How to Clean a Water-Based Air Purifier – A Step By Step Guide With Pictures


Alright, if you’re like me and have a water-based air purifier, then odds are you’ve realized that it can get rather messy. On top of that, if you don’t rinse and clean it regularly, it’ll be just about impossible to rinse out and make it look like new again.

But you can make it look like new if you wash it!

Washing a water-based air purifier is simple, all it takes is some soap, water, and scrubbing! Specific methods vary between air purifiers, but the general cleaning concepts outlined in this tutorial will give you a basic idea of how to clean your air purifier.

So, before I dive right on in, let me say this: my air purifier wasn’t actually as dirty as what you see in the pictures. I put some dirt in it to make it easier to see the junk. The pictures I took of the usual amount of gunk and grime that my air purifier collects didn’t turn out very well.

With that said, here are some shots of what my air purifier looked like before I cleaned it!

Now, the dirt I used was actually intentionally picked out, believe it or not. I made sure that I had some dusty stuff to represent the dust you’d get from normal use and I had some stuff that floated too, since I get stuff that floats in my water-based air purifier too.

As you can see, this air purifier is all kinds of messy. It isn’t something you’d like any houseguests seeing, and odds are that you don’t want to see it either!

How To Clean a Water-Based Air Purifier: A Step By Step Tutorial

Now, I’m going to list off the steps below without pictures for those of you who don’t want to see them. But, if you do want pictures, then you can skip past the numbered list to the full tutorial.

Once again, cleaning your water-based air purifier is easy, and it only took me 20 minutes or so ON MY FIRST attempt. I’m expecting my next time to be less than that, since I know how I’ll be doing it from now on.

  1. Unplug air purifier
  2. Take it to the nearest sink
  3. Dump and rinse basin
  4. Wash basin with soap
  5. Clean fan in upper portion
    • Don’t let the water get on electric components
  6. Remove the spot (if possible)
  7. Clean the spout
  8. Allow air purifier to dry completely
  9. Reassemble air purifier
  10. Fill, plug in, and turn it back on!

Yes, it really is that simple, but, if you’re new to water-based air purifiers, or even if you’ve done this before, it’s worth reading the instructions I have below. Who knows, I might have a few cool tips and tricks for you!

On top of that, I think the in-depth instructions are more helpful too, but there are lots of people who just want to do things their own way, so that’s a simple roadmap for them. (They’ll be back, we all know it. Hahaha)

Unplug and take the air purifier to the nearest sink

So, we’re dealing with electricity and water here, so unplugging your air purifier is an absolute must. On top of that, you’ll need to do your cleaning at a sink, and odds are that you’d have to unplug the air purifier to get there anyways!

But, again, be sure to unplug your water-based air purifier before you begin washing it!

Now that you’ve gotten your air cleaner to the sink, disassemble it. In most cases, you’ll just lift off the top or unscrew it. Once you’ve done that, set them both down on a towel so you don’t get your counters dirty. (I cheated and used a piece of paper because it made for a better picture.)

Dump out and rinse the water basin

Now that you’ve got the air purifier at the sink, empty the water basin.

Once you’ve emptied it, rinse it out once more because it’s probably still got some stuff in it. As you can see in my second picture, there was still a bunch of dirt leftover in mine!

Keep rinsing your water-based air purifier’s basin until it appears clean.

Wash the water basin with soap

Now, this is a REALLY important step for those of you who put essential oils in your air purifiers. It’s also an important step for those of you who don’t rinse out your air purifier often enough, and for those of you who left the water basin run dry.

It’s important if you use essential oils (and perfumes and fragrances too) because the oils make things stick in the basin a lot more. On top of that, oils aren’t soluble in water, so rinsing the basin out can’t take care of it.

For people who don’t rinse or clean their water basin often, they’ll most likely have some thicker buildup of junk in their basin, so soap and scrubbing is a must to clean it out.

And finally, if you let your water basin run dry often (which is really easy to do), then you’ll need to wash like this as well, since you’ll have some buildup of junk as well.

