How to Clean Air Filter on Dirt Bike – Easy To Follow Guide

How to Clean Air Filter on Dirt Bike – Easy To Follow Guide

As a dirt bike owner, one of the most important maintenance routines is cleaning air filters. Dirty air filters reduce the amount of air and increase the number of impurities in an engine. This could lead to engine seizure, incomplete combustion, and increased fuel consumption. 

I own a KTM 300 XC and have been a dirt bike enthusiast for the better part of my adult life. In this article, I’ll show you how to clean air filter on dirt bike and the benefits you stand to gain from cleaning it regularly. 

How to Clean Air Filter on Dirt Bike [Best Way]

To clean your dirt bike air filter, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual to remove the filter from your bike. Proceed to soak the dirty filter in a cleaning solvent to break down the dirt. After a while, take it out and rinse it using clean water, allow it to dry, and apply air filter oil. 

Dirt Bike rider in sand

Depending on how often you use your bike, you may need to clean your filter every day. The steps are easy to follow, and I’ll list them in this article. 

Tools Required to Clean a Dirt Bike Air Filter

Below is a list of tools you need to clean your dirt bike air filter: 

One more thing you’ll need is a clean workspace to get the job done. It’s not exactly a tool, but it’s necessary since you’re trying to get a clean air filter with no dust or debris. 

How to Clean Air Filter on Dirt Bike [Step-by-Step Guide]

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean the air filter in a dirt bike: 

Step 1: Remove the Air Filter

The first step involves taking out the air filter from your bike. Follow your owner’s manual for directions on how to take it out safely. When you have successfully removed the air filter from the bike, carefully take out the filter cage and set it aside. 

Step 2: Set the Filter in a Cleaning Solvent

Once the air filter is out, take your cleaning solvent and pour it inside a bucket. Put on your hand gloves for safety since you’re working with chemicals. 

Cleaning a dirt bike

Make sure that you buy a solvent that’s specifically made for cleaning dirt bikes. Although some people use different cleaning solutions, it’s important to ensure you get the right cleaner to get the desired result. 

With the solvent in the bucket, set your filter inside and allow it to soak for a few minutes. This will help break down the dirt and oil in the filter. 

Dip your hand inside the bucket and massage the filter to get more dirt out to ensure the process is more effective. 

Step 3: Rinse and Dry

After soaking the filter, take it out and rinse it with clean water. You can do the rinsing under a faucet. After rinsing, take out the filter and allow it to dry.

You can put it in a place where it receives direct sunlight to make the process faster. However, you must be careful not to keep it in a place where it’ll accumulate more dirt or dust. 

Step 4: Apply Air Filter Oil

Now that your dirt bike’s air filter is all clean, it’s time to apply some oil to it. You can either buy a dirt bike liquid oil or spray. If you bought a spray oil, take your filter and spray some of the oil on it. Squeeze or massage the filter with your hands to ensure the oil gets into every part of the filter.

Apply Air Filter Oil

Alternatively, you can use a liquid oil and apply it across the filter. In this case, you’ll need to squeeze the filter to apply the oil properly.

It’s important not to apply too much oil to the filter. After massaging, if you feel the oil was not properly applied, you can always apply some more. But it’s better to reapply than to put too much oil on it the first time.

When you’re done applying the oil, squeeze out excess oil, if any, and allow the filter to dry for around 20 to 30 minutes. 

Check out our article on Best Oil Filters for your dirt bikes by Bikers Rights.

Step 5 Apply Grease

With the oil is properly applied, set the filter aside and clean the filter cage using a clean rag. When you’re sure it’s clean, fix it back in the air filter. You can get any regular water-proof grease and apply it to your filter using your finger. 

Spread it along the edge of the filter and ensure it’s applied generously. The grease provides extra protection against dust and dirt. 

Step 6: Reinstall the Air Filter

With your air filter clean, it’s ready to go back into the bike. But first, you must clean the airbox with a clean rag in case of grease or dust.

You can also apply some grease in the airbox using a spray degreaser, but it’s unnecessary unless it is particularly dirty. If it’s dirty, apply the degreaser, followed by some soap to clean the dirt. Rinse it with a pressure cleaner. 

