Why Pressure Washing Your DPF is a Costly Mistake: A Technician's Insight

Why Pressure Washing Your DPF is a Costly Mistake: A Technician's Insight


Maintaining a diesel truck involves taking care of crucial components like the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Recently, there has been a surge in content advocating for pressure washing DPFs as a cost-effective cleaning method. In this post, we'll delve into a real-life case where a customer pressure-washed their DPF and explore the reasons why this method might do more harm than good.

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The Story Unfolds

A Customer's Regret A customer brought in their truck just a week after attempting to clean their DPF using a pressure washer with warm water. We removed the DPF from the truck, did an air restriction test, and crack inspection. Proceeded to conduct a restriction test on the pressure-washed DPF. The results reveal surprising similarities in restriction levels between the pressure-washed filter and one that had not been cleaned for 350,000 miles. In addition to this shocking news, upon crack inspection, we noticed soot on the outlet side of the DPF, a sign of cracking.

cracked dpf filter

The Complexity of DPF Cleaning

Cleaning a DPF is not just about making the outer face white again. DPFs have intricate structures with tiny channels that trap soot. The cleaning process must address these internal components to ensure optimal performance.

The Pitfalls of Pressure Washing Pressure washing may remove loose debris but might not effectively eliminate stubborn soot buildup within the filter cells. Incomplete cleaning can result in reduced DPF efficiency.

pressure wash DPF filter

The Right Way to Clean Your DPF

  1. Heat (large amount of heat) - To be able to break the stubborn soot buildup within the filter cell, heat over 920°F is needed to break the chemical bond.
  2. Pressured Air - After the heat breaks up the chemical bond, directional pressured air will remove all the soot completely.


DPF cleaning in Stark County Ohio

How to Clean Your DPF

We highly advise anyone to call a DPF cleaning company with the right DPF cleaning equipment to clean your DPF professionally.

How Much Does It Cost to Clean DPF

If you have the know-how to remove your DPF from your truck or other equipment, cleaning a loose DPF costs anywhere between $300 to $500. As we also suggest cleaning your DOC at the same time, to clean both DPF and DOC costs anywhere between $500 and $700.

DPF Filter

How Much Does It Cost to Replace DPF

A brand new OEM DPF can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000. However, you can always find quality aftermarket replacement DPF from trusted stores paired with up to 3 years warranty for anywhere between one third of the OEM cost and half.

Shop Quality Aftermarket Replacement DPF from Diesel Emissions Specialists

Why Timely DPF Cleaning Matters

Ignoring DPF cleaning can lead to long-term engine damage, forcing the vehicle into a restricted "limp" mode. Timely cleaning prevents severe truck damage, maintains fuel economy, and avoids unnecessary headaches.

How Often Should You Clean DPF

We advise initiating the first cleaning after the installation of a new DPF at 250,000 miles, followed by subsequent cleanings every 150,000 miles or annually thereafter. In the case of trucks or equipment that undergo frequent idling, we recommend more frequent cleaning to ensure the ongoing cleanliness of your aftertreatment system.

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Tips to Extend DPF Life

  1. Use the Right Oil:
    • Choose oil that minimizes particle production.
  2. Check the EGR Valve:
    • Ensure the EGR valve is not blocked, preventing excess ash and soot buildup.
  3. Clean EGR cooler:
    • Regularly service and clean your EGR cooler not only can increase your fuel efficiency but also limit the chance of EGR cooler failure. A failed EGR cooler allows coolant flow into the after-treatment system and could contaminate the DOC and SCR, which can result in costly repairs.
  4. Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition:
    • Regularly maintain your vehicle's engine to prevent failures that could damage the DPF.


Mastering the art of DPF cleaning is a valuable skill for truck owners, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. By following this step-by-step guide and adopting proactive maintenance practices, you can save costs, enhance fuel efficiency, and contribute to a cleaner environment. Take control of your DPF maintenance and keep your diesel truck running smoothly for miles to come.

Watch this video from our channel to find out why you shouldn't use pressure washer to cleaning your DPF: