How to clean Berkey filter: 5 easy instructions for a healthier kitchen

Some water contaminants can cause severe health conditions, especially when bacteria and microscopic organisms are present in the water. Water filters are used for several reasons, and the most crucial is to reduce water contamination by removing impurities through diverse methods. 

Filtering can help in water purification, thereby making it safe for drinking. More so, they can help improve water taste, reducing chlorine, mineral, and chemicals present in the water.

Here is a guide to cleaning the Berkey filter.

Berkey filter has been designed to be the most effective and convenient water purification system on the market. It is available in several configurations from two to eight filters, with a corresponding number of stages from two to four. 

To reach this goal, Berkey filters need to be cleaned periodically. If you don't clean it enough, it will affect the filter's ability to filter out contaminants from your water

Knowing how to clean a Berkey filter will preserve the life span of the filter and serve as a maintenance strategy.

Why Is It Important to Clean Berkey Filters?

Why Is It Important To Clean Berkey Filters

Apart from affecting the taste of your water negatively, cleaning Berkey filters is essential to prevent:

Mold Build-up

According to a microbiologist, Jason Tetro, Molds need just three things to grow- a warm environment, water, and salt, or sugar. Mold build-up in water occurs very fast, and its presence in drinking water is hazardous to health, thus, defeating the purpose of using a water filter. Molds are removed from the filter through constant and thorough cleaning.

Lime-scale Build-up

Lime-scale is a build-up caused by hard water and contains calcium, carbonate, manganese, and magnesium. It is hard and chalky and lurks inside the tap and pipes, but can be removed by proper cleaning with vinegar.

Bacteria Growth

Water filters are designed to remove bacteria in water, but they cannot remove bacteria that grow in the filter itself. When they are not regularly maintained, bacteria will naturally grow on the filter pads, making them very unhygienic.

Slow Flow Rate

Small matters may be trapped on the filters making it release water at a prolonged rate. Berkey filter cleaning can help open the filter pores for faster water flow by removing particles clogging the filter.

There are other five reasons why it is necessary to clean Berkey filters:

  1. The water filter needs to be cleaned to prevent harmful bacteria from growing inside the filter and creating a health hazard.

  2. The water filter needs to be cleaned to function properly and provide clean drinking water for a long period.

  3. If there is debris between the filter and the Berkey itself, it will not filter water.

  4. If there is debris buildup in the filter pores, chlorine cannot flow through them properly for disinfection.

  5. If the water filter is not cleaned, it will start to release sediment into your drinking water.

Clean Berkey filter properly so that harmful bacteria do not grow inside the filter and create a health hazard.

How to clean Berkey filter

Berkey purification system is the two black filters and two white fluoride elements inside the stainless steel housing. The black filters guarantee the removal of 100% pathogens, and the white fluoride filters reduce about 95% of the amount of fluoride in water.

Cleaning The Berkey Purification System

The system can contain more filters than the number provided by Berkey, and you can place an order for Berkey water filter replacement on Amazon.

To clean them, you will need:

  • Running water
  • A scotch Brite scrub, brand new sponge or toothbrush
  • A clean towel
  • Dish soap (optional)

Here is how to clean Berkey water filters:

NB Soap is not required for this process.

  • Wet the filters under running water.
  • Soak your brand new hard sponge in water.
  • Scrub the surface of the black filters with sponge under the running water. This will remove the microscopic top layer and expose new tiny pores for the passage and filtration of water
  • Rinse them off.
  • Set them on the towel.

Here is how to clean Berkey fluoride filters:

  • Drench them in water
  • Rub your hands on them with little dish soap (optional).
  • Rinse them off.
  • Set them on the towel.

Cleaning Instructions for Household Use

Household Berkey filter cleaning involves a few processes. Follow these steps:

Cleaning The Berkey Purification System

Step One: Drain water from the top and bottom chambers

The first thing to do is to open the filter and empty all the water from the top and bottom stainless chambers. 

Step Two: Remove filters, plugs, and spigot

Remove filters, plugs, and spigot

Removing the filters is very easy. So, begin by removing the fluoride filters first. To do that, unscrew it from the base of the black filters, and remove the ring nuts. Set the nuts aside safely as they will be needed to reassemble the filter correctly.

Step Three: Soak all parts from step 2 (except filters)

Soak the upper and lower chambers in water mixed with dish soap and let it sit for 10 minutes. While this is progress, proceed to the next step.

