How to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter
If your dishwasher has a filter that needs to be cleaned manually, make sure you do so regularly.
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10 - 20 minutes
IntroductionDishwasher filters prevent small, soggy bits of food from landing on your newly cleaned dishes, or clogging your drain. Some filters are self-cleaning, but the ones in newer dishwashers generally need to be cleaned manually. You'll know it's time if your dishwasher begins to smell funky, or if your dishes come out feeling gritty or have bits of food stuck on them. Here's how to clean your dishwasher's filter.
- Soft cloths
- Soft-bristle brush
- Hot water
Dishwasher filters prevent small, soggy bits of food from landing on your newly cleaned dishes, or clogging your drain. Some filters are self-cleaning, but the ones in newer models generally need to be cleaned manually. You’ll know it’s time if your dishwasher begins to smell funky, or if your dishes come out feeling gritty or have bits of food stuck on them. Taking care of the filter is an essential part of cleaning your dishwasher.
Here’s how to clean your dishwasher’s filter.
Project step-by-step (5)
Check Your Filter Type
Interestingly, it’s the older dishwashers (made before 2010) that tend to have self-cleaning filters. These filters were typically equipped with noisy grinders, so manufacturers switched to quieter filters (without grinders) that need to be manually cleaned. To find out what kind you have, look at the bottom of the dishwasher under the spray arms. Self-cleaning filters sport a circular plastic grid or series of holes that cover the filter. Filters that need to be manually cleaned are round and look somewhat like the filters on popular water pitchers. Learn how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar.
Remove the Lower Dishwasher Rack
Empty and remove the lower dishwasher rack. The top rack can remain in place, unless it is in the way.
Clean Debris from Area Near Filter
Once you spot the filter, wipe away any debris near it with a soft, damp cloth.
Remove and Clean Dishwasher Filter
Unlock and remove the upper filter (the cylindrical piece) by turning it and pulling it out. There may be directional arrows on top. Rinse the filter under hot, running water. If any debris is stuck on, gently scrub it with a soft cloth or brush, such as a toothbrush. Do not use wire brushes or scrubby pads, as they may damage the filter.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter?
The answer to that question depends on how much you use your dishwasher. Most households use the dishwasher daily, at least once, so if that’s the case, you should be washing the filter monthly. That’s especially true if you use your don’t scrape or rinse items before loading the dishwasher. If you only use it a few times a week, and rinse or wash items before loading, you only need to clean your filter once or twice per year.
Like all routine cleaning tasks, it’s easiest to establish a schedule, setting a regular reminder for yourself to clean the dishwasher filter so your dishes get clean and your dishwasher doesn’t get a weird smell.