Is there a weird smell in your kitchen? The odor could be coming from a clogged kitchen sink or your garbage disposal. Or, it could be your dirty dishwasher. Maybe it’s not draining properly. If the dishes coming out of the dishwasher look a bit grimy, it’s definitely the dishwasher filter. So, how to clean the dishwasher filter? 

Cleaning your dishwasher filter regularly is an important part of your home maintenance checklist as it can be the culprit for trapping food particles and mold buildup. The last thing you’ll want is your dishes not getting cleaned properly – leading to a lot of health issues. A dirty dishwasher filter can also slow down your kitchen appliance’s function as it leads to a waste of energy, water, and money.

Regular dishwasher cleaning tackles food debris accumulation and unpleasant odors in the kitchen. 

Read more: Ways to make your house smell wonderful 

What does a dishwasher filter do? 

clean dishwasher filter

A dishwasher filter helps trap food debris, grease, grime, and other residues. What’s more, it helps prevent them from being redeposited onto the dishes. A clogged filter will not fully clean your dishes and will malfunction soon. 

The good news is that it’s easy to know how to clean a dishwasher filter. It’s a DIY project that will just take minutes. But, if your dishwasher has a non-removable filter, it will need to be cleaned with the rest of the machine. Take about a cup of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the bottom of your dishwasher. Run the appliance on the hottest setting. The vinegar will help break down dirt or residues on the filter.

How often should you clean your dishwasher filter?  

If you have an older dishwasher with a self-cleaning filter, you can schedule a thorough cleaning once a month using distilled white vinegar and baking soda or a commercial dishwasher cleaner to refresh it. A manual-clean filter too will need cleaning once a month. You can increase the frequency if you spot bits of food on dishes after washing or if there’s an unpleasant odor.

Keep in mind that both types of filters can be spotted easily. They are located on the machine’s interior floor just under the base of the bottom spray arm. To determine the exact type of filter your appliance has, simply check the model number on the website or the owner’s manual.

Read more: How to choose a dishwasher for your home

What will you require to clean the dishwasher filter?

taking dishwasher filter

You’ll need the following equipment or tools

  • A large sink or bowl
  • Sponge or a dishcloth
  • An old toothbrush or a soft-bristled nylon brush

The materials include:

  • A degreasing dishwashing liquid 
  • Distilled white vinegar 

How to clean dishwasher filter

You’ll need to follow a few steps to clean your dishwasher’s filter.

Locate the filter on your appliance

You’ll find the filter on the inner floor, below the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Move out the rack to expose the bottom filtering area. Most manual filters have arrows indicating which way to turn the cylinder for removal. Some machines may have a secondary flat filter just below the cylinder. It can be easily lifted up by hand.

Remove the filter

As you follow the guideline arrows (it’s generally counter-clockwise), you’ll have to twist the cylindrical filter to unlock it. Simply pull it up gently and remove the second flat filter, if any.

Prepare a dishwasher cleaning solution

Fill a large bowl with hot water and dish soap. Make sure it contains a degreaser.

Soak, scrub, and rinse the filter

Soak the filter(s) in the cleaning solution for a few minutes. It will loosen any food debris, bits of paper labels, or other residues. Gently scrub it with an old toothbrush, a soft brush, or a sponge. Rinse the filter under running water.

Wipe the filter housing

Using a sponge or a dishcloth and some hot soapy water, wipe down the filter area, the racks, and the spray arms to get rid of any food particles or grease build-up.

Replace the filter

Replace the flat filter first and then the cylindrical upper filter and lock it securely in place. Rotate the spray arms a bit to ensure there’s no blockage. These should move smoothly.

Preventive measures to maintain your dishwasher filters

filter for dishwasher

If you want to ensure that the filter stays cleaner for a long time, follow a few steps regularly.

  • Scrape and rinse any excess food from the plates, pots, and pans before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Run a cleaning cycle once a month to prevent any greasy build-up. 
  • Remember to remove and clean the dishwasher filter every month. If you religiously follow the scraping and rinsing of dishes before loading, you may need less frequent cleaning.

Last thoughts

If your dishwasher has a filter that needs manual cleaning, make sure you do so once a month without fail. It will not just optimize your appliance’s performance, but it will also keep your dishes clean and germ-free. You need to stay on top of your filter cleaning by sticking to a maintenance schedule. We hope this guide will help you understand your dishwasher filter, how to clean it, and how to maintain it.

Learn how to clean dishwasher filter in minutes was last modified: December 1st, 2022 by Ramona Sinha
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