How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

How often you should clean your swimming pool filter depends on the filter and condition of the water, but a general guideline for any swimming pool filter is to take a reading when the filter is clean, then clean the pool filter when the pressure rises about 10 psi.

As the filter—be it a cartridge, sand or D.E.—becomes clogged with debris, two things happen:

  • The back pressure on the filter system rises.
  • The overall flow rate of the swimming pool circulation system drops.

Cartridge Filters

Typically, cartridge filters need to be cleaned every two to six weeks. One of the most important factors that affect a cartridge filter operating effectively is that there not be too much flow through the filter. Too much flow significantly decreases the cartridge life and lowers the efficiency of the filter. Debris gets through the filter and goes back into the swimming pool.

On the outside of the filter, you will find a maximum pressure reading label. Be sure that your filter does not exceed this pressure. Most cartridge filters run at a lower pressure than sand or D.E. It is not uncommon to find a cartridge filter pressure reading in the single digits if sized properly for the pump. In general, you multiply the area of the filter (100 to 400 square feet is common) by 0.33, and that is the maximum water flow in gallons per minute through the cartridge.

When cleaning the filter cartridges, do not to use a power washer, which can break down the filter material and decrease the filter life. If it is not perfectly white when you are finished cleaning, it is OK. Be sure all of the large debris is off, and at least once a year, soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution to aid in removing some of the build-up. You can find cleaning solutions at your local pool store.

D.E. Filters

Most D.E. filters should back-washed after one to three months of use, or after the filter has built up 5–10 PSI of pressure. You should also dismantle and clean the D.E. filter at least once a year. Depending on usage—especially if your pool is open year-round—you might need to clean the filter twice a year.

D.E. filters work by straining particles through a substance called diatomaceous earth. When you back-wash a D.E. filter, you will need to replace any D.E. that was flushed out with the pool water debris.

Sand Filters

Most sand filters should be back-washed after building up 5–10 PSI of pressure, usually about every one to four weeks. If you have a painted pool, you should remove and replace the sand once a year. Otherwise, replace the sand and check the filter every four to five years.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Pool-filter cartridges are used to keep home swimming pools and spas clean. They can be used for pools with a capacity of 30,000 gallons or less volume of water. The filter cartridge is generally made of polyester cloth or corrugated paper that acts as a filter. When the filter is dirty and clogged, the water in the entire pool can become dirty. Check out these guidelines below to know how often you should replace your pool filter to keep your water safe and clean.

General Filter Life

Pool-filter cartridges can run for about 2,000 hours in a filter pump. Usually, filter cartridges have to be replaced once every one to two years. The filter, however, will not last as long if you enter the pool with suntan lotion, deodorants, hair-care products, and other chemicals.

To know when to replace it, you should observe the filter’s condition. If the cloth looks loose, or if the cartridge looks cracked, it’s time to replace it with a new one.

Usage and Size

How often you need to replace the pool-filter cartridge depends on the size of your pool and how often it’s used. It also depends on the quality of water used. When there are a lot of people using the pool often, these filters get clogged and dirty from body oils, dirt, and other waste. Rinsing your filter after every change of water in your pool can help prevent this build-up.


Step 1 – Remove Filter and Rinse

First, remove the filter from the cartridge and rinse it off with a brush and hose, spraying it with regular water. You should repeat this process at least once per week.

Step 2 – Replace Filter if Needed

Next, inspect the filter. You should change it when the life of the filter cartridge has reached its maximum limit, whenever there is a pressure of 8 psi and above in the filter canister, and when there’s a tear or collapse of the center core of the cartridge.

In addition, if you notice that your water flow is reduced, it means that the cartridge is clogged and should be replaced.

Step 3 – Elongate Your Filter’s Life

To elongate your filter’s life, use water clarifiers, like diatomaceous earth, to minimize the risk of clogging. In addition, you should allow hot tubs to run at least 1 hour every day so that there’s adequate water flow. Lastly, you can add an oil-absorbing sponge to your pool so that the filter is spared from body oils people bring into the pool.

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The beauty, function, and design of a swimming pool may come secondary to keeping the pool water clean. It is essential to install a good filter system to guarantee that the oasis has clean water, without bacteria. A cartridge filter is the most popular type of pool filter to use on a home pool.

