How To Clean A Pool Filter And the 1 Shocking Fact About Them

If you've already picked and purchased the best pool filter then you're going to want to learn how to properly maintain it.

Learning how to clean a pool filter is relatively easy and doesn’t require too much time, but it still helps to understand the best way to clean them.

We put together the exact steps and action items needed to clean your pool filter and the 1 thing that will surprise you about cleaning your pool filters.

Below we break down the individual steps. However, If you'd rather watch a video then check out this helpful one video:

1. Check the Pressure

Pool Pressure Gauge

Pressure Gauge

Pool Pressure GaugeBefore you actually clean the pool filter you’ll want to check the pressure to see if it’s even ready to be cleaned. You’ll want to look at the pressure gauge and flow meter and then take the difference.
If the difference is more than 10 to 15 pounds (4.5 to 6.8kg) per square inch, then it’s ready to be cleaned. If it isn’t just check back in another month.

If you use high quality pool covers then you can check back less frequently since they help reduce the debris in your pool, thus reducing pressure build up.

2. Turn off the Pool Pump

You're going to want to turn this off to get rid of the water flow going between the pool and your filter. You'll want to do this before working with any heavy duty pool equipment. Otherwise, you'll have wished you did.

3. Reduce Pressure

You'll want to get rid of the existing pressure build up in the system to avoid any hazardous situations. Although the way to do this for each system is different, turning the air relief valve counter clock wise should do the trick.

As the pressure gauge gets to zero there may be some water that squirts out. Don't worry, it's natural and you shouldn't be alarmed. If it doesn't happen don't worry about that - that's fine as well.

4. Remove/Access the Filter

Here is where things get less clear because the instructions can vary quite a bit. We'll help you out by providing instructions for  the most popular version of this step - just remember which one you follow depends on the pool filter brand and make that you have.

Locking Knob on Pool Filter FiverLocking Knob on Pool Filter FiverMost people have a pool filter cover protecting their filter. To take it off identify the locking knob that’s probably on top and turn it counter clock wise.

Once it’s turned all the way, just lift the head off the pool filter and you’ll see the actual filter. If it’s the first time it’s been opened then it may be a little tough to take off. This is natural as the original seal is still intact.

Just lift the head up and the seal will break, allowing you to fully take the swimming pool filter head off. Then take the filter out.

Check the filter to see if it is damaged by looking for damage to the plastic, pleats, or hosing. You’ll want to replace the pool filter even if there is just a small tear.

5. Cleaning the Filter

How to Clean a Pool Filter

Hosing Down a Pool Filter

You’ll want to soak the filter in water for a 2-3 hours (consult your manual for how long). Depending on the type of filter you have you’ll have one of 2 options.

1. Simply wipe it down / hose it off. This is what your usual cleaning will require because you’ll be able to get almost everything off. However, you  don’t want it squeaky clean – you’ll actually just want to do a partial clean.

Not sure why? Check the below section “The 1 Surprising Thing” to learn why.

Eventually most filters will require cleaning method #2 at some point.

2. Use chemicals - sometimes your filter will get  mineral deposits like calcium on it which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the pump. Research what kind of filter you have to find the appropriate chemicals, then soak it in them overnight. 

After they are soaked you just rinse them in water, wipe them off and voila!  You have a sparking clean pool filter. Keep in mind this step (#2) is not what you do most of the time.

If you find yourself needing to clean the filter about 1-2 times a month because of the pressure build up then you should use chemicals to get rid of the mineral deposits.

6. ​Putting it Back, Turn it on

Now that it’s all nice and clean just make sure you put it back carefully without damaging it. Sometimes people put it back after cleaning their pool filter but damage it by placing it too harshly back in.

Tightening the Pool Filter CoverTightening the Pool Filter CoverAlso, Be sure to take your time in putting the cover back on and tightening the knobs so that it is stored properly or else it could be damaged.

After you’re sure everything was put back properly turn your pumps back on and witness the power of a much cleaner pool filter!

The 1 Surprising Thing

Unlike almost anything else you don't want to keep your pool filter perfectly clean. Constant cleaning can wear it down and require you to purchase more pool filters than you need to.

Additionally, you actually WANT your swimming pool filters to be slightly dirty. This is because it will trap the debris in the water better and serve as a better filter. So, like we mentioned, don't clean your pool filter as best as possible.

While using chemicals will get rid of everything on your pool filter that is good because you want to get rid of the deposits. However, most of the time when you are just soaking it in water and wiping the debris off, make sure to leave it a little dirty so it can do a good job of filtering sediment and bugs from your pool.

Conclusion

We aren't able to cover how to clean every filter, but as long as you follow these general steps, consult your manual, and apply these easy concepts you'll be able to properly clean your pool filter without a pool man.

If you have any questions about how to clean a pool filter then let us know in the comments!​

Laurie S.

As a multi home owner for 15 years I've tried out a ton of pool products and methods and have found out the best ones that work for me. I love helping out other people with real, honest advice and spending time with my family. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me in the about or through a comment.

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