Where’s My Washing Machine Filter and Do I Really Need to Clean It?

Updated: May 01, 2024

Make sure your washing machine is operating at 100 percent with this little-known maintenance tip.

shutterstock_449693845 inside of a washing machineSrisuddee Nttapol/Shutterstock

What is a Washing Machine Filter?

Most people know about the lint trap on their dryer and make sure to regularly clean it out. But did you know that your washing machine has a similar filter that should also be cleaned just as often? Washing machine filters trap anything from lint to loose hairs and should be kept clean to keep your washing machine functioning properly.

Where is the Filter on a Washing Machine?

In order to clean your washing machine’s filter you first have to know where it is. The quickest way to locate the filter on your machine is by consulting its owner’s manual. If you no longer have access to the owner’s manual, here are a few places to look for the filter:

  • In the front of the unit behind a small hatch
  • At the end of the drainage hose.
  • Under the cover of your center agitator.
  • Along the top rim of the drum of your washing machine.

Still no luck? It’s possible your washing machine does not have a filter at all. Most newer, high-efficiency washers rely on a filter in the pump that self-cleans, meaning that there’s no need for maintenance on your end.

How to Clean Your Washing Machine Filter

A combination of detergent, dust, hair and lint can clog up a filter pretty quickly. A clogged filter limits the washing machine’s efficiency and can also lead to more lint deposits on clothes as well as poor drainage.

The quickest way to clean out your filter is to remove it from the unit and soak it in hot water, loosening any clog or trapped residue. If the filter cannot be removed, clean it out with brush. Some filters are disposable, so instead of cleaning them you can just throw them away and put a new one in place.

Running into a problem that requires more of a solution than just cleaning out the filter?