How to Clean Berkey Filters?

Cody McGovern
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Why Is Important Cleaning Berkey Fluoride Filters?

  • If you don’t clean fluoride filters regularly, they will become dirty and taste unpleasantly.
  • If you use dirty fluoride filters for a long period, they will cause bad taste and even leaks. Therefore, you need to clean them carefully several times a year. Do not use a strong detergent, for it can destroy the anti-bacterial properties in the fluoride filters.

Mainteinance of Berkey Filters

According to the manual, the filters should be cleaned at least once a month. You need to let the water run through the system for several minutes. You need to thoroughly clean each of the filters. The white ceramic filter can be cleaned with a soft brush or sponge. If the filters become clogged with mineral deposits, the flow of water will be reduced. If this happens, the filters need to be cleaned more frequently. The plastic filter can be cleaned using hot water.

Never use soap on the ceramic filters. When the storage tank is full, the ceramic filer can be put into the flowing water for a while and rinsed well. You can use tap water for this or clean rainwater.

It is recommended that you change the filters every 6 months or when you notice a decrease in the flow of water. It is also suggested to clean the tank with a soft brush.

You should always keep the air vents free of dirt and dust or this might cause the filters to not function properly.

Also, you need to make sure that there is no lime scale on the outside of the filter housing since the lime scale might be deposited inside the filters.

When the storage tank is empty, the filter can be soaked in a solution of white vinegar to get rid of the lime scale.

How to Clean Berkey Filters?

One of the most common questions we receive at Black Berkey® filters is, "How do I clean my Black Berkey® filter?"

It is important to properly maintain your system filter so that it remains at peak performance, filtering clean water for your family or clients.

There are 4 steps that you need to take for your filter.

Step 1. Flood the Black Berkey™ filter with fresh water. How much water does it take to flood the Black Berkey™ filter? The Black Berkey™ filters have a capacity of 1.5 gallons of clean water. So every time you had to flood the Black Berkey™ filter, it would take 1.5 gallons of fresh water.

Step 2. After flooding the Black Berkey™ filter, turn off the Berkey system and let it sit filled with water for 24 hours. During this 24-hour timeframe there is a chemical reaction of the impurities in the water and components within the filter.

Step 3. Next, empty the Black Berkey™ filter of the excess water and flush it with two gallons of fresh water. During this process the water can be drained into a collection container. If you choose not to store the excess water, simply release the water into the ground near your Black Berkey™ filter.

The best way to release water from the Black Berkey™ filter is by opening the valve at the bottom of the filter.

Step 4.

Best Way of Cleaning Black Berkey Filter Housing

All Berkey filters are effective and functional. Except for their size, they have the same high-quality features and elements in common. Hence, if you want to know how to clean black berkey filter housing, you can apply the same technique to all Berkey filters.

What is the best way of cleaning the black berkey filter? Here are a few options:

Any household detergent is suitable. Apply some to a sponge and gently wipe the interior and the outside of your black berkey filter housing. You can pour a little water into your filter and then scrub. Afterwards, rinse with fresh water.

Spray and wipe with a window cleaner. This way of cleaning will reduce most organic stains and mineral buildup. The downside is that chemicals in commercial cleaning products are not exactly healthy for your body.

Use a wire brush to remove any stubborn stains that detergent and water cannot remove.

Boil some water and pour it into your black berkey filter housing. Allow to sit for a few minutes. After that, unscrew the lid. The heat will break down any mineral and organic sediment that stubbornly adhered to your filter. Now you just have to rinse and scrub.

How to Clean Black Berkey Purification Elements?

By understanding the unique way purification elements are constructed, you can extend their lifespan. This will make the initial investment purchase that much more effective, and will make the overall cost of water filtration more economical too.

The Black Berkey purification elements are composed of three main layers- a semi-permeable membrane constructed of food-grade high-density polyethylene, a matrix made of colloidal rock, and a structural support.

Once the elements are properly cleaned, do not use a water source with high chlorine or fluoride content.

To minimize risk of leaching, it's best to use softer water sources with lower mineral content like softened or distilled water.

In addition, there are microclimates at work. If your area has higher levels of fluoride or chlorine, the points where those elements are hitting the purification elements will last longer.

Method 1: Household Cleaning Method

Most of the time cleaning once a week is more than enough. If you are using the Berkey for camping, fishing, or hiking, then cleaning daily is better.

Drain all the contents into sink or tub. Rinse the upper chamber and lid with water. Remove the two elbows and the 1 inch black pipe. Rinse these with water. Remove the filters. Rinse them with water. Now rinse the lower chamber and lid. Refill the Berkey with water and replace the elbows and 1" pipe.

