Air Filter Cleaning


This week on the Garage, Suzanne Keane explains how to clean a re-usable air filter

How to Clean a re-usable air filter

If you’ve got a re-usable air filter in your car it will need to be cleaned at roughly the same interval as you would usually replace a disposable filter. Depending on the brand of filter cleaning methods may vary and most companies sell a cleaning kit specific to their filters.

The guide below applies specifically to K&N or Pipercross filters but similar methods are used for all filters!

  • Take the filter out of your car – the procedure for this varies from car to car but a quick search online should give you instructions if you’re not sure how! Shake the filter to get rid of any loose dirt. It’s also a good idea to give the filter box a quick wipe down with a damp (not wet) cloth to remove any particles of dirt. It’s also a good idea to use a soft brush to remove any lumps that are visible on the filter.


  • Spray the filter with the filter cleaner and let to sit for at least 10 minutes but don’t let it dry in!
  • Using low pressure water, rinse the filter from the inside out (clean side to dirty side). Keep rinsing the filter until all trace of the cleaner has vanished.
  • More than likely you will have to repeat step the previous 2 steps until the water runs through the filter clean!
  • It’s usually best to allow the filter to dry naturally overnight – I’d usually arrange cleaning for over a weekend to give plenty of drying time!
  • Apply the coloured oil to the filter along each pleat – you will see the filter change from white to its signature red colour. If after 20 minutes you see any areas that are pale then reapply in those areas. It’s important not to over oil the filter – but also to make sure the colour is uniform across the filter.
  • Leave the oil dry in overnight before refitting your air filter and happy motoring!


  • Brush the filter to remove any excess dust
  • Massage the cleaning additive into the filter and allow to soak for 5 minutes
  • Wash/Rinse the filter from the clean side to the dirty side.
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps as necessary
  • Allow the filter to dry naturally
  • Apply the dirt retention additive to the dirty side of the filter – do not over oil it!
  • Allow to dry naturally before refitting to the car


Suzanne Keane

23rd December 2013


Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @g60girl

Share This Post On