Are your freshly laundered clothes not as clean as you’d expected? Or worse, they’re covered with lint and residue that wasn’t there before?
Don’t replace your washer just yet – you might just have to clean the washing machine filter.
What’s the best way to clean the lint trap? Will it improve your washing machine’s efficiency? For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over how to clean the filter in detail below.
Why You Should Clean Your Washing Machine Filter
Your washing machine filter plays a vital role in keeping your clothes clean. What does it do? It traps hair, dirt, dust, and other lint deposits that come off of your clothes during the wash cycle.
And as it turns out, you have to clean it regularly to prevent lint buildup. This goes for all washers, including top-loading machines.
Locating and Removing Your Washing Machine Filter
The washing machine filter is often tucked away in places like the center agitator or in a corner.
Identifying Different Types of Filters
Different washers have different types of filters. For example, newer machines may have self cleaning filters (ones with a self cleaning pump) underneath the drum. Refer to your user manual if you need help identifying and locating the one on your machine.
Steps for Safe Removal
Step 1: Unplug your washing machine from its power source
Step 2: Locate the filter based on the model that you own
Step 3: Depending on its location, use tools (if needed) to open up access points such as a trap door.
Step 4: Once located and accessible – be gentle. You can usually twist them counterclockwise or pull them straight out depending on the design.
How to Clean A Washing Machine Filter
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You’ll need a few things to clean your washing machine filter including hot water, a scrub brush, and clean water.
Step 2: Scrub and Rinse the Filter
Fill up a shallow basin with sink hot water. Place your removed washer filter in the basin and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
While waiting, use liquid laundry detergent mixed with warm water and gently wipe around where the washer’s lint filter usually sits inside of your load washer.
From there, use an old toothbrush or any soft bristle brush to scrub the soaked filters. After scrubbing away all visible debris off those filters, rinse them under running water until they’re clean.
How Often Should You Clean Your Washing Machine Filter?
Cleaning your washing machine’s filter isn’t something that you have to do every day. But it doesn’t mean you can overlook it either.
Factors Affecting Cleaning Frequency
The cleaning frequency depends on several things including how often you use the washer and the type of loads that go in.
For example, if you wash heavy items like blankets or towels regularly, more lint will accumulate in the washing machine filters. This means they’ll need attention sooner than if you’re only washing light clothing.
As a general rule, if you use the washer every day, you want to clean the machine filter once a month. For those who use their machines less frequently, however, a twice-yearly deep cleanse should suffice.
Whether or not you live in an area with hard water also impacts the cleaning schedule. Why? Mineral deposits may clog up the system quicker than usual.
Tips for Maintaining Your Washing Machine
Keeping your washing machine in top shape is easier than you think. Here are a few things that you can do that will make a difference.
Using Appropriate Laundry Products
The right type of laundry detergent and fabric softener will not only clean your clothes but will also help maintain the health of your washer. For example, overuse or incorrect use of these products can lead to clogs, affecting the wash cycle’s efficiency.
Remember, less is more when it comes to liquid laundry detergent. You might be tempted to add extra for that super-clean feel, but that can leave residue on both your clothes and inside the machine.
Proper Loading Techniques
Overfilling the machine may affect how well your clothes will be cleaned during the wash cycle. But wait, there’s more – it can also lead to filter clogs if larger objects get stuck instead of being flushed out through the drainage pipes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Avoid overloading: Always ensure there’s enough space left in the drum after loading so that all items move freely within it
Distribute evenly: Distribute heavier clothing like jeans among lighter ones for a balanced load
Mind smaller pieces: Small socks or baby garments should be placed in mesh bags before being added to the washer
Signs of Washing Machine Filter Issues
Is your washer acting up? A clogged filter might be the culprit. Not all washing machines have a removable lint trap, but those that do need regular attention.
Washer Drainage is Slow or Non-Existent
If your machine isn’t draining properly, the issue could lie with a blocked water pump filter.
To fix this problem, unplug your machine find the drainage hose—often located at the back of most models—and gently wipe around it to remove any visible debris.
You’ll then want to check if there’s something lodged inside causing an obstruction by removing and inspecting the drain pump itself.
Clothes Aren’t Getting Clean Enough
Your washer may not clean your clothes effectively due to the amount of lint in the filter.
To clean the filter on newer front loading machines, soak them in hot water mixed with liquid laundry detergent then scrub lightly using a toothbrush before rinsing under running tap water. It’s also recommended that you use a cleaner such as ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaning tablets regularly.
Avoid using too much soap as excess detergent can create more suds than necessary making rinse cycles longer.
How to Clean a Washing Machine Filter – FAQs
How do you clean a top loader washing machine filter?
Locate the filter (it’s usually in the center agitator or drum’s lip) and remove it from the machine. Once it’s removed, soak and scrub it with warm soapy water. Make sure to dry it before reinstalling.
Where is the filter in my washing machine?
The location varies depending on your model. It could be near the water pump, inside a trap door, at the top of the drum or within the center agitator.
How do I clean a smelly filter in my washing machine?
To fix this issue, remove and wash your filter with hot soapy water. Also give your washer’s drum an empty run with vinegar to clear out any remaining odor-causing residues.
Do all washing machines have a filter?
All traditional models have filters. Some newer models also come with self-cleaning pumps. Keep in mind, however, that they also require regular maintenance.