How To Clean Berkey Filter: 5 Easy Instructions

Are you looking for an efficient and environmentally friendly way to filter your drinking water? Berkey filters are a popular choice, offering a convenient and cost-effective way of delivering clean, fresh-tasting water. However, if the filter is not regularly cleaned and maintained, the filtering abilities can be ineffective. Cleaning them isn’t that hard to do. You just need to follow the below 5 steps attentively, and you will end up with the shine Berkey filter.

Table of Contents

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, mold needs three things to grow- a warm environment, water, 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

Limescale 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 it can be removed by proper cleaning with vinegar.

Bacteria Growth

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

Slow Flow Rate

Small matters may be trapped in the filters, making them 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. 

Here is How to Clean Berkey Water Filters

Step-1: Remove All Parts From the Spigot

When cleaning your Berkey filter, the first step is to remove all parts from the spigot. This includes the diverter knob, washers, and o-rings. Carefully unscrew each part and set it aside in a safe place. This will make it easier to access the filter elements during the cleaning process. Be sure to track which pieces go where so you can reassemble them properly.

Step-2: Rinse the Filter Elements

Once all pieces have been removed, rinse each filter element with running water to remove any debris that may be attached to it. If you are using a scotch Brite scrub or toothbrush, gently brush away any dirt or sediment that may be stuck on the filter surface. Be sure not to use too much pressure, as this could damage the filter.

Step-3: Soak the Filter Elements in Soapy Water

Fill a sink or bucket with warm, soapy water and soak each filter element for 15 minutes. This will help to loosen any stubborn dirt or debris that may be stuck on the surface of the filters. Be sure to use a mild dish soap and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives.

Step-4: Rinse the Filter Elements

After soaking, rinse each filter element with running water to remove any soapy residue. Be sure to check for any remaining dirt or debris and remove it with a scotch Brite scrub or toothbrush if necessary.

Step-5: Dry the Filter elements

When all of the cleanings are done, dry each filter element using a clean towel; this will help to prevent any water spots from forming on the filter surfaces. Once these steps are completed, your Berkey filter should be clean and ready to use. Be sure to reassemble all parts and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and maintenance. Cleaning your Berkey filter regularly will ensure access to healthy, safe drinking water.

Some Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Berkey Water Filter

Cleaning a Berkey water filter is an important step in keeping your kitchen healthy and free of contaminants. However, it’s easy to make mistakes while cleaning the filter, so it’s important to be aware of these potential errors. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when cleaning your Berkey water filter:

1. Not following the manufacturer’s instructions

Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when cleaning your Berkey filter. Different models may require different steps to be taken, so it’s important to ensure you follow the proper procedure.

2. Using harsh chemicals or abrasives

When cleaning your Berkey filter, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage the filter surface and reduce its effectiveness. Stick to mild detergents and avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives.

3. Not rinsing thoroughly

Rinse the filter elements thoroughly after cleaning, as any soap residue on the surface can reduce the filter’s effectiveness.

4. Not drying properly

After cleaning, dry each filter element with a clean towel to prevent water spots from forming on the filter surface.

Following these five easy instructions ensures that your Berkey filter is properly cleaned and maintained for a healthier kitchen. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives, rinse thoroughly after cleaning, and dry each filter element with a clean towel.

How to Know it’s Time to Clean?

The Black Berkey water filter is an excellent way to ensure your drinking water is clean and safe. However, it’s important to know when it’s time for a cleaning. In the event that the rate of water filtration between the two chambers has slowed down, your filters are in need of cleaning.

A set of 2 new Berkey filters should filter water at a rate of 1 gallon per hour, while a set of 4 Black Berkey filters can filter 2 gallons per hour. It’s most likely that sediment and turbidity are clogging the micro pores of your filters if the flow rate is lower than before.

If you want to see how well your filter system works and whether maintenance is necessary, you can try the dye test. Contaminated water can be completely removed from Berkey systems. Check whether any color remains in the bottom chamber after adding red food coloring to the top chamber and waiting for it to pass through both chambers. Cleaning is necessary if color remains in the bottom chamber after several minutes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Berkey Water Filter?

Berkey water filter offers you purified water. However, water deposits may affect the system, requiring occasional cleaning. Berkey says the water flow rate may influence how often the system is cleaned. The filter 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 a long, it may make the inside slimy and require cleaning.

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 dry. 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 them 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.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Many factors go into the decision to clean your Berkey water filter. If you drink a lot of water, you sometimes must 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.

How often to change Berkey filters?

The Berkey filter should be changed every two to five years. However, the lifespan of the filter depends on how much water it is used for. If you are using the filter for drinking water, the lifespan of the filter will be two to five years. Therefore, if you want maximum benefits from a filter, changing it at the end of the lifespan is better.

How long can a Berkey sit without water?

Berkey water filters are popular for providing clean, safe drinking water in homes and offices. They use gravity to filter out contaminants and can last for years with proper maintenance.

But how long can you leave a Berkey without water before it needs to be flushed or replaced?

The answer is not as simple as it seems. It depends on the type of Berkey filter you have, the environment it is stored in, and how often you use the filter. Generally, it is recommended that you change your Berkey filter every two to five years. If your filter is not used for more than three days, it should be cleaned and dried before being stored away.

How many years do Berkey filters last?

Berkey filters are designed to last for many years, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning. The filter’s life depends on several factors, including the amount of water used and the chosen filter element. Generally, a Berkey system with Black Berkey Purification Elements can last up to 6,000 gallons or 2 to 5 years.


The Berkey water filter is a great way to ensure clean, safe drinking water. However, it needs proper maintenance and cleaning to keep it in top condition. The cleaning frequency depends on the filter type, the environment it is stored in, and how much water it is used for. I hope I have explained the cleaning process easily for you to do by yourself.


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