How to Clean a lawnmower Paper Air Filter


The main reason for using paper air filters is to save the lawnmower’s engine and carburetor from any dirt that may have come in during the time you have your lawnmower engine running. In this regard, a properly working air filter in a lawnmower serves as the first defense line. The dirt and grass clippings could enter the engine if the air filter is worn out and cause excessive damage to the engine parts and drastically hamper the engine’s efficiency.

How to clean a lawnmower’s paper air filter:

  • Step 1: Check the Type of Paper Air Filter you use in your Lawnmower
  • Step 2: Turn off the lawnmower  
  • Step 3: Remove / Disconnect the spark plug wire
  • Step 4: Identify the position of the paper air filters
  • Step 5: Vacuum the paper air filter
  • Step 6: Get the right tools
  • Step 7: Clean the encapsulation
  • Step 8: Reassemble the lawnmower
How to Clean a lawnmower Paper Air Filter 1
(CC BY-SA 2.0) by artistmac

Cleaning or repairing your lawnmower’s air filter is considered an integral part of general maintenance. Following the steps protects the machine from risks and increases the machine’s performance by extending its lifespan. In the case of pre-cleaner foam, it needs to be washed every 25 working hours. On the other hand, replacement is needed after at least 300 hours of operation in the paper air filter case. Specifically, in dusty environments, an air filter’s replacement is important because it can get stuck. There is no room left for the air to reach the engine when an air filter gets clogged. As oxygen, an important element for initiating the engine’s combustion fails to reach the engine, there will be no engine combustion.

There are various kinds and types of air filters out there, depending upon the machine you are using. The most efficient is the dual-element air filter due to multiple layers: the foam elements and air-pleated. The other type of air filter is foam filters that consist of foam. In this article, we will briefly discuss how to clean a paper air filter in our lawnmower.

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

● Step 1: Check the Type of Paper Air Filter you use in your Lawnmower

Proper research and knowledge regarding your machine serve to be the first and foremost task once we are set to clean your device’s paper air filter. A user manual consists of all the details one needs to know about his machine and eventually decipher the air filter your device uses. Moreover, referring to online resources could also help an individual do searches tailored to his machine’s model and make that could eventually help look for the right replacements it needs.

The method to clean the air filters vary from machine to machine. This is because each machine either uses a single paper air filter or a dual air filter that is a combination of paper and foam air filter. Thus, depending upon the type underhand, the cleaning process might vary. 

● Step 2: Turn off the lawnmower

Once you have discovered the model and make of your machine via research, you are now aware of its structure that not only helps you to identify its parts to pinpoint where an air filter is present but also helps you necessary information about its components that would, in turn, help you to gather supplies for a replacement if necessary.

Turning off or disconnecting the lawnmower is the next step, which serves to be more of a safety precaution. This step is necessary as many parts in a lawnmower might be operational even though the machine is not started.

● Step 3: Remove / Disconnect the spark plugs

Like the previous step, this step also serves to be a precautionary measure before one decides to clean lawnmower engine parts. It is an extra precaution and security against engine back start. Spark plugs are generally located on the engine’s front end and are an integral part of the machine. Once the plugs have been located, you could either disconnect the wires or remove them with appropriate tools.

● Step 4: Locate the air filter

Once all the precautionary measures have been taken, and the machine is completely turned off and idle, the next step is to locate the air filters. Generally, the air filters are placed in an encapsulation made of either plastic or metal. This casing is generally present close to the engine.

● Step 5: Vaccum the Paper air filter

Once the paper air filter has been identified, unscrew the plastic or metal casing and remove the paper air filter from it. Once removed, tap the air filter against some solid surface like a wall until a comparable amount of dust has been shaken off.

Now take out a vacuum cleaner and attach a hose of the appropriate site to it. Use this vacuum to clean out all the contaminations. Take at least one minute to clean both sides. For confirmation, use a bright light to identify any spots left.

● Step 6: Get the right tools

To remove the encapsulation and the screws to clean, make sure you have the right tools. The presence of screwdrivers, soap water, vacuum cleaner, and hoses of appropriate sizes are necessary for cleaning purposes.

Furthermore, if the paper air filter is damaged, it is highly recommended to replace it rather than cleaning it as they are very fragile and comparatively extremely cheap.

● Step 7: Clean the encapsulation

After the air filter has been thoroughly cleaned, the next step is to ensure that the gasket or the encapsulation is free from any debris or dust. In this regard, use a vacuum cleaner and soap water to clean it. Also, make sure that the gasket does not has any leaks so that it is safe from dust and debris and the cleaned air filter remains protected.

● Step 8: Reassemble

To keep track of all the screws and parts, it is advised to keep a bowl for storing them so that you might not lose them. Once you are done with the cleaning and replacement, step the gasket back together and place it where you removed it.

Set the spark plugs back together and make the necessary connection to set the lawnmower in the starting position.

Related Questions:

1) What skills and tools I need to clean my lawnmower’s paper air filter.

Cleaning a lawnmower’s paper air filter sitting is an easy task that could be easily taken care of at home in a couple of hours provided you have the right knowledge.

Substitute air filters, soap water, vacuum cleaner, screw drives, and necessary information regarding the model and make of the machine should be needed once you are set to clean the air filter.

2) What are the symptoms or signs of a bad air filter?

Reduced gs milage, a misfiring engine, jittery engine sounds, service light, and gasoline smell are some of the symptoms that ensure that your air filter has falling health and needs to be serviced.

3) What is recommended to clean or to replace the paper air filter?

Paper air filters are very fragile. Although they can be cleaned, due to minor negligence, its fibers could get hurt, and thus it is rather recommended to replace the filter than to clean it.

4) What types of air filters are present in the market?

Two basic air filters out there in the market are the dual element and foam air filter.

  • Dual-element Air Filter: The dual-element air filter is considered the best fit because of the multiple layers of protection: air-pleated and foam elements.
  • Foam Air Filter: Another type is the foam air filter that has two further types. There is a disposable air filter that should be replaced after a specific time, and then there are reusable foam air filters that can be washed. 

Final Remarks:

Cleaning a lawnmower’s air filter is not a very challenging task, provided you have the right instructions and tools needed. Cleaning and replacing the air filter from time to time is necessary for the machine’s efficiency. A clogged air filter can hinder the engine’s normal combustion process that could cause the engine to malfunction and eventually seize.  

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