How To Clean A Pool Filter

Beginner Info, Pool

how to clean a pool filter
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So, let’s find out the easiest way to clean a pool filter.

Well, in this post, I would be talking about the nuts & bolts of how to clean all types of filters quickly and effortlessly.

Moreover, I would be responding to queries related to the cleaning of a pool filter.

Frankly speaking, one of the things that I’ve inculcated in my daily routine is to take care of pool maintenance in a proper and efficient way without fail.

I totally believe in the age-old proverb, prevention is better than cure, and acts accordingly.

Daily maintenance of my pool helps me in preventing the accumulation of both organic and inorganic debris as well as keeping the algae spores and specks of dust at bay.

In simple terms, I don’t want or love pain in my butt.

Needless to say, as a pool owner, one of your main jobs should be to keep the water safe and clean for swimming.

Also, you need to ensure that any sort of accident can be prevented.

In short, a pool owner needs to be involved in loads and loads of daily maintenance tasks which can be time-consuming as well as tedious.

However, with the help of an effective pool pump and pool filter, you can get rid of a lot of burdens that would otherwise kill a good lumpsum time of yours.

Reasons to Clean a Pool Filter

A pool filter is definitely an important ingredient in your pool ecosystem.

The main function of a pool filter is to keep your pool water safe and germ-free, and so it becomes extremely important that the filter is functioning properly.

However, keeping your filter clean and healthy can help you in more than one way.

A clean filter can improve the lifespan of your pool filtration system.

Moreover, when the filter is clean and expediting the filtration process effectively then your pump will refrain from working for a continuous longer duration.

A good filter system would also help you to save on pool chemicals.

In fact, if your system is working well then you don’t have to keep adding chemicals in order to keep your pool water crystal clear and clean.

Types of Pool Filters

As a newbie, it is really important for you to have a good idea about the types of pool filters so that you can make an informed decision.

Mainly, there are three types of pool filters, that is, sand, DE, and cartridge.

All three filters are good in their own sense, and depending on your requirement and budget, you can select any one of them.

Let’s have a quick look at each of them.

Sand Filters

Many of you wouldn’t be aware of the fact that sand filters are the oldest among the three.

They are not only very popular but also readily available.

The sand filter works in a unique way, indeed.

A sand filter comprises small grains and when the pool water passes through it, the debris is filtered out.

It is capable of filtering out particles as small as 20-40 microns.

It would be wrong to say that sand filters are the most efficient on the market but at the same time, they are good enough for the job to be done.

Not only are they less expensive but also easy to maintain.

Once you’re done with the filtration process, you need to clean these filters on a regular basis.

Trust me, the cleaning process isn’t tedious or time-consuming.

If you want to clean these filters, all you need to do is to run a backwash cycle that cleans the buildup off the sand.

Definitely, after a couple of years, you’ll have to replace the sand when it becomes too dirty.

DE Filters

DE filters have derived their name from the substance named diatomaceous earth.

Moreover, DE is a substance made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms.

The DE filter is coated with this substance in the form of a finger or little grids.

Finger-like structure grabs leaves and other organic debris when the pool water passes through the DE filter.

Well, if you’re looking for the most efficient filters then definitely you should opt for D.E. filters.

These filters are capable of removing particles as small as 2 to 3 microns in dimension.

In other words, pools with D.E. filters are the cleanest among all the pools as long as the maintenance task is expedited on a regular basis.

In the context of maintenance, the D.E. filters might not be the preferred choice as they would be consuming relatively more time.

Along with backwashing them regularly, you would also have to add replacement D.E. powder every time post the filtration process.

Not only that but also, you need to take out the filter and clean it manually so that all those little grids can be taken care of.

Cartridge Filters

These filters come with disposable cartridges that are used to filter the pool water as it passes through them.

The disposable cartridge is made with pleated spun polyester.

Furthermore, the fabric is capable of trapping debris as small as 5-25 microns so you can expect the water to be clean, safe, and free from debris.

In terms of efficiency, the cartridge filter falls in between the sand filter and the D.E. filter.

Because of its easy and low-cost maintenance, the cartridge filter is quite popular among pool owners.

All you need to do is to take these filters out and rinse them off thoroughly twice a year, and you’re done.

And, when the filter becomes too dirty just replace it with a new one.

Needless to say, the cartridge filters are very economical as they would cost you somewhere in the range of $30 to $100.

And, these filters have a great lifespan and can last up to 5 years.

How often should a pool filter be cleaned?

Well, each type of filter is a little bit different, but whichever type of filter you’re using for your pool, it is important that you can do it once a month for the proper functioning of the filtration system.

On the other hand, if your pool has a huge number of footfalls on a regular basis then definitely, you need to clean it on a more frequent basis to keep algae, organic debris, and sediments at bay.

It’s good to clean these filters on a regular basis.

However, there are certain indicators that you must look for in order to know the correct time when it becomes imperative to clean these filters.

In fact, a pressure gauge is an important parameter that you need to pay close attention to.

The normal pressure for a pool pump is around 10 PSI.

When it becomes higher than this landmark then you need to pay close attention and expedite the cleaning process as soon as possible to prevent any last-hour misadventure.

On the other hand, if the pressure becomes too low then there is some blockage and so it is your responsibility to do the needful.

How to clean a cartridge pool filter?

So, here comes an important question, how to clean a cartridge pool filter, right?

Before we discuss the cleaning process, you need to be ready with the supplies.

