Proper cleaning of your air filter is essential for keeping your motorcycle engine as fresh as possible. I have cleaned hundreds of filters and I have found an easy, but proper way to get the dirty job done. I’ve seen many guys that just clean their filters in only gasoline or solvent, and they end up with premature engine failures. First off, this method is for the more common petroleum based filter oil, not the new type (No-Toil) filter oil.

Start out by going to your local hardware store and buy 3 or 4 gallons of mineral spirits, rubber gloves, and a five gallon bucket with a lid. It should cost you about $15-20, but it should be able to do maybe 50 filters. Empty the mineral spirits into the bucket, and now you can start cleaning. With gloves on, dunk the filter into the bucket, agitate and squeeze the filter multiple times to get the majority of the dirt and oil off. Looks clean, but it’s not yet! You must now wash the filter with soap and water to finish the job. The mineral spirits cuts the oil and some of the dirt, but the soap and water get the rest of the dirt out of the filter. A liquid dish washing soap or Simple Green will work fine. You will be amazed how much dirt will come out of the filter. It may take a few applications of soap and rinsing to get all of the dirt out.

Now you can hang the filters or set them on some cardboard to dry. In a pinch, you can re-oil the filter, even though it is wet. Just make sure you completely saturate the filter with filter oil. Then squeeze off the excess, the oil will displace water and force it out. Now blot the excess oil with a paper towel and massage the filter to evenly distribute the oil over the filter. The filter is done and ready to install. Now remember you can re-use the bucket many, many times even though it looks bad. It’s just to cut the oil. The important part is cleaning the filter in soap and water.

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