Cleaning or Replacing a Dishwasher Filter

Why Should I Clean or Replace my Dishwasher Filter?

There’s nothing worse than running a load of dishes to discover that they are still dirty at the end of the cycle. If your dishwasher is less efficient than normal–if it’s leaving food residue on dishes, or if the water looks dirty– it’s probably well past time to clean your dishwasher filter. Cleaning your filter will keep the food mess going down the drain properly so that it doesn’t wind up back on your dishes.

In terms of replacing your filter, most dishwasher filters will last a solid 5 years with regular maintenance. You don’t need to start thinking about replacing a filter until you can see noticeable wear and tear, or until cleaning the filter alone doesn’t get the dishwasher efficiency back to normal.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean my Dishwasher Filter?

If you don’t clean your dishwasher filter, food from your dishes will build up in the filter and result in dirty water, unsanitary conditions, a funky smell, and a less efficient cleaning cycle. If it gets bad enough and the filter gets too much food and grime lodged in it, you could break the filter and possibly even break the entire machine.

If you don’t rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, you’ll need to clean your filter more often than if you’re the “wash before you load” type. (It’s a good idea to at least scrape and rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.)

Using the efficiency of your machine is a pretty good guide for when you need to clean it, but it can range anywhere from every week to a few times a year depending on how hard you’re making your dishwasher work.

Click here to read about the 7 most overlooked Home Maintenance tasks.

We also have helpful information on the real costs of home ownership as well as important tasks toward properly winterizing your home.

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  • 1. Locate the Filter and Determine the Type
    • Some dishwashers have a single filter and some have a double. Just remove the bottom dish rack and take a look at the bottom of your dishwasher, where most filters are found. If there is a mesh filter cover above a larger filter below, you probably have a double filter. This just means you’ll have two separate parts to clean– no big deal.

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  • 2. Remove all Filter Parts
    • Most filters come out with a simple quarter turn and a good pull. If you have a double filter, the second part should lift right out once you’ve pulled out the first part. Depending on how gunky your dishwasher has gotten, you might want to wear gloves for this.

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  • 3. Rinse the Filter
    • Rinsing your filter under a faucet will get the majority of the waste out of it. While you’re doing this, inspect your filter to make sure there aren’t any holes or other damage. If you notice any, it’s time to replace your filter.

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  • 4. Soak and Scrub with Soap
    • Next, you will want to lightly scrub your filter with a cloth or soft bristle scrub brush. Do not over scrub your filter or you can rip it or damage it. Use a drop or two of dish soap and some warm water and clean every side of the filter thoroughly. Make sure to rinse all of the soap off when you’re done.

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  • 5. Dry Filter
    • Set filter to dry on a towel – You don’t need to worry if the filter is totally dry before putting it back, just lightly dry it to prevent it from dripping on the floor.

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  • 6. Return the Filter to the Dishwasher
    • Put it in the dishwasher in the same way you removed it. If you have a two-part filter, make sure you put each part in the appropriate spot and twist everything into place properly. Regularly cleaning your dishwasher filter should keep your machine running smoothly and smelling great. For customized, up-to-date reminders and tips for maintaining your home, download the Centriq app here.

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