How to Clean Car Air Filter Easily

A car air filter is an important part of your car which ensures a proper combustion process inside your car engine. The mixture of fuel and air is compressed and ignited inside the engine to get the energy to run the car. This process needs clean air which, is confirmed by the air filter. An air filter can be of many shapes and is generally made from foam or synthetic papers. In a car, you will find various air filters, such as cabin air filter, engine air filter, ac filter, air conditioner filter, cabin filter, etc. You need to use a clean air filter all the time. A clean car air filter will give you healthy air flow. Washable air filters are convenient. The old filter should be disposed of as soon as possible and a new air filter needs to be used by replacing the clogged filter.

This filter lets the clean air get inside the combustion chamber while preventing any dust particles or debris or insects from getting in with the air. Unfiltered air will hinder the combustion process which, can gradually degrade your car engine condition. If you remove the car filter and can not see light through it then you may be in need to clean the filter immediately. This article will help you to understand how to clean car air filters.

Locate and remove:

Locating an air filter is very easy because it is normally placed at a place under the car hood where your hand can easily reach. But if you can not find it then look up in the manual and locate the filter. Air filters are usually placed in a housing of metal frame or plastic frame. Remove the frame and bring the filter out of it.

Condition of the filter:

After removing the filter check its condition. If the filter is white and you can see light through it then the filter is clean. But if you see dirt on it and can not see light through it then it needs to be cleaned.

Vacuum Cleaning:

If your air filter has less dirt on it then vacuuming it will suffice. You can first tap the filter gently on the floor to get rid of loose dirt from it. Then use your vacuum on both sides of the filter to clear the dirt. Go twice through the vacuuming process for both sides. After vacuuming the filter if you can see lights through it then it is probably cleaned and can place it back.

Water cleaning:

If you can not clean the filter with a vacuum cleaner then you can clean it with water. This may take more time than vacuum cleaning. First, take a bucket full of clean water, add detergent, and swirl it properly to mix the detergent in the water. Then put the filter in it and clean the filter with your hand properly to remove dirt and debris from it. After cleaning the filter in the detergent, put the filter under running water to remove any remaining dirt.

After cleaning in water, put the filter in a dry place to get rid of any moisture from it. Usually, it may take 24 hours to dry an air filter. Do not use it before drying, because a wet filter will attract more dust and dirt, which is harmful to your car engine.

How often to clean:

If you live in a place where the air consists of more dust and dirt than usual then you should at least clean your air filter after every 15000 miles of use. This may vary depending on how dusty your area is. If the area is clean and has less dust in the air then you should at least clean the filter after every one year.

Effect of dirty air filter:

There can be various problems if you do not clean your car’s air filter properly.

We know the air filter lets clean air into the combustion chamber for a proper mix of air and fuel to produce energy to run the car. If the air filter is dirty and clogged with debris, enough air will not enter the combustion chamber. This deficiency of air will be covered by using excess fuel. So you will have more fuel consumption in a dirty air filter than a clean one.

You will also see a significant loss of acceleration due to dirty air filters as it causes irregular combustion due to dirt and debris in the engine which as a result fail to produce enough energy to give your car a boost in its acceleration.

If you are getting a Check engine light signal then it can be that you have a dirty air filter. Dirty air filter as it lacks to suck in the fresh air, and instead it brings in dust through it, this causes carbon deposit to grow in your engine which is bad for your car. If it is the air filter then clean it immediately.

As combustion of the engine is not happening between fresh air and fuel this causes the engine health to degrade as a result it produces less energy and puts a great toll on your engine, which may cause great damage to it.

If your car engine is vibrating too much than usual or making peculiar popping noises then check the air filter. Because these can be caused by a dirty air filter.

You may see black smoke coming out of your car’s exhaust pipe. This can also be caused by dirty air filters. As the combustion chamber is not getting enough air for the combustion process it starts to use more fuel than usual. It also creates a layer around the spark plug which keeps the spark plug working properly, and thus the unprocessed fuel goes out through the exhaust as black smoke.


The air filter is an important part of your car. As it helps to maintain proper fuel and air mixture combustion inside the engine. A good air filter means increased mileage and less fuel consumption. As a result, you will get a good acceleration and longer engine life. If you live in a dusty area then clean your filter often to keep it clean and dry. Air filters are not very expensive compared to other parts of a car. So you can change them easily.

Normally in a clean environment, you can change your air filter after every 3 years of duration. But of course, you have to clean the filter this time before changing it. If you go through this article completely, you will have thorough knowledge about how to clean car air filters.

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