how to clean a pool filterSwimming has been around since the Stone Age. There have been cave paintings found in Egypt that depict swimmers. Greek mythology also refers to swimming.

But it wasn’t until the 19th century that swimming became widely practiced. Back then, most swimmers used the breaststroke.

In 2015, the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance reported that 5,139,990 homes owned an in-ground pool. There were 3,394,565 above ground pools as well.

Cleaning your pool is a vital part of pool maintenance. While it’s important to clean out debris and keep the pH balance correct, you should also clean out your filter.

If you’re wondering how to clean a pool filter, keep reading. We’re sharing everything you need to know.

Why You Need To Clean Your Pool Filter

Keeping your swimming pool filtration system operating well is important, especially if you live in a warmer climate where you can enjoy your pool year-round.

Even if you need to winterize your pool because you live in a colder climate, seasonally cleaning your pool filter has tons of benefits, such as:

  • Clean water
  • Healthy water
  • Reduced stress on pool equipment
  • More energy efficient

Your pool pump and filtration system will also last longer when maintained properly.

A Cloudy Pool is a Dirty Pool

Unfortunately, one in five adults still urinate in pools, and 70% of us aren’t showering before we hop in the pool. The result is a dirty pool.

Dirty pools are bad for your health. They can negatively affect our health. Filters help maintain pools so they’re healthy and sanitary.

The filter removes unwanted dirt, oils, calcium, and debris, but the filter can’t clean itself.

Hire an Expert or DIY

You can choose to either hire an expert pool cleaner or do it yourself. There are pros and cons to each choice.

Pros of DIY

One of the biggest benefits of cleaning pool filter yourself is maintaining control over the following:

  • Cleaning schedule
  • Chemicals used
  • When it’s time to replace filters
  • Costs

Cons of DIY

There are a few downsides as well, such as:

  • Learning how to understand how your pool works
  • Having to learn what parts and solutions you need
  • Remembering to schedule regular cleanings

It’s up to you if you want to take the time to learn how to do it yourself.

Pros of Hiring an Expert

Hiring a professional means:

Cons of Hiring an Expert

The downsides to hiring a professional are:

  • It’s more expensive
  • You may need to search to find a reliable pool technician

Learning how to clean a pool filter can help you decide if it’s worth the time for you to do it yourself, or if it’s worth the extra money to hire someone else.

How to Clean A Pool Filter

How you clean your pool filter depends on whether you have a cartridge, sand, or diatomaceous earth pool filter. Each type of pool filter has its own distinct proper cleaning method.

No matter what type of pool filter you have, you need the proper equipment.

Cleaning a Cartridge Pool Filter

Here’s what you’ll need to clean a cartridge pool filter:

  • Filter cleaner
  • Garden Hose
  • Lubricant
  • Owner’s manual
  • 5-gallon bucket

You may want to have a replacement O-Ring and filter cartridge handy in case you need it. Start by shutting off the pool pump and filter system.

Next, turn the air relief valve slowly to remove any air from the system. The air relief valve is typically on top of the filter.

Remove latching mechanisms, such as the clamps that hold the filter together. Remove the top of the filter.

Remove the Filter and Check for Signs of Damage

Next, carefully remove the filter and set it aside. Check for signs of wear and damage and replace the cartridge if needed.

If it’s still in good condition, clean it by spraying it down using your garden hose. Make sure to get between the pleats.

Use filter cleaner for dirty cartridges. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If it’s still dirty, soak the cartridge in filter cleaner overnight in your 5-gallon bucket. Cover the cartridge with water and cleaner mixture.

Check the O-Ring

Check the O-ring. If it’s in good shape, lightly apply some lubricant. If it’s worn out or rotted, replace it.

Thoroughly rinse the cartridge. Replace the filter top and close the clamps. It’s now safe to turn back on the system. Don’t forget to open the air relief valve to release excess air.

Keep the valve open until you see a steady stream of water spraying from it. Last, check the system pressure to ensure it’s within the normal range. If you notice the pounds per square inch (PSI) is off, troubleshoot the pool filter until you identify and correct the issue.

Cleaning a Sand Pool Filter

You’ll need the following supplies before you can begin:

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Owner’s manual

Begin by backwashing the filter for three to five minutes to remove all debris. Next, shut the pump off and turn the valve to filter.

Take off the pump’s strainer lid. Then pour sand filter cleaner into the strainer basket and replace the lid.

Let it Sit Overnight or for Eight Hours

Turn the pump back on for 15 seconds so that the cleaner goes from the pump to the filter. Turn the pump back off for at least eight hours.

The next morning, backwash the filter for three to five minutes to remove any additional dirt and debris. When finished, you can turn the filter system back on.

Cleaning a DE Pool Filter

Here are the supplies you need to gather before you begin:

  • DE filter cleaner
  • Diatomaceous earth powder
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Lubricant
  • Garden hose
  • Backwash hose
  • Owner’s manual

You may also want to use muriatic acid, but make sure you wear safety goggles and chemical resistant gloves.

Begin Cleaning Your DE Filter

These instructions are easier and less dangerous to follow. Begin by backwashing the filter for three to five minutes to remove any debris.

Then turn off the pump and open the air relief valve. Next, remove the drain plug and let the water drain out of the filter tank.

Remove Clamps and Filter Manifold

Remove clamps or other latching mechanisms that hold the filter together and open the filter tank. Remove the filter manifold and take out all the grids.

Rinse out the tank using your garden hose. Clean the manifold by using the spray nozzle on your garden hose, making sure that you flush away all debris in the grids.

Use DE Filter Cleaner if the Manifold is Dirty

For a dirty manifold, use the DE filter cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do so properly. If the manifold is still dirty, try soaking it overnight in a muriatic solution.

Once cleaned, use your garden hose to rinse out the filter grids. Make sure you flush out all the debris, including any DE powder.

Place the grids back on the filter tank. Next, add DE powder to the filter. To determine how much DE powder you will need, refer to your owner’s manual.

Prime the Pump

Next, prime the pool’s pump and remove the strainer basket lid. Fill the basket with water, and let some water run through the incoming line.

Put some lubricant on the O-ring inside your tank. When finished, replace the filter lid and tighten the clamps until secure.

Run the Pool Pump for 30 Minutes

You can now turn the pool pump back on. When the water begins coming out, close the air relief valve. Mix the DE powder with water to make a slurry, which is a thin, creamy solution.

Check to ensure that the pump is running and then pour the slurry into your pool skimmer. You’ll want to run the pool pump for approximately 30 minutes to let the DE distribute itself over the filter grids.

How Often You Should Clean Your Pool Filter

Thankfully, there’s no need to guess when it comes to deciding when to clean your pool filter. You can easily tell by taking a look at your cartridge’s filter gauge.

Clean the filter when the pressure increases by eight to 10 PSI over the pressure that’s initially measured with a pool filter. Most gauges come with two arrows that tell you when it’s time to clean.

Make sure that you properly configure the gauge upon installation so that it works accurately. You could over-size your cartridge filter if you want to clean it less often.

Other Cleaning Options

If your cartridge filter is undersized or the pool is dirty, try installing pool skimmer socks. You can also hose down the cartridges without using chemicals every couple of weeks or months, depending on your needs.

About once a month, open the drain valve on the bottom of the cartridge housing. Next, close the pump output to flush away debris inside the housing.

Get the Experts to Help

While you may now know how to clean a pool filter, it may be a good idea to hire an expert technician to show you how to clean your pool. You may find it’s too complicated for you to want to deal with.

We can help. Contact us and get a free service quote.