How to Clean the Air Filter Of Lawn Mower?

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The air filter fixed in the lawn mower’s helps in preventing the dirt from entering the engine through the carburetor.

However, if the air filter becomes clogged, dust and other junk can enter the engine, potentially causing start-up issues and shortening the engine’s life.

Do you want to make sure your riding lawn mower is in good operating order all of the time?

Then clean the air filter regularly. So when it comes to lawn mower air filters, knowing when to clean or replace them is crucial. Continue reading to learn about them.

Cleaning air filters of Lawn mower

How Will You Know If Your Air Filter is Dirty?

There are some symptoms you will notice when your filter is not clean, like:

Power Loss

Your engine will suffocate if your air filter is blocked with oil and dust, preventing the necessary amount of air from being burned with the fuel, which will lead to less horsepower.

Consuming More Fuel

If you’re not receiving as much run time out of your machine, as usual, it’s possible that your engine is consuming more fuel due to a dirty air filter.

Sometimes usage of inefficient fuel can also lead to consumption of more fuel so understand the different types of fuels for Lawnmower that can be used accordingly.

What Tools Are Required?

If you think that your air filter is dirty, then you will need some tools to do the job, which are:

  • Safety gloves
  • Wash bin, wash sink, or garden hose
  • Clean, dry rags, cloths, or paper towels

What Materials Are Required?

You will also require some materials, which are given as follows

  • Replacement filter (if necessary)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon engine oil for foam filter
  • Liquid dish detergent
Air filters cleaning in lawn mower

How To Clean The Air Filter Of A Lawn Mower?

Now that you are ready with all the tools and materials, you can start to clean your filter.

Just follow these steps to clean your filter.

Step 1: Turn off the lawnmower

Firstly, ensure the mower’s engine is turned off. Before handling, wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop and cool down.

Step 2: Remove the spark plug wire

Now, inspect your engine completely and try to locate the spark plug, then unplug the wire from it. This prevents the engine from starting accidentally while you’re working.

Step 3: Remove the air filter by opening the filter housing

Look over the engine for a detachable plastic sheet on the top or on one of the sides. This is the housing for the air filter.

Remove the lid from the air filter housing. The majority of riding lawn mower models are built to be done by hand.

Unthread any bolts which are keeping your filter intact to the machine, and keep them somewhere safe so they won’t dislocate or fall into the engine while working. Now gently pull out the filter and keep it aside.

The filter may be a paper cartridge or a simple piece of foam, based on the model of mower you’re dealing with. Cleaning processes will differ slightly from one to the other.

Step 4: Protect the air inlet

Stuff a clean, dry shop rag into the input port at the back of the housing once the air filter has been removed from its housing. This keeps debris out of your carburetor while it’s being cleaned.

Make sure there’s enough of the store rag protruding from the port that you can easily pull it out when you’re finished.

Step 5: Filter housing should be cleaned

Use your air compressor to blow out any dirt and debris stuck inside the filter housing. Before you do this, make sure the shop rag is securely obstructing the input port.

Step 6: Check to see if the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced

Take a look at your air filter. Look attentively at the paper pleats if it’s a paper cartridge. If they’re only somewhat unclean, a simple filter cleaning should suffice. 

You’ll need to change the filter if it’s fully caked in dirt and discolored.

If your filter is all-foam, you can clean it in warm, soapy water if it isn’t too dirty. Replace your foam filter if it’s entirely caked in dirt and debris that won’t come out easily, much like the paper cartridge filter.

Step 7: Replace the filter or clean the old one

If the air filter is beyond repair, replace it. Manuals or the internet can help you find new filters that are compatible with your equipment.

Before installing the replacement filter, make sure the stuffed shop cloth in the air inlet is removed.

If the filter still appears to have some life remaining in it, carefully tap it against a hard surface to loosen as much dirt as possible. If the filter is froth, carefully wash it in warm, soapy water and let it dry somewhere warm.

Inside the filter, place your air spray nozzle and blow the filter out from the inside out.

Remove the outer wire mesh or foam sleeve from your paper cartridge filter and clean it individually.

Step 8: Re-install cleaned filter

Disconnect the shop rag from the air inlet when the filter has been thoroughly cleaned, and then carefully reinstall the filter.

You’re done when you reinstall the filter housing cover and reattach the spark plug wire.

How Often Should You Clean Air Filter?

Once a season, or after 300 hours of operation, replace the paper air filter. Cleansing and replacing may be required more frequently in dusty environments.

Improper routine may lead to dirt in carburetor so make sure to clean the carburetor of lawn mower.


The first line of defense against the dirt and debris churned up during the mowing process is to properly operating air filter on a gas-powered lawnmower.

It is recommended to refer to the owner’s manual or the engine’s labeling for specific cleaning requirements.

Make a routine to clean the lawn mower overall to increase the life expentensy of the machine.

The last piece of advise is, Do not use a solvent to clean a foam filter. The filter material will be broken down.

About Tom Reynolds

My name is Tom Reynolds, and I like lawn mowing. When I was a kid, I used to help my dad in cutting grass using a reel mower, now, I have my own 6 different lawn mowers. Keeping my lawn healthy and beautiful gives me satisfaction, and I still enjoy working in my lawn.