Now, I used a scrubbing brush for dishes, as you can see in the pictures. You can also use a sponge with a scrubbing side for this. I’m personally fond of the scrubbing brush thing and they make washing dishes and air purifiers like this easy, you can pick up a set on Amazon here. The soap I used was Dawn, which is another favorite of mine, but other dish soaps should work fine.

I made sure to scrub my water basin thoroughly and I went over it a few times to ensure that I had it completely clean. Once I was sure, I dried it with a towel and set it aside to dry.

Clean the fan

Now, as I’m sure you can see here, my water-based air purifier’s fan is absolutely filthy. It’s got tons of junk on it, and in it too.

Believe it or not, it looked almost this bad before I put the dirt in for this article, since it was used so long and run dry so many times.

Now, before I go on any further, let me say this: You are putting water near where electronics are, so be super careful. Be sure to check if your air purifier is unplugged and be careful as you wash the fan. You do not want water getting into the electronics in the top half of your air purifier, all you want to do is wash the plastic fan that gets into the water. If at all possible, remove the fan and wash it separately.

I can’t remove my fan, so I will be washing it as it’s still attached to the top of the machine. However, I make sure to hold it straight up and down so the water flows right off the fan and doesn’t get into the electronics.

I started off with just rinsing the fan and then I pulled out an old toothbrush, my Dawn, and my dish scrubber to clean it further. I didn’t end up using the dish scrubber for this part though.

With my weapons of choice out, I then put a small dollop of soap on the toothbrush and began scrubbing both sides of my fan’s upper section. I avoided the downspout thing in the middle for now and you’ll see how I cleaned that later.

As you can see, I turned the top of my water-based air purifier over in order to get a better line of attack on the top side of the fan. If you do this, be sure to limit how much soapy suds you spray around with the brush. I wasn’t careful enough, so I’ll probably have to clean this air purifier again.

But, as you can see in the final photo, everything looks perfectly clean on the fan once I rinsed off the bubbles. Again, when rinsing the fan, make sure that you don’t let the water pray all over the machine and onto the electronics. Rinse it off gently and hold it straight up and down so the water just flows right off the fan.

Now, I’m sure you can see the downspout part of my air purifier is all sorts of nasty, and odds are that a lot of you guys have the same problem. The area where it attaches to the fan is dirty too, and no amount of scrubbing seemed to be able to clean it for me.

But, there is hope. In fact, it’s incredibly easy to clean this part if you have a water-based air purifier like mine (a US JACLEAN air revitalizer). If you have another brand of water-based air purifier, then odds are that you probably won’t be able to do what I can with mine. But, there is hope: I’m sure there is some way you can clean yours! And, if not, you can get the US JACLEAN air revitalizer I have (and that I love) on Amazon.

But, if you don’t have my air purifier, then there’s a good chance that yours might have something sort of like mine where the downspout is hollow and collects dirt and grime. If that’s the case, then I’m hoping that you can pop it off, unscrew it, or remove it in some other way, since there’s a good chance that the downspout is a separate piece and not part of the fan. It’s probably just attached.

For my air purifier, all I had to do was hold the fan with one hand and grab the downspout piece with the other. I twisted the downspout to the left and it popped right off. It was sort of like a mixing bowl where you twist one way to lock it down and twist another to remove it.

With the downspout detached, Irised it out to remove whatever I could first, and then I whipped out a toothpick (Q-tips could also help) and I cleared the junk out of the downspout. This part could take a little bit of time, but it’s the only good way I could figure out to clean this part of your water-based air purifier’s spout.

Once I had it cleaned out (and I used a tiny bit of soap to do so), I then rinsed it out one more time before I set it on the towel I was drying the basin on. I found more use in the toothpicks, personally, but you might like the Q-tip more.

Finally, it’s time to clean one last part: the spot where the downspout is attached to the fan.

