How to Clean a lawnmower Air Filter


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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