Can you use gas to clean a dirt bike air filter?

We’re not so sure how the idea came to be, but some folks see gas as a cleaner. It’s now that hard to guess our opinion on the subject. Still, let’s keep things interesting. That being said, we’ll seriously consider the question: can you use gas to clean a dirt bike air filter?

Needless to say, the topic of dirt bike air filter clean-up is a big one. Google’s cramped with various suggestions on how to do it. Today, we’ll also show you ways to handle the process. Besides, of course, answering whether or not you can use gas to clean a dirt bike air filter?

You should absolutely steer clear of cleaning anything with gasoline. Let alone clean your dirt bike air filter with it. Gasoline fumes are highly flammable and will pose a serious security risk. There are safer methods you can utilize. 

Even though previews are sometimes more than enough, this ain’t the case. Keep on reading!

Table of Contents

Can you use gasoline as a cleaning solvent? (and other info)

Okay, so here we’ll consider some questions that always seem to appear. Once gasoline is mentioned as a cleaning solvent, that is. So, what’s the deal? Can you really use gasoline as a cleaner?

Well… How can we put this? Yes, gasoline is one of the best solvents out there. HOWEVER, one should still avoid cleaning anything with it. Its fumes are highly flammable and cancerogenic, so… Yup, you should simply avoid using gasoline as a cleaner.

Do some people use gas as a cleaner?

Folks use gasoline to clean greasy machine accessories and vehicle parts. Luckily, that kind of behavior is going out of practice. In the olden days, mechanics used to clean all vehicle parts with gasoline. Needless to say, that was really a risky procedure. It could’ve burned the mechanic alive if there was even the tiniest spark present.

Also, there’s one thing that made cleaning with gasoline more appealing. It was cheaper.

Why should gasoline not be used for cleaning?

Okay, it seems as though the words we’ve written above meant nothing. Gasoline is a serious health hazard, even though you like the smell of it. Breathing in its poisonous fumes isn’t something you’d call recommended. Quite the contrary! Breathing in the air mixed with gasoline fumes can lead to all sorts of diseases.

What’s our main argument? It’s science. Compared to other fuels, gasoline has a high vapor pressure. That means it pretty easily evaporates from an open container. If the temperature outside is hotter than -40°C (-40°F), a fire source will “inspire” a catastrophe.

Okay, now we’ve made it clear gas shouldn’t be used as a solvent. However, we’ve said it can sometimes be used to clean vehicle parts. Don’t just think we’re recommending the method. Anyway, let’s answer the main question: can you use gas to clean a dirt bike air filter?

A man riding a dirt bike before a storm hits.

Can you use gas to clean a dirt bike air filter?

As we’ve said in the beginning, it’s not hard to assume that we’ll recommend you avoid it. In other words: one should steer clear of cleaning their dirt bike air filter with gas. Even though some folks used this in the past decades, it’s time to do away with the practice.

Will cleaning your dirt bike air filter with gas damage your vehicle? Nope. The thing is: it will most likely “damage” you. As noted, gasoline’s cancerogenic, and your skin will absorb it pretty fast. Not to mention the “it’s highly flammable” part.

So, if you can’t clean your air filter with gas, what can you do? Here we’ll introduce you to alternative methods of air filter clean-up!

How to clean a dirt bike air filter without gas?

Here we’ll show you a little step-by-step guide on how to clean your bike’s air filter. Let’s take a look at just what you’ll need to finish the process:

  • two pairs of latex gloves.
  • some filter oil. 
  • some grease. 
  • a plastic bag. 
  • some detergent. 
  • mineral turpentine.
  • a damp rag.
  • a clean rag.
  • a bucket.

Got everything ready? If so, let’s begin!

Step #1: Remove the air filter

First things first, put on the aforementioned pair of latex gloves. That’s because air filter oil is too darn sticky. Give the airbox a wipe using a damp rag right before finally removing the filter.