The filter artifacts are pleated, and they maximize the cleaning process by gathering debris as small as 10 to 15 microns. In other words, the larger the area, the more particles you can filter out.

The cartridge filters are efficient and clean particles out of your pools water as it flows through the cartridge artifact. Best of all, cleaning them is easy by using a garden hose to rinse the filter chamber and cartridges. Most pool owners clean their pool’s filter system every six months, depending on the water chemistry.

For all our DIY customers, you may already know the importance of cleaning your filter cartridge at least every six months. Cleaning your pool filter is not only important but is easy to do.

To clean your cartridge filter, you will need:

  • 9 /16th deep socket wrench
  • Garden hose

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Filter Cleaning Procedure:

  • Shut the equipment off.
  • Open the drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank. (Remember, the water will come out fast so, take a step back).
  • Open the air relief valve at the top of the tank; this will help the water come out more quickly from the filter.
  • After draining the water out, proceed to remove the band and the lid. To do this, use your 9/16 deep socket and remove the nut from the bolt around the filter tank.
  • Take off the filter manifold from the top of the filters and remove the filters.
  • Use the hose to clean the filters. It works best to hose off the filters working from the top to the bottom of each filter.
  • Rinse the inside of the tank, underneath the tank band, pressure gasket and the manifold.
  • Make sure that the tank is free of any debris like sand, little rocks or pebbles in the filter tank. Otherwise, water may leak when you put the filter back together.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filterPutting Your Filter Back Together:

  • Close the drain plug at the bottom of the filter tank.
  • Place the band back in its place. Ensure that the lid fits in.
  • Place the filter cartridges on the cups located at the bottom of the tank. This will help keep the filters standing up.
  • Re-install the manifold and make sure that the O-ring is properly set in place.
  • Place the tank lid, and make sure that no debris is on the inside rim. Since the cover has a dial, ensure that it faces towards the upper connecting tube.
  • Install the band to secure the lid.
  • While placing the nut and bolt:
  • Take the bolt’s vertical side and glide it inside the filter tank band. Then, take the other end of the bolt and place it in.
  • Take the nut and screw it back to the bolt, ensuring to close it tightly using the 9/16 deep socket, ensuring that the clamp is 1/16” gap from each side of the ring.
  • Open the air relief valve. This will allow for the air to come out while the water fills the filter.
  • Once the water escapes from the top, close the air relief
  • Turn the equipment on.

Anyone who follows these steps will extend the life of the filter system and the swimming pool. Remember that Platinum Pools has Maintenance Service ready to keep your pool equipment in top-notch condition. Call us at 281.870.1600 (Houston), 409.898.4995 (Beaumont), or 361.576.0813 (Victoria). You can also visit our website for a free quote.

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They look a lot like the pleated air filter in your car, but with a center chamber. Pool filter cartridges trap dirt as the water is forced through the pleated polyester. Whether you have an in-ground or an aboveground pool, filter cartridge elements work the same way, get dirty the same way, and are cleaned the same way.

There are many products that can help make your filter cleanings quick and effective. I’ll show you how they are used in combination to help make your filter last through as many as 15 to 20 cleanings or for as long as two to four years.

Dirty Filter Cartridges

First step is to remove the filter cartridge from your filter tank. After the lid is off, you may need to separate individual cartridges (if you have more than one) from a manifold assembly. After the cartridge is out, take a chair and, through the use of pressurized water, blast the dirt and debris out of the pleats of the filter cartridge.

There are several options for how to best spray clean your cartridge filter. You can either do it manually or automatically.

Filter Flosser Pool Filter Wand Water Wand

To clean a filter cartridge manually, you can use a garden hose or step it up a notch and check out these pool cartridge cleaning tools: Pool Filter Wand, the Filter Flosser, or the Water Wand Cartridge Cleaner.

These all follow the same principle: attaching to a regular garden hose and forcing the water into small pressurized jets. This allows for sharp streams of water to get in between the pleats for a faster, more complete cleaning. In addition, the Pool Filter Wand contains a heavy-duty brush to ensure that your filter is clean of all debris that may be lodged between the pleats of the cartridge.

