How to Clean the Air Filter in Your Dirt Bike [5 Easy Steps]

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  1. Take out the air filter
  2. Dunk it in a bucket of gasoline for 10-15 seconds
  3. Constantly squeeze out the gas and let new gas in
  4. Remove and rinse with water
  5. Hang to dry.

Kerosene or diesel works very well and will clean the filters, but then you need to use another solvent to get the diesel or kerosene out, so I just go straight to gas.

Never failed me!

Note: Soaking your air filter for a crazy amount of time (15-30+ minutes) in gasoline will get the glue and filter destroyed. It takes anywhere from 10-20 seconds for gas to break down all the oil, then when i rinse in my bucket of water and degreaser (purple power) all of the dirt comes out easy.

Here is how to clean the air filter in your dirt bike:

Take the air filter out, making sure there is no debris or dirt falling into the intake or air box.

Place a clean piece of cloth/rag over the intake while you clean the filter.

Remove the Air Filter

Check the housing on the filter and take away the housing and wiring unit attached to the filter. This lets you remove the outer element.

  • Apply Your Cleaner

Now, you need to spray the entire surface of the filter with a good cleaner (like Extreme Green Motorsports Cleaner and Degreaser).

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Apply the Cleaner

Wait a while so the cleaner can soak into the filter.

  • Rinse

Now, grab a garden hose or water faucet.

Then rinse the filter from the inside out to prevent pushing dirt further into the fibers of the filter.

Wash in warm water

Never stretch or wringing the filter – they can be ripped apart easily. So, you should rinse until the water runs clean. Repeat the process if needed.

  • Dry

Now, shake any loose water from the filter, by setting it down to air dry.

oiled oil filter

Make sure the filter is 100% dry before oiling (if you have an oiled filter) and replacing.

  • Oil well and then Replace

You need to use a fresh oil to saturate the whole filter, including the sealing fiange and lip.

Oil well

Remember to spray the oil evenly along the crown of each pleat on the filter, and let the oil work for 20 minutes. Then squeeze out the excess and return the filter to its housing.

oiled oil filter

Best Way To Clean Dirt Bike Air Filter

  • Personally, I use kerosene.
  • The rinse with warm water and dish soap
  • Rinse, then dry with an air dryer.

ALSO SEE: Should I Buy Small Or Big Wheels For Dirt Bikes?

Best Dirt Bike Air Filter Cleaning Kit

  • Uni Foam Filter Oil & Filter Cleaner Kit ATV Dirt Bike Chemical Cleaner


Use it as directed and it works pretty well, got a lot of dirt out of my Perrin CAI Filter.

  • Maxima Racing Oils 70-799202-2PK Air Filter Maintenance Aerosol Combo Kit, (Pack of 2)


I’ve tried many products over the years, but this stuff is the best bang for your buck by far. I use it with all TwinAir filters and they last YEARS with this product.

What to Use To Clean Air Filter

You can use air filter cleaners, kerosene, gas or warm water to clean your bikes air flter.

How to Clean the Air Filter In Your Dirt Bike

  • Take out the air filter
  • Remove the oil
  • Clean it well
  • Dry it in the sun or in a plastic bag
  • Put new oil in
  • Return the air filter to the cage

How To Oil Air Filter

Method 1

Massage the oil around using your gloved hands.

Method 2

Combine some oil along with the filter inside a plastic bag and roll/squish/massage the filter around until it’s completely covered in oil.

Make sure the oil is spread evenly without heavily oiled spots.

Squeeze out excess oil and let air dry for 30 minutes or when it gets tacky. You’ll need some rim grease which you already have since you bought the air filter kit or use an air filter gasket. Apply rim grease around the rim of the filter and pop it back on to your dirt bike or ATV.

What Equipment Should You Buy?

You will need the following materials to completely clean your air filter.

  • Gloves

You should wear gloves so that you don’t put dirt into your air filter.

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So, if you are cleaning your air filter without gloves, your hands will get dirty and you might mistakenly put dirt back into it which can cause plenty of problems and damage.

You can get them cheap off Amazon/eBay.

  • Cleaners

The importance of using a good cleaner cannot be over emphasized.

Avoid using just soap since only that can damage your air filter and put chemicals in it.

  • Plastic Bags

A plastic bag will help keep your air filter well dried when you keep it inside.

ALSO SEE: What to Do if Your Dirt Bike Is Stolen?