Reinstall the air filter following the instructions in your owner’s manual. You can also run your hands along the filter’s edges to ensure it’s properly sealed. If it is, your bike is ready to go! 

Benefits of Cleaning an Air Filter of a Dirt Bike

Some of the benefits of cleaning your dirt bike air filter include: 

  • Improved fuel efficiency: A dirty air filter means dirt can get into your bike’s motor. This can increase your fuel consumption. But with regular cleaning, you should have better fuel efficiency. 
  • Improved Performance: Build up of dirt and dust can clog your air filter and reduce engine oil quality. This reduces engine performance and costs you more money in maintenance. 
  • Prevent Engine Seizure: As earlier mentioned, a dirty filter can cause engine seizures. When this happens, your engine will not start.  Regular air filter cleaning will help eliminate engine seizures. 
  • It’s cost-effective: You don’t need to spend too much money to clean your bike’s filter. Since you can do it yourself, you’ll come to find that the process is quite easy and cheap. In contrast, the issues that can arise if you don’t change your filter could send you to your local mechanic and have you spend hundreds of dollars on repairs. Hence, a simple air filter cleaning will save you a lot of money. 

How Often Do You Need To Clean the Air Filter on a Dirt Bike?

This depends on how often you use your dirt bike. If you’re a casual rider, you only need to clean the air filter after clocking around 50,000 miles. However, if you’re a heavy user who rides in places with gravel or dirt, you’ll need to clean your air filter after each use. 

Also, if you’re a dirt bike racer, you’ll need to clean your air filter regularly. Regular maintenance keeps out the dirt and ensures they don’t get inside your intake and damage the motor. 

How Often Do You Need To Clean the Air Filter on a Dirt Bike

Of course, having to clean your air filter all the time can be a bit of a burden for some people. We’re all a bit lazy sometimes, so no judgments!

One way I hack this is to own more than one air filter. I have three, but two is fine. You can wash your multiple filters together, install one and keep the rest in a Ziploc for when you need it later. This way, you don’t have to clean your bike’s air filter daily. 

That said, the process of cleaning air filters is pretty straightforward. Hence, you can own one and clean it regularly without much hassle. 

If you want to know how often to clean air filter on dirt bike, inspect your air filter regularly to see if it needs cleaning. If you check it and the color is black, chances are that your dirt bike air filter is dirty and needs cleaning. Also, if you notice that your gas mileage has reduced or your bike is not as fast as it usually is, it may be a dirty air filter problem. 


How often should I replace my air filter?

You should replace your dirt bike filter every 10,000 miles. Alternatively, you can replace it when you inspect it, and it’s too dirty to clean. 

Is it expensive to replace an air filter?

No, It is not expensive to replace the air filter. If you replace it yourself, you’ll only spend around $20 to buy a new filter. But if you go to a mechanic to help you replace it, you may have to spend up to $80.  

What are the benefits of a clean air filter?

A clean air filter allows clean air to get to your engine and prevents dirt from getting inside. This promotes complete combustion, fuel efficiency, and overall engine performance. 

What are the disadvantages of cleaning an air filter?

It can take a while to clean your dirt bike’s air filter. This could be bad news if you need to get your bike on the road as soon as possible. 

Final Thoughts

Air filters are easy to clean, so you don’t have to go to your local mechanic to get it done. This can save you plenty of money in maintenance, especially since you need to clean the air filter regularly.

However, it takes a bit of time to clean your air filter, which means you won’t be able to use your bike until the filter is clean and ready to go into the air box. One way to prevent this is to own more than one air filter. This way, you can replace a dirty filter with a clean one and not wait till the dirty filter is clean before you can use your bike again. 

If you follow the steps above, you should be able to clean your dirt bike’s air filter without much hassle.

Jude Odumamwen

Jude became obsessed with motorcycles after his dad got him a 2007 Suzuki SV650 for his 16th birthday. He's since ridden a few more bikes and made a career out of writing about them. Jude also writes about cars, but his first love runs on two wheels. When he's not writing, he likes to watch movies or read mystery novels.