How To Clean Berkey Filters? (Step by Step)

People who own these Berkey water filters know just how good these filters are for providing clean, drinking water. It is one of the most top selling over the countertop water filters out there in the market, and for good reason as well.

Having the accessibility to clean drinking water is becoming a problem that has started taking over the world. Especially in the United States, the problem has started getting out of hand, because states such as Florida are struggling to even provide water with 0 contaminants in it.

Florida water is famous for being hard and contaminated with substances such as chlorines, sulfates and even metals. So, having a filtration system isn’t just a need, it has become a necessity.

How To Clean Berkey Filters?

These Berkey filters are very efficient in their performance, and you need not worry about the filtered water anymore. The only thing you need to consider and need to look out for, is the cleaning of these filters.

Even the company itself puts emphasis on cleaning these filters. Luckily, we have done all the research, so you don’t have to. Let’s find out all the possible ways you can clean your Berkey water filters, and maintain them, below!

How To Clean Berkey Filters?

Why is cleaning these Berkey Water Filters so important?

We have discovered that the other water filtration systems on the market are too pricey, and what they have to offer does not justify the hefty price tag that comes along with it. Ideally, getting a set of two Black Berkey elements does the trick, because it has a life span which lasts longer than a typical water filter.

To give you an idea about how much the lifespan or the efficient working capacity is, it is roughly estimated that the Berkey Water Filters are efficient for 3 years, or they are capable of peak performance capability for up to 6,000 gallons of water.

But during this time, there is a problem that starts to develop, and that is the speed of the filtration of raw, and unusable water to clean, and usable water.

The elements start to take a longer time to clean and purify the same amount of water it used to clean when it was installed.

Understandably, with the hustle and bustle of cleaning and purifying the water, the filters can get dirty and might end up getting clogged and jammed with all the debris and sediments, which hinder the efficiency and performance of the purification element.

If you live in a State or a city where the water problem persists and requires the water to be filtered more thoroughly, you will need to clean the Berkey Black purification elements properly so they can work efficiently.

This is because the water is high in contaminants, and the water that needs to be filtered has more contaminants, so it pollutes and dirties the filters much quicker, and they require cleaning in double quick time.

How to clean the Black Berkey Filters Purification Elements?

It is not necessary that every time you clean the Berkey System, you will have to clean the purification elements that include the Black Berkey Filters as well. All this actually depends on the location and the area you are living in.

Having said that, factors such as the hardness, the cleanliness and the amount of purification and filtration weigh in and this increases the burden on the filters and consequently takes a toll on them as well.

That goes to say, the dirtier and contaminated the water, the harder the filters will have to work, and that will lead to the filters getting dirty and clogged, which will require cleaning more frequently and sooner.

If you compare this to an area which has clean water and requires minimal filtration and purification, then these filters will take a longer time before they need to be cleaned properly.

Here’s how you can clean the Berkey purification elements. Firstly, you will have to disassemble the Black Berkey Filters Purification Elements, and make sure that you empty them completely and thoroughly.

You will now have to clean the outside of the filters, ideally under running water that is cold. You can use a number of things to clean the filters, such as a pad or an old, stiff toothbrush, and you have to gently clean the outside of the filter.

Next you have to re-prime the filters. If you are unaware or don’t know how to Re-Prime the filters, then don’t worry, we are linking a Youtube video that will help you out.

Now that you have Re-primed the filters, it is time to put back and reassemble the Black Berkey Filters into the Berkey System. Finally, you will need to fill the system and conduct a red dye test, you can find the instructions for this test which are explained in the manual that comes with the filtration system.

A little note here, if you are using a water softening system, then use water that hasn’t been softened for the best results.

How to clean the Berkey Ceramic Filters?

Cleaning the filters can be a challenging thing, because these filters are quite expensive, and buying them over and over again will definitely break the bank.

But you need not to worry, because we have done all the research and found out the best methods and ways to clean these filters, so you don’t have to!

How To Clean Berkey Filters?

If you are having problems with the amount of water that comes out of the filtration system, then that probably has to do with the flow rate of the ceramic filter. The flowrate can be restored and improved simply by using a brush or a Scotch Brite pad, and gently brushing and cleaning the outer side of the filter under cool running water.

What this does is, it cleans off the upper layer of the ceramic filter, which makes way for the new layer. And the flow rate will become fine again.

This process can be done over and over, until the ceramic film eventually depletes. There are a few things you need to be careful while doing, firstly is the removal of the ceramic filter from the upper chamber of the filter.

Be sure you use a toothbrush or a cleaning pad that is soft, and clean the filter under running water. You have to brush in a motion that goes away from the thread mounts. Remember not to contaminate the mounts, and don’t use detergents either.

Finally, replace the filter that is located in the upper chamber. Turn the nut towards the right side, so you ensure that the sealing washer is firmly locked in its place.

How to clean the Berkey Fluoride Filters?

How To Clean Berkey Filters?

Cleaning the Berkey Water System is a process that does not require you to use your hands. Leaving the water inside the system, and not using it can become problematic.

It can be a problem even if there is no water inside the system as well. A situation might arise where you would need to clean the filters.

The White Berkey Fluoride Filters are found at the bottom of the black Berkey filters but there is a problem of mold, which starts to build up in the upper chamber. The upper chamber is the place where the freshwater is located. This is the place you will need to clean.

