How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter – Pro Tips for Perfectly Clean Plates

Keeping your dishwasher filter clean is one of the most important maintenance tasks that ensures your dishwasher runs efficiently and provides spotless clean dishes every time. A clogged filter full of food debris and residue can lead to poor washing performance, spots on dishes, bad odors and even damage the dishwasher pump.

While it’s easy to overlook, deep cleaning the dishwasher filter regularly is essential for optimal operation. This comprehensive guide provides expert tips and step-by-step instructions to properly clean your dishwasher filter like a pro and enjoy squeaky clean plates.

Why Should You Regularly Clean the Dishwasher Filter?

Here are some key reasons why cleaning the dishwasher filter should be part of your regular maintenance routine:

Enhances Washing Performance

A clean filter allows water to circulate freely and thoroughly wash every nook and corner. Food particles trapped in the filter obstruct water flow leading to poor cleaning results.

Prevents Bad Smells

Leftover grease, scraps of food and residue accumulating in the filter start smelling over time. This gets transferred to dishes.

Protects Dishwasher Parts

A clogged filter makes the pump work harder pumping water through blocked passages leading to premature wear and tear.

Saves Energy and Water

With a clean filter, the dishwasher uses less energy and water to deliver optimum wash performance.

Prolongs Dishwasher Lifespan

Regular filter cleaning extends the lifespan of your dishwasher by keeping components in good working condition.

How Often Should You Clean the Dishwasher Filter?

  • Clean the filter at least once a month.
  • If you use the dishwasher daily or wash heavily soiled dishes, clean the filter every 2 weeks.
  • Clean immediately if you notice low water pressure, poor cleaning results or bad odors.

Dishwasher Filter Cleaning Tips

Follow these pro tips for effective dishwasher filter cleaning:

Remove Large Food Debris First

Before taking out the filter, use a spoon to scoop out any large bits of food trapped in the filter chamber. This makes deep cleaning easier.

Let the Filter Dry Out

After removing the filter, let it air dry completely so food particles don’t stick. Use a old toothbrush to gently scrape off dried gunk.

Flush With Hot Water

Hold the filter under running hot water to rinse away loose debris. Water pressure helps dislodge stuck-on residues.

Use a Bottle Brush

A narrow bottle brush is perfect to get into the inner mesh screen and scrub out stubborn grease deposits.

Clean With Vinegar

For a deep clean, soak the filter in white vinegar overnight. The acidic vinegar dissolves limescale, grease and food bits.

Avoid Harsh Cleaners

Don’t use caustic chemical cleaners as they can corrode the filter mesh. Stay away from bleach and abrasive scouring pads too.

How to Clean the Dishwasher Filter Step-by-Step

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to clean your dishwasher filter like an expert:

Step 1: Remove the Filter

The filter is located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Remove the lower rack first to access it easily. Locate the cylindrical filter and turn it counterclockwise to unlock it. Lift it out of the filter housing.

Dishwasher filter removal

Removing the dishwasher filter (Credit:

Step 2: Clean the Filter Chamber

With the filter removed, take this opportunity to clean the filter chamber housing. Remove any large food particles with a spoon and wipe down the chamber with a cloth or sponge.

Step 3: Rinse Under Water

Hold the filter under running water to rinse off any loose debris. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub and dislodge stuck-on food remains.

Step 4: Soak in Vinegar

For a deep clean, place the filter in a bowl filled with undiluted white vinegar. Let it soak for about an hour. This will break down mineral deposits and grease buildup.

Step 5: Rinse and Dry

Take the filter out of the vinegar solution and rinse it thoroughly with water. Allow it to dry completely before replacing. Drying prevents re-deposit of grime from wet surfaces.

Step 6: Reinstall Filter

Once fully dry, place the cleaned filter back into the filter chamber. Line up the tabs and turn clockwise to lock it back in place.

Step 7: Test Run

Replace the lower rack and run an empty dishwasher cycle to verify proper filtration and water drainage. This removes any residual vinegar and clears out debris dislodged during cleaning.

And that’s it! With these easy steps, you can keep your dishwasher filter spotless and enjoy optimal performance. Develop a regular cleaning routine based on usage and water hardness to maximize dishwasher lifespan.

FAQs About Cleaning Dishwasher Filter

Here are some common questions answered on maintaining a clean dishwasher filter:

How do I know if my dishwasher filter needs cleaning?

Check if there is low water pressure, high noise levels, bad odor, poor cleaning results or overflowing water. These indicate a clogged filter that needs cleaning.

What’s the best way to remove stuck-on food and grease?

Soaking the filter in white vinegar works great to dissolve tough grease deposits and food particles. For dried gunk, use a small brush to gently scrub.

Should I clean the filter with soap or detergent?

Avoid using soaps and detergents as they can leave a chemical residue. For best results, use white vinegar or plain hot water to clean the filter.

How do I clean a glass shard in the pump filter?

Turn off the dishwasher to avoid injury. Carefully remove shards with tweezers avoiding cuts. Rinse before replacing filter to clear out remaining shards.

What household items can I use to clean the filter?

You can clean using white vinegar, an old toothbrush, bottle brush, cotton swabs, toothpicks or a paperclip to gently loosen debris in crevices.

How do I remove a bad smell from the filter?

Eliminate odors by soaking the filter in a vinegar solution for an hour. Baking soda also works to deodorize before rinsing thoroughly.

Why is my dishwasher still clogged after cleaning filter?

Ensure you rinse away all dislodged debris before replacing the filter. Also check the drain hose and impeller for blockages causing poor drainage.

Should I remove hard water deposits from the filter?

Yes, mineral deposits from hard water can clog filter pores. Use white vinegar or citrus-based cleaners to dissolve and remove limescale buildup.

Takeaways on Cleaning Your Dishwasher Filter

Here are the key takeaways on maintaining a clean dishwasher filter:

  • Clean the filter regularly, at least monthly, to ensure optimal dishwasher performance.
  • Let the filter air dry before rinsing to avoid food particles re-depositing.
  • Use white vinegar as a safe and effective cleaner to dissolve grease and grime.
  • Scrub gently with an old toothbrush to avoid damaging the fine filter mesh.
  • Always rinse away all dislodged debris before replacing the filter.
  • Run an empty cycle after cleaning to flush out any remaining particles.
  • Replace damaged or worn filters for maximum water flow and filtration.
  • Make dishwasher filter cleaning a habit based on your usage patterns.

Taking good care of your dishwasher filter considerably improves washing results, extends appliance lifespan and prevents costly repairs. Follow these expert tips and reap the benefits of spotless clean dishes for years to come!