Miss having a pristine pool with clean, clear water? Want to go in for a dip without having to see bugs floating all around? All you need to do is clean the pool filter!
Maintaining a pool can be very costly. However, you can keep these costs at a minimum by taking out some time every few months to attend to the pool filter.
Vigilance is also key to ensuring you tend to your pool when needed. You should know the pool’s PSI or “Pounds per Square Inch (pressure)” level to gauge how your pool is doing. Another easy way of keeping track of your pool’s hygiene is by simply looking at the water. If the water is murky or cloudy or has debris or bugs floating around, it’s time you cleaned the filter.
If you are new to pool maintenance, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This guide will give you a holistic debrief on how to clean pool filter properly.
Pool Filter Cleaning 101: Determine Filter Type
There are many types of pool filters out there, and depending on the type you use, the cleaning method also differs. The whole thing can seem a bit complicated at first but fret not. All you need is some time and a bit of handy equipment.
So to start off, identify what system you have and make sure you have the right equipment for it. Then follow the related guide to ensure you carry out all the steps. Once you are done with this, there will be nothing standing between you and your friends having a great time in your pool.
Cleaning a Cartridge Pool Filter
Cartridge pool filters are pretty easy to maintain. You basically just pull out the filter, clean it, and put it back in. If your filter is really filthy, cleaning will be a little harder and take up a little more time than expected. Just know that it could take up to a day to get the whole thing sorted, so make sure you plan accordingly.
And don’t slack on this because no one likes a pool party without a usable pool.
Equipment You Will Need
- A hose
- Big bucket
- Spray nozzle
- Lubricant (non-petroleum jelly based)
- O ring (you might need to replace it)
- O ring lubricant
- Filter cleaner
- Filter cartridges (you might need to replace it)
- Rubber Mallet
- Owner’s manual
How to Clean a Cartridge Filter
- Turn off your pump breaker and the pool’s filter system. Make sure to wear rubber gloves, so you don’t risk getting electrocuted.
- Then, open the relief valve. This is usually located at the top of the filter. Open it slowly so that you can remove any extra trapped air from the filter.
- Unclamp or unlatch the filter. Basically, remove the clips holding the cartridge filter down. Then take off the lid of the filter and remove the cartridge carefully.
- Inspect the cartridge. Check if it is torn or cracked. If it appears worn, you need to replace it. If it looks significantly damaged, here again, you should consider replacing it; This will ensure a more effective pool system.
- Hose down the cartridge. You could attach the spray nozzle to your garden hose and rinse your cartridge. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny.
- Clean the filter using a filter cleaner if your cartridge is very dirty. To do this, you could fill up a large bucket with the filter cleaner and water (check the filter cleaner’s instructions) and put the cartridge in. Make sure it is completely soaked and leave it overnight.
- Check the O-ring. If it looks okay, put on some ring lubricant. If it has dry rot, replace it.
- After it’s done soaking, remove the cartridge. Rinse it, place it back in, put the top back on, and re-secure it.
- Finally, turn the pool system on. Open the relief valve; once you see a steady stream of water, you are good to go. Check if the system pressure is within normal range.
- Also, make sure to check if the PSI is in the normal range. If it isn’t, then try readjusting your filter.
Cleaning a Sand Pool Filter
Cleaning a sand filter is a pretty straightforward task. Sand filters don’t take much time to clean, and they are easy to maintain.
- Cleans sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth filters
- Improves filter efficiency
- Cuts away grease, body oils, mineral deposits, scale and suntan lotion
Usually, they need to be cleaned twice a year for optimum performance. However, if you notice cloudy water or a PSI level way over range, this should tell you that your sand filters need to be cleaned right away.
Equipment You Will Need
- Backwash hose
- Sand filter cleaner
- Owner’s manual
How to Clean a Sand Filter
- Turn off your pump, along with closing off any valve in front of the pump.
- Remove the pump’s strainer lid. Add the sand filter cleaner to the pool’s skimmer. Then replace the lid and turn on the pump for a few minutes so that the water flows through the system.
- Turn off the pump again and leave it with the filter cleaner overnight.
- Backwash again to remove dirt. Then you can turn your pool systems back on.
- Check the pressure gauge. Change the sand if the filter pressure is at the normal operating level and the water is clean. If it works, that’s great! You can now enjoy the pool water.
- If the PSI level is over ten units above the normal range or the water is still murky, you will have to replace the sand in the filter.
Cleaning a D.E. Pool Filter
D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) filters should be cleaned around once a month. There are three cleaning methods, depending on the amount of dirt that has accumulated.
Firstly, there is the manual method if the dirt is minimal. Where, for the second and third methods, you can use pool chemicals like D.E. powder and muriatic acid, respectively, based on how excessive the clogging is.
Equipment You Will Need
- Backwash hose
- A hose
- Spray nozzle
- D.E. filter cleaner
- O-ring lubricant
- Big bucket
- Muriatic acid (for acid method)
- Safety goggles (for acid method)
- Chemical resistant gloves (for acid method)
- D.E. Powder (for powder method)
- All-natural filtering media for de swimming pool filters
- Designed for use in above ground and in ground de filter systems
- High-grade de filter powder can filter down to 3-5 microns
How to Clean a D.E. Filter Manually
Cleaning a D.E. Filter manually is pretty easy – probably the easiest out of all the methods. The only thing is, this method can be used in cases where there is limited dirt pile up. However, if you do this regularly, you can save yourself a lot of time and money, and you wouldn’t need to resort to advanced cleaning methods. Here are the steps:
- Backwash the area and the filter for 5 minutes. Then turn off the pump and open the relief valve and release excess air.