I have heard stories of pool owners taking their filter cartridges to the car wash or using their own pressure washer to clean the pool cartridge. A little bit of pressure is good, but with too much pressure, however, the fibers of spun polyester can separate or develop small holes. Most filter cartridge manufacturers recommend that high-pressure cleaning not be used with pool filter cartridges.

To clean your pool cartridge automatically, you can use the Blaster Automatic Filter Cleaner. This handy contraption automatically spins your cartridge as it is thoroughly sprayed by jets of water. Its horizontal design allows for the dirt and debris to easily fall from the filter – avoiding the lodging that occurs in vertical cleaning. The Blaster can clean most filter cartridges in just minutes and is available in three sizes.

Whichever route you decide to take, the most important thing to remember is that patience and care are key. The more time you spend carefully cleaning your cartridge, the more dirt and debris you will be able to dislodge from the pleats of the filter. Remember, if you clean your filter cartridge thoroughly each time, it will be that much easier to clean next time!

Oily Filter Cartridges

Sadly, hosing them clean is as far as most people go to clean their filter cartridges. While the loose dirt and debris has been removed from the cartridge, there usually is a good amount of deposits still left on the cartridge that you may not be able to see. What I’m referring to are oils, grease and grime. Oily residues not only inhibit the filtering ability of the cartridge, but also make it easier for dirt to become deeply embedded within the filter pleats.

Two great options to dissolve this oil and scum are the Granular Filter Cleaner and Natural Chemistry’s Filter Perfect. These two options work the exact same way. They mix with water to create a concentrated cleaning solution that will dissolve oil and scale. Simply soak your filter in the solution overnight or for 24 hours after you have washed off all the loose dirt and debris.

While these products work the same way, Filter Perfect utilizes enzymes to dissolve the oils on the filter, while our granular product works more on mineral deposits. Once your filter cartridge is clean, rinse thoroughly with water and let it dry completely before reinstalling. For this reason, some pool owners buy an extra set of filter cartridges to keep the pool filtering while cleaning the other set.

We’re Done!

If you’ve followed these quick and simple steps you first blasted the loose dirt and debris off of your filter cartridge and then dissolved the hard-to-clean oil and scum. If you keep up with regular cleanings, your filter cartridges should last longer. When the time between necessary cleanings becomes shorter, about half as long as it once was, it’s time to replace the filter cartridges.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter
Martin Ratchev
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

The Best Ways to Clean Your Pool Filter Cartridge

If you own a cartridge filter, the one part of maintenance you should earn your black belt in is cleaning your cartridge. A dirty filter cartridge can be the difference between a pristine blue pool and a cloudy, murky, green one. A clogged cartridge will choke your pump’s water flow to a fraction of what it should be. That drop-in flow means your water is not getting filtered, and not getting chlorinated properly.

There are two levels of cleaning: the weekly (semi-weekly) preventative maintenance, and the deep clean that may only be required once a year. We’ll discuss both.

When Should I Clean My Filter’s Cartridge?

Ask five different pool techs, and you may get five different answers on this. Though, generally, you’ll know it is time to clean your filter cartridge when the filter PSI rises 8-10 units above your “clean filter” pressure.

(Your “clean filter” PSI reading is what the pressure gauge read when you installed a new/fresh cartridge.)

Some also prescribe that you give your cartridges a hose down every week or so, as part of a cleaning regimen regardless of PSI. If you prefer this method, more power to you; but I find this method inadequate and sometimes wasteful. Depending on the time of year, pollen, sap, and body oils from swimmers can clog your cartridge quicker than usual, causing your cartridge’s cleaning cycle to fall out of line with the needs of your system. And, on the other hand, if your cartridge is not that dirty, then you probably do not have to waste the water hosing it down.

Regular Cleaning

For those times when your filter pressure spikes, there are a few quick ways to get your cartridge sifting smoothly again.

Thumb & Hose

If you prefer a low-tech solution, spraying your cartridge down this way is quick and simple. Because of its simplicity, this method is not preferred if you have an older cartridge that may have gunk more deeply caked into its crevices.


If you want a little more precision and thoroughness with regards to your cleaning, check out cartridge cleaning gadgets like the Filter Flosser or Aqua Comb. Both of these tools help the coverage of the hose spray concentrate into the folds of the cartridge, where most of the debris is hiding.