  • Garden hose
  • High-pressure nozzle
  • Filter cleaner
  • Five-gallon bucket

As I’ve said earlier also that cartridge filters are the easiest to clean so it shouldn’t take much of your time at all.

Let’s have a quick look at the steps that you need to follow.

  • Turn off your pool pump
  • Let the air out of the pump by slowly opening the air valve
  • Moving further, you need to disconnect the filter and remove the top of it
  • Once you’re done with the aforementioned steps, all you need to do is to remove the cartridge and check for tears and holes
  • Spray the cartridge down with your nozzle attached to the hose
  • Ensure to get in between all the pleats and remove all the debris
  • Moreover, you can also try a filter cleaner
  • The process involves usually mixing with water in a bucket so that the filter can soak overnight
  • Then, remove them from the bucket and rinse thoroughly with your high-pressure nozzle
  • Lastly, you need to replace the filter and all the fittings and then turn on your pump

How to clean a sand pool filter?

Cleaning a sand pool filter includes processes such as backwashing which might seem a tedious and time-consuming task at first sight but in the real sense, it’s just a different setting on your filter.

In the name of supplies, all you need is a pool hose, that’s all.

Let’s follow the below steps so that cleaning your sand pool filter can be done quickly and easily.

  • Turn the pump off
  • Attach the pool hose, to the backwash port on the sand filter
  • Now, you need to select “backwash” on the multiport valve handle
  • Turn the pump back on and allow the water to rush out of the backwash port
  • And, through the backwash hose for a couple of minutes or until the water in sight glass runs clear
  • Once done with the aforementioned step, you need to turn off the pump again, and set the multiport filter valve to “rinse”
  • Again, turn on the pump and allow it to run for 60 seconds
  • Lastly, switch off the pump and return to the normal setting, that is, the filter

How can I clean a D.E. filter?

As discussed earlier also, cleaning a D.E. filter can be quite tricky at times, so you need to be well aware of the steps and supplies for the optimum output.


  • Pool hose
  • Garden hose
  • High-pressure nozzle
  • D.E. powder
  • D.E. scoop


  • First and foremost, you need to backwash your filter, and for this, you need to follow the instructions that I’ve mentioned for cleaning a sand filter
  • In the next step, ensure that the pump is turned off and open the air relief valve
  • Before you disassemble the D.E. filter, you need to remove the drain plug and let the water out of the tank
  • Disassemble the D.E. filter as per your manufacturer’s instructions
  • Now, you need to take out each grid or “finger” of your filter
  • In the next step, you need to use a garden hose and high-pressure nozzle to flush out all the D.E the filter
  • Rinse off the tank
  • Place the grids back inside the filter
  • This is a crucial step as you need to prime the pump by allowing a limited amount of water to fill the strainer basket
  • The lid needs to be replaced and tightening of bolts or clamps needs to be done
  • Lastly, you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for adding D.E. powder to your filter


As promised to you, I would be responding to the queries related to pool filter cleaning so that you can make an informed decision.

In case, you also have any queries related to pool filter cleaning then feel free to mail us your question, our team would be more than happy to help you clear your doubt.

How can I clean a large pool filter?

Whether you’re cleaning a small-size pool filter or its larger version, the step involves remains the same.

In case, you’re cleaning a larger pool filter, it might require a bit more time.

How do you flush a pool filter?

Well, quite a few of my clients call backwashing “flushing”, and there isn’t anything wrong with that as you’re flushing the debris from the filter medium.

Below are the steps that you can expedite for backwashing:

  • First and foremost, you need to turn off the pump
  • Now, you need to attach the pool hose, to the backwash port on the sand filter
  • Select “backwash” on the multiport valve handle
  • Moving further, turn the pump back on and allow the water to rush out of the backwash port and through the backwash hose for a couple of minutes or until the water in the sight glass runs clear
  • Turn the pump off again and set the multiport filter valve to “rinse”
  • Turn the pump on again and allow it to run for about a minute
  • Finally, switch the pump back off and return to its normal setting. (usually “filter”)

What do you soak your filter in?

You can use a cleaner that is specifically made for pool filters when they need soaking.

However, you can also try quite a few homemade solutions that you can use such as dish soap, vinegar, or even trisodium phosphate.

How can I clean a Hayward or Pentair pool filter?

These manufacturers are well known for their high-quality products.

They recommend deep cleaning of their filters at least once a year.

You can find quite a few tutorials on Hayward and Pentair pool filter cleaning available on youtube.

What else can I use to clean a pool filter?

Well, there are so many things that you can use to clean a pool filter including dish soap, vinegar, trisodium phosphate (TSP), and bleach.

But, before using them, ensure that they are fixed in an adequate proportion so that you can achieve an optimum result.

I prefer mixing them in a 3:1 ratio, that is, 3 parts of water and 1 part of the cleaning agent.

However, if you’re dealing with extremely dirty filters then definitely, you can use a solution of muriatic acid.

In case, algae have invaded your pool or there is a huge calcium buildup, muriatic acid would do the needful for you.

It’s A Wrap

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for being with us till the end.

Moreover, I along with my team have put loads and loads of effort to come up with this idiosyncratic comprehensive guide so that you can make an informed decision.

We’re very happy that now you’re well equipped with all the necessary information required to keep your filter clean as well as function well.

Last but not least, share this piece of information with the ones who are in need of it.

After all, sharing is caring, isn’t it?

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