Tricks of the Trade: How to clean lawn mower paper air filter?

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The air filter helps the engine have better performance. When the engine works, it discharges dust and a lot of dirt. They are the main causes of the engine’s poor performance. If the clean air can not combine with fuel, your engine will work harder. It’s difficult for you to start the lawnmower in cool seasons. Therefore, How to clean lawn mower paper air filter is a piece of must-have knowledge. 

Having good maintenance, you don’t need to spend a big sum of money to repair or replace the carburetor. The following step-by-step guide can help you clean the paper air filter effectively. 

When you should clean your lawn mower paper air filter

how to clean lawn mower paper air filter

Without a good filter, the dirt or debris can be sucked into the carburetor. And the piston can be damaged. Therefore, the lifespan of a piston can be shortened. 

The below sighs say that your air filter needs cleaning:

  • Because the air supply is not enough, the fuel is unburned.
  • It’s hard for you to start the lawnmower. (Further Reading: Common reasons for a lawn mower that won’t start)
  • The engine consumes more fuel than usual.
  • You can hear some strange noises when the lawnmower works.
  • The lawnmower vibrates excessively.
  • Your lawnmower discharges the black smoke. 
  • The colors of a dirty air filter are darker than a brand new one.

Besides, you can clean the air filter according to the suggestion of the technician. The foam filter needs cleaning after every 300 hours. And after 1 working season or after 300 hours, you should replace the paper air filter.

How to clean lawn mower paper air filter quickly

You don’t need to have a professional cleaning service. Applying the following methods, you can clean the paper air filter fast and effectively:

Method 1: Clean the air filter that only has the paper portion

The necessary tool:

  • A screwdriver.
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Some towels.

Step 1: Switch the engine off

Cut the power to make sure that the engine will not work when you do the cleaning. Safety is the most important. Don’t open anything until all moving parts stop. 

Step 2: Disconnect the battery and the spark plug

If the spark plug still connects to the battery, it is easy to get into an accident. The engine can be turned on surprisingly. To do the cleaning, your hand must be inside the lawnmower. If the mower works, your hands can be cut. 

After you remove the battery, start the engine again. This process helps the spark plug consume all the power left.

Related Post: How to change a spark plug on a lawn mower?

Step 3: Unscrew the casing

Casing helps to protect the engine and the carburetor from stones, grass, and insects. To remove the filter, first, you want to remove the casing. Use a screwdriver to unscrew the nuts. There are some types of nuts. Therefore, it is perfect to have a set of screwdrivers.

Step 4: Remove the paper air filter

Air filter is delicate. Therefore, you should remove it carefully. 

Step 5: Clean the paper air filter

Before cleaning it, you can examine how dirty it is. Let’s hold the filter up under the sunshine. If the light can not go through the filter, you should replace it. If it is just a little dirt, you can reuse it. 

You can follow the below instructions:

  • Put the filter on a flat surface.
  • Tap the filter gently. The dirt and the debris will fall out.
  • Then you clean the filter gently with a vacuum cleaner.

Step 6: Make sure that the housing is good

Use some towels to clean the debris. The cleaning liquid is not recommended because it can affect the filter. 

Do not use a vacuum cleaner for this part. It can blow directly the debris to the carburetor. 

Step 7: Reinsert the air filter

You shouldn’t force or pinch. Let’s do everything politely. The strong impact can damage the filter. Moreover, debris can fall to the carburetor.

It also helps you insert the filter easier. Everything will fit right.

Step 8: Close the shroud

Slowly place the shroud in the right position. Use the screwdriver to tighten the connection. Make sure that the normal vibration from the lawnmower can not make the shroud fall or fly off.

Step 9: Connect the battery and the spark plug

Put the battery in its position. Reconnect the spark plug wire. Start your lawnmower to make sure that there is nothing wrong. 

Method 2: Clean a dual air filter that has both paper and foam portion

The necessary tool:

  • A screwdriver.
  • A vacuum cleaner.
  • Some towels.
  • High-quality oil.

The process for cleaning a dual air filter is the same as a paper filter. After step 5 – Cleaning the paper air filter step. You just need to insert one more step. It is cleaning the foam filter step. 

To clean the foam filter step, you should follow the below instructions:

  • Clean the dirt and debris with your vacuum cleaner.
  • Rinse with dishwasher water. 
  • Use high-quality oil to remove the left dirt.
  • Pour some oil drops into the towels. Then use them to wipe the foam filter.

Now, the foam filter is as good as a new product. You can continue with steps 6 to 9.


1. How much oil do I need for the foam filter?

A big spoon of oil is enough. You shouldn’t pour too much oil. Because you need to clean all the excess oil with a towel. It’s time-consuming for you to make the thing ready. 

2. Which kind of noise is the sign of a poor-condition air filter?

It is usually the coughing or popping noises.

3. What should I note about buying the right filter?

Let’s check the model and the size of the filter. Then buy a similar new one.

Final thoughts

Air filters are an important part of a lawnmower. A good one helps the engine perform in the best way possible. Keeping the air filter clean is one of the most effective ways to extend the lifespan of a lawnmower.

The carburetor has two different types of filters. They are paper and foam filters. Each of them needs a different cleaning technique. Now you know how to clean lawn mower paper air filter. Please comply with our recommendations. They can help you clean the filters safely and effectively.

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