Deep Cleaning

There comes a time when a simple hose down no longer gets your filter down to its normal pressure. A sign that a deep clean is necessary is the filter’s PSI spiking close to “CLEAN ME” levels sooner than normal. In neglected cartridges, this spike of the filter pressure can happen in a few minutes after restarting the pump.

To choose the correct method of cleaning, the key is knowing what type of particulates you are attempting to remove:

  • Organic matter
  • Algae
  • Scale
  • Rust stains
  • Pool surface material like plaster or fiberglass
Basic Organic Materials – Body Oil, Suntan Lotion, General Dirt & Debris

Chemical: Filter Cleaner, Muriatic Acid, Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

This category is by far the easiest to clean, but likely takes the longest to build up to a point when a soak is needed. A cartridge will take a couple of seasons before it requires to be deep cleaned. The basic filter cleaner products are meant to target this type of cartridge build-up, but are not ideal for the heavier blockages we’ll discuss.


Chemical: Muriatic Acid, TSP

The most common remedy for algae-stained cartridges is a muriatic acid bath. You may be familiar with muriatic acid already, as it is also used to lower the pH and alkalinity of pool water. Trisodium phosphate is an all-purpose chemical cleaner that can scrub most stains and debris from your cartridge. These chemicals are super potent, so it is important to take care, and wear protective clothing as suggested in the procedures below.

Scale, Metal Stains, Plaster Dust, Pool Surface Material

Chemical: Muriatic Acid, TSP

If your cartridge shows signs of scale deposits, muriatic acid is your best option for a chemical soak additive.

Less Harsh Alternative

If you are hesitant to use these harsher chemicals like muriatic acid and TSP, a safer home remedy is vinegar. White distilled vinegar is a super versatile household cleaner used to clear up hard water stains, mold mildew, and algae. The downside of vinegar is that you have to use a lot of it. Generally, a one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water is needed to clear your cartridges adequately.

Instructions on how to complete your next chemical soak, courtesy of Unicel Filters, a leading manufacturer of replacement pool filter cartridges and DE grids.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Do you have an interesting or different solution to cleaning your pool cartridges? Let us know about it in the comments.

Cleaning your filter cartridge is fairly simple, and you don’t need any special tools or cleaning solutions for removing debris — in fact, the only thing you need is access to a hose. It should only take about a half hour to complete this 10-step process:

  1. Turn off the power to your pool pump. This is always important when working with electricity, but it’s especially critical if your filtration system runs on an automatic timer.
  2. Open the valves on the filter. The air relief valve releases the pressure, and the ball valve drain the water from the filter.
  3. Remove the lid from the tank. Yours might have a lock ring, clamp, or knob, depending on your model.
  4. Remove the cartridge from the filter canister. A gentle rocking motion while lifting up might help to dislodge the filter elements.
  5. Set it down in a good spot for cleaning. Remember, you’ll end up with debris like decomposed leaves, silt, and fibers, so choose someplace that makes it easy to scoop up afterwards.
  6. Inspect the cartridge for damage. Before cleaning, look for cracks, tears, or other damage. Even a small tear will decrease your filter’s performance.
  7. Hose off the cartridge.
    • Use moderate pressure from a regular garden hose (no pressure washers!!).
    • Hold the hose at a 45-degree angle to avoid damaging the filter.
    • Spray off the cartridge from the top down until the debris is gone.
    • Flip over the cartridge and repeat the spray from the other direction.
    • Flush out debris out from between the pleats. You can also carefully brush the pleated surface to remove small particles.
  8. Reassemble the filter canister. Slide the cartridge back into the canister, then replace the filter lid and tighten it down to seal the system.
  9. Turn on the power to the pump, and restart it. If it seems sluggish to restart, it may need to be primed.
  10. Close the air relief valve. Wait until a steady stream of water starts to spray out, then you can shut it.

Pro tip: At least once a year, soak your cartridges overnight (or about 10 hours) in a cleaning solution to remove excess build-up. You can find cleaning solutions at your local pool store.

