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How to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter – 5 Easy Steps

An appliance that cleans is often the last appliance that we remember to clean, and this is evident with the dishwasher. Unfortunately, the dishwasher that cleans our dishes does not simultaneously clean itself, leaving most of the dirt, debris, and bacteria building up in the dishwasher filter and causing our dishes to come out dull, grimy, and still covered with food particles.

If you have found your dishes are not as sparkling-clean as they once were, check your dishwasher filter. Chances are, it needs cleaning, so we are going to tell you exactly how to clean your dishwasher filter in these 5 easy steps.

The only materials you will need to clean your dishwasher filter are some water, soap, and a good scrub brush – that’s it! Cleaning your dishwasher filter has never been easier than these 5 easy steps.

Step 1: Take Out the Bottom Rack

Your dishwasher filter will be located on the bottom floor of your dishwasher. To access it easily, you will want to take out the empty bottom rack so that you can easily reach the filter with nothing in your way.

Simply pull the bottom rack out as if you were unloading the dishwasher. Once it is pulled out all the way, pick the rack up and set it to the side. This will allow you to easily have access to the filter located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Step 2: Unlock the Filter(s)

Each manufacturer of dishwashers locks their filters in place in different ways; however, the concept will be the same. You will need to unlock the filter so that you can remove it from the bottom of the dishwasher.

Some dishwashers have two pieces that make up the filter. There may be a cylinder, as well as a flat filter that is flush with the bottom of the dishwasher. You will need to unlock these filters so that you can remove them from the dishwasher.

There should be arrows indicating which direction to turn the filter to lock and unlock it. Make sure you follow the directions when removing the filters, as taking them out by force can damage the filter, causing them to need to be replaced.

Step 3: Remove the Filter(s)

If your dishwasher has two filters, you will need to remove the filters in order. First, you will need to remove the cylindrical filter by following the directional arrows indicating how to remove it. Then, you will follow by removing the flat filter that is flush with the bottom of the dishwasher by following the directional arrows indicated on that filter as well.

Once you have successfully removed the filters, you will want to place them in a clean sink or bathtub.

Step 4: Wash the Filter(s)

Once the filter(s) have been removed and placed into a sink or bathtub, you will need to clean them with warm water and soap. We recommend using Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, as it cuts through built-up grime, grease, and food particles.

Simply place the filter(s) in a sink or bathtub with warm water and apply a small amount of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid to the filter(s).

Next, you will take a gentle scrub brush, like these Universal Scrub Brushes, to scrub any debris and dirt from the filter(s).

Once you have scrubbed the filter(s) with warm soapy water, you will need to make sure they are rinsed thoroughly. Just run some warm water over the filter(s) to remove any soap suds that have accumulated. Once cleaned, the filter(s) are ready to be placed back into the dishwasher.

Step 5: Place the Filter(s) Back in the Dishwasher and Run a Cleaning Cycle

The cleaned filters are now ready to be placed back into the dishwasher. If there are two filters in your dishwasher, you will need to put them back in the correct order.

The flat filter that is flush with the bottom of the dishwasher will need to go in first. Just as you followed the directions in taking the filter out, you will follow those same directions for installing the filter back in the dishwasher.

Once the first filter has been successfully placed back in the dishwasher, follow that same procedure when installing the second cylindrical filter. Make sure the filters are locked in place before running a cleaning cycle on your dishwasher.

When you can confirm the filters are correctly installed and locked in place, run your dishwasher on a normal cycle to finalize the cleaning process. You should use a dishwasher cleaner such as Affresh by Whirlpool Dishwasher Cleaner Tablets (link to Amazon). These cleaner tablets come in a pack of six, which means you can run six total cleaning cycles with these tablets.

Simply place a tablet in the dishwashing tablet tray with no dishes and start a normal run cycle. This will finalize the cleaning process, not only for the filters but for any scale or buildup that has occurred in your dishwasher.

Pro Tips

  • To keep your filter from building up food, bacteria, and grime, try to pick up any food debris that has fallen during each dishwashing cycle. This will help keep your filter preserved and in good working condition, as well as prevent you from having to perform deep filter cleanings often.
  • Don’t forget about the outside of the dishwasher. If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you will want to clean the outside with a stainless steel cleaner. The best stainless steel cleaner on the market today is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish. Simply spray Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish on any stainless steel surface and wipe with a soft cloth. This will leave your stainless steel appliances clean, streak-free, and polished.

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