Dirty Replacement Pool Filter Cartridge in a man's hand

Cleaning your pool filter often is a good way to ensure your pool is always clean, clear, and operating at maximum capacity. If your pool filter is clogged with debris, it will not be able to do its job, leaving you with murky, dirty pool water, which could lead to serious complications with your pool pump.

If your pool filter is dirty, take the steps below to get it cleaned out today. We can help tackle this task no matter which type of pool filter you have.

Guide to Cleaning a Filter Cartridge

If you have a pool pump that uses filter cartridges such as Hayward or Sta-Rite, cleaning them can actually be a pretty simple process. Instead of constantly replacing your filter cartridge, you might want to consider cleaning them first. This will save you time and money in the end.

Step One: Shut Everything Down

Before doing anything, turn off the power to your pool pump. Then, use the air release valve, usually found at the top of the pump, to release leftover air. With the owner's manual in hand, to be sure everything goes smoothly, remove the top of the housing and pull out the filter.

Step Two: Visually Inspect the Filter

Take a few minutes to inspect the filter visually. You will easily be able to notice any residual debris clogging the filter. This will help you decide the best way to clean it out.

If you notice any cracks, tears, or other damage, a new filter is necessary, and there is no point in cleaning it out. Another spot to inspect is the filter tank's O-ring; keeping this part lubricated is a great way to preserve it between filter swaps. A new one should be installed if the ring is warped, cracked, or dry rotted.

Step Three: Hose the Pool Cartridge Filter Down

To remove most gunk and debris from your pool cartridge filter, grab your garden hose. You should put the hose on the stream setting and aim it at an angle at the filter. Some people recommend you use a power wash; we highly advise against doing this as it could damage the filter, making it unusable.

Step Four: Clean the Filter Cartridge

swimming pool cartridge filter

Now that you removed all of the loose particles and cleaned out the cartridge pleats, it is time to wash the fabric thoroughly to make the filter more effective.

There are various ways to clean out the filter cartridge; some of the most common ones include:

  • White Vinegar: Fill a bucket with half water and half white vinegar and submerge the filter for about five hours, no more than ten. Then use a hose to rinse off the solution.
  • Dishwasher Detergent: Mix one part detergent with five parts water in a large bucket, then soak the filter for up to ten hours in the solution before rinsing it off with the hose.
  • Bleach, Borax, and Baking Soda: In a large bucket, mix together 2 TBSP of bleach, 1 TSP of baking soda, and 1 TSP of Borax, then submerge the filter into the solution for up to 10 hours. Finish by rinsing the solution with a garden hose.

These are all efficient ways to clean your filter cartridge; just make sure to completely rinse all of the cleaning materials off before placing the cartridge back into the filter system.

Cleaning Your Sand Filter

Cleaning sand filters will look much different than cleaning pool cartridge filters. These types of filters are much easier to clean and are more cost-efficient.

Follow these easy steps to clean the sand filter for your swimming pool.

Step 1: Check the Pressure Gauge

All sand filters should have easy-to-read pressure gauges. An optimally running filter should operate at around 5-20 psi. Check your owner's manual for clear recommendations for your specific system. If your pressure is idling around eight psi more than average, it is time to clean it.

Step 2: Backwash Your Filter

Shut down the filter system, then turn the valve to the backwash setting. Turn the filter on and let the water run out for around two minutes. Wait and watch the water go from murky to clear and clean.

Step 3: Add Cleaning Solution

While the pump is in backwash mode, add sand filter cleaner to the pump and continue cleaning. This will ensure the bacteria, algae, etc., are wiped out of the filter sand.

We recommend using Klean Filter by Summer Smiles. This concentrated cleaner removes dirt, scale, and other buildups that can clog your filter and make it less effective.

Step 4: Rinse

Once your water is running clean, shut off the pump and switch the setting to rinse. Keep the filter in this setting for 1 to 2 minutes, then return to the filter setting, and you are finished.

No matter what type of pool filter you have, keeping it clean and debris-free is incredibly important. Running your pool pump with a dirty filter can cause dirt and grime to build up in the bottom of your pool, create murky, dull water colouring, and even damage your pump.

For the best results, clean your pool filters with only the best products out there. Contact our Experts today to ask any questions and to get advice on the most reputable pool cleaning tools available today.


How often should you clean your pool filter?

Your pool filter should be cleaned at least once a month, no matter what type you use. Some pools that see more use or have debris falling into them more often should clean the filters weekly.

How often should you replace a pool filter cartridge?

Pool filter cartridges should be changed at least once a year. If there are cracks or tears in them, you should change them right away.

What can you use to clean a pool filter cartridge?

You can use many items to clean your pool filter cartridges, including dishwasher detergents, white vinegar, and bleach.

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