How To Clean A Lawn Mower Air Filter

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Maintaining your lawn mower will keep it running smoothly and extend the lifespan of the engine. Although this may sound intimidating, it is really easy to do and won’t take up much of your time.

Much like other appliances, an air filter helps to keep out dust and debris from entering the mower’s engine. The air filter is usually located in plain sight near the top of the engine, encased in either metal or plastic.

Learn why it’s important to keep an air filter clean and how to properly clean a lawn mower air filter here.

Why Is It Important To Clean An Air Filter?

Basic maintenance of your lawn mower will keep it running smoothly and extend the lifespan of the machine.

A filter that is in good condition prevents dirt and debris from entering the carburetor, helping to keep the engine running smoothly.

When the filter is worn out and old, this dirt makes its way into the engine leading to start-up problems.

The blocked filter means that the right amount of air isn’t making its way into the engine, therefore the unburnt gas forms a soot residue that builds up on the spark plug reducing the combustion power and the efficiency of the engine.

How To Clean A Paper Air Filter

Paper filters are microscopic filters created by a web of extremely fine fibers. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to clean your lawn mower’s paper air filter.

What You’ll Need

  • Air compressor gun or vacuum cleaner
  • Dry cloth

Step One

Turn off the mower’s engine and wait for everything to cool down to avoid hurting yourself. Disconnect the ignition cables or spark plug wires before you remove the air filter cover.

Step Two

Remove the air filter protective cover, this may require unscrewing depending on the model of your mower.

Step Three

You will find the air filter near the top of the engine, it may also need to be removed by unscrewing the casing or with snap fittings. Remove the air filter from the casing and give it a once over.

Gently tap the filter against a hard surface to remove any loose dirt and debris.

As these filters form a web-like structure, you can hold them up to the light and see if the light is significantly blocked from passing through. This indicates a blocked and dirty filter.

If your filter looks like this, it’s time to replace it and there isn’t much to be done in terms of cleaning it.

Step Four

Filters that still let a considerable amount of light pass through can be cleaned up and placed back into the mower. Using an air compressor gun, gently blow the filter from the reverse side as well as the front side to remove loose dirt.

Avoid blowing the air directly into the face of the filter as this will just push any dirt in deeper. We also recommend cleaning the filter surround too.

This can be done with a dry cloth rather than the air compressor, this will push the dirt deeper into the machine.

Step Five

Hold the filter up to the light again and inspect for any holes or damages. If there are any defects, it’s best to replace the filter.

If everything looks good and you notice the filter is much cleaner, it can be reinstalled into your lawn mower before using again.

Alternatively, use a soft attachment to gently remove any dirt or debris if you do not have an air compressor.

How To Clean A Lawn Mower Air Filter

How To Clean A Foam Air Filter

A foam air filter works by trapping dirt and debris by using motor oil spread throughout the oil foam holding medium. These filters are much more robust and typically act as a pre-filter to the main filter.

What You’ll Need

  • Clean bowl of water
  • Protective gloves
  • Filter cleaning spray or dish soap
  • Lawn mower air filter oil
  • Paper towels
  • Clean, dry cloths

Step One

Turn off the mower, remove the spark plug wire, and take off the main protective cover of the air filter.

Step Two

Remove the air filter from its casing and tap it on a hard surface as we suggested for the paper filter to remove any loose dirt and debris.

Step Three

Use a filter cleaner spray or degreasing spray to spray over the filter. Apply this generously and allow it to soak in for around 15 minutes. If the filter isn’t that dirty, this may take less time.

Step Four

Rinse off the filter with clean water and make sure you get off all the dirt and cleaner. Repeat steps three and four again if you feel your filter could do with an extra clean.

Step Five

Remove as much excess water as possible without damaging the filter and allow it to air dry. Place the filter on a paper towel or dry cloth for around 24 hours to completely dry.

Step Six

Now you need to oil the foam filter, which may seem odd but this is a crucial step. Only do this when the filter is completely dry.

Massage the oil into the filter to ensure it is evenly distributed. Avoid adding too much to avoid oversaturation.

If the filter does become oversaturated use a paper towel to blot the excess oil.

Step Seven

Clean the filter surround to remove any other dirt or debris trapped here with a dry cloth with no cleaning solution. Replace the filter, the protective cover, and reattach the spark plug wire before using the mower.

How Often Should You Clean The Air Filter?

The consensus suggests reusable air filters should be replaced after 25-50 hours of use depending on the size of your mower and how challenging the terrain is.

The Bottom Line

Cleaning your lawn mowers filter is an essential part of maintaining the machine; it is simple to do and won’t take much time.

Air filters in good working order will contribute to the better running of your machine and extend the lifespan of the engine.

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