What NOT to Do When Cleaning Your Cartridges

  • Don’t keep filter cartridges forever. If you’re seeing inadequate filtration (i.e., your filter system is running but you still find excessive debris and cloudy or dirty pool water) but you aren’t noticing a rise in pressure, this likely means that your filter cartridges are torn or worn out and must be replaced. Remember that the cartridges are reusable, but at some point, they will lose their efficacy and simply allow water to pass through without filtering it.
  • Don’t use a power washer on cartridges. The force of a power washer can destroy the filter cartridges by breaking down the mesh material, which is usually made of paper or a thin fabric.
  • Don’t worry if the filter mesh isn’t perfectly white. If you’ve followed the cleaning steps but your cartridge film still doesn’t look brand new, that’s OK. As long as you don’t see debris or excessive build-up that can block the filter system from doing its job of keeping your pool water clean, some discoloration is fine – and even expected over time. If you are unsatisfied with the cleanliness of your filter, you should consider buying a bottle of filter cleaner from your local supply store.

How can you tell when it’s time to clean your filter cartridges?

Dirt and debris collected on the filter will restrict water flow through the system. You might notice decreased water flow and weaker suction of your pool cleaner. When this happens, pressure within the tank rises. When the pressure hits the level specified by the manufacturer (usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-12 PSI above the recommended starting pressure of your pool filter), it’s time for a cleaning.

Of course, it all depends on your volume of swimmers, but plan to clean your cartridge filter every two to six weeks. If your cartridge filter isn’t clean, it won’t work efficiently. You’ll end up with debris that gets past the filter back into your pool water.

Pro tip: There’s a maximum pressure reading label on the outside of the filter. Never let your filter exceed this level on the pressure gauge.

How does a cartridge filter system work?

A cartridge filter system works by drawing water into a tank that houses cylindrical cartridges of fine, pleated mesh material. The tight mesh filters out the impurities from the pool water. The cartridges are then simply removed and washed when needed to keep them clean and functional. Read on to learn how to rinse the filters.

Using a pool pump alone will not clean a pool. It is essential to have a pool pump working in conjunction with a pool filter in order to maintain a clean swimming pool. It is also very important to choose the right type of filter to fit a particular pool’s needs. Speck Pumps offers sand and cartridge pool filters.

Pool filters work together with pool pumps

Bigger is not always better when it comes to pool pumps. A pool pump that is too large can hinder filtration and can even damage a pool’s filter and/or heater. It is therefore very important to know the size of a pool before purchasing a pool pump. If there is additional equipment (such as water features) installed into the pool, it will have to be taken it into account when deciding what size pump is going to be purchased. The more equipment is installed into a pool, the more powerful the pump needs to be.

It is important to consult with a pool equipment expert, such as Speck Pumps, before buying a pool pump. The team at Speck Pumps will be able to give our customers professional advice regarding the size of the pump they will need to purchase.

How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

Choosing the
right filter

There are two main types of filters, sand filters and cartridge filters. When it comes to choosing a pool filter, bigger is not always better. It’s wise to remember that a pool filter must always be matched to the correct size pool pump, and never the other way around.

Sand filters are the easiest type of filter to operate and maintain. The filter system works using a special type of sand that traps particles in the 20 to 100 micron range. A sand filters’ efficiency increases as it collects dirt, allowing it to trap debris more efficiently as time goes by. It is, however, necessary to replace a sand filter’s sand approximately every two to three years.

Cartridge filters are able to trap particles in the 25 to 100 micron range. To clean a cartridge filter the cartridge is removed and hosed down, from top to bottom, with a high power hose. Care should be taken when cleaning a cartridge filter, as too much pressure can damage the filter. A cartridge filter should be replaced every year seeing as, with each cleaning, its filtering capacity is reduced.

When people imagine a swimming pool, they imagine crystal clear water with a faint smell of chlorine, and shadows gently dancing on the concrete bottom. But that water quality does not come automatically. The pool filter plays a huge role in providing a safe, enjoyable experience for swimmers.

While many of the ins-and-outs of pool maintenance seem complicated, filter maintenance is not only straightforward but critical. Proper care can keep your filter running smoothly for years with relatively minimal work. Neglecting filter maintenance, on the other hand, can give you an unexpected headache or two.

What Does the Filter Do?

Summed up simply, the filter keeps your pool healthy. While the most apparent functions might include filtering out large debris like leaves and bugs (which it certainly does), it also filters out much finer things like dirt and dust, which can invite bigger problems when left unchecked. A few different filter types exist, but the basic mechanics remain the same.

