Informational Guide

How To Clean Holmes Air Purifier Filter (DIY Guide)

by Josh M

Holmes air purifiers are known for being some of the most effective on the market, but if you don’t maintain them properly, they will not work correctly. Unfortunately, cleaning the air filters isn’t always straightforward, and you might not even know how to go about it. We’re here to help, and in this guide, we’ll show you how to clean your Holmes air purifier properly so that it works effectively for longer.

Soapy Water

Warm, soapy water is what you’ll use to clean the outside of the air purifier and the internal filters—mix 1 tablespoon of mild liquid dishwashing detergent with a gallon of warm water. Make sure you don’t use any harsh cleaning agents or bleach because this will damage the filters.

Soft Sponge Or Cloth

Your filters can be quite delicate, so you’ll need to use a soft, microfiber cloth to clean them. Avoid any harsh brushes because they will damage the filters and can stop the air purifier from working.

Vacuum Cleaner Or Compressed Air

You can use your vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the filters. Compressed air can also be used to blow away the dust and debris, and is particularly effective if you have fixed filters that can’t be removed.

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How To Clean Holmes Air Purifier Filter (Step By Step Guide)

Holmes purifiers are known for their excellent filters, and they usually have a combination of 3 different types; pre-filters, HEPA filters, and activated carbon filters. You’ll need to clean all of these properly to keep the purifier working correctly.

The method below will work for almost all Holmes air purifiers, including the smaller egg Holmes air purifier. Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Unplug The Appliance

Water and electricity can be a hazardous combination, so start by completely disconnecting your air purifier from your mains and turning it off completely. This will allow you to access the device safely.

2. Clean The Surface

The filters are the most important part of your purifier, but it’s a good idea to wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust gathered there. Some Holmes air purifiers will have a vent at the top of the device, so you’ll need to clean this with a soft brush to prevent it from getting clogged up.

3. Remove And Clean The Grill

Almost all Holmes air purifiers, including the tower room air purifier and the mini air purifier, have a grill on the front. This is where air flows in and out of the appliance, so it must be kept clean. There should be an indentation on the right of the grill, which will let you pull it towards you and lift it right off.

Once you’ve removed it, use warm soapy water to clean the grill and remove all the dirt. If it’s really dirty, you might need to leave it to soak for a while before you clean it. Then, leave the grill to fully dry while you clean the filters.

4. Clean The Pre Filter

Now you’ve removed the grill, you should have access to the filter. Holmes air purifiers are so effective because they have a pre-filter built into the unit. This is used to capture larger impurities like hair, mites, and dust, so it can get pretty dirty. To clean it, you’ll need to lift it out of the purifier and use a microfibre cloth and some warm soapy water. Make sure you do this by hand because a washing machine could damage it.

5. Remove The HEPA Filter

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are made up of thousands of extremely fine fibers which capture impurities in the air. This is the most important filter in a Holmes purifier, and it can capture up to 99.7% of contaminants in the air. Your HEPA filter will be fragile, so you’ll have to remove it carefully from the purifier.

Use a soft cloth to gently clean the surface of the HEPA filter with water. Don’t use any bleach or soap on this layer because it could cause damage. Leave the HEPA filter to dry while you clean the next one.

6. Remove And Clean The Activated Carbon Filter

Activated carbon filters are only in the most advanced Holmes air purifiers and are used to help trap carbon molecules in the air. They help you get rid of chemicals and can remove bad smells from the air in your home.

This filter is delicate, too, so you’ll need to gently lift it out of the purifier. Start by vacuuming the surface of it to remove any debris, and then use a soft cloth or brush to clean the various layers. Leave all the filters to dry.

7. Check For Damage

Make sure you take this opportunity to check all your filters for damage. If there are any cracks or issues, you can order replacement filters and slot them straight into your machine.

