An Explicit DIY Tutorial on Properly Cleaning a DPF Filter

A diesel particulate filter, or DPF for short, is a filter that aids in the reduction of harmful particles released from your truck's diesel exhaust. The filter is designed to catch any unburned particles, preventing harmful particles from entering the air and causing damage to your vehicle.

However, this debris and ash can quickly accumulate in your DPF filter, causing it to perform poorly or not at all. It's recommended that you check and clean this filter on a regular basis to ensure it's working properly, but many people don't know how to clean a diesel particulate filter properly.

Clean DPF Filter

Many questions can arise when the phrase "how to clean a DPF filter yourself" is mentioned, including why it needs to be cleaned, the best methods and how to remove ash from a DPF, how to prevent a clog in the first place, and how much does DPF cleaning cost. and professional cleaning versus do-it-yourself cleaning - a seemingly simple action that raises a slew of doubts and questions that we hope to dispel with this guide

The first thing you should know about how to clear a blocked DPF filter is that it is a delicate process. There are a few common mistakes people make when cleaning a DPF filter that result in permanent or costly damage to the filter; keep reading to learn what these mistakes are and how to avoid them. and discover how to properly clear a clogged DPF filter on your own.

How to Clean a DPF Filter Step by Step

The DPF is usually located inside the exhaust system of most diesel engine trucks. Cleaning this filter is the responsibility of the trucker, and it's a great way to ensure that your truck continues to run efficiently and may help you improve or get better mileage.

When truckers see a dirty DPF, they often assume they must replace the filter completely or take it to a shop. That isn't always true. Always take your vehicle to a local mechanic in an emergency, but if you want to know how to remove ash from DPF filters or clean diesel particulate filters at home, here are five simple steps to try yourself.

Truck DPF Wikimedia Commons is the source of this image.

If you want or need to clean the entire DPF, you will almost certainly need to physically remove the filter from your vehicle. While this will differ depending on the truck, the first step will be to remove any surrounding plates and grills. Make sure to keep any screws, o-rings, nuts, or bolts in a safe place, such as a truck toolbox.

2. Put the Filter to the Test

When attempting to test the DPF, it must first be completely removed from the vehicle and inspected. This is how you'll know if the filter is blocked, clogged, or damaged. If you see little to no white or chrome on the filter's surface and if the debris clogging is severe, you'll be able to tell if and how to clear a blocked DPF filter.


The use of high-pressure, compressed air is a common way to start cleaning a DPF. This is best accomplished with a high-pressure cleaning cabinet, which backflushes compressed air into the filter and forces ash to dislodge any blockage. When using compressed air, you must take the following precautions:

  • Weigh your DPF if necessary to determine your "pre-cleaning weight." ”
  • Place the DPF into the blast cabinet with care and tightly seal the cabinet.
  • Turn on the device so that high-pressure air can be forced into the DPF. Suction should also be applied to the bottom of the DPF to assist in the removal of any ash or debris.  
  • Once your filter has been pressurized, it must be cleaned. You may need to repeat this process to remove any remaining soot or ash that was not removed in the first attempt.  
  • Once all of the cells have been unblocked, you can remove the DPF from the cabinet and reinstall it in your vehicle.

4. Rinse the DPF filter

After successfully cleaning the surface of your DPF, rinse it with clean water. But how does one go about cleaning a DPF filter with water? To thoroughly clean the DPF, use a hose or a faucet with a high-pressure nozzle and spray it down with a narrow jet. Angle the water so that it shoots out from both ends; you should see a stream of dirty water exiting the filter; rinse your DPF until this water runs clear.

5. Make use of a DPF Chemical Cleaner

Finally, using specialty-made DPF chemical cleaning solutions is a quick and easy way to clean a diesel particulate filter. You won't even need to remove the filter for most of these cleaning additives.

Active-DPF Flickr is the source of the image.

There are two kinds of chemical cleaners available on the market: fuel additives and spray-on systems.

Fuel additives are ideal for keeping a filter unclogged from the inside while in use, and they can usually be poured into the filter without being removed.

If you have already removed the filter for cleaning, spray-on systems are recommended to provide a deeper, more efficient cleaning by removing trapped particles that water and compressed air failed to remove. It is recommended that you use a chemical cleaner at some point during your at-home DPF cleaning process for the best results.

Why is it necessary to clean your DPF system on a regular basis?

A clogged DPF can cause long-term damage to a vehicle's engine in certain circumstances. A clogged DPF can cause a vehicle to enter "limp" mode, which restricts the vehicle and forces it to drive slowly. In these extreme cases, you will need to take your vehicle to a mechanic to have this fault repaired. Ignoring this cleaning process can cause severe damage to your truck, reduce fuel economy, and cause a slew of headaches that you could easily avoid with a timely cleaning of a diesel particulate filter.

How long can a diesel particulate filter be used?

A well-maintained or new diesel particulate filter should typically last up to 100,000 miles after installation. Poorly cleaned and serviced DPFs are more vulnerable to severe damage caused by an unresolved blockage.

What is the cost of replacing a diesel particulate filter?

A standard DPF can cost between $1,000 and $4,000 for traditional commercial vehicles, but it can cost between $4,000 and $10,000 for large Freight trucks. Depending on the diesel particulate filter required for your vehicle, replacing a DPF may negate your savings. Another reason why knowing how to clean a DPF filter yourself is critical.

How to Make a Diesel Particulate Filter Last Longer

Extending the life of your DPF goes beyond routine maintenance and cleaning. Here are some suggestions for extending the life of your diesel particulate filter:

  1. Use the proper oil for your vehicle or truck to produce the fewest particles possible.
  2. Check your EGR valve, as it can become clogged with the ash, soot, and carbon that it is supposed to regulate. A clogged or faulty EGR valve can cause the device to remain open for longer periods of time, increasing the amount of particles and ash fed back into the engine and thus out through the filter.
  3. Invest in a coolant heater, which can pre-heat an engine by circulating warming coolant through a blockage before the engine cranks. This pre-heating reduces DPF maintenance, emissions, engine wear, and overall improves a trucker's fuel economy.
  4. Maintain the condition of your vehicle. Maintaining your vehicle's engine will protect against any failures that could feedback and damage the filter; keep in mind that exhaust systems have many interconnected components. As a result, as soon as you discover a flaw, you should work to repair or replace it before further damage to other internal components occurs.

Also Read: DPF Filters: Everything You Need to Know

A DPF is an excellent investment for any truck driver because it traps soot, ash, and dangerous particles from a vehicle's exhaust. However, in order for this filter to continue to do its job properly and keep your vehicle running at peak performance, it must be cleaned on a regular basis.

Hopefully, this article has taught you how to properly clear a blocked DPF filter on your own. You can now keep your vehicle in top shape at home by knowing the ins and outs and keeping in mind how much it costs to professionally clean or buy a DPF filter.

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