How To Clean a Dirt Bike Air Filter

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The air filter in a dirt bike is a crucial component responsible for maintaining engine life. It prevents sand, pebbles, or dirt from entering the engine. A dirt bike mostly runs on off-roads with many foul air intakes.

This is taken care of by the air filter inside the bike. So, a dirty air filter is responsible for suppressing the airflow to your engine for cooling it down.

How To Clean Dirt Bike Air Filter

A dirty air filter will also fail to prevent debris or dirt from entering the engine. Therefore, cleaning it is crucial, and there are techniques for you to do the same. Remember that the air filter doesn’t need cleaning after every ride. However, it is better to do regular cleaning after completing your ride in sandy areas.

Close up of a dirt bike engine

Keep a check on the air filter of your dirt bike as part of your maintenance routine. Following that, learn how to clean dirt bike air filter on your own.

Method 1: Clean With Washing Powder & Warm Water

Surely you will get washing powder and warm water in your home easily, so this method is very convenient too.  It is the best proficient way to revive the airflow to your bike’s engine by cleaning the air filter. Go through the steps to make a rightful approach and start cleaning. 

Step 1: Clean Around Air Box & Take out the Air Filter

  1. Wear latex gloves on priority before commencing with the cleaning process.
  2. First, clean the area around the airbox.
  3. Take the air filter out gently without letting any robust muck falling into the air intake chamber.
  4. Place a clean rag around the air intake chamber when it is exposed without the filter on.

Step 2: Prepare Warm Water & Washing Powder Solution

  1. Make a mixture of washing powder and warm water.
  2. Then, dip the air filter and rinse it directly in that solution.
  3. In case you have used a specific type of oil over the filter, you will need to dissolve that oil in mineral turpentine solution first. And then, you can clean it in the prepared washing powder and warm water solution.

Step 3: Squeezing & Cleaning The Air Filter

  1. Squeeze out the excess water off the air filter.
  2. Dry it properly in a clean concrete under direct sunlight.
  3. In the meanwhile, clean the airbox.
  4. Clean dirt & dust stuck in that chamber as well.
  5. Use a brush to take out the solid debris off the airbox.

Step 4: Apply Oil & Grease To The Air Filter

  1. Buy the filter oil that you think is best for your bike.
  2. Squirt the oil in a plastic bag.
  3. Now, chuck in the filter to give it a good massage and squeeze.
  4. Once it is soaked, wring out all the excess oil in the plastic bag.
  5. When there are no heavy patches of oil anymore, let it dry for around 30 minutes.
  6. Apply some grease around the air filter rim, which will act as a good sealant.

Step 5: Place The Filter Back To Its Position

  1. Screw back the filter to its plastic cage.
  2. Check for the positions of the screw holes and place the screws accordingly.
  3. Run your hands or fingers alongside the filter circumference to ensure that there is a complete seal.
  4. Now, ensure that you properly set back the air filter to ensure that its functionality is not hampered.
Man cleaning his dirt bike


While cleaning the air filter manually, it is also advisable to check for tears or holes. In case you observe any damage, then it is better to replace the filter right away. However, do not take the risk of damaging the bike engine just for the sake of saving few bucks on a new filter.

Get a better idea of how to implement the above steps through this YouTube video. Moreover, this video explains how to open up your motocross bike, take off the filter and clean it efficiently.

Method 2: Clean With Commercial Cleaner

Prefer to check the owner’s manual of your bike before you go ahead and clean the air filter. There might be some specific instructions to help you with better cleaning & maintenance.

Sometimes these manuals give details of chemicals that you need to avoid for the cleaning purpose. Therefore, before opting for any specific commercial cleaners, go through the manual.  Get one as per your requirements on any online or offline store and then follow the steps:

Step 1: Remove The Air Filter From The Bike

You need to remove the air filter from its chamber safely. Now, cover the air intake box with a clean rag to avoid exposure to open-air while the filter is out. For removing the filter, you might have to remove the housing and wing nuts over it. Now, take off the plastic cage that is holding the air filter for easier cleaning.

Step 2: Apply The Commercial Cleaner Solution

  1. Buy a commercial cleaner that is explicitly meant for dirt bike air filter cleaning.
  2. It is better to get a solution that works both as a cleaner and degreaser.
  3. Spray the entire air filter surface with this solution.
  4. Keep spraying until the air filter is drenched with it.
  5. Let the solution soak into the filter for few minutes.

Step 3: Rinse The Air Filter With A Garden Hose Or Faucet

  1. When the solution has soaked in, you must rinse it thoroughly now.
  2. Use a garden hose to rinse the air filter inside out.
  3. Rinsing from the inside out will prevent the pushing of dirt further into filter fibers.
  4. Continue rinsing the filter with a hose until you see clean water flowing through the filter.
  5. Repeat the spraying process, if necessary.
  6. Do not prefer stretching the filter, as it might tear off easily.
  7. Shake off any loose water from the dirt bike air filter, and set it to dry.
  8. Please wait for it to be completely dry before moving onto the next step.

Step 4: Spray Oil Over The Air Filter

  1. When dry, you can now spray filter oil on each pleat of the filter.
  2. Let the oil soak in for around 20 minutes.
  3. Squeeze out excess oil off the surface.
  4. Connect the filter back to its plastic cage and housing.
Man riding his dirt bike in a cloud of soil

Frequently Asked Question

How Often Should I Seek Cleaning Of My Dirt Bike Air Filter?

The riding conditions and levels are responsible for determining how often you should clean the air filter in your dirt bike. For example, if you are constantly riding on muddy tracks, then you need to clean the air filter every single time after a ride. If there is mud on the track, there is mud on your air filter too. So, go ahead and clean it.

Furthermore, if you are a professional rider who needs to go on bigger spins on muddy tracks every day, regular cleaning and possible replacements must be done. On the other hand, if you are a leisure biker who takes the dirt bike only for short spins on off-road tracks, cleaning once every three days is enough. For more knowledge about it, refer to this article.

What Are The Things That I Should Keep In Mind While Cleaning Dirt Bike Air Filters?

There are dos and don’ts for cleaning air filters. However, among all of the important things to consider while cleaning dirt bike air filters, there is a crucial one. It is that you should not use gasoline to clean these air filters ever.

This strips down the air filter foam, which will lead you to replace it over time. Keep it in mind, and for other such considering factors or things, check out this blog on air filter maintenance.

How Much Does A New Dirt Bike Air Filter Costs?

A new dirt bike air filter costs around $20 to $30, depending upon the model and brand of the bike. You can check out the exact price on the website of the companies.


Bikers do understand the importance of air filters in their bikes. While air filters are not just preventers of sands, pebbles, and dirt, but they also offer assistance for internal combustion. For instance, oxygen is an essential element for internal engine combustion, and an air filter feeds the engine with it.

Therefore, keeping the filter clean is a priority, and the above methods can help you do it all by yourself.