button before I decided to Google it.

As it turns out, the way that you reset the light is you just press and hold the button. (More on that in the next section.)

How Do I Get Rid of the Red Light on My Levoit Air Purifier? – How Do I Reset My Air Purifier’s Filter Life?

It’s easy, here are three steps (with an optional fourth) for it:

  1. Turn on the air purifier.
  2. Press and hold the illuminated, red button for three seconds (or until it changes).
  3. Press and hold the illuminated filter reset button again until the light turns off.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 if the light doesn’t change color.

You might have to do this a few times. I don’t know if it was my own mistake, or if the button was acting up, but I had to do the press and hold thing a few times before the red light finally went away.

Once your light changes color, it will revert back to the usual white color and things will proceed as usual.

You might notice that your air purifier is a bit louder after you reset it, and that seems to be normal. If I’m right in assuming this, I think Levoit must have made it so the air purifier’s fans turn themselves down when they know the filter needs replaced.

And before anyone asks, that’s a good thing that the fans slow down in that event!

If your filter is clogged up, then the fan has to work harder to pull air through it. That can damage the fan in the long run.

For reference, think of it like your own breathing. It’s easy when you’re doing it out in the open. But if you cover your mouth and nose, it becomes a lot harder to inhale and exhale. (Please just take my word for it. I don’t want anyone suffocating on me.)

I think it’s pretty cool how Levoit programmed that into their air purifiers and, honestly, it just made me like my air purifier even more.

If you’d like to continue reading up on what I’ve got on air purifiers, please feel free to browse my site Air Purifier Essentials! And if you’d like to see the list of my favorite air purifiers which I recommend, then you can do so here.

Levoit Air Purifiers and Their Replacement Filters

As promised, I’ve made a list of Levoit’s most popular air purifiers and where you can get their replacement filters.

Alas, this article is already pretty long, so I’ve decided to make a separate post for this. Here’s a link to my list of the most popular Levoit units and their replacement filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! My Levoit Air Purifier has a Red Light!

Don’t worry! A red light on a Levoit air purifier is not bad news–it just means that it’s time for you to buy a new filter (or clean your current one). After changing/cleaning the filter, just press and hold the button and it should reset. It might take a couple of tires though, I had to do it to mine like five times.

Are Levoit Air Filters Washable?

Levoit air filters are in fact washable, and all it really takes to clean them out (thoroughly) is a vacuum cleaner. Suck the dust and junk out from the pre-filter side (NOT the spongey black side) and that will clear out the dust. I recommend replacing your filter after you clean it out a few times, however, as dust can still gum things up in the HEPA and charcoal filters.

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Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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