How to Clean a K&N Air Filter

How to Clean a K&N Air Filter

Is your vehicle giving you a hard time lately? Or have you ever caught up with the sudden urge of cleaning your K&N air filter? It’s time you should start paying heed to how to clean a K&N air filter.

Why is it necessary to have a clean K&N air filter? What does a clean K&N air filter do? How does the K&N air filter get dirty? These and many more questions concerned with the K&N air filter will be answered. So keep reading if you really care about your hard-earned money-bought vehicle.

What is a K&N air filter?

Before we reveal to you the secrets about how to clean a K&N air filter you must have some knowledge about what is K&N air filter. K&N air filters as the name inscribes, are filters that increase the overall performance and durability of the engine system of the vehicle.

Their quality is out of the world and is engineered with oiled cotton media to enable the vehicle to maximize its endurance to wear and tear. As of their quality and the tremendous protection such filters provide to the vehicle’s engines, they have been largely relied on and trusted by many drivers for decades.

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How does the K&N air filter get dirty?

Through the air filter, air passes every now and then. The air is full of dirt and debris. So the air passage can quickly become dirty and grimy. The filter is responsible to clean the air and the passage. Once you clean the air filter, you are most likely to unblock the air pathway and allow the driver to enjoy increased fuel economy and better engine performance.

Most importantly, whenever you need to get the oil changed always make sure to simultaneously clean your air filter. Cleaning the air filter is a simple process that may take a few minutes of yours.

Why is it necessary to have a clean K&N air filter?

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A clean and cold air filter is what every car and driver desires. Now you must be thinking why I am emphasizing so much on a cleaned air filter, why it is necessary, and how to clean a K&N air filter. When an air filter of a vehicle is properly maintained, the cold air can directly reach the engine via a clean path. The more the car takes in cold air and reaches the engine, the better the airflow and ultimately escalating the horsepower of the vehicle.

What does a clean K&N air filter do?

With a cleaner K&N air filter, the rate of combustion is also improved thus boosting the overall fuel consumption and ensuring the fuel is completely utilized during ignition. It does this by filtering out the unwanted debris that tends to block the air intake system and is therefore regarded as one of the critical elements of your engine’s air intake system.

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Moreover, a cleaner K&N filter will prevent your vehicle from frequent breakdowns and most importantly will overall increase the fuel efficiency and boost vehicle engine performance. All these favorable conditions can only be achieved with a clean air filter.

What are the types of air filters cleaner?

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You can find three different types of air filters. Depending upon what should be the application method of the air filter; you can decide the type of air filter you want:-

1. Spray

In the market, there are numerous spray options, like K&N Air Filter Cleaner and Degreaser. You can make use of these sprays to reach the targeted pleats of your filter. The spray contains degreasing agents which after reaching the filter pleats quickly act and dissolve the long prevailing debris or any other buildup too.

2. Aerosols

Another option for the cleaning of the K&N air filter is aerosols. These aerosols are formulated to easily penetrate the pleats of your K&N air filter, loosening and cleaning the grime at the earliest.

3. Kits

Lastly, you can also opt for an intake filter cleaning kit when it comes to cleaning the K&N air filter. This kit contains two of the main agents, an air filter cleaner and the subsequent filter oil. Both of them collectively maximize the filter’s efficiency after cleaning first and later lubricating.

Why do reusable air filters differ from paper air filters?

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Both reusable air filters and paper air filters differ from one another in a number of ways:-

Paper Air Filters

Most of the cars are fitted with standard disposable air filters. These are made up of pleated paper that is either set into a foam frame or a plastic one. Since it is paper made therefore it is cost-efficient and is curated to be disposed of after a relatively short usage interval. On average, they can last up to 12-15,000 miles, after covering such distance, these are advised to be thrown away immediately.

These contain masses of extremely tiny pores that are capable of blocking larger particles – pollen, dust, grease particles – while allowing the smaller ones to pass through easily. Do you know why these are named disposable air filters? As tiny pores constitute the formation of such disposable paper filters, after covering the designated distance, these pores become clogged by grease and extremely grimy substances that are impossible to be removed. Hence, these can be disposed of and therefore named as such.

Reusable K&N air filters

The reusable K&N air filters constitute 4-6 layers of breathable cotton gauze which is shaped into a pleated form to enhance the contaminant-capturing surface area. Their state-of-the-art design along with their natural breathing properties are responsible for increasing airflow to the engine system, resulting in better engine performance and greater estimated horsepower. These K&N air filters are often drenched with K&N’s trademark Red 201 Filter Oil™.

