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How to Clean a lawnmower Air Filter. Tips from professionals

The main purpose of an air filter is to protect the lawnmower’s engine and carburetor against any dirt or debris that might have entered during the process of lawnmowing. A properly functioning air filter in a lawnmower serves as the first line of defense in this regard. If the air filter is worn out, the dirt and grass clippings might enter the engine and cause excessive wear on engine parts and drastically reduce the engine’s efficiency.

How to clean a lawnmower’s air filter:

  • Step 1: Do your research.
  • Step 2: Make certain that the lawnmower is off.   
  • Step 3: Disconnect the spark plug wire
  • Step 4: Locate the air filters.
  • Step 5: Bothersome paper filters
  • Step 6: Clean the filter
  • Step 7: Ensure the presence of the right equipment.
  • Step 8: Put everything back in place. 

Cleaning or replacing the air filter in your lawnmower is considered an integral part of general tuning and maintenance. Following this step saves the machine from hazards and enhances the machine’s efficiency by extending its lifetime. In the case of foam pre-cleaner, it is necessary to get it cleaned every 25 operating hours. On the other hand, in the paper air filter case, replacement is necessary after at least 300 hours of operation. Specifically, in dusty conditions, replacement of an air filter is necessary because it can get clogged. When an air filter gets clogged, there is no passage left for the air to enter the engine. There will be no engine combustion as oxygen, an essential element to initiate the engine’s combustion, fails to enter the engine.

There are various kinds of air filters out there in the market. The best among them is the dual-element air filter. It is considered the best because of the presence of two layers: the foam elements and air-pleated. The other type of air filter is foam filters that only consist of foam. We will discuss the types briefly later. While you are out there to change or clean your air filter, one needs to look into the owner’s manual for lawnmower specifications to identify the right air filter.  

In this article, we will elaborately enlist steps required to clean the air filter of a lawnmower.

Clean your lawnmower’s air filter in 8 easy steps.

● Step 1:

The first step when you are going forward to clean an air filter is to do your research. Refer to online resources or user manual that has specifications of the system that can help you understand the model and make of the machine and its parts (like a carburetor, engine oil, tires, air filters, etc.).

Some lawnmower models have a relatively easier mechanism to clean the air filters, while others comprise a proper stepwise elaborate procedure. By knowing the specifications of your machine, cleaning the air filter turn into a relatively easier task.

● Step 2: Make sure your lawnmower is off:

After you have done your research and are familiar with the model and make of your machine and the parts involved, the next obvious step that many people tend to forget is to make sure that the lawnmower is turned off and disconnected from the power source. 

In addition to the engine, a lawnmower comprises many other moving parts that are operative even when the engine is off. Hence, it is necessary to make certain that the entire lawnmower is turned off and disconnected as a safety precaution to save yourself from hazards.

● Step 3: Disconnect the spark plugs:

This step is taken as more of a precaution before getting onto cleaning the lawnmower. For extra security, one must disconnect the spark plugs. Spark plugs are an integral part of the engine that the essential for it to get turned on. They are generally located at the front end of the engine. Once you have located them, you can disconnect them by removing the wires getting into the spark plugs. You can even remove them by using a wrench of appropriate size. Disconnecting the spark plugs is a prerequisite to safe work.

● Step 4: Locate the air filter:

Once you are done with the precautions, the next step is to locate the air filter. A lawnmower’s air filter is generally located near the top of the engine, encapsulated in a metal or plastic casing that has been secured with the help of screws.

● Step 5: Bothersome paper filters:

Various lawnmower uses a paper filter which is disposable in nature. They are easier to handle because they can be removed and ultimately replaced without getting into the hassle of cleaning them. As it is hard to distinguish between the paper and foam air filters, you often realize halfway during the cleaning process that the filter your machine uses is made with paper. So it is recommended to ensure the availability of spares when you get onto the task. You can easily get the air filters from local hardware stores or other online resources.

● Step 6: Clean the air filter:

If the air filters your machine uses are foam and dual-element air filter and not the paper filters, you can clean them. To clean, pull out the filter and thoroughly wash them with hot water and liquid soap until all the grease present starts to diminish. After that, remove as much water as you can via rinsing. Once you are done with rinsing, dab the air filter with just the right amount of engine oil as its excessive amount could cause problems for the exhaust system. So, it is recommended to squeeze out the excessive oil content from the air filter.

After the filter is clean, remove any debris present in the rubber gasket/encapsulation that seals the air filter from the carburetor unit. Also, look for any tears and leaks in the gasket and if there are any, ensure to seal it off completely.

● Step 7: Ensure the presence of the right equipment:

To remove the air filter, you will be needed to unscrew the casing to remove it and clean the rubber gasket from inside. Ensure that you have an ample supply of the right sized screws if they have been corroded or damaged.

Hence it is necessary to have the right tools and supplies before getting onto the cleaning phase.

● Step 8: Put everything in place:

It is necessary to keep check of all the parts or components you remove. Keep a bowl for the screws so that they do not get misplaced. This step will help you put back the machine in an orderly fashion and save you from the panic caused by misplaced small screws and components.

Following reference, a video has been added to understand better the steps necessary:

Related Questions:

How much time, skills, and tools I need to clean my lawnmower’s air filter.

Cleaning a lawnmower’s air filter sitting for a while is an easy task that can be easily done at home in a couple of hours provided you have the right knowledge.

