Food / Water

How to Thoroughly Clean Your Berkey Water Filter Inside and Out

It’s been several months since we took the plunge and purchased our Berkey Water filter system. Thus far it’s been super easy to care for… we’ve done literally nothing to it except fill it with water each day. 😉

Regardless, I figured it would be a wise decision to give it a thorough cleaning inside and out. According to the manufacturer, you don’t need to clean the Berkey filters unless the water begins to come out less than clear. To me that’s waiting way too long. After all, it’s always better to be proactive than not. The process really only takes 15 minutes or so.

Step 1: Drain water from the top and bottom chambers

Just dump the water out into your sink and let’s move on.

Step 2: Remove filters, plugs, and spigot

Now, remove your Berkey filters, any plugs that were needed, and the spigot from the lower chamber. I tried to keep some of the washers and nuts with their respective parts for the photo but for cleaning I choose to separate them. Do any of these parts really need cleaned? Probably not, but we’re being thorough here.

Step 2: Remove Filters, Plugs, Spigot

Step 3: Soak all parts from step 2 (except filters)

Next, dump all the parts from step 2–the plugs, washers, and spigot–into a bowl and let them soak in warm, soapy water while you’re cleaning everything else. When everything else is nice and clean rinse these parts off.

Step 3: Soak Washers, Plugs, Spigot

Step 4: Scrub the Berkey filters

This step alone will take the longest time because the filters are what need to be cleaned the best. Fortunately, it just takes a little elbow grease. With the nipple end pointing up (the part where the water drips out of) run the filter under warm water while scrubbing it with the rough side of a NEW sponge. Continue scrubbing around the entire outside of the filter for a few to several minutes.

Step 4: Scrub Filters

I’m not sure how to know when you’re done… I guess you’re done when you’re tired of scrubbing. 😉 Know that you won’t see any noticeable removal from the filter (and you’re not trying to do that) but you may well get your sponge to turn a bit black in the process. Repeat for any additional filters.

Step 5: Scrub the chambers (and lid) inside and out

This is probably the reason why I decided to clean our Berkey filter in the first place as I noticed quite a few water spots around the outside of the chambers. Using the soft side of the sponge, thoroughly scrub the inside and out of both the upper and lower chambers using warm, soapy water. Scrub the lid too. Towel dry if you want to be proud of your work when finished.

Step 5: Scrub Chambers, Lid

Note: since my unit is stainless steel I was tempted to try a stainless steel cleaner but opted not to because I didn’t want these chemicals in contact with our drinking water. Warm soapy water is just fine.

Step 6: Reassemble your Berkey filter

This is obviously the reverse of taking it apart and, for the most part, should be easy enough. I should note that I actually failed to install the spigot washer properly (I had them backwards) and wound up with a little leak that I noticed the next morning.

Step 6: Install Spigot Correctly

The important parts to know are that (1) the wall of the lower chamber gets “sandwiched” between the two washers and that (2) the washer with the beveled end goes on the OUTSIDE of the chamber with the beveled end pointing TOWARD the chamber wall. I wasn’t thinking when I re-installed the spigot and had the bevel pointing the wrong way. 😉

Hope that helps you to keep your Berkey Water filter in immaculate condition!

And click here if you haven’t ready all the reasons why you should own a Berkey filter today.

By Damian Brindle

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6 replies on “How to Thoroughly Clean Your Berkey Water Filter Inside and Out”

I have had my Berkey filter system for a few years. I am putting our city tap water in it for additional filtering. When the top container is finished filtering down to the bottom container, there is about an inch of water still remaining in the top. Is this normal? If not, how do I fix it? I have filters in both top and bottom.

Can I use vinegar on the inside of the chambers? Our water is really, really rusty and the inside is all brown. Just wondering if I can soak it in vinegar??

Never tried it myself, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use white vinegar for the initial cleaning so long as you rinsed the insides thoroughly afterwards. Not sure I would soak it overnight, though.

I’ll just buy a dozen of them and when they get dirty swap it out for a new one. Oh, wait, I’m not rich so I guess I better take care of it and treat it like the gold it’s worth.
20 years in the Navy sure taught me that preventative maintenance sure saves a lot of trouble down the line.

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