Pool filtration systems essentially force water through some type of material porous enough to allow water molecules through, but condensed enough to trap larger objects trying to pass through with the water. By doing so, they reduce the amount of “junk” floating around in your pool.

Filters that fail to trap all of the particles end up placing a heavier load on the pool sanitizer since the chemicals go to work trying to dissolve all of the unwelcome things like bits of leaves, dust, or dirt. This creates issues wherein more chemicals may need to be applied, and the pool maintenance costs – both time and money – can arise.

Kinds of Filters

Filters come in a few different styles: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters. There are pros and cons to each, but each of them provides essential protection to your pool water. You should consider what type of debris your filter will be handling, and how much you’re willing to spend.

Sand Filter

Sand filters come with the lowest price tag, but with the proper maintenance, they can still do an excellent job keeping your pool clean and last for years. They do have one drawback: the large pore space between sand grains means they function a little less effectively than other filter styles – at least initially.

However, that same drawback also means that sand filters become more effective over their first few years. Trapped debris decreases the pore space, but the effect does start to reverse as the grains wear down and lose their jagged edges. Sand needs to be replaced every five to seven years.

Cartridge Filter

Cartridge filters offer an even simpler filter to clean and filters out smaller particles than sand right off the bat. Cartridge filters generally filter out much smaller particles than sand filters. Unlike both sand and D.E. filters, which need to be backwashed (which uses lots of water – more on that later), cartridge filters can simply be removed and rinsed off.

While this cleaning process is simpler, these filters need maintenance a few times a year. Users pay for this simplicity with a higher upfront cost, and unlike inexpensive sand, the whole cartridge needs to be replaced every 3-5 years. Still, better filtering and decreased water demand for cleaning make it an excellent choice in many cases.

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Filter

D.E. filters use the fossilized, microscopic shells of diatoms to filter pool water. The tiny, hollow shells trap the smallest particle sizes, making D.E. filters the most effective at trapping debris. D.E. filters are also the most expensive, and like sand filters require backwashing to clean. Additionally, some restrictions exist on the disposal of spent D.E.

D.E. filters work by having the actual powdery earth sit on a grid or finger assembly. The D.E. itself is sold separately and needs backwashing every 4-6 weeks. The grid assembly needs to be cleaned annually, making D.E. filters a little more time consuming to maintain. But they do create the cleanest pool water, so some users find the extra time and cost well worth it. Head over to my guide on how much DE to add to your filter for more.

Cleaning Sand Filters

First and foremost, cleaning a sand filter requires knowing when the filter should get cleaned. Your pool gives two main indicators: a reading on the pressure gauge 8-10 PSI above the normal operating level (which varies depending on the filter), or cloudy pool water. When either of these conditions develops, it’s time to follow the steps below.

Gather the Equipment

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Filter owner’s manual

Cleaning a sand filter does not require much equipment, but the owner’s manual may come in handy if something goes wrong during the process.

Start Cleaning

  • Turn off the pool pump. This step is crucial, as turning the valves on the filter with the pump still running can damage the internal components.
  • Attach backwash hose, or unroll if already attached to the waste line and open the waste line valve.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “backwash” setting.
  • Turn on the pump to get the water moving backward through the filter.
  • Run the pump on the backwash setting until the water flowing from the waste line runs clear – usually just a few minutes.
  • Turn off the pump.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “rinse” setting to resettle the sand.
  • Turn the pump back on and rinse for 30-45 seconds.
  • Turn the pump back off.
  • Turn the valve on the filter to the “filter” setting.
    • Once a year, remove the filter basket during this step and pour in the sand filter cleaner.
    • Turn on the pump just long enough to move the cleaner into the sand.
    • Turn off the pump and let the sand soak in the cleaner for 8 hours or more.
    • Repeat the backwash process to remove any material dislodged by the sand filter cleaner.

    Cleaning Cartridge Filters

    Like sand filters, cartridge filters need to be cleaned whenever the pressure gauge rises 8-10 PSI above its normal operating levels. Even if the pressure stays at a reasonable level, cartridge filters should be cleaned at least every six months.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.

    The same way you clean your home surfaces and fixtures regularly, your pool needs the same attention.

    A dirty pool isn’t hygienic to use; it can cause sickness caused by harmful organisms which have accumulated overtime.