Step Four: Scrub the Berkey filters

Scrub the Berkey filters

Scrub the filters with a scotch Brite scrub, new sponge or toothbrush gently under cold running water. Do not use soap or detergent on the black filters. However, the fluoride filters can be cleaned using a little soap rubbed with bare hands and rinsed in clean water. After that, place them on clean towels.

Step Five: Scrub the chambers (and lid) inside and out

Coming back to the upper and lower chambers, scrub the inside and outside of the chambers and filter lid thoroughly. Then, rinse appropriately under running water.

Step Six: Reassemble your Berkey filter.

Reassemble your Berkey filter

Set everything aside, rinse and dry your hands, and reassemble your filter back. Fix back the fluoride and black filters properly, and wipe the outer surface of the filter dry with a clean towel. This will remove spots and marks and leave it shinning.

Cleaning Instructions for Field Use

Cleaning Berkey filters for field use is similar to cleaning it for household use, only that it is more tedious. Follow these instructions:

Cleaning Instructions for Field Use

Mix water with bleach or iodine in non-contaminated water

To start, mix some drops of bleach or iodine that will serve as disinfectants in non-contaminated water, and set aside.

Empty and wash the chambers

Set the lid aside on a stable surface and empty all the water from the top and bottom chambers of Berkey filters. Then, wash the chambers with sponge and soap and rinse under running water.

Unscrew the filters 

Remove the filters by unscrewing the white fluoride filter from the black filters. Set the nuts aside safely, as it will be used in screwing them back.

Scrub the black filters

Using a new sponge or toothbrush(without soap), scrub the black filters gently, and rinse under running water. Wash the fluoride filter with a little soap using bare hands, and rinse. Set them aside on clean towels.

Submerge the filter containers

Rinse the filters in the bleach-treated water and set aside.

Clean your hands

Wash your hands with soap, rinse and dry them with a clean towel to avoid contaminating the cleaned filters.


Fix the filters and reassemble the whole Berkey water filter.

How to clean a Berkey filter using vinegar

You can use vinegar to clean your Berkey filters. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which dissolves organic matter such as soap scum and other contaminants. This is how vinegar is used to clean your Berkey filtration system:

  1. Pour 2 cups of white distilled vinegar into a large bowl. Add enough warm water to make up 4 quarts total. Stir well.
  2. Remove the lid from the Berkey filter and place it upside down into the bowl containing the vinegar solution.
  3. Let the Berkey soak overnight.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
  5. Replace the lid onto the Berkey filter and allow it to dry completely.
  6. Test the water quality after 24 hours.
  7. Repeat steps 3 – 6 every few months, depending on usage.
  8. To prevent mold growth, replace the cap once per year.

Using Baking Soda And Water As An Alternative To Boiling Water.

Use plain old table salt mixed with water. Use only small quantities of both salt and water because too much could cause damage to the Berkey filter. Salt should never exceed 4% concentration.

To make the solution, dissolve ¼ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water. Stir until all the salt dissolves. You may need to heat the solution slightly if it becomes lumpy. Remove the lid from the Berkey filter and carefully pour the solution through the holes in the bottom of the filter.

Do not try to force the solution through the openings. Instead, gently tilt the filter while pouring slowly. When finished, replace the cap and wait at least 24 hours before attempting to wash the filter.

How to clean a Berkey carbon filter

For the carbon filter, you will need:

  • A bucket of water

  • Lemon or vinegar to clean with

  • Soft cloth

  • Sponge

  • Small bowl

  • Spray bottle filled with warm water.

To clean the carbon filter, first, pour 1 cup of boiling water into the bucket. It is possible that you will need to add lemon juice if you wish that the water stays clear. Let sit for about 10 minutes so that the acid dissolves the minerals and dirt particles stuck between the fibers of the charcoal.

Soak the mixture as long as possible to see how much better it gets. Then use a soft sponge to scrub off the mineral deposits. Rinse thoroughly under running hot water. If necessary, repeat the process twice. Finally, rinse the entire filter with cold water. You should see the color change from dark brown to light gray.

To prevent future buildup:

  1. Spray the surface of the carbon filter with a solution made up of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water.

  2. Spray liberally over the whole area of the filter.

  3. Allow the solution to dry completely.

How to clean Berkey shower filter

The shower filter consists of three components: the base plate, the screen, and the frame. To clean them separately, follow these instructions:

Remove the showerhead assembly from its bracket.

Unscrew the bolts holding the base plate together.

Take apart the screen and the frame.

Wash each piece individually in dish soap and lukewarm water. Use a brush if needed.

