How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter (in 4 Steps)

Fred's Appliance
March 7, 2022
Dishwasher Repair

Your dishwasher filter is there to pick up loose debris, grease, and grime during wash cycles. To keep it from starting to smell and overflowing, it needs to be cleaned regularly. 

While some dishwashers have self-cleaning filters, most don’t so you’ll need to do it manually. If you’re not sure if your dishwasher has a self-cleaning filter, check your user manual.

To keep your filter nice and clean, it’s recommended that you clean it out at least once a month and more frequently if you use your dishwasher a lot. Thankfully, it only takes a few minutes. In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to clean the filter. All you need are a few common household products like a brush and detergent.

Step 1 – Take the bottom rack out

Start by opening the dishwasher door and removing the lower rack. This is required to give you access to the dishwasher filter. If your dishwasher has a cover at the bottom of it, it will need to be removed as well. These aren’t usually screwed in, so can just be pulled out.

Step 2 – Remove the dishwasher filter

Now that the rack and cover have been removed, you should be able to access the filter. To remove the filter, you need to grab hold of it and turn it to unlock it. It should then be able to be removed. Some dishwasher models have a cover over the filter that needs to be removed first. Once the filer has been removed it’s time to give it a good clean.

Step 3 – Wash the dishwasher filter

The best way to clean the filter is to place it in your kitchen sink in hot soapy water. If the filter is especially dirty, leave it to soak for a few minutes. To clean the filter, grab a brush and give it a quick scrub and then rinse it under hot water to get out any loose debris and to wash the soap off. Make sure you use a light brush to clean it as wire brushes can damage the filter. If your dishwasher has a filter cover give this a good clean too, and then rinse off any soap suds.

Step 4 – Put the filter back into the dishwasher

Once the filter has been cleaned, place it back into your dishwasher. You don’t need to let it dry, just make sure all the soap suds have been washed off. Place the filter into position and screw it back into position. If your dishwasher had a cover, place this back into position as well. You can now put the lower cover back into your dishwasher and the racks you removed earlier. And that’s it, your filter is now clean and your dishwasher ready to use again.

Tips to keep your dishwasher clean

If you’re cleaning your dishwasher filter you can also give your machine a good clean while you’re doing it to ensure your dishes come out from every wash spick and span. If you use your dishwasher quite frequently, give it a good clean once a month if possible and every couple of months if you don’t use it that often.

Here are a few tips for how to clean your dishwasher.

  1. Start by removing any large food debris in your dishwasher.
  2. Use hot soapy water to clean the inside of the dishwasher and then wipe off the soap. For a natural cleaning, alternative use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda.
  3. Clean the door gaskets with a cloth or small brush. Make sure you get right into them as they often get moisture in them which can cause mold and grime to develop.
  4. Take out the racks and give them a quick scrub and then rinse them off before placing them back into the dishwasher.
  5. To give your dishwasher a thorough clean, place soap or a tablet into the detergent drawer and one at the bottom of your dishwasher, and then turn your dishwasher to a wash cycle without any dishes in it. This can be done before or after you clean the filter, just make sure it’s in the dishwasher when you turn it on.
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