How to Clean A Diesel Particulate Filter?

Are you a truck owner or driver looking to keep your diesel engine running smoothly? Then you should know the importance of a clean diesel particulate filter. If you are not aware of that or do not clean your DPF regularly, it will cost over a thousand dollars some day. But, Unfortunately, regular maintenance and cleaning can be time-consuming and difficult. Don’t worry, we are here to solve your issue. In this blog post, we will provide easy-to-follow steps to clean your DPF with necessary tips.

Before starting the guideline, we need to know what is actually a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and when it needs to be cleaned.

What is a diesel particulate filter (DPF)?

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is an important component of modern diesel engines. It is an exhaust emission control device designed to filter out harmful particles from the exhaust of diesel-powered vehicles. It helps to capture and retain soot particles before they are released into the atmosphere. The DPF traps these particles in its filter walls and then oxidises, or burns them off, in a process called regeneration.

When it comes to optimising a vehicle’s exhaust system for performance and emissions control, enthusiasts often explore various components and modifications. One crucial aspect that’s often discussed in this context is the integration of the electric exhaust cutout along with DPF. While they may seem like distinct components, they share a symbiotic relationship in achieving a balanced exhaust system.

When does it need to be cleaned?

  • First you will sense the acrid exhaust smell from the truck.
  • You will find a change in engine sound for sure.
  • Efficiency of your truck will be reduced
  • Your cooling fan will be engaged.
  • Your truck’s automatic stop/start will be temporarily deactivated

A step by step guide on Cleaning A Diesel Particulate Filter(DPF)

Step 1: Take Out and Inspect The Filter First

Taking out and inspecting the diesel particulate filter (DPF) is the first and foremost step in the process. It will help you to have a clear view on the filter. And it will help to identify any issues that may be present in the filter, such as a clogged or damaged element. It will also inform you about whether the diesel particulate filter is cleanable or not. If not you need to change it from dpf delete shops and install it.

Taking out the filter is not that difficult. You can find it yourself. Depending on the type and location of your vehicle’s exhaust system, you may need to remove other components in order to access it. Once the filter is exposed, it’s time to inspect it.

You should look for any signs of physical damage, such as cracks or holes in the casing. Also check for any potential blockages that could be restricting exhaust flow. 

The condition of the DPF’s end caps must also be checked and you should check for any leaks in your exhaust system leading up to the filter itself.

Step 2: Clean the filter in below two ways:

A. Thermal Cleaning Process:

Thermal cleaning is a popular and widely used method of cleaning a diesel particulate filter (DPF). This process involves heating up the filter to a certain, predetermined temperature. It is important to note that this temperature should not exceed the maximum recommended limit.

Once the DPF has been heated to the required temperature, it is allowed to cool down slowly. During this time, soot particles will start burning off and can be collected in an exhaust gas recirculation system or other suitable collection device. The remaining ashes need to be removed from the filter once it has cooled down sufficiently. This can typically be done by using compressed air.

It is important to note that thermal cleaning is not always effective at removing all soot particles from a DPF. If there are still large amounts of soot present after thermal cleaning, then aqueous or chemical cleaners may need to be used instead. 

B. Aqueous Cleaning Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

Aqueous cleaning is a process where the DPF is immersed in hot water with surfactant to remove soot, ash and other residue. This method is often used when thermal cleaning isn’t an option. The surfactant helps to break down the particles and emulsify them so they can be removed more efficiently. Pressure-washing may be used to help loosen debris from the filter during this process.

C. Use A DPF Chemical Cleaner for fast cleaning:

Using a DPF chemical cleaner is a quick way to clean the diesel particulate filter. This type of cleaner is usually composed of detergents, solvents, and other chemicals that are designed specifically to break down soot and residues which accumulate in the filter.

When using a manual system, the DPF chemical cleaner is usually applied directly onto the filter surface and left to work for up to 15 minutes before being rinsed off with water. It’s important to note that when using a DPF chemical cleaner, it’s best practice to wear protective gear such as gloves and eye protection.

Step 4: Rinse DPF Filter Off

Rinsing off the diesel particulate filter is a necessary step to complete the cleaning process. To do this, you’ll need need

  • An industrial grade air compressor (200 PSI), 
  • A hose, and
  • Some clean water.

Before getting started, make sure to cover any exposed electrical components with plastic or tape. This is to prevent any moisture from damaging the wiring in those areas. 

  • Now turn on the air compressor and let it run until you hear steady airflow coming out of the hose.
  • Once that’s done, slowly start adding water into the mix as well. 
  • Keep pouring water until you see steam erupting from the DPF filter. The steam should look like smoke coming out of a chimney and indicate that all dirt deposits have been removed from inside of it.
  • Once you’re done, turn off the air compressor and disconnect its hose from the filter. 
  • Then take a damp cloth or brush and scrub away any remaining residues on its surface. 
  • Finally, dry off all wet areas with a towel or sawdust and set aside until ready for reinstallation.


Cleaning a diesel particulate filter is an important part of maintaining your vehicle to ensure its performance. With these steps in hand, you can maintain your diesel particulate filter and ensure your vehicle’s performance remains at its peak.


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