How to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

Here’s something many people, renters and homeowners alike, are shocked to learn: your dishwasher has a filter. If that’s also news to you, then your filter likely needs to be cleaned — desperately. A clogged filter means a worse-functioning machine. Want cleaner, gunk-free dishes? Then keep reading to learn how to clean your dishwasher filter.

When should you clean your dishwasher filter?

You should clean your dishwasher filter at least once a month. If you use it heavily, you may need to clean your filter every couple of weeks. But don’t just take our word for it. Trust your eyes and nose: if dishes feel grimy, or the machine has a less-than-fresh smell, then you know your filter needs a good cleaning.

What materials do you need?

  • Your dishwasher’s manual
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Sponge (or a soft brush)

Step 1: Remove the filter

  • The dishwasher filter is located at the bottom of your dishwasher, under the dish rack. You will find it either under the spray arm or in the the back corner, but use your dishwasher’s manual if you need additional help finding it.
  • Your filter may be divided into upper and lower parts. If so, turn the upper filter clockwise to dislodge it, then pull it out. Next, remove the lower filter by gently lifting and pulling it out of the slot. Again, your dishwasher’s manual will make this easier.

Step 2: Clean the filter

  • Rinse the dishwasher filter under your sink faucet. This should remove most blockages and food particles.
  • However, hardened food and calcium deposits require a bit more effort to remove. Use a sponge and liquid dish soap to scrub off this final layer. Be gentle! Hard brushes and wires can damage the filter.

Step 3: Replace the filter

  • Reversing the methods in Step 1, replace the filter. If your dishwasher filter is in two parts, replace the lower filter before replacing the upper filter. Make sure the lower filter aligns over the round opening for the upper filter.
  • When inserting the upper filter — or the whole filter if it’s not divided into parts — remember that the filter must be locked into place. Twist it gently until you feel it slides into place. It should not turn freely after it has locked.
  • Double check your filter’s placement before turning on your dishwasher. Nothing should be loose or appear dislodged. A loose filter could damage your dishwasher.

Step 4: Clean your dishes!

  • You’re done! Aren’t you the handy one?


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