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How often should the dishwasher filter be cleaned?

How often should the dishwasher filter be cleaned?

It is not pleasant to open your dishwasher at the end of the washing cycle to find plates or glasses still with some food residues. This situation may be the result of a not well-maintained dishwasher filter whose purpose is to prevent food from recirculating onto dishes after they have been washed with detergent and water.

The dishwasher filter should be free of buildup and unclogged to perform its job. You can notice if you need to clean your dishwasher filter when you can perceive a foul smell coming from it or the dishes come out feeling grainy or have food leftover in them.

Types of Dishwasher Filters

Dishwashers with self-cleaning filters. They are also called hard food disposers. This type of filter poses an integrated grinder that pulverizes food residues the same way a garbage disposal does. After, the crushed leftover gets washed away in the drain. The advantage of this type of self-cleaning filter is that it does not require maintenance by the owner. On the other hand, the downside is that this type of filter is much louder than models with manual filters because of its pulverized food function.

Dishwashers with manual filters The newer models of dishwashers come with a type of filter that requires it to be cleaned manually at least once a month. In some cases, the cleaning can be more frequent depending on the workload and if you have the habit of pre-rinsing your dishes or not. It is good to keep an eye on signals such as funky smells or food stuck in your plates, pots, silverware, or glassware. These will tell you if your filter needs to be changed.

When To Clean Your Dishwasher Filter?

If you have a dishwasher with a self-cleaning filter, the best way to refresh it to keep performing the way it should is by deep cleaning your dishwasher at least once a month. You can use a regular dishwasher cleaner, or if you prefer a more ecologically friendly option, baking soda and distilled white vinegar can get the job done.

Dishwashers with manual-clean filter should be clean at least once a month or, in some cases, more often. The cleaning process is quite simple, it will require only a few minutes, and no special tools or skills are required. It is a task worth executing to keep your dishwasher working at optimal levels.

What Do You Need For Cleaning Your Dishwasher Filter Manually?

To clean the filter of your dishwasher manually, you will need:

How to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter, Step By Step

1. Remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher

This is the first step to locating your dishwasher filter, which is placed on the floor part of the machine. The filter is a cylinder with a mechanism of twist-lock that keeps it in place. You will see arrows in it indicating the direction the cylinder needs to be turned to be able to remove it. Some dishwasher models possess a single cylindrical filter, while others have a secondary lower, flat filter found below the cylindrical one. The flat filter does not lock in place and has a hole in the middle where the cylindrical filter is installed. In this case, you need to remove both pieces to be able to perform the cleaning. No tools are required for this step.

2. Remove the Upper Cylindrical Filter

You do this by twisting the piece in the indicating direction to get it to unlock. In most dishwashers models, the filter unlocks by turning counter-clockwise. However, you should be guided by the arrows indicating the direction. After the filter is unlocked, remove it by pulling it up gently. If there is a lower secondary filter, remove it too.

3. Prepare The Cleaning Solution

By using a bowl or the sink, mix hot water with the dishwasher detergent containing a degreaser. You can add some distilled white vinegar if you like.

4. Soak and Scrub the Filter

Soak the filter in the cleaning solution for a few minutes to allow any debris found in it to loosen up. If you see pieces of food or stuff challenging to get rid of, such as paper labels attached to the filter, grab the old toothbrush, the sponge, or the soft-bristled nylon brush to scrub and leave the filter free of any food particles present.

5. RinseThe Filter Thoroughly

After making sure that there is no food debris in the filter, rinse it off with hot water.

6. Wipe Down the Filter Housing

Also, with a dishcloth or towel soaked in the cleaning solution, examine the area where the dishwasher filter is placed and wipe any food pieces you may find. Give that area a good cleaning.

7. Place The Clean Filter Back Into The Dishwasher

After the filter or filters, in the case of also having a flat filter, had been properly clean and rinsed. If there is a lower flat filter, place that first, followed by the cylindrical one. Then twist the cylinder into the lock position. Make sure that both are correctly secure in their position.

Tips to Maintain Your Dishwasher Filter In Optimal Condition

As you can see, the process of cleaning your dishwasher filter is quick and painless. However, to avoid any future issues, some extra considerations are good to keep in mind, such as:


Keep in mind that your dishwasher, like any other essential appliance in your household, needs proper regular maintenance as a way to prevent later issues that can be costly and disturb your home life. Nothing can be more inconvenient than a dishwasher out of work when you are having family and friends over for a gathering such as your kid's birthday celebration, anniversary dinner, a backyard barbeque to kick off the summer season, and more. Keep your peace of mind knowing that your appliance is up-to-day with its maintenance service.