How to Clean a Dirt Bike Air Filter? – Only 3 Steps

Written by

James Stevens

Fact-checked by

Robert A. Verdin

how to clean a dirt bike air filter

The air filters for dirt bikes are responsible for keeping all of the dirt and dust that could end up getting clogged in the engine. If left unattended, it can lead to poor performance and can even damage the engine in the long run.

In order to clean a motorcycle air filter, you need to remove the filter first then use a dirt bike air filter cleaner to remove any dirt and debris trapped in it. After that, you leave the filter to try, apply some filter oil, then reattach it to your motorcycle.

In this guide, we’ll have a look at the steps you need to follow on how to clean a dirt bike air filter in more detail.

Step-by-Step Guide for Cleaning a Dirt Bike Air Filter

Before you start, we highly recommend checking your owner’s manual first before you attempt to clean the air filter on a dirt bike.

Follow the instructions indicated in the manual when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your dirt bike. Make sure that the engine has cooled down as well before you start.

Once those things are considered, simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove the Air Filter


First and foremost, remove the air filter from your dirt bike. This will vary depending on the model of your bike, which is why it’s important to check your owner’s manual beforehand.

For the most part, you can find the air filter just below the seat or directly in front of it. You’ll need to loosen the bolts holding the seat in place so you can access the filter easily.

Step 2: Use the Right Filter Cleaner


You need to use the right cleaning kit when it comes to cleaning your dirt bike’s air filter. Filters are generally covered in dirt and oil which can be quite hard to remove alone.

Some dirt bike owners will use a product that acts as both a cleaner and a degreaser. This way, they can easily remove any dirt and oil that gets trapped in their bike’s air filter.

While you can use dish soap and water as a foam air filter cleaner alternative, it won’t be as effective in removing tougher grime.

Remove the filter cage and clean it using the same cleaner you use for the filter itself. Then, apply a bit of the cleaner to your air filter and massage gently. Continue until you have removed most of the dirt and oil.

After removing the dirt and oil that accumulated in your air filter, wash an air filter with soap and water to completely remove them. You can also apply a little bit of dish soap then thoroughly rinse it with water afterward.

Step 3: Leave the Filter to Dry


Simply leave the filter to dry completely. Once it’s dried up, reattach its filter cage. Then, apply a bit of dirt bike air filter oil evenly onto its foam material.

Using a towel, remove any excess oil on the filter before you reattach it to your dirt bike. Fasten it to its location, tighten the bolts, and then place the seat or box cover once you’re done.

After that, your dirt bike’s air filter should be back in its pristine condition!

Tips for Oiling an Air Filter


Once you’re done cleaning an engine air filter, it’s important to apply oil to it. It might sound counterproductive, but it actually improves the filter’s ability to trap dirt and debris.

After you clean a foam air filter, make sure that its foam is completely dry. Applying oil to it while it’s still wet will only cause it to rot. As such, we highly recommend letting the filter dry under the sun for several hours.

Apply a generous amount of oil to the filter and distribute it evenly by massaging it. Since oil is colored, you can easily see which parts of the filter don’t have oil applied yet.



How often should I clean the air filter on my dirt bike?

The answer on how often to clean your dirt bike’s air filter will vary depending on the conditions. If you use your bike more often, you’ll have to clean the filter at least after every 2 rides.

If you only use it occasionally, then cleaning the air filter after every 4 rides will suffice.

Can I clean my air filter using gas?

Definitely not. Under no circumstances should you clean your 2-stroke dirt bike air filter with gas.

While some people think it’s a good idea, it can actually damage the foam on your filter and won’t even remove any dirt at all.

What to use when cleaning my air filter at home?

All you really need is the right air filter cleaner, some dish soap, water, and oil designed for air filters. A towel can also come in handy for wiping any excess oil on the filter.


This wraps up our step-by-step guide on how to clean a dirt bike air filter. As you can see, cleaning your air filter on a regular basis is important to maintain the performance of your dirt bike.

This is especially true if you use it frequently on off-road adventures.

Just make sure to use the right cleaner for the cleaning process as well as the right air filter oil. This way, you can thoroughly remove any dirt and debris that’s trapped on your filter and improve the filter’s ability to trap them.

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James Stevens

James Stevens is an expert bike mechanic who knows everything from basic repairs to custom modifications. What sets him apart is his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Check out his content on Speedway if you need help with upgrades or modifications for your bike.