Lawn mower filter cleaning. How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter (Steps Illustration)

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

Cleaning your air filter is an important step to ensure your lawn mower engine works as it should. Without proper cleaning and regular oil changes, your engine will clog up and overheat, potentially cause it to stop working.

If you don’t know how to clean lawn mower air filter, take a look at these steps below. They are far easier than what you think! Before getting started, it is very important that you remember to wear gloves at all times during this process.

A lawn mower’s air filter prevents dirt and grass clippings from entering the engine. Because of its purpose, it is a dirty job and you will be working around oil and gasoline. With gloves on, your hands are free from dirt and greasiness.

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Types of Air Filters

First, you have to figure out what type of air filter your lawn mower uses. Let’s take a look at the two general types.

Disposable Air Filters

These don’t require any cleaning. Instead, you just throw them away after each usage. It might be the easier choice and yet a more expensive route! Paper filters should be replaced once per season or after 300 operating hours.

  • Pleated paper air filters are the most common type of disposable air filters. They come in several different designs.

Reusable Air Filters

Cleaning is an indispensable part when using these filters. The company usually oils it lightly to prevent dirt from entering the actual filter.

You should clean the foam filters when you’ve used your lawn mower for 25 operating hours. However, if you live in a dusty area, they should be cleaned even before that time.

  • Foam filters are made to fit right into the shape of the specific compartment in your lawn mower. Many foam filters need a coat of oil.
  • Dual element air filters are a two-stage design with an outer foam portion and an inner pleated core.

How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

Chances are your owner’s manual has specific instructions about cleaning and maintaining your air filter. Before following these listed below steps, you need to compare them to which in your owner’s manual.

Lawn Mower Repair : How to Clean a Lawn Mower Air Filter

It should also include a recommended cleaning schedule for your specific model. One thing to remember is that if the washing doesn’t get the air filter clean, you may need to purchase a new one.

You can find air filters at your local home improvement store. Even reusable air filters will need occasionally replaced to ensure correct performance.

    First, you need to remove the air filter from its housing. An air filter is usually close to the top of the engine, inside a metal or plastic housing. It will be secured with a screw or a snap fitting.

Lawn Mower Air Filter Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my lawn mower air filter?

You should clean your lawn mower air filter at least once per season, or more frequently if you mow in dusty or dirty conditions. For domestic lawn keepers, once a year is usually enough, but checking more regularly is better.

Can I clean my lawn mower air filter with water?

You can clean your lawn mower air filter with water. However, it’s important to let it dry completely before reinstalling it, and never attempt to clean any mower parts with water while it’s running.

How do I know if my lawn mower air filter needs cleaning?

If you notice decreased engine power, increased fuel consumption, or a dirty air filter, it’s probably time to clean or replace your lawn mower air filter.

Can I reuse my lawn mower air filter after cleaning it?

You can reuse your lawn mower air filter after cleaning it as long as it still looks in condition. However, if it’s damaged, excessively dirty, or more than 2 years old, it may be time to replace it.

Now You Know How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

Learning how to clean lawn mower air filter is an important piece of knowledge. An air filter is your engine’s protection against all of the dirt, grime and grass clippings that could clog your engine and destroy your lawn mower.

Without a well-maintained air filter, your lawn mower will not run the same. It is a wise idea that you keep track of the maintenance you perform on your lawn mower. You will always know when an oil or air filter change is nearing.

With these tips on how to clean lawn mower air filter. your lawn mower should run like new for years to come.

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I’m Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I’ve always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people’s gardens thrive.

How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter (Steps Illustration)

The lawn mower air filter traps dust and other forms of dirt from the air before it gets into the engine. Over time, the air filter gets clogged, which makes it ineffective in protecting the engine. Fortunately, the air filter can be cleaned or replaced.

A visual inspection can first confirm a dirty air filter. In good condition, the filter should appear white and clean. If it appears brown or black, this is a telltale sign that you should clean or replace the lawn mower’s air filter.

When a lawn mower air filter is soaked in oil or clogged with dirt, it blocks the engine from receiving sufficient air for fuel combustion. As a result, you’ll notice the following:

  • Decreased engine performance – Low amount of oxygen in the fuel reduces the fuel’s ignition and burning rate for power production.
  • Lawnmower smoking black – This happens due to burning the rich-fuel mixture in the engine.
  • Noisier engine than before – With clogged air filters, your lawn mower will become louder than before, or you may notice strange sounds from the engine.
  • Trouble starting the lawn mower – The engine does not easily start without air, fuel, and working spark plugs. You will have a problem starting your lawn mower if one of them is compromised.
  • fuel consumption – fuel goes unburnt so you will notice reduced runtime of your lawnmower.

How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

Start by going through your owner’s manual. This will help you know whether you should clean or replace your lawn mower air filter.