Dry each part well.

Reassemble the pieces as they were originally installed.

Use an only mild detergent when washing the screen. Make sure that you do not use any products that contain steel wool or steel-wool fibers.

Wash the screen regularly to keep it free of algae growth.

Store the screen upside-down in an airtight container. Store the frame upright in another airtight container. Keep both containers away from sunlight. If you have trouble removing stubborn stains, try soaking the stained areas overnight in a solution of baking soda mixed with water. Scrub gently with a toothbrush. Repeat every few days until the stain disappears.

How to clean Berky UV Sterilizer

UV sterilizers are used to kill bacteria and viruses in tap water. They work best at night because the sun emits ultraviolet rays during daylight hours, which may damage the device. Follow these steps to maintain your UV sterilizer properly:

1) Remove all caps and screws before cleaning.

2) Wash the exterior surfaces using a non-abrasive cleaner. Be careful around any electrical connections.

3) Wipe the interior surfaces with a damp rag.

4) Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

5) Allow for complete drying before reassembling.

6) Never use chemicals or detergents to clean a UV sterilizer, as these may cause damage and short out electrical connections.

How to clean Berkey filters in the sink

This is an important question since it can help you avoid wasting money on filters you do not need. You can tell when to replace your Berkey water filter with the color of the water that comes out of the faucet. If you notice any discoloration, cloudiness, or smells coming from the water, it is time to clean.

You should also clean your Berkey filter if you see the flow rate of the water going through it has decreased. This could mean that the filter needs to go back to the store where it was purchased.

If you want to clean your Berkey filter in the kitchen sink, here's what you need to do:

First, turn off the power supply to the Berkey filter. Then remove all parts except the top part. Next, pour hot tap water over the filter's entire surface area until the water runs clear. After pouring the water, let the filter sit for 30 minutes. Finally, rinse the filter under cold running water. Once done, put everything back together and test the water again.

How To Clean Berkey Water Filters In A Bucket

The Berkey water filter requires a bucket of clean, cold water to flush the internal filters. Pour fresh, cold tap or well water into the bucket and place the Berkey water filter. Remove all four filters from their metal rings, placing them on a towel to dry.

Fill up each of the filters with water, one at a time. Replace each filter into its metal ring and set them on top of the Berkey tower. Hold the Berkey with both hands and press your weight onto the filter for 5 seconds before lifting it again. Next, fill the top of the Berkey with cold water and replace its lid on tight.

The Berkey filter can be a pain to clean if you're not sure how. Below are five easy steps that will make it as simple as possible for you!

1) Fill up the bucket with fresh, cold water. 

2) Remove all four filters from their metal rings, placing them on a towel to dry. Fill up each of the filters with water, one at a time. Replace the filters onto their metal rings and set them on top of the Berkey filter.

3) Fill up a bucket with water, then pour it in through the top spout to fill up the Berkey.

4) Place the top of the filter in an upside-down position on a towel, making sure not to stand it up for any longer than necessary. 

5) Turn the two knobs on top of the filter to release any residual water.

Operation Tips

Operation Tips

To enjoy your Berkey water filter better, you must abide by the rules. Operation tips are printed in the manual that comes with the filter at first purchase. It is also available for download on Berkey website. However, here are a few tips that will help you in operating your Berkey filter:

For first-time use:

  • Ensure the spigot is in a closed position.
  • Pour in water and allow it to filter from the top to the bottom chamber.
  • Discard the first batch of filtered water as it may contain fine manufacturing dust.
  • Refill the top chamber and allow the water to filter into the bottom chamber.
  • Test to see that water is running smoothly. It may take like 15 minutes at first use.

For continuous use:

  • Ensure the lower chamber is empty before refilling the top chamber with water.
  • Not following this will cause the bottom chamber to overfill and spill. This is because there is always water in the filters even when the bottom chamber is full.
  • Dispense any water that remains in the bottom chamber after three days into another container. It can still be refrigerated and used.

How Often Should You Clean Your Berkey Water Filter?

Berkey water filter offers you purified water. However, water deposits may affect the system, which will require occasional cleaning.

How Often Should You Clean Your Berkey Water Filter?

Berkey says that the water flow rate may influence how often the system is cleaned. The filters flow rate might also be affected by the number of gallons of water filtered daily. However, it requires cleaning every six months.

The chambers need to be cleaned monthly. If the water stays in it for long, it may make the inside slimy and require cleaning.

Here's how you can handle taking care of your Black Berkey Filter elements:

1) Remove all parts from the filter element except the screen itself.