The tools and items needed for this job are liquid soap that cuts through grease, a paper towel, motor oil, and a replacement gasket if required. It is always suggested to refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions and specifications.

Can I use solvent water to clean the air filter?

In the case of a foam air filter, it is warned not to use solvent water as it causes the fibers’ breakdown that makes up the foam filter. 

What types of air filters are present?

There are two basic air filters: the foam air filter and the dual-element air filter.

The dual-element air filter is regarded as the best fit because of the double layers of protection that are air-pleated and foam elements.

The other type is foam air filters, which have two further types. There is a disposable air filter that must be replaced now and then, and then there are reusable foam air filters that can be washed via following the above-mentioned steps. 

Final Remarks:

Cleaning a lawnmower’s air filter is an easier task if you have the right instructions and tools. From time to time, cleaning and replacing the air filter are necessary for the machine’s health and efficiency as a clogged air filter can hinder the normal combustion process of the engine that could cause the engine to malfunction and eventually seize.  

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  1. Evelyn Perry says:

    How can I tell if my air filter needs cleaning or replacement?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To determine if your air filter needs cleaning or replacement, check the owner’s manual for specific intervals. If it’s been over 300 hours or the filter is visibly dirty, it’s time for maintenance.

  2. Steven Rogers says:

    I didn’t know cleaning the air filter was this important, thank you for the information!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad you found the information helpful, Steven. Regular air filter maintenance is key to keeping your lawnmower running efficiently. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions!

  3. Mia Douglas says:

    Very clear instructions, I feel confident in cleaning my lawnmower’s air filter now. Thank you!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Mia! I’m glad you found the instructions helpful. Happy mowing!

  4. Alberto Garrett says:

    What if I can’t find the air filter in my lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Alberto, make sure your lawnmower is off, disconnect the spark plugs, and locate the air filter near the top of the engine. It’s usually in a casing secured with screws. Good luck!

  5. Camila Ruiz says:

    Cleaning the air filter seems like an essential maintenance step, I’ll make sure to do it regularly now.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Camila! Regularly cleaning the air filter is indeed crucial for maintaining your lawnmower. It protects the engine and ensures efficient performance. Keep up the good work!

  6. Jeanne Carter says:

    This article made me realize the importance of regular maintenance, thank you!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Jeanne! Regular maintenance is indeed key to keeping your lawnmower running smoothly. Happy mowing!

  7. Dave Kelly says:

    How often should I clean my lawnmower’s air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Dave! It’s recommended to clean your lawnmower’s air filter after every 25 operating hours if it’s a foam pre-cleaner, or after every 300 operating hours if it’s a paper filter. This will help maintain your lawnmower’s efficiency.

  8. Wallace Fuller says:

    I like how the article breaks down the cleaning process into simple steps.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Wallace! Simplifying the cleaning process was the goal. Happy to hear you found it helpful.

  9. Pat Kuhn says:

    Are there any signs that indicate it’s time to clean the air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Make sure to clean your lawnmower’s air filter every 25 operating hours for foam pre-cleaner or after at least 300 hours for paper filters. This will extend the machine’s efficiency and life.

  10. Antonio Silva says:

    Very detailed explanation, easy to follow!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Antonio! Keeping the air filter clean ensures the lawnmower runs smoothly and efficiently. Happy mowing!

  11. Elizabeth Richardson says:

    Can I use any type of soap for cleaning the air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can use soap and water to clean a foam air filter. Be sure to squeeze out excess water, apply a dab of engine oil, and seal any leaks on the gasket. Remember to follow the correct steps to maintain your lawnmower efficiently.

  12. Carla Owens says:

    What are the consequences of not cleaning or replacing the air filter in a lawnmower?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regularly cleaning or replacing your lawnmower’s air filter is crucial to avoid engine wear and maintain efficiency. Neglecting this simple maintenance task could lead to costly repairs.

  13. Sherri Jones says:

    Thank you for providing the video tutorial links, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Sherri! I’m glad you found the video tutorial links helpful in maintaining your lawnmower’s efficiency. Happy mowing!

  14. Neil Nguyen says:

    Great guide on cleaning lawnmower’s air filter!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Neil! I’m glad you found the guide helpful for cleaning your lawnmower’s air filter. Happy mowing!

  15. Erica Riley says:

    Is it possible to damage the engine if the air filter is not cleaned properly?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a clogged air filter can cause damage to the engine by reducing efficiency and causing excessive wear on engine parts. Regular cleaning or replacement is crucial.

  16. Brayden Sullivan says:

    Do all lawnmowers have the same type of air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Lawnmowers have different types of air filters, including foam, dual-element, and paper filters. Check your lawnmower’s manual for the right filter type.

  17. Luis Reed says:

    Is it necessary to replace the air filter or just cleaning is enough?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It is essential to replace the air filter in your lawnmower rather than just cleaning it. A properly functioning air filter is crucial for protecting your engine and carburetor.

  18. Donald Ortiz says:

    Should I clean the air filter before or after mowing the lawn?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Hi Donald, it’s best to clean the air filter before mowing the lawn to ensure optimal protection for the engine. Safety first!

  19. Virgil Mendoza says:

    Very informative, thank you!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Virgil! Ensuring the air filter is clean and functioning properly is crucial for the lawnmower’s efficiency and longevity. Happy mowing!

  20. Billy Snyder says:

    What’s the most common mistake people make when cleaning the air filter?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Billy, the most common mistake is forgetting to disconnect the spark plugs before cleaning the air filter. Safety first!