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How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter

July 25, 2023
how to clean a dishwasher filter

Cleaning your dishwasher filter regularly is crucial if you want the appliance to work efficiently.

What does the filter do? It enhances the dishwasher’s overall performance by preventing food bits from re-depositing onto the dishes during the wash cycle.

How often should you wash the upper filter? What products should you use? For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over everything you need to know – including more dishwasher cleaning tips – below!

Why Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

dishwasher filter blocked food wasteA dirty filter can lead to subpar performance if accumulated debris impedes water circulation. For one thing, it can prevent the bottom spray arm from working properly.

Leftover residue may also cause unpleasant odors or potentially damage the dishwasher tub and other delicate parts within the machine, leading to costly repairs or shortening the dishwasher’s lifespan.

Impact on Cleanliness and Efficiency

Not only that but a dirty filter can also affect the cleanliness of your dishes. For example, residue build-up can prevent water from circulating properly during washing.

Understanding Different Types of Dishwasher Filters

There are two main types – manual and self-cleaning filters, each of which has its own unique characteristics and maintenance requirements.

Newer models typically come equipped with manual filters that trap food particles during the wash cycle to prevent them from landing back onto your clean dishes.

Older dishwashers, on the other hand, usually come with self-cleaning filters, which grind up food debris before washing them down the drain.

While this type requires less hands-on maintenance compared to their manual counterparts, they tend to make more noise due to the grinding process involved.

Identifying Your Dishwasher Filter Type

Before you try to get your dishwasher filter clean, you want to identify the type that you have.

Figuring out if you have a manual or self-cleaning filter is not hard when you know where to look.

If you need help, refer to the owner’s manual. If you no longer possess a physical copy, don’t worry – most manufacturers offer digital versions online via their official websites.

Locating and Removing Your Dishwasher Filter

how to find dishwasher filterThe upper filter is typically nestled at the bottom of the dishwasher, and tucked under the lower dish rack. However, this location may vary based on your specific dishwasher model.

To locate it, start by removing the bottom rack. Once you’ve done that, look for the cylindrical filter. Turn the filter clockwise, gently lift the piece and it should come right out.

In some models, it might be located around or beneath an important component known as the spinning dishwasher spray arm.

Removing Flat Filters

Certain dishwashers come equipped with another flat filter/lower filter that’s located underneath the standard filter. Its job is to capture any food particles or debris that managed to sneak past its comrade above.

To clean the flat filter, simply lift gently after unscrewing or popping out its counterpart situated right above it. Remember, these filters aren’t invincible warriors but delicate parts of your appliance, so handle them carefully.

How to Clean Dishwasher Filter

Cleaning a dishwasher filter is easier than you think.

Keeping Your dishwasher Filter In Tip-Top Shape

Avoid using a wire brush and harsh detergents when dealing with your dishwasher filter. These could potentially harm the component’s structure.

Instead, use a soft-bristle brush along with mild dish soap and gently scrub for an effective clean-up.

To kickstart the cleaning procedure, rinse off any loose debris from the removed filter under warm water. If stubborn grime persists, use a soapy solution applied gently via a soft brush.

If you’re looking for deep-cleaning methods for your manual dishwasher filters, consider soaking them overnight in white distilled vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar, due to its acidic nature, will help break down mineral deposits and grease without causing harm to the appliance parts, such as the dishwasher tub.

Finally, you want to apply baking soda over the wetted surface. Baking soda acts as a natural abrasive, removing food stuck on the machine while also eliminating odors.

Rinse the filter thoroughly before placing it back into its original position within the machine. Make sure the filter is seated properly prior to running another cleaning cycle with hot water.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter?

how to remove dishwasher filterCleaning the dishwasher filter isn’t a task to be done once and forgotten. It’s an ongoing chore that requires regular attention for optimal performance of your appliance. That’s right, routine maintenance is key.

The frequency of cleaning the filter depends on various elements, such as the kind of dishes washed and how often you use your dishwasher.

If you frequently deal with heavily soiled pots or run multiple cycles per day, it may necessitate more frequent cleanings.

Maintaining Regular Cleaning Schedules

Experts suggest that manual dishwasher filters should be cleaned once every month for best results. That will prevent food residue frominterfering with the dishwasher’s effectiveness – resulting in sparkling clean dishes after every operation.

Apart from cleanliness, regularly maintaining your dishwasher’s filter can also extend its lifespan by preventing undue strain on other components such as the pump and motor.

Frequent Cleaning: A Preventive Measure

If neglected over time, grime build-up could lead to blockages causing these parts to work harder during each cycle – potentially leading to premature failure over time.

That’s why it’s so important to clean the filter with mild detergent on a regular basis.

Additional Tips for Keeping Your Dishwasher Sparkling Clean

Cleaning your dishwasher filter is just the beginning. There are other areas and components that require attention to ensure optimal performance of this essential kitchen appliance.

  • Clean the spray arms every few months with white vinegar to eliminate hard water and calcium deposits
  • If your newly cleaned dishes are still dirty, it may be time to give your dishwasher a deep clean
  • The dishwasher often shares a drain with the garbage disposal – so don’t forget to clean that too
  • You can clean the dishwasher by leaving a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and running a cycle with hot water

Dishwasher Filter Cleaning FAQs

What is the best way to clean a dishwasher filter?

Remove the filter and rinse it under warm water. Gently scrub it with soapy water and a soft brush (an old toothbrush works great), then soak it in white distilled vinegar.

Are there any quick dishwasher filter cleaning hacks?

Using ACTIVE Dishwasher Cleaner twice a month will clean all the internal areas of the machine, including the filter.
clogged dishwasher filter

How do I clean a dishwasher filter naturally?

You can use natural cleaners like white vinegar and baking soda. These ingredients effectively break down grease and food particles without harsh chemicals. Keep in mind, however, that it may not be as effective as using a commercial cleaner.

Why does my dishwasher have a funky smell?

There may be food residue stuck in the dishwasher filter or spray arms. Consider giving the machine a deep clean. Depending on how old it is, you may also want to consider getting a new filter or new dishwasher altogether.

How often does a dishwasher filter need to be cleaned?

Cleaning frequency depends on usage but generally, manual filters should be cleaned once every month for optimal performance.

How do I know if there are food particles in the filter?

You may notice an unpleasant odor in the machine if there is food debris stuck in the filter.

Cleaning Your Dishwasher Filter – Overview

Now you know why cleaning your dishwasher filter is so important for optimal performance and longevity of your appliance.

Finding and removing the filter? We’ve covered that too. And if you can’t find your dishwasher’s elusive filter? There are solutions at hand.

Remember, frequency matters as well – once a month should keep things running smoothly unless you’re dealing with heavy usage or particularly dirty dishes often.

If this feels overwhelming or time-consuming – don’t worry! ACTIVE has got you covered. Our range of high-quality cleaning products designed specifically for appliances like dishwashers will help maintain cleanliness without any hassle.

Check out our offerings today, because when it comes to keeping appliances sparkling clean – we mean business!

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Picture of Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke

Ethan Clarke is a seasoned expert in appliances and household waste systems. Referencing his extensive experience as an appliance repairman, Ethan shares his invaluable knowledge through detailed maintenance & troubleshooting manuals. Ethan’s insights help homeowners understand and maintain their appliances efficiently, ensuring longevity and optimal performance. He’s here to provide practical, easy-to-follow advice for all your appliance needs.

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