How to Clean a Washing Machine Inlet Screen

Faster flow for a slow-filling washer

A washing machine that takes forever to fill may have an inlet screen clogged with mineral deposits and tiny particles of debris. The fix is simple.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Remove the water supply hoses, then check for problems

If your washing machine fills with a slow trickle, you might need a fill/inlet valve. But chances are you have a simpler problem: plugged inlet screens. These screens catch debris in the water supply and protect a washer's internal parts. Often, screens clog after a remodeling project or after work by city crews on water mains. Any work on water lines can loosen sediment in pipes and lead to plugged screens.

Cleaning the screens is asimple job. The only tricky part is removing the screens without wrecking them (Photo 1). Don't just yank them out. Gently squeeze and twist as you pull. You'll distort the screens a little, but you can mold them back into shape with your fingers.

If your screens are cemented in place by mineral deposits, you may not be able to remove them without damage. New screens are inexpensive, and are sold at appliance parts stores. Clean the screens with running water or blow out debris with an air compressor.

You may have to pick and scrape away stubborn particles with a utility knife.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Slip joint pliers
  • Utility knife

If your inlet screen is old or torn, replace it.