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Are there any alternatives to cleaning a cold air filter besides the "recharge kit"? Would carb cleaner or brake clean then rinsing it with water be fine?
 

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Cleaning it with carb or brake cleaner would strip it of the oil it needs to filter dust.. Thats why the "Recharge Kit" comes with a cleaner and oil.. Not sure what you could use insted of the oil they give you..
 

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Recharge kits are pretty reasonable. I got mine at the local auto store for approx $15-20. They last a longtime unless you are cleaning the filter more frequently.

-GB
 

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I clean my K&N once a year and even that is a bit excessive

Per the K&N site
The general rule of thumb is that the filter needs to be cleaned when the dirt build up gets as thick as the wire mesh. The usual interval is 30,000 - 50,000 miles depending on driving conditions. We recommend that you check your filter about once a year in normal usage.
 

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The cleaner can be a household detergent / kitchen orange degreaser, but I'd stick with the real oil.

Just remember whatever you do, do not over oil! I spray mine until the colors JUST show up on the other side AFTER sitting overnight. Even then, my intake temp sensor got coated in a layer of dirt / oil.
 
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