You'll need:

  • 1/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1/3 cup of white vinegar
  • A sink full of warm water or a tub
  • Scrub brush
  • A plastic spray bottle filled with water
  • A toothbrush

You will need to use a scrub brush, a toothbrush, and a plastic spray bottle filled with warm water to get the inside clean.

First, make sure all of the water is drained out of the Berkey and set it somewhere clean.

Now mix together 1/3 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup white vinegar and pour in the interior of the bottom chamber.

Using the plastic spray bottle filled with warm water scrub the inside of the Berkey until all of the build up is removed.

Method 2: Field Cleaning

This is a more thorough cleaning option, but it’s not recommended for everyone. This method needs to be used by users who live in very dry climates, and have properly cared for their Berkey filters, as well as those who have been using their filters heavily. This is because a thorough cleaning, in this method, requires Berkey replacement filter elements.

Field cleaning Berkey water filters meets the highest operating standards and should not be attempted by users who do not meet the following criteria.

Field cleaning requires great care so as not to break the outer porcelain ceramic filter housing.


The Prefilter and Black Berkey filter have larger pores than the regular and Big Berkey filter. The pores on the pre-filter and Black Berkey filter are also tighter than on the other filters.

These bigger pores allow particles to be held for longer for the sediment to settle. They also allow smaller microorganisms to pass through to the main filter. Big Berkey and regular filters have smaller pores that trap larger particles such as lead and other heavy metals. They do not trap microorganisms.

Never place the Berkey filters in a dishwasher or soak in water as this will damage the filters by washing out the pores, loosening the glue, and allowing the pores to close.

Blood cleaning is also not a method to clean the filters because the red blood cells clog the pores and you will end up with an unclean filter.

How to Know When It Is the Best Time for Cleaning?

Like with every filter, you have to clean it from time to time to keep it in the best possible performance and ensure that it keeps the water clean. Since it is not possible to tell for sure when it is exactly it the best time to clean it, you can easily use the following rules:

Look at it. If the filter is dirty in general or if there are some visible places (e.g. circular plats where sunlight comes through or where water was trapped), then it is a sign of time for cleaning.

Check the filter marking. Some filters have a special sign, which changes when it is time for cleaning.

Check the phoning instructions for a certain filter. It might be a lot of time between two cleanings for some filters, while others need to be cleaned after only a few weeks.

The most effective way is to just follow the manufacturer's instruction for using of your particular filter.

How Often to Clean a Berkey Filter?

If properly set up and maintained, a Berkey Water Filter that produces contaminated water can never clog, as contaminants are filtered out by the purification media. The plastic PBF element filters impurities such as heavy metals, chemicals, and sediments. In the unlikely occurrence that your Berkey Water Filter is blocked, there are simple remedies to restore its flow. How often you will need to remove the used purification media will depend on the number of people using the filter and the water quality.

The length of time that it will take to fill the upper chamber and collect filtered water depends on the flow rate of the water source and the clean empty weight of the upper chamber. So a family using a Berkey Water Filter to provide them with clean drinking water would need 24 hours to fill their upper chamber, while a small family or person using it to produce drinking water could need up to a week.

The frequency of cleaning the filter also depends on the quality of the incoming water. If the water is clean it will take less time to pass through the filter and less frequent cleaning will be required.


The fact is that if you want to make your own fresh and organic vegetable juices and smoothies, you definitely need to invest in a good quality masticating juicer.

I definitely recommend Berkey filters for everyday home usage, and don't forget to regularly clean them so they can keep working for you.

Just be sure you buy a good quality filter – like Slowshine – and you will never have any problems. If you do, better contact the seller.

Now in the market you can find many cheap filters, but most of them are not designed for room temperature applications.

And I guarantee you that if you will use them, they will start losing their shape to a large extent and can be a danger to your health.

But if you will choose a good quality filter, for example, Berkey filters, you will never have to worry about adulteration.

And besides, Berkey filters are guaranteed to outlive all other filters available on the market.

Some of the most popular uses for the Berkey filters are:

  • Water filters for emergency situations
  • Water filters for home
  • Water filters for camping
  • Self-filtering water bottles
  • No matter when or where you may need it, a Berkey filter is ready to provide you with delicious and healthy water!

About the Author: Zonathon Rayan

Is a blogger at Gardening Resources. He is an ardent fan of gardening and has a keen interest in survival gardening. On the off chance that he's not in the garden, you should find him windsurfing, playing the guitar or running.