    Also, a dirty pool is unattractive, displeasing and not a good way to receive guests.

    I want to assume that we all agree that cleaning the pool regularly is a must and not an option.

    I am sure as pool owners or aspiring pool owners; we have heard about a lot of pool cleaning agents and supplies.

    However, in this article, we will learn about cleaning pool filters with Dish soap.

    How to clean a cartridge type swimming pool filter

    What is Pool Filter Cleaning?

    Failure to take care of your pool filter regularly can cause dirt accumulation, which allows the growth of black algae on the pool’s surface. The pool filter keeps the water flowing into the pool clean and clear. Water comes from the pool pump through the filter into the pool. The filter separates the dirt, debris and harmful bacteria from the water before allowing it into the pool.

    Before cleaning your filter, you need to understand that there are three different types of filter. Once you have understood the difference between these commercial filters, you are one step closer to carrying out a thorough cleaning of your pool filter. The three types of filters include cartridge filters, sand filters, and diatomaceous earth filters.

    How Do You Clean a Pool Filter with Dish Soap?

    After you must have determined the type of filter, you are using for your pool, we can now start cleaning our pool filter. We have provided a step-by-step guide to help you do the cleaning properly and effectively. Let’s dive in!

    1. Remove the filter cartridge and place it in a pool of warm water. Include one cup of liquid dish soap in the water.
    2. After adding the liquid soap, hold the cartridge in the soapy water and soak for about 8 hours or fewer.
    3. Remove the soapy water and rinse the cartridge properly.

    DIY Pool Filter Cleaner

    Instead of paying a lot of money getting your filter cleaned regularly, these DIY techniques can help you save some cost.

    Step One

    You can carry out the cleaning without a few supplies or cleaning items. Don’t worry, they are not too expensive and also easily accessible. Check out the list below in bullet points:

    • Large tub for cartridge filters
    • Wrench
    • Screwdriver
    • Pair of hand gloves,
    • Garden hoses,
    • A plastic cup and tub for sand and earth fillers, respectively.
    • Some additional sand and cartridge

    Step Two

    Once the necessary items for cleaning a dirty pool filter are in place and within reach, we can proceed with the cleaning. The first thing to do is to take some precautions by shutting off the pump, filter and breaker. Ensure that it is removed from the power source.

    Step Three

    Change the position of the filter to the backwash position. Mount your discharge hose to the water outlet and loosen it up totally.

    Step Four

    You can now switch on the pump and filter again. Water will start gushing out via the backwash valve and once it is clear, turn the pump and filter off.

    Step Five

    Switch back your backwash valve to its original position. Gather your hose and make sure there is no water left inside.

    Step Six

    We will need to open the air relief valve in this step, but we have to turn on the pump and filter before that. Then turn the valve off when the water starts to come out properly.

    Step Seven

    The next thing to do is to take off the manifold of the filter. Handle it carefully to avoid any breakage. Make use of a plastic cub listed in the requirements above and get rid of the sand. Do this until the filter comes off.

    Step Eight

    Take your garden hose and rinse out all the sand remaining in the filter. After you are done, replace the sand, following the manual provided by the manufacturer.

    Step Nine

    Restore the filter and manifold back to its original position. Don’t forget to fill the tanks with sand before returning the manifold.

    Step Ten

    The last thing to do is backwash the tank with the new sand. Ensure the filter works efficiently for about thirty minutes and then you are good to go.

    When to Clean Pool Filter?

    The pool filter needs to be cleaned when dirty. It is straightforward! The main question you should be asking is how do you do when the pool filter is due for cleaning. We have three types of filter as mentioned under a section above.

    The cartridge filter is the most common type of filter. If you are using a cartridge filter, you can easily detect when your pool needs to be cleaned before it becomes clogged or appears dirty.

    The other two types of filter require a closer look and some monitoring. You need to understand how to read the filter’s pressure gauge. This is the only way you can detect when the pool filter is due for cleaning.

    In addition, cleaning the filter any how or any time may damage the pool filter unexpectedly. This is why most pool owners use cartridge filtration systems for their swimming pools.


    You can save some bucks by following our guide on cleaning pool filters with a dish soap. Instead of hiring someone or purchasing overpriced pool cleaners, you can clean your pool filter regularly with the few steps listed above.