How to Clean Car Air Filter with Simple Steps

How to Clean Car Air Filter with Simple Steps

Read Time:7 Minute, 27 Second

Maintaining the cleanliness of your car on the inside and out protects the interior’s comfort as well as the exterior’s paintwork. It can perform better and cost less if you keep the inside of it clean.

Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust, dirt, and debris from the car air filter. Grab a bucket and add some soapy water to it before filling it with warm water.

To help you save money and do it yourself, we’ll show you how to clean a car air filter in this article. Additionally, we’ve gone over the fundamentals of air filter upkeep so you know when and how to approach the task.

How to Clean a Car Air Filter

How to Clean Car Air Filter with Simple Steps

If you are familiar with the layout of your car’s undercarriage, cleaning the air filter is simple. There are a few different approaches you can take to complete the task, and our detailed instructions below will show you how.

You should make sure you have a few materials on hand before beginning. These include:

  • Screwdrivers
  • A vacuum with hose attachments/handheld vacuum
  • A torch (or natural light will work, too)
  • A bucket
  • Water
  • Laundry detergent
  • A clean towel

Locating the Air Filter:

On top of the engine, conveniently accessible, is where you’ll find the air filter for your car. In the event that you are unable to locate it, consult the owner’s manual for your vehicle, which should list all the various engine parts.

No manual to be found? Go online because there’s probably a digital copy or a YouTube video that will show you where it is. If that doesn’t work, ask the next time your car is serviced for a mechanic to point it out.

Removing the Air Filter:

For you to be able to remove an air filter, you’ll typically need to crack open a plastic or metal housing. If your car is older, you might need to unscrew or unbolt a portion of the housing because they are typically just clipped down in newer vehicles, making removal much easier.

It should be simple to remove the air filter after you’ve unlocked the air filter housing.

Cleaning the Air Filter With a Vacuum Cleaner:

A vacuum cleaner is the best tool for cleaning a car air filter. You have the ideal tool for accessing the ridges of the filter itself when you connect the hose attachment to your regular household vacuum.

Make sure you remove all of the visible dirt and debris by vacuuming the filter’s two sides for about two minutes. When finished, hold the filter in front of a bright light to reveal any details you might have missed. You can now replace the filter after giving it one last look.

Cleaning the Air Filter With Water:

If you have some extra time and your car’s air filter is extremely dirty, you can clean it with water. Even with the additional time required for drying, cleaning an air filter with water yields superior results.

To begin, add a small amount of laundry detergent and water to a clean bucket. Use your hands to rub dirt and dust from the filter material as you immerse it in the water and swirl it around. Take it out of the water after shaking off any extra, and then rinse it under running water.

When it is clean, set the filter on a fresh towel to dry. Make sure you allow enough time before you intend to use your car again because, depending on where you dry it, the filter may take up to 24 hours to dry completely.

Remember – the filter must be totally dry before you replace it. Because dust and other particles will stick to it and obstruct the airflow if it’s even slightly damp, it could lead to serious engine issues. Before replacing it, make certain it is completely dry.

What Does a Car Air Filter Do?

Contaminants entering the engine can be avoided with a working car air filter. It will keep out things like insects, dust, and other debris that could obstruct combustion or harm moving parts.

The engine life, performance, and fuel economy of your car can all be improved when the air filter is clear and working properly. You’ll probably notice decreased performance and efficiency, and in the worst cases, even stalling and reduced power output, if it’s clogged.

How Often Should You Clean a Car Air Filter?

Every 15,000 miles or so, try to clean the air filter in your car. You should follow the recommended air filter maintenance schedule provided in your car’s owner’s manual. If you live in a rural area where there is typically more dirt and dust on the roads, you might need to clean the air filter more frequently.

Because of the same factors, the air filter can clog up quickly in the summer. If you tend to spend lots of time behind the wheel at this time of the year, then you might want to consider cleaning or even replacing the filter before the warm season hits.

Even if you don’t drive much, we still advise cleaning the air filter as part of routine maintenance at least once a year. Doing so will ensure the engine’s performance and efficiency. In addition, since they can age and become brittle, air filters should be changed every three years.

What Are the Commons Signs of a Dirty Car Air Filter?

Air filters are frequently forgotten when performing routine maintenance, but it’s critical that they are kept clean in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you drive with a dirty air filter, you might notice the following:

  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Unusual engine sounds
  • Reduced power
  • Check Engine Light on
  • Black smoke from the exhaust
  • Misfiring engine
  • Strong smell of petrol or diesel when starting the car

Don’t forget to check the air filter if you encounter any of the aforementioned symptoms and are unable to identify the issue. It might be necessary to replace it, or the issue might be immediately resolved with a thorough clean. Remember that if the filter is extremely dirty, cleaning it with water rather than a vacuum will yield better results. Just make sure to let the filter completely dry before replacing it.

Use Simoniz Air Con Sanitiser to get rid of lingering odors and restore the scent of a new car after cleaning your air filter for added freshness.

Should I Clean Or Replace My Car’s Air Filter?

How to Clean Car Air Filter with Simple Steps

How do you determine when to change or clean your car’s air filter?

Every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first, you should clean the air filter, according to what was previously stated. The efficiency and quality of your air filter will eventually degrade, even with routine cleaning and maintenance, though.

It might be time to replace yours if you’re noticing more of the typical indications of a dirty air filter than before. It takes only a few minutes and requires no special tools to change the air filter.

Find out how to replace yours in our helpful guide, where you can also learn more ways to save money on do-it-yourself auto maintenance.

But it is advised to replace this part every three years as a general rule. By doing so, you should make sure that yours operates properly and that you don’t sacrifice performance or efficiency.


You have now learned all there is to know about cleaning an automobile air filter. You shouldn’t have any issues managing dirty car air filters as long as you pay attention to what you’ve read.

You should bookmark this page for later use. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or inquiries about this subject. The readers are always welcome!

In order for your friends who own cars to benefit from clean car air filters as well, please feel free to share this article’s content with them.


Can You Wash An Air Filter for a Car?

Warm water should be added to a bucket after a nickel-sized amount of liquid dish soap has been dispensed into it. Gently stir the water with the air filter in it. Under warm running water, give the air filter a thorough rinse.

Can You Clean Your Own Air Filter?

Start by adding some laundry detergent and water to a clean bucket. Use your hands to agitate dirt and dust out of the filter material as you immerse it in the water and swirl it around. After shaking off any excess water, remove it from the water and rinse it under running water.

How Do I Clean My Car AC Filter?

Direct water from the clean side to the dirty side while turning the hose’s pressure down, sweeping from top to bottom. Then pour soapy water into a container, submerge, slosh around, and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Rinse, then allow it to air dry on a towel in the sun. Repeat as necessary with a fresh batch of clean, soapy water.

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