Can You Clean A Dirt Bike Air Filter With Dish Soap or Washing Soap?

Yes, feel free to use dish soap (detergent) or washing up liquid soap to clean your dirt bike air filter. But, the best results would be gasoline or using a dedicated air filter cleaner.

3 Reasons Why You Need to Keep Your Air Filter Clean

  • Better Performance

Clean your air filter frequently to keep it in top shape and have the best performance of your dirt bike.

This will definitely extend your engine life too.

  • Save money

Cleaning your air filter improves the service life of your bike. Therefore, saving the components on the dirt bike which will advertently save you more cash.

  • Stay Healthy

Health is wealth, yeah? A clean air filter can keep you healthy, since it removes the bacteria and dangerous dust that can lead to sickness.

Remember, the more often you clean it, the less dirty it will be, and that is how you can stay healthier.

How to Clean the Air Filter in Your Dirt Bike

How Often Do You Need to Clean the Air Filter on a Dirt Bike?

You can clean the air filter on a dirt bike once every week if you rarely use it. For more frequent use, clean it after every trip (if you can).

More Tips for Maintaining and Cleaning A Dirt Bike Air Filter

  • Use Hot Water

NEVER use cold water. Use hot water instead.

Cold water will destroy the material that the air filter made of. From experience, cold water does not remove the dirt as well as hot water.

  • Do it easy

You should clean the air filter.

If you do it roughly then it can cause tears, and worst of all, destroy it therefore, it is really important to complete the cleaning process gently.

  • Use Gloves

Cleaning with gloves helps keep the air filter clean and shiny.

  • Use Air Filters

Remember to have multiple air filters at hand. I recommend buying at least 2 air filters for a start, so you can clean them at the same time, and save cleaning time too.

  • Dry Your Air Filter Well

The worse mistake you can make right now is to use a machine to dry your air filter. The machine will ruin the quality and will create tears on it. So, I recommend drying your air filter only in plastic bags or in direct sunlight.

  • Do not use strong steam of Water

Don’t rinse your air filter using a strong stream of water.

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Washing your air filter with a stream of water too strong will create tears in it, and destroy it. So, always make sure to rinse your air filter with a weak stream of water, or if you use a bucket, ensure you pour the water slowly and not too fast.

Related Questions

  • How Long Can an Air Filters Last For?

Air filters typically have an average lifespan of 1 year. Depending on how you treat it, they could last longer than that.

  • What is the Role of Air Filter In A Dirt Bike?

The main function of air filters on dirt bikes is to prevent dirt and unknown substances from getting into your engine.

  • Where do I need to clean the air filter?

You can clean your filter in your garage, room, or yard.

  • Can I Clean My Air Filter With Soap?

Occasionally, yes you can but its shouldn’t be an habit since soap can contribute to tears and destroy it.

So, I typically recommend you use hot water or detergent that is uniquely made for this task.

  • Are All Air Filters Created Equal?

No, they are not. Air filters differ based on materials, quality, and overall price plus longevity.

  • What happens if I don’t clean my air filter?

Your bike performance will be negatively affected if you refuse to clean the air filter.

  • How often should you wash it?

Check your air filter after each ride to determine if it needs some washing or not.

  • Are all Foam Filters Created Equal?

Of course not! They differ in quality.

  • What Fluid Is Best to Clean It With?

You can use special Air Filter Cleaner, or Mineral Turpentine to clean the filters.

Avoid using petroleum-based products since they will eat away at the material.

  • Do I always need to finish off by washing in soapy water?

Many soap products out there contain chemicals in them that can deteriorate the foam. So, use warm water to rinse after cleaning.

  • Can I oil it as soon as it’s clean?

Your filter foam needs to be 100% dry before you re-oil it.

If there is any moisture left in the foam, it will rot. Let it dry in the sun preferably and ideally let it dry overnight.

  • How much oil should I use?

For a foam filter to work properly, the foam must be saturated, then squeezed out.

I’ve used Motul Air Filter oil for years, and have never had a problem with filter life, or efficiency.

  • Do I need to leave it for a few hours before starting the bike?

Yes, if you used a synthetic oil which has alcohol in it to make it easier to apply. You’ll have to wait to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Generally, try to avoid synthetic oils with alcohol.  The alcohol will tend to eat the glue on some cheaper filters.


Now, remember to follow the steps highlighted here to clean your air filter.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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