How to Clean Berkey Filter: A Complete and Easy Guide

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.

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.

Cleaning the Berkey Purification System

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.

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.

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


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.

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