The fluoride filters are on the floor of the filters and don’t get molds easily. These fluoride cartridges have a lifespan of 1 year or about 1000 gallons of water.

The two-step process of cleaning these fluoride filters is as follows:

The first step cleaning the outer side of the fluoride filter:

Using a soft toothbrush to clean the outer plastic side of the filter is recommended. This will remove dirt from the surface. You can use a couple of drops of bleach, or a tub of water with a soapy solution is required to clean the filter’s outer surface.

If the dirt is hard to remove or the grime is frozen, then you can submerge the filter in the bleach or soap water and let the dirt become soft. After proper cleaning of the outer surface, make sure you properly wash it with clean water.

The second step; re-priming the Berkey fluoride filter:

Now the filters are capable of being re-primed. You will have to fit the tan priming button on the top hole, and you will use that to create a seal between the faucet of the tap and the filter. The goal is to force debris and dust out of the filter by forcing water into the filter.

Water will exit from the other end and you can do this process for about 2 minutes so that the filter is clean properly.

The third step; reinstallation of the filter:

You simply need to reinstall the fluoride filter on the bottom of the filter, and you can start using the water filtration system again!

How do you know that it is time to clean your Berkey Water Filter?

The biggest sign that you need to clean your Berkey Water filter is the amount of water that is coming out of the system. The flow rate can go down a few notches, and that is the biggest sign the water filter needs to be cleaned. This can also be obvious from the fact that the water rate in both chambers has slowed down substantially.

During normal working and procedure, 2 new Berkey filters can filter 1 gallon of water every hour. If you have 4 Black Berkey filters, then the system can filter 2 gallons every hour.

Using a dye test is the best way to find out about the efficiency and the working of these filters. Berkey systems remove dye from water that is dirty, and that can be used as a test to determine whether the system is working or not.

You will have to put a drop of red food coloring to the top chamber, and if the system gives water that is pink or red in color, then that is a sign that the filters need to be cleaned and maintained. The flow rate being the biggest factor that needs to be considered.

These filters get dirty and clogged because of the debris and dirt the dirty and unclean water brings along with it, that’s why there has to be routine and timely checks for maintenance and upkeep of the filtration system.

How often should I clean my Berkey Water Filters?

Like we mentioned above, everything in the water filtration system has a lifespan or a certain amount of water it can purify and clean before it needs to be cleaned or replaced accordingly. For the water filters, it is recommended that you clean them consistently every six months, to make sure they are working efficiently.

As far as fluoride filters go, they have a lifespan of 1 year or can filter 1000 gallons of water, whichever comes first, you will need to clean or replace them according to the requirement of the system.

You will need to keep a close eye on the filter cartridges and the amount of dirt it starts collecting on the outside. You will even need to see the condition on the inside of the steel filter, and that will prompt a cleanse, if required.

Can you clean Berkey Filters with Vinegar?

Yes, you can clean a Berkey Filter with vinegar and it can produce quite the results as well. Vinegar is known for containing acetic acid, which is known to decompose organic matter such as contaminations and soap scum as well.

Follow the steps listed below to clean the filter with vinegar:

  • You will have to pour 2 cups of vinegar into a big bowl, and then you will need to add warm water and bring the volume of this mixture to 4 quarts, and make sure that you mix it well
  • You will now need to remove the lid from the filter, and put it upside down into the big bowl of vinegar water
  • Let the filter soak overnight, and wash and rinse it thoroughly the next day with freshwater.
  • Put the lid back on the filter and let it dry completely.
  • You will now need to test and check the water quality for one whole day. You can clean the filter this way every now and then, ideally every 3 to 6 months.

To prevent or stop the growth of mold, you can even replace the cap once a year. This is very important because the growth of mold can cause several problems which are quite difficult to deal with, at times.

What happens if you use Soap on Berkey Filters?

The thing with filters is that you can\t use any sort of soaps or detergents on them. Alongside these detergents and soaps, you can’t use any metal or any hard object to clean the filters of dirt.

This will only result in the damaging of the filter, which will have adverse effects on the performance of the filtration system. This means the filters will be required to be replaced if they are damaged, and these filters don’t come cheap.

Only use water to clean the filters, or follow the method we have listed above. Otherwise, you might find yourself buying new filters, which will definitely cost you an arm and a leg, and will have wasted filters that could have lasted a long time.

That is why you have to be very careful when it comes to these filters, as they are delicate and need to be handled with a lot of caution and care.

Conclusion | How To Clean Berkey Filters?

Berkey water filters are a great solution to unclean and dirty water, and these systems purify water and provide us with clean drinking water.

This system rids the water of impurities, germs, viruses and contaminants that can greatly cause us detriment to our health and wellbeing. This company has set a very high standard for others to follow, when it comes to the filtration of water.

These fine filters are made up of many layers, which make it impossible for even microscopic bacteria to pass through, and this automatically improves the quality of water, as it gets rid of anything that might deter the quality or taste of water.

If you have learnt how to properly clean the filters, this will increase the lifespan of the filter, and it will save you money as well.

There has to be a source of clean drinking water, especially amidst the horrible situation we find ourselves in these days. With groundwater going deeper, and the availability of fresh water becoming oblique by the day.

It is necessary we find a way to purify water so the world doesn’t come to a standstill or even war. Berkey filters have found the solution, and it is for everyone to follow! So, get one if you already haven’t, it is an investment for the future.


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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