- Turn on the drain and let the water out from the filter tank.
- Open the clamps or latches of the filter and remove the top.
- Remove the filter and take out the grids from the manifold. Use the garden hose to rinse the tank thoroughly. Clean out the manifold using your hose with a spray nozzle attached.
- If the filter is very dirty, use D.E. filter cleaner. See the product instructions to determine the ratio to put in with water. Subsequently, soak in the mixture overnight. Once done, rinse the filter again to remove the cleaner.
- Place the grids back into the manifold. Then close the filter lid and put the clasps on.
- Finally, turn your pump and filter systems back on, and you’re done.
How to Clean a D.E. Filter With Muriatic Acid
Warning: Muriatic acid is dangerous and should be used cautiously. Make sure you do not get any on your skin, especially close to the eyes. Also, it is not recommended to use this method often – once a year at most. Muriatic acid can damage both you and your pool filter if used without caution or excessively.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Backwash the area and the filter for 5 minutes. Then turn the pump and the filtration system off.
- After that, open the air relief valve to remove the air. Open the drain plug and let the water out from the filter tank. Similarly, open the clamps or latches of the filter.
- Carefully remove the filter and take out the filter grids from the manifold. Use the garden hose to rinse the tank thoroughly. Clean out the manifold using your garden hose with a spray nozzle attached.
- Wear clothes that cover all your skin. Put on your safety goggles and chemical-resistant gloves.
- Mix muriatic acid with water in a big bucket and distribute evenly. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the right quantity. Submerge the manifold into the solution and leave it overnight.
- Later, take out the manifold and rinse it off with the garden hose. Make sure the filter is chemically clean. Put the filter grids back in their place and secure the clasps or latches.
- Turn on the pool’s pump and filter system. Open the air relief valve until the water pours out in a steady stream.
- Leave the pump on for about half an hour, so the swimming pool water circulates. Now you can finally jump in.
How to Clean a D.E. Filter With D.E. Powder
D.E. Powder is sort of midway between the manual and the acid method. It does not take too much time, so this is the way to go if there’s a fair amount of dirt piled up and you are in a rush!
Here are the steps to take:
- Add D.E. powder to water until you get a creamy solution. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for amounts. Add the diluted solution to the pool skimmer.
- Open the filter tank and add the water into it, subsequently letting it run through.
- Leave for half an hour so that it is properly distributed and you are done.
- Take out the O-ring and lubricate it. If the ring looks worn out, you might even have to replace it.
- Put back all the filter parts and secure the filter top. Keep the air relief valve open and let the excess air out of the filter.
- Turn on the pool’s pump and the air relief valve until a steady stream of water flows from the valve.
How to Clean Filters Using Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a product that effectively cleans extremely dirty pools with heavy soils or grease. Despite its strength, the formula is made in a manner that does not harm the delicate pool filters.
- Simple Green club pack includes 140 oz. with a 32 oz. spray bottle
- Concentrated formula
- Safe, non-toxic cleaner
The product is also environmentally friendly, as it is biodegradable. Not only can you help protect the planet, but you will also make sure you are safe, as this is not an acid that requires protective gear. All in all, Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner makes pool cleaning easy and safe.
Here are the steps to take when using it:
- Turn off the pool pump and the filtration system, and then open the air relief valve. Do this slowly so that you can remove the extra air from the filter. Open the drain plug and let out the water from the filter tank.
- Open the clamps or latches of the filter, and take out the filters and place them on a flat surface.
- Mix Simple Green Solution into some water. Do this by filling out a spray bottle with about 2.5 cups of water and a quarter cup of the Solution. If your filter is very dirty and requires a stronger, cleaner mixture, go ahead and make the ratio 1:1.
- Soak the filters in the solution and let them sit for around 10 minutes. Use the Simple Green Solution Spray both inside and outside the manifold. Once this is done, rinse it with a garden hose, also clean the filter housing.
- Very carefully scrub the filters with a soft-bristled brush. Take care not to damage the filters. You will notice some foam on the filters; use it to help scrub. Once you’re done with the solution, rinse the filters with the garden hose.
- Check the O-ring. If it looks okay, put on some O-ring lubricant. If it has dry rot, it’s time to replace it.
- Put the clean filters back into the filter housing. Replace the lid and put on the latches or clasps.
- Turn on your filter system and pool pump to check the system pressure gauge. If it is above the desired range, you may have inserted the filter incorrectly.
- Rinse any areas where you used Simple Green thoroughly.
And you’re done!
So, Did You Learn How to Clean a Pool Filter?
We hope that after you have read this guide, you are well aware of how to clean a pool filter. Once you try it a few times, you will find the process pretty easy, so don’t stress it if you find the process a little complicated the first time!
No matter what type of filter you have, keep your equipment around and be ready to clean out the filter when needed. This will ensure your safety and the safety of the people using your pool.
Keep your pool’s filters clean so that your pool offers its optimum potential. This will also save you a few bucks in the long run. Finally, our key takeaway for you would be to keep those PSI levels in check!
For over 15 years, Sean Moore has been sharing his love and enthusiasm for swimming pools and hot tubs with everyone he knows. His goal is to help everyday people DIY their maintenance to save money by teaching how to properly take care of your equipment, safely and correctly balance chemicals, and extend the life of your water oasis.
Pricing on this page was last updated on 2022-10-01