Can You Wash Activated Carbon Filters? FAQ & Guide

Yesterday, one of my friends bought an activated carbon filter at home for the first time. After some days, she called and asked me whether she could wash the activated carbon filter. The good thing is that I already knew about these types of filters.

So I thought of sharing some ideas with you all.


Many of you, like my friends, may have been confused regarding these filters. But, first, questions may arise in your mind after using it for some time: can you wash activated carbon filters?

Yes, you can wash activated carbon filters. However, changing them will increase your expense because carbon filters are considered one of the expensive filters. Washing carbon filters is okay if you are doing it correctly. But it will lose its power- which means it will not work as well as before you have bought it. 

Note: Generally, people always want to keep the filters clean. In some activated carbon filters, you can wash them 5 to 8 times if necessary before you replace them. But replacing and purchasing them can make you take out money from your account!

Can you Reuse Carbon Filters?

Nothing is immortal. Just think about your favorite smartphone. If you use it too much, it will be dead one day. So the same case is for the carbon filters. But if we talk, carbon filters can be reused again but for a limited time, like only 2 to 3 times!

Not more than this, unfortunately.

Suppose you try to use it again after 2 or 3 times. In that case, it will not fight against the black smoke that produces carbon, a sharp smell, and different chemicals included inside the filters—some types of carbon filters in different ways.

So, it will be a good idea if you read the proper instructions which the manufacturers or company authorizes. Otherwise, it will be okay to reuse the carbon filters.

When to wash Activated Carbon Filters?

We can not say exactly when to wash your activated carbon filter because it depends on how much, what types of filter, and how many times you use it. The more we use, the more it will lose activated carbon attached to filters to clean it.

I have already said that carbon filters are washable. But most of the carbon filters are not designed to be washed because the carbon which is bonded together is weak, and if you wash very often, this chemically bonded carbon can be washed off. This is because it has no fixed time to fly.

So whenever you think it has gone dirty, you should clean and wash it following some instructions. Generally, you need to wash activated carbon filters every 3 to 4 months or more if you use them very often. And you need to purchase a new filter again after 1 or 2 years. But some well-planned carbon filters can be used for up to four years.

Do Wash-Activated Carbon Filters Function like Brand New Filters?

Just imagine, you bought beautiful bunches of flowers such as roses. And you kept it in a jar without water; what will happen?

All those flowers will discolor and die, right? So it will be the same for the activated carbon filters. I meant to say that no filters or things will function like brand new things. The more you use, the more the power of the devices and filters will work slower than before.

But the good thing is that if the frame of the carbon filter is authentically metal and not mixed with toxic plastics-  there can be an opportunity for you to activate the carbon inside filters again. For this, you can take help from the experts.

How to Wash Activated Carbon Filters?

Many people will not read the instructions properly about whether they can wash or not. For this reason, I would like to discuss how you can clean activated carbon filters so that you can use them for a little longer than usual. But I think keeping the filters is obvious.

If you are out of budget to buy filters, again and again, you should purchase such activated carbon filters which you can wash easily without damaging them. We all usually want to buy a good quality carbon filter to use for a long time.

Now, let’s know how to wash or clean the carbon filters at home effectively and efficiently.

Cleaning the carbon filters is almost the same as washing or cleaning the standard filters, but you need to be more careful at the washing time because you need to work with different chemicals.

Before you start washing or cleaning, it is vital to wear goggles, masks, gloves and do not touch these types of filters with bare hands.

  • Bring all the things you need to wash, such as clean water, muriatic acid, bucket, etc.
  • Wash the filters smoothly 
  • Need to wait for some days
  • After waiting for some days, you will need to go out inside the water again.

Let’s now dig into this in detail.

Take preparation

First, you need to have a bucket and fill the water into the bucket. It should not be too cold or too warm. You should not put any soap or detergent. But without adding or mixing chemicals, it will not be able to clean or wash it properly. As you can not add or put soap, you can add muriatic acid. Just put 2 to 2.5 cups of this acid into the bucket and mix with water for a while. Use a plastic stir or spoons to mix consistently.

Wash or rinse the filters

Now, it is time to take a bath. You know, we usually can not see the dirt particles with our bare eyes. So use your hand to clean and rub it properly. To make it easy, you can use a pipe or hose inside the filters.

Need to wait for some days

Water with muriatic acid allows carbon filters to clean. You need to keep these solutions for at least 5 to 6 days before you wash them. These mixtures will remove microorganisms sleeping in your filters. One more important thing to understand is that these should be kept at room temperature. If you own this in hot temperatures, it will diffuse out stinky and raise efforts to clean it. So better you follow the proper instructions.

Soak the filters again inside the Water

After 5 to 6 days, return to the filters, and when it will dry, you need to soak the filters before you fix it up. Rinse with water properly using a pipe so that narrow parts of filters do not remain dirty.

How Long Does an Activated Filter Last?

If you use activated filters properly following the instructions, it will last up to more than you think or authorized by the manufacturers. Of course, it depends on what types of filters you bought. Never purchase a second-hand-activated filter. Generally, it can last up to 40 to 240 days. If you are not using it regularly, it can last up to 12 months.

Q1#. How good are activated carbon filters?

Activated carbon filters are not so good compared to other types of filters, such as a reverse osmosis filter. But it is beneficial for people who have allergies, and it can trap hard particles efficiently. But the problem is that it is expensive, needs to change frequently, and the filter is costly compared to its functionality.

Q2#. Is an activated carbon filter better than a reverse osmosis filter?

Before deciding which one is better, let’s find out some differences between the activated carbon filter and reverse osmosis filter. 

Activated carbon filters:

  • It can improve the taste and odors
  • It can remove some types of contaminants such as organic compounds, chlorine contained in the filters.
  • It can diminish or reduce the amount of turbidity of the water, removing some of the parasite sediment from the water.

Reverse Osmosis filters:

  • It can remove bad taste, odor, turbidity, volatile organic compounds, chlorine, heavy metals, arsenic, fluoride, dissolved materials, etc.
  • The good side of reverse osmosis filters is that they can remove or kill all kinds of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses, etc.

I hope you can understand that reverse osmosis filters are much better than activated carbon filters by seeing the differences. Carbon filters are the oldest version used for the filtration system. In contrast, the updated version of the carbon filters is the reverse osmosis filter.


Now you can understand which one to buy and why. If you are out of budget, you can purchase carbon filters. It is also good because it is also developing day by day. And obviously, you can easily wash it.

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