Step #2: Apply some mineral turpentine

You’ll want to break down the existing filter oil. Simply use some mineral turpentine and tip it onto the filter. Make sure you give it a couple of good squeezes. You can do this over a bucket that you’re not so keen on keeping.

Step #3: It’s washing time

Once the mineral turpentine has done what it had to do, continue to the next step. You’ll want to give your air filter a good & warm soapy bath. You can use regular dishwashing detergent for this. It possesses solid oil-eating agents that’ll handle the task quite well. Lastly, rinse the air filter with water.

Step #4: Dry your air filter before you re-oil it

Now, it’s time to dry out your dirt bike’s air filter, before you re-oil it. You’ll want to speed up the ordeal by using a clean rag. Wrap it around the filter and squeeze it. It will soak up the excess water. Alternatively, you can:

  • run it through a spin cycle in the washer. 
  • strap your air filter to a fan. 

It’s best you avoid using a dryer. It will most likely break down the glues that hold the air filter together.

Step #5: Apply some fresh oil to the air filter

Next up, you’ll utilize the plastic bags we’ve mentioned above. Once the filter is dry, put it inside a plastic shopping bag. You’ll want to cover the whole filter with new oil. Squeeze the substance through the air filter until it totally changes color. Pay close attention to the parts you haven’t soaked in fresh oil. Don’t stop until you’ve ensured yourself even the tiniest little spot is covered.

Step #6: Put the filter back on

The last thing you’ll do is to refit the air filter cage. You’ll wanna make sure it hasn’t “received” any dirt during the filter clean-up. Before putting the filter back on, run some grease around the mating surface. Additionally, consider covering the intake and cleaning the airbox if time permits.

Okay, so there you have it! It’s probably the safest way to clean a dirt bike filter without gas. Let’s see if there’s anything else we forgot to mention. It seems as though some questions still lay unanswered! For instance, how do you clean a lawn mower gas tank?

How often should you clean your air filter on a dirt bike?

Good question! Well, just know that you’ll be able to notice once your air filter needs some cleaning. How? Portions of the screen won’t visible anymore in the filter. Most of the time, it occurs roughly every 50k miles for casual riders. 

However, if you’re hitting the good old sand dunes or riding knee-deep in dirt… Yeah, you’ll want to wash your air filter more often. To be precise: you’ll want to wash it after every heavy ride. And here’s how you’ll wash your vehicle’s upholstery.

What can a dirty air filter do to a dirt bike?

Let’s check out the consequences of sporting a dirty air filter.

Just like humans, dirt bikes need some clean air, too. A dirty filter will eventually cause your vehicle to experience poor fuel economy. Also, it’ll run using less power and you’ll probably witness to some rough idling. To avoid these performance issues – you’ll need to keep it clean. Let’s elaborate some more about why air filters are important.

Needless to say, you shouldn’t see your air filter as something of an add-on. It’s an integral part of your vehicle and a very important one. It keeps all the dust, dirt, and other debris out of your vehicle’s engine. Once the filter’s dirty, it may clog up. A clogged-up filter prevents the clean air from getting to your vehicle’s engine. That’s what you want to avoid – waiting until your filter clogs up!

What are the symptoms of a dirty air filter?

Here are signs to watch out for. Have you noticed there’s some black smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe? If so, there’s your first symptom. Also, other symptoms can include:

  • You’re having a hard time starting your dirt bike.
  • Your dirt bike’s engine is stalling.
  • Your vehicle’s throttle is sluggish.

Keep in mind that this is just the beginning. If you don’t respond ASAP, this might eventually lead to the formation of clumps of oily dirt. They might fall deeper into your engine and cause a whole list of issues. So, yeah, keep your dirt bike’s air filter clean as a whistle! 

The bottom line

Okay, so that’s that on the can-you-use-gas-to-clean-a-dirt-bike-air-filter and why-shouldn’t-you-do-it topics. Hopefully, the days of using gasoline as a cleaning solvent are almost over. For more tips on related subjects, pay a visit to our blog page.