8. Reassemble And Test

Once your filters and grill are completely dry, you should put them back into the machine. Test the machine to see if it’s still working, and if there are any issues, you’ll need to check you’ve put them in correctly. Hopefully, it’s all working and the purifier is filtering air correctly.

Advice For Different Models

Every Holmes air purifier model is slightly different, so you’ll need to check your individual specifications. Some have fixed filters that you’ll need to try and vacuum, while others have HEPA filters that can’t be cleaned, only replaced. Some Holmes air purifiers are replaceable models which are only designed to last for a certain amount of time, so when the filter goes, the whole unit needs to be replaced, and there’s not much cleaning you can do on them.

However, most Holmes purifiers can be cleaned, and if you follow the steps above, you should keep them functioning properly for longer.

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How To Tell That Holmes Air Purifier Filter Is Dirty?

Inspect The Pre-Filter

Turn off the device and carefully remove the front grill so you can access the filter system within the Holmes air purifier. Check the pre-filter, and if it has turned grey or black, it’s a sign the filter system needs to be cleaned or replaced.

Filter Indicator Light

Almost all Holmes air purifiers have a filter indicator light on the outside of the device. This will light up or start to blink when the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced, so you don’t have to guess or open up the purifier to check.

Electricity Spike

Holmes air purifiers run on electricity, but when there’s dirt and dust blocking the internal mechanism, it can force your purifier to work harder to fulfill its function. This can mean that it uses more electricity, and there can be a rise in your household energy consumption. If you notice your bills are increasing, you should check your purifier to see if it needs to be cleaned.

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How Often Should You Clean a Holmes Air Purifier?

A Holmes air purifier should last 2-5 years, but it will need to be checked and cleaned regularly to keep it working. Over time, dirt, debris, pet hair, and other contaminants will gather within the purifier and can block the internal mechanism. Moisture can also gather within the air purifier filters, so if you aren’t cleaning it regularly, then mold can develop. This can seriously impact your air quality and can even be a health risk to you and your family if you don’t remove it.

Your pre-filter will capture the larger pieces of dirt and debris, so it needs to be cleaned more frequently than the other filters. You should open up your Holmes purifier and check your pre-filter every 3-4 weeks. If you notice black or grey spots, you should take it out and clean it.

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Your carbon filter will need to be changed or cleaned every 3-6 months, depending on how much you’re using the purifier. Even if you are cleaning it regularly, it won’t last forever, and you will need to replace it every 18 months.

Your HEPA filter won’t need to be cleaned as often, but it’s a good idea to inspect it every 6 months and give it a clean. You should expect a Holmes HEPA filter to last up to 18 months, but after that, you may need to fully replace it.

If you have a replaceable Holmes air purifier where the filters are fixed within it, you should check and clean it every 4 weeks to keep it working for as long as possible.

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People Also Ask (FAQ)

How do you reset the filter light on a Holmes air purifier?

To reset the filter light, pull the old filter out, clean or replace it, and then push the reset button on the outside. The filter light should then stop flashing.

What does the blue light mean on a Holmes air purifier?

The blue light on your Holmes air purifier means that your ionizer is running on your unit. The ionizer is designed to remove and deactivate impurities in the air and leave it cleaner.

What does the yellow light mean on a Holmes air purifier?

The yellow light on your Holmes air purifier is the carbon filter light and indicates that the activated carbon filter needs to be changed.

Are all purifiers the same when it comes to cleaning air filters?

No, every air purifier is different, and the cleaning instructions can vary between Holmes air purifier models. The key difference is in the filters because some purifiers aren’t designed to have their filters removed, so if you try to force it, then you can damage the whole device irreparably. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before carrying out any cleaning work.


Holmes air purifiers are some of the best on the market, but you need to put time into maintaining them. Keeping your filters clean will allow your purifier to function properly for longer and give you better value for money. Hopefully, this guide has helped explain how to clean your Holmes air purifier, and you now feel more comfortable doing it yourself.

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Last Updated on January 9, 2023

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.