Cleaning Air Filters Not Recommended

February 2013

Some vehicle owners and maintenance supervisors, concerned with lowering operating costs, elect to clean and reuse heavy-duty air filter elements. Hastings Premium Filters does not recommend this practice.

This practice is discouraged primarily because once a filter is cleaned, it is no longer covered under our warranty, which only guarantees new, properly installed filters. This puts your equipment and your investment at risk.

Several other factors should also be considered before deciding to clean or wash a heavy-duty air filter. These factors include:

    Many contaminants, such as soot and fine particles, are difficult to remove from the filter media.
    Cleaning methods cannot restore filters to like new condition and may cause damage to the filter media.
    Cleaning a heavy-duty air filter reduces the life of the element. This effect is cumulative each time a filter is
       cleaned and reused.
    Because of the decreased life of a cleaned air filter, the filter must be serviced more often, exposing the air intake
       system to potential contamination.
    Extra handling of the filter during the cleaning process, and the cleaning process itself, may damage the filter
       media, exposing the system to contaminants.

Inner (or secondary) elements should never be cleaned as these filters are the final barrier against contaminants before air reaches an engine. The standard rule of thumb is inner air elements should be replaced once every three changes of the outer (or primary) air filter.

The best way to get the most out of a heavy-duty air filter is to use an air restriction gauge, which monitors an air filter's condition by measuring the air flow resistance of the air intake system. A filter's useful life is established by the equipment manufacturer's recommended restriction level.

Using a new filter with each filter service, and using that filter to the maximum capacity determined by the OE recommendations, is the most cost effective way to protect your equipment.