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I always use a regular garden hose. Do you have a Foam filter or paper? I would be careful with using gas on foam filters, it might eat it. Hot soapy water works best for foam filters, and spraying the paper ones from the inside out works best, for me anyway. Just make sure to rinse out all the soap real good and let it dry before reinstalling.
If you have a K&N like element, K&N's cleaning kit works really good. If you have a foam filter like UNI, PJ1 makes two cans that you need. One is in a red spray can, and the other is blue. They are filter cleaner, and filter oil. That stuff works by far the best than anything I have ever seen.
I agree with MXracer...I just use hot water and dish soap to clean the filter. I then let it dry (make sure all the soap is out) and soak it with some 10W30 and wring it out good. I've never had a problem with any of my filters.
Don't use gas on your filter. It will dry it out. Dish soap works well. The PJ1 stuff works great. You can actually see it work as you spray it on. Definitely rinse it from the inside out. Motor oil does not have the stickiness to stay on the filter properly to catch the dirt. Use real filter oil.