2) Place the screen into an empty container with some warm tap water. The water should be at least 1/2 inch deep to cover most of the surface area on the screen. If there are any areas where the water does not reach, use a sponge or brush and push out the excess liquid. This step can also help remove any sediment which has accumulated over time.

3) Let the screen soak for about 30 minutes. During this soaking process, make sure that no air bubbles get trapped inside the screen. After soaking, carefully lift the screen by its edges and place it back onto the filter element. Make sure that the screen fits snugly against the sides of the filter element. If there is enough room between the screen and the sidewalls of the filter element, dirt could pass through the gaps and clog the screen.

Do NOT rinse the screen during this time. 4) Once again, let the screen sit overnight. It's important to leave the screen alone until morning, when you'll see whether the screen needs cleaning.

5) To start the day, check the screen to determine if it still looks dirty. If it doesn't look dirty after sitting overnight, then you don't need to wash it. However, if the screen appears cloudy or murky, you might consider washing it before using it. Simply run hot water over it in the sink. Then add 2 cups of white vinegar to the water. Using either a toothbrush or a soft-bristled scrubbing pad, scrub away at the screen. Be careful not to scratch the glass part of the screen. Rinse off the screen thoroughly under running cold water. Once it has dried completely, replace it with its filter element.

6) Repeat Steps 3 - 5 every few months, depending upon usage. For example, if you only drink filtered water once per week, you would only need to clean the screen once per month. On the other hand, if you drink unfiltered water daily, then you'd likely need to clean the screen more often than monthly.

7) Follow the instructions provided with your Berkey Water Filtration System for proper maintenance. We recommend checking them periodically throughout the year.

How to keep your Berkey water filter functioning?

If you're interested in keeping your Berkey filter working well, here are some tips to follow:

  • Keep the lid closed while filling the tank.
  • Never put anything else into the tank besides water.
  • Always store the unit upright.
  • Don't allow children to play around the unit.
  • Use bottled spring water instead of city tap water.
  • Avoid storing food items such as fruit juices, milk, etc., near These foods may attract insects and cause mold growth.
  • Store the unit outside whenever possible.
  • Check the filter regularly.
  • Change the cartridge filter frequently.
  • Replace the carbon block filter occasionally.
  • Ensure the tank bottom is free of debris.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling the unit.
  • Dispose of used cartridges properly.
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations regarding storage temperature and humidity levels.

How to Store Your Berkey Filter Elements Before Making a Trip

If you plan on being away for more than three days and your system will not be in use; you can follow these procedures to keep your Berkey water filter in the best condition, before your return:

Empty all the water in both chambers and let them dry.

Remove the filters and keep them to dry off. This can take days or weeks, depending on the air humidity level.

Do not fix the elements back into the enclosed chambers. Instead, store them in their original packaging or a Ziploc bag and put inside the lower chamber. 

Then, remove and put the spigot into the dry lower chamber. 

Turn the upper chamber upside down and put it into the lower chamber with the lid on top.

Store in a dry area.

How to Maintain and Clean a Berkey System

Are you familiar with how to determine whether it is time to clean your Berkey water filter?

It is unnecessary to clean your Berkey water filter unless you notice that the flow has slowed down or there are visible signs of buildup. The Berkey's filters last for about 10,000 gallons or two years before they need to be replaced.

If you are noticing the flow slowing down, it's time for a new filter. Also, if you see some dirt stuck in the pore spaces, it means that the filter needs to be cleaned. Additionally, you need to be aware of how much chlorine is in your filtered water. Chlorine levels below 1 ppm indicate that the filter needs to get cleaned.

What is the recommended cleaning frequency for Berkey water filters?

Many factors go into the decision to clean your Berkey water filter. If you drink a lot of water, you sometimes need to replace the filters more frequently. Because it filters out smaller particulates that can clog your system, the Berkey Black filter needs to be changed more regularly.


Berkey water filter is a system that purifies water. It rids water of pathogens, viruses, and contaminants that might pose a massive threat to health. This water filter sets the standard for other brands of water filters. 

Berkey filters are made of exceptional layers that make it impossible for microscopic bacteria to scale through successfully.

Knowing how to clean Berkey filter will not just offer you the protection you need but will also boost the filter lifespan. This means you will not have to spend more money on water filters in a good while.

In conclusion, I hope these tips have helped you learn about how to clean Berkey filters. We would love to hear from you! We are pleased to assist you if you have any questions, feel free to contact us anytime.

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