  • Turn off the lawn mower engine and disconnect the spark plug cord. This is to prevent the engine from accidentally starting when working.
  • Next, remove the air filter housing and proceed to remove the air filter and tap it on a hard surface to remove loose dirt and debris. Be careful not to damage or tear the fibers.
  • Wash the foam or dual-element filter with hot water and a grease-cutting soap. Rinse it and use a paper towel to drain as much water as possible.
  • Clean any dirt or debris from the rubber gasket that seals the air filter to the carburetor and inspect if there are any tears or damages for a replacement.
  • Dab the filter with clean motor oil, but not too much to drip off. If you accidentally sprinkle too much oil, wrap a paper towel around the filter and squeeze out excess oil.
  • Fix the air filter back to its place on the carburetor and put the housing back on.

Should you clean or replace lawn mower’s air filter?

Lawnmower air filter comes in two main types: foam air filters and dual element filters consisting of foam and a paper filter. Both types of air filters can be cleaned if their entire component is still intact and should be replaced if there are tears or holes in their fibers.

Briggs and Stratton – a leader in producing small engines for lawnmowers and other garden tools, recommends servicing the air filter system every 25 operating hours and more often if you work in dirty conditions.

To be sure of what you need to do, go through the owner’s manual. Every lawn mower manufacturer has its terms and conditions for cleaning and replacing air filters.

Final Thought

Besides cleaning or replacing the air filter, cleaning a lawn mower’s carburetor is also an important aspect of engine maintenance. If you operate your lawn mower for longer without cleaning air filters, chances are that the carburetor is also getting clogged, and there is a need to clean it.

You must also clean your lawn mower before storage, replace spark plugs every season, and change the engine oil as the user manual recommends. By doing this, your lawn mower engine will remain powerful for years and years.

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How To Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter

The first line of defense against the dirt and debris churned up during mowing is a properly operating air filter on a gas-powered lawnmower. Dirt is prevented from entering the engine through the carburetor when the air filter is functioning well.

However, if the air filter becomes clogged, dirt and other debris can enter the engine, potentially causing start-up issues and shortening the engine’s life.

The foam air filter system uses only a foam filter, whereas the dual-element system uses a paper and a foam filter. Both air filter systems should be maintained repeatedly and more frequently if you work in dusty environments.

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You’ll need to locate the air filter in your mower and remove the cover to inspect it. Check to see if the filter is too dusty or oily; it must be cleaned.

How To Clean Foam Air Filter?

Engage the parking brake after turning off the riding lawnmower’s engine. Pull the spark plug wire from the spark plug if you use a push mower. Remove the air filter housing’s wing nut.

Clean your mower air filter quick on the go! #lawncare

The housing should be removed. Remove the foam filter by lifting it out with your hands. Hot water and a grease-cutting liquid soap are used to clean the filter. With a paper towel, squeegee any remaining water from the filter—as much water as you can get out of the way.

After the riding lawnmower’s engine is turned off, apply the parking brake. If you’re using a push mower, unplug the spark plug wire. Take off the wing nut on the air filter housing. It’s time to get rid of that housing. Using your hands, lift the foam filter out.

Cleaning the filter is done with hot water and grease-cutting liquid soap. Remove residual water from the filter by squeezing it with a paper towel. Get out of the way as much water as you can.

Cleaning Process Of A Dual Filter

1) Focus On The Filter’s Specifications

When cleaning an air filter, the first step is to do your homework. For more information on the various sections, consult internet resources or your user manuals.

This will assist you in understanding the model and obtaining various parts for your lawnmower. The air filters on some lawnmower types are pretty straightforwardly cleaned.

2) Plug Off The Lawnmower

After you’ve done your homework and are familiar with the brand and manufacture of your mower’s engine, as well as the parts that go into them, the next obvious step, which many people overlook, is to ensure sure the lawnmower is turned off and unplugged from the power source.

A lawnmower has various moving elements that work even when the engine is turned off, in addition to the engine. As a result, as a safety precaution, make sure the lawnmower is completely switched off and disconnected. Spark plugs are an essential component of an engine that allows it to start.

They’re usually seen near the machine’s front. Once you’ve located them, remove the wires connected to the spark plugs and disconnect them.

3) Target The Location Of Air Filters

Now, you have to locate the air filters. The air filter on a lawnmower is usually found towards the top of the engine, encased in a metal or plastic housing held with screws. The air filters can be removed by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the air filter housing. After that, remove the filter by lifting it out of the housing.

Remove the filter and wash it thoroughly with hot water and liquid soap until all greases are gone. over, use a rinse-off technique to remove as much water as possible.

After you’ve finished rinsing, apply just the correct amount of engine oil to the air filter, as too much could cause difficulties with the exhaust system. As a result, the air filter is recommended to be squeezed to remove the excessive oil content.

4) Clean The Dual Air Filter

Clean the dual-element air filter, a cartridge with soap water and a brush after cleaning the pre-cleaner. Remove any material from the rubber gasket encapsulation that seals the air filter on the carburetor unit after the filter has been cleaned. over, inspect the gasket for any tears or leaks; if any exist, seal it off properly.

5) Unscrew The Casing Carefully

Remove the air filter by unscrewing the casing and cleaning the rubber gasket on the inside. If your screws are corroded or broken, ensure you have a sufficient supply of the correct size. As a result, you must have the appropriate tools and resources before beginning the cleaning process.

