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How to Clean your Berkey: A Step by Step Guide 2024

If you're the proud owner of a Berkey Water Filter, then you know that it's important to keep it clean and well-maintained during everyday use. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of taking your Berkey apart and washing each individual component. We'll also show you how to scrub the black berkey® purification elements, top chamber and lower chamber and put everything back together again. So if your Berkey is looking a little bit dirty, don't worry - we've got you covered!

As always if you have any questions about this process or if you would like to purchase a Berkey Water Filter System (we offer free shipping in the United States!) and would like to speak to someone, a Wild Oak Trail Customer service representative would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Just give us a call (1-844-945-3625), chat in directly on our website or send us an email at service@wildoaktrail.com.

Big Berkey Water Filters

How often should you clean your Berkey?

Your Berkey Water Filter is built to last a lifetime and provide you and your family with high quality clean drinking water for the rest of your lives. Because water deposits, heavy metals and contaminants can have an impact on your water purification and your water taste, it's important to clean it on a regular basis. The recommended cleaning time for your Berkey is every 4-6 weeks of home use, and for the black berkey® elements, it's recommended to clean them every 6 months. The container is constructed of high-quality stainless steel that's easy to clean with just a few simple steps.

Cleaning the Black Berkey Filters routinely extends the life span, and will maintain good flow rates, high water quality, delicious clean water and peace of mind. The filters used in the system are not single-use disposable which is a huge benefit in sustainability. Instead of disposing of a dirty filter, Berkey filters can be cleaned and continuously used. The ability to clean and keep using your Black Berkey Filters is a huge factor of what sets it apart from our competition. Cleaning your filter elements is needed when the flow rate decreases and the output slows. This point will vary with the amount of contaminants you are removing. For household use, it will be around every six months, and for field use weekly, possibly daily if the conditions are harsh. These instructions are the same whether you have a big berkey water filter, a travel berkey, a crown berkey, imperial berkey etc. No matter the different sizes, the cleaning instructions are as follows:

Big Berkey

How to clean the Berkey Container:

  1. Remove Black Berkey Purification Elements and Fluoride Filters if applicable. You can tip the berkey canisters on their side for easier removal.
  2. Place the filters on a clean towel or surface where they won't roll away
  3. Remove the Spigot
  4. We recommend placing the washers and small pieces in a bowl so they don't get lost. You can also soak them in soapy water while cleaning the rest of the unit.
  5. Wash the container using warm water and a mild dishwashing soap. We like to use new sponges each time we clean the unit.
  6. The stainless steel upper chamber and lower chamber can also be placed in a dishwasher to be washed
  7. If your water contains harmful contaminants it's a good idea to add about 16 drops of household bleach to each gallon of water being used for cleaning.
  8. If you used bleach, give the unit one more clean with mild soapy water.
  9. The best method for drying your container is to let it air dry, or go ahead and use a clean towel or microfibre cloth.
  10. Once dried, reassemble and fill it back up with water.
  11. It's always a good idea to double check everything was tightened correctly and that the water is filtering out at a good pace once reassembled.

How to clean the Black Berkey Filters:

  1. Empty the water from your Berkey system.
  2. Remove the top container and set it aside.
  3. Remove the optional fluoride filters if you have them installed. Then remove your Black Berkey element by unscrewing the wing nut that secures the Black Berkey element to the container.
  4. Using a brand new scrub sponge or scouring pad, carefully scrub the black surface of the filter element. DO NOT use soap on filters. This should only be done with water.
  5. Set the elements aside.
  6. Reinstall the filters in the system.


Watch our step by step tutorial of us cleaning our own Berkey and Black Berkey Filters:


Saxon Funk
Saxon Funk

Saxon Funk, co-founder and driving force behind Wild Oak Trail, embodies the spirit of self-sufficiency and preparedness. Launching the venture over six years ago with his wife, Hailey, Saxon has steeped himself in mastering solar generators, heating solutions, food storage, and off-grid living essentials, becoming a veritable guru in the field. His expertise is more than theoretical; it's practical, as evidenced by his own home, equipped with the very products Wild Oak Trail proudly offers. Saxon's passion extends beyond commerce; he thrives on the assurance of providing for his family in any circumstance, fervently believing in empowering others to do the same through the quality resources and knowledge he shares through his business.

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