From these, thousands of microscopic cotton fibers are suspended. The aggregated system of these filters, allows cleaner air to enter the engine system without polluting the pores. The already blocked pollutants saturate with the oil and in turn trap the incoming pollutants, thus becoming a part of the filtration system and deducing 50% more efficient results.

Advantages and disadvantages of using different types of air filters

We have compiled for you, a table enlisting the advantages and disadvantages of using different types of air filters. The given table will bring into your notice the key functions of the paper air filter.

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Likewise, the reusable K & N air filter also has some notable characteristics, which have been described in the below table.

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How to clean a K&N air filter?

As we have briefed you about what is a K&N air filter, its uses, and types, now let’s answer for you how to clean a K&N filter. K&N air filters can be cleaned making use of K&N cleaning agents and kits. These filters are of 6 types but have a general method of cleaning.

Things you will need to clean a K&N air filter are mentioned below for the ready reference:-

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Things to do to clean the K&N air filter

  1. First and foremost, wear your protective gear. Always remember to cover hands with gloves, eyes with a mask, and nose to protect breathing. Without protective gear, your health might deteriorate with harmful chemical agents.
  2. You will find the K&N air filter in the car hood. K&N air filters are usually enclosed in a plastic box, you may spot it as soon as you open the hood. However, if you find difficulty in finding it you can always search from the search engine or read from the car manual if it’s nearby.
  3. After spotting the air filter, analyze how you can deal with its removal. For upgraded car models, these are often associated with clips.
  4. Slowly detach from the clips. Be gentle, otherwise, you might disengage it completely.

Cleaning procedure of K&N air filter

Once you have removed the air filter, assess whether your air filter needs cleaning or not. If the air filter seems dirty and filthy to you, start with the cleaning procedure.

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Oil application

  1. After cleaning, oil the filter. In case of spraying oil, spray from at least three inches away. The filter crown needs to be comprehensively oiled.
  2. The appearance of the filter turning red indicates oiling is done right.
  3. Wait at least 20 minutes until the oil is soaked up.
  4. As soon as the oil application is done, let the oil soak up and dry if needed to remove excess oil.
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  • Reinstall the K&N air filter the way you uninstalled it.
  • Place the clips back to their original place.

Pro tip: Never make use of accessory electronic products to dry the K&N air filter, like a blow dryer, vacuum, etc.


With the elucidated and informative article, you must have now known what a K&N air filter is and how to clean a K&N air filter. Just like humans need cleaning and maintenance, likewise, machines also need maintenance and should be taken care of to prevent spending unnecessary and hefty amounts on their repair. Just like any other cleaner, the K&N air filter needs to be cleaned too.

With the help of these easy-to-follow instructions, your K&N air filter will be as clean as new. To let your car drift with blazing speed, your engine needs to be healthy and the only key to a healthy engine is a cleaned air filter. In the cleaning methods several options have been given, which the user can make use of as per convenience and relevance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you need to clean K&N filters?

As per the guide that comes with K&N filters, it is instructed to clean your K&N filter once a year or after you have covered 12,000 miles. Other symptoms indicating that your K&N filters need to be cleaned include a musty smell in the interior of your car and too much fuel consumption.

How do you know when to clean the K&N air filter?

Check your air filter once after covering 25000 miles. As long as you can see the wire screen on your air filter, you don’t need to clear it, no matter how dirty it looks.

What do I need to clean my K&N air filter?

If you have the K&N cabin air filter cleaning kit, well and good but if not then you can use the liquid dish wash. Certainly, it is safe to say it can be used to clean your air filters as its concentrated formula removes grease, debris, or any other stubborn grime that may obstruct the air intake path.

How long does it take to clean K&N filter?

For cleaning your K&N filter, you will be needing K&N Air Filter Cleaner. Spray this cleaner on your filter, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Eventually, you will see the dirt coming all over.

What to do if you need to clean urgently your K&N filter?

In case you need to clean instantaneously your K&N filter, you must always keep the K&N cabin air filter cleaning kit in hand with you. Otherwise, you would have to go to a car specialist or technician to have that problem sorted.

William Anthony

Passionate lifestyle blogger creating vivid narratives on fashion, wellness, and culture, weaving stories that inspire and captivate readers globally.

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