How to Clean an Air Filter in 7 Steps.


The steps to achieve a clean car air filter depend on whether you have an oiled or dry filter, as well as your vehicle’s set-up. Read on to see how you can remedy your dirty car air filter and help your ride breathe like new.

Oiled vs. Dry Filters

Cleaning Your Car Air Filter

Choosing the Best Air Filter

Shop Popular Air Filters

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Mike Cote
I'm on off-road enthusiast behind the wheel of a perpetual project 4x4 Tacoma. I like to play in the rocks, but won't shy away from fast runs through the desert. My passion came from my dad whose had me in and around cars for as long as I can remember.


  1. Dry filter instructions stop at vacuum and skip to step #7. Then goes into oiled filters and no more steps for dry filters and step #7. Bought a cotton washable filter that stated oiling not needed. No instruction for washing. Like your article but leaves me with more questions. Is mine considered a dry cotton washable reusable and just vacuum or like the K&N oiled cotton. Afraid to affect the performance by oiling if not necessary but don’t want to let more dirt in either by not oiling. And what is step #7 and beyond if mine is determined to be a dry filter. Thanks

    • Hey Ken,

      You skip to step 7 with a dry filter because the only thing left to do after cleaning the filter and vacuuming the housing is to just reinstall the filter. IF your filter wasn’t designed to be oiled, then I wouldn’t add any, as this could negatively effect air flow.



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