Forgive me for the first picture’s blurriness, but I think you can still get what’s going on. I used a toothpick (a Q-tip probably wouldn’t work for this one) to clean the small holes that the downspout attached to the fan with. A lot of dirt is collected in there, so it’s worth cleaning. Once that was clean, I rinsed it, again being careful to keep the water away from electronics.

That finished, I then wiped the top of my water-based air purifier down with a towel and made sure it looked as clean on the outside as it was on the inside.

And with that, I was done cleaning my water-based air purifier!

Let the air purifier dry completely

Once your air purifier is all clean, you need to let it dry out. Be sure it’s all dry before you try plugging it in because, again, electricity and water shouldn’t mix.

Depending on where you live, you won’t have to wait too long, I waited a good half-hour or so before mine was dry. But my home’s humidity is really low right now and it’s hot out, so everything dries a lot faster.

If you live somewhere more humid or cooler, then you might have to wait a little longer. But, again, be sure that your air purifier is dry! I don’t want anyone dying on me!

Once your air purifier is all dry, then you’re ready for the final step: reassembling your air purifier and then filling it.

Reassemble, fill, and put your air purifier back to work

As I was just saying, your air purifier just needs to be rebuilt so you can put it back to work. Don’t worry, this step is super easy! However, just to be there for those of you who get a little lost, I’ve got a few pictures for how to reassemble it.

For me, the “reassembling” entailed just reattaching the downspout to where it belonged. I just lined up the holes, put it on, and twisted to the right. To make sure it was right, I pulled lightly on the spout and, when it didn’t move, I knew everything was in order.

Finally, all you have to do is fill your air purifier’s basin, put the top back on, plug it in, and turn it on. With that, your air purifier is now clean and it’s ready to get back to work!

How Often Should I Clean My Air Purifier?

Now, this article only details how to do what I’ll call a “medium cleaning” of an air purifier. I didn’t clean everything on it, doing a “deep cleaning” requires taking things apart and that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. On top of that, I have yet to see the need. There’s a bit of junk that’s collected in the parts of my air purifier that I couldn’t clean today, but it didn’t seem too troublesome just yet. (And if you’re wondering, I’d say a “light cleaning” is just when you rinse out your air purifier.)

I’ve had this water-based air purifier for at least a year now, and this is the first time I’ve cleaned it like this. Honestly, I’d recommend doing it every 6 to 8 months because it got pretty nasty.

But that’s only for this “medium cleaning”, I think everyone should do a “light cleaning” once a week at the minimum. Doing so will keep your air purifier and the air you’re breathing cleaner, and that’s sort of the point of why you bought your air purifier.

If you’re wondering, a light cleaning (in my book) only entails rinsing your air purifier off, maybe using a little soap from time to time, but not every time. The biggest difference here is that you aren’t scrubbing and you aren’t taking anything apart to clean it. A cleaning like that should just take a minute or two.

The deep cleaning, which I have yet to do, will probably take me around an hour and I don’t know how often it should be done. Since I’ve gone this long with just one medium cleaning, I’d say I could go another few years before a deeper cleaning is necessary, but that’s just for me. Gauge how dirty your air purifier gets in those spots you aren’t cleaning before you refuse to clean it! If it’s dirty, then maybe it’s worth cleaning.

Thanks for reading my article on how to clean water-based air purifiers! I hope it was really helpful. I know I’ve loved every air purifier that I’ve purchased, but few are as nifty as my water-based air purifier. Even with the need to refill it a few times a week and having to clean it with a deep cleaning like this every now and then, I still think it’s really neat.

If you’d like to read more about water-based air purifiers, feel free to check out one of my other articles about them below!

How Well do Water-Based Air Purifiers Work?

What is a Water Based Air Purifier? | The Pros & Cons of Water Air Revitalizers

What Does a Water Air Purifier Do? | The Surprising Benefits of Using Water as an Air Filter

What Is the Best Air Purifier That I Can Buy? | Water Based Air Purifier Buying Guide

Do I Need to Put a Towel Under a Water-Based Air Revitalizer? | What Can I Do to Keep My Water-Based From Moving?

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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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