When you remove the filter from the saw and see any dirt in the throat of the carburetor, or inside the cage, it is time to clean and re-oil the filter element. Ideally the filter should be cleaned BEFORE the oil has been used up and the particles are passing through the foam. Your attention to this and practice will determine the cleaning interval for your application.
Whether you have many spare elements or field clean your filter element whenever it gets dirty, it is important to thoroughly clean the the trapped dirt particles from the foam. This is an easy job, and with care it doesn't even need to be messy. Suggested oils are Bel-Ray, UNI or No-Toil. DO NOT use bar lube, it is not designed to be burned in an engine and will cause your rings to stick! We do not advise, motor oil, vegetable oil or gauze filter oil. None of them will efficiently trap the smaller dirt particles. Remember the quality of oil determines the effectiveness of the air filter!
When it comes to cleaning solvents, we know that there are many options. Some use their mixed saw gas or kerosene, others use the solvents provided by the manufacturer, such as No-Toil. Many have found that they can skip the solvent cleaning altogether and just use a strong grease cutting soap cleaner like Ajax. Obviously gas is flammable, so we do not suggest it as a cleaner. However, we specifically build our filter elements out of one piece of foam, there are no glued seams to disintegrate from solvents or gas.
CLEANING PROCEDURE FOR THE MAX-FLOW FILTER ELEMENT.
We have found that it is best to clean 5 or 6 elements at a time, and them have them stored in plastic bags ready for use. Max-Flow foam filter elements are reasonably priced, and can even be pre-installed over our filter cage for minimal down time on the job.