Keeping track of all the parts and components, you take out is critical. So, the screws don’t go misplaced; keep them in a bowl. On the other hand, if necessary, use your phone to capture images or videos of each screw and how the parts fit together.

This step will assist you in reassembling the machine neat and orderly, preventing you from becoming frustrated due to misplaced tiny screws and components.

When Do You Need To Clean Lawnmower Air Filters?

To determine whether your air filter needs cleaning or replacement before you start, you must know how to do it. When it comes to paper filters, the simplest approach to determine whether it needs cleaning is to take it from the lawnmower, tap it lightly against a wall or floor to dislodge the dirt, and then carefully examine it in excellent lighting.

It’s time to change your filter if the majority of light is still obstructed even after you’ve tapped the dirt off it. Ensure the filter you buy and install is the right one by consulting your user handbook. Look for yellow spots and foam that have begun to crumble on the foam filter. Install a new filter if one of these can be found.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need professional skills to clean lawnmower air filters?

If you have the correct information, you can clean the air filter of a lawnmower resting for a while at home in a matter of hours. If necessary, you’ll need a paper towel, engine oil, a liquid soap that cuts through grease, and a replacement gasket. It is always advised to consult the owner’s handbook for particular instructions and specifications.

What are the types of lawnmower air filters?

Foam and dual-element air filters are the two types of basic air filters. Due to the two layers of defense provided by the air-pleated and foam elements, the dual-element air filter is the finest option. Foam air filters, another type that has two subtypes, are the other.

There are two types of air filters: one is disposable and needs to be changed periodically, and the other is made of foam and is washable by doing as stated above.

Why Do You Need To Clean Lawnmower Air Filters?

An engine needs an air-to-fuel ratio of roughly 14.7:1 to operate effectively. An air filter with specified filtration parameters might assist in maintaining this extremely exact ratio. It all comes down to the fact that a filter that is even slightly unclean will significantly screw up the air-fuel ratio and cause several issues.


If you have the correct instructions and tools, cleaning the air filter on a lawnmower is a lot easier. Cleaning and replacing the air filter is required for the machine’s health and efficiency from time to time. A blocked air filter can obstruct the natural combustion process in the engine, causing it to fail and eventually seize.

It’s critical to understand the type of air filter you must maintain properly. This is because different types of air filters necessitate different procedures. The instructions in this article are enough to maintain and keep the lawnmower’s air filter clean for a long time.

Areeba is the Editorial Director at Construction How. She’s been with Construction How since 2021 where she began as an Associate Editor. With experience spanning over 5 years Areeba covers home decor trends, landscaping, renovations and custom architectural accents. She stays up-to-date on the latest home improvement trends for her readers with the most accurate and interesting information possible. In addition to writing articles, she also enjoys creating beautiful visual displays of the products and services. She believes that first impressions are important, and her goal is always to make a positive one. She has always been interested in home building trends and how to improve the homes we live in. She began writing about these topics a few years ago and has since become a go-to source for information on cutting-edge home building trends, landscaping and renovating. Her readers know that they can rely on her to provide accurate, up-to-date information on the latest trends in home design and construction. In addition to writing for her own blog, she has also been featured in several major publications, such as Home Garden Magazine and Houzz.

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How to clean the air filter in your lawn tractor

Dirt is your lawn tractor’s enemy. Dirt in the lawn tractor or riding mower air filter can block airflow to the carburetor, and dirt blocking the cooling surfaces can make the engine overheat. Keeping the air moving is simple, but essential.

Your owner’s manual has specific instructions and a recommended engine cleaning schedule for your model, but the following steps cover the basics for cleaning the air filter’s foam pre-cleaner, air filter and cooling areas. In general, clean the paper filter after 2 or 3 mowing sessions. Wash the foam pre-filter, if your mower has one, after 25 hours of use.

For help diagnosing a problem with your lawn tractor and step-by-step repair guides, see our riding mower repair help.

Remove the filter cover

Work in an area where dirt won’t blow or fall into the lawn tractor during this process.

Wipe loose dirt and debris from the area near the filter cover.

Remove the wing nuts that hold the filter cover in place. Set the cover and wing nuts aside.

Remove the filters

Before removing the air filter, use a rag to wipe dirt from rubber seal that surrounds the filter. Take care not to push dirt under the air filter element.

Remove the filter and, if present, the foam pre-filter.

Clean the foam pre-filter

After every 25 hours of operation or once a year—whichever comes first—wash the foam pre-filter in diluted liquid dish detergent and pat it dry with a paper towel or clean rag.

If washing doesn’t remove the dirt or if the foam is damaged, order and install a replacement pre-filter.

Clean or replace the paper filter

Tap the paper filter gently on your hand or a flat surface to remove loose dirt.

If the filter is dirty after you tap it, or if the filter is ripped, order and install a replacement filter.

Install the filters and cover

Wipe any dirt from the areas that the air filter rubber seal touches.

Install the pre-filter and filter.

Put the air filter cover into position and tighten the wing nuts to secure the cover in place. Don’t overtighten.