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How To Clean The Dishwasher Filter So You Have Super Clean Dishes

How To Clean The Dishwasher Filter So You Have Super Clean Dishes
Posted at 5:30 AM, Jan 10, 2023

When it comes to a dishwasher, you need one that will get your dishes so clean you can … eat off them, of course. Even though your dishwasher handles a good brunt of your home’s cleaning, just like your washing machine, it needs occasional cleaning.

Due to leftover residue from soap and food particles, bacteria and mold can build up over time — and no one wants that. A clean filter is a key to sparkling dishes; its job is to trap gunk, like grease residue and loose food particles, from getting sprayed back onto all of your dishes.

A person loads clean plates into a dishwasher

Knowing When To Clean Your Dishwasher

Just as you wouldn’t wash your dishes with a dirty sponge, the same goes for a dirty filter. If you run a load and the dishes are still dirty, it could be a sign that the filter is clogged. Knowing how to clean your dishwasher filter is half the battle.

Dishwasher filters are either self-cleaning or manual. If you’re unsure which one you own, look in the bottom of your dishwasher, under the rotating arm. If you have a removable cylindrical piece, which might contain arrows showing which direction to twist, it’s a manual filter. These require cleaning at least once per month. If you notice obvious things like bits of food left behind on dishes or if you get a whiff of a funky smell when you open the door, you may need to clean it twice per month. Mark a repeating event in your calendar or pick a certain date to tackle cleanings, like the 1st or 15th.

Residential Dishwasher Filter Cleaning by Caucasian Professional Appliances Repair Worker

Self-cleaning filters are known as hard food disposers and operate similarly to garbage disposals that grind food before washing the pulverized particles down the drain. Owning a self-cleaning filter usually means they don’t require regular cleaning maintenance, but the downside is they are usually much louder than machines with manual filters.

How To Clean A Dishwasher Filter

Luckily, manual filters are pretty simple to wash and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Pull the bottom rack out and unlock the cylindrical tube that twist locks on the floor of the unit. Keep an eye out for a secondary lower, flat filter directly below, as some models will include this feature. This filter would have a hole in the center and doesn’t lock into place. Remove both for cleaning.

Wash the filter(s) in warm, soapy water using a scrub brush for caked-on pieces. You can also disinfect it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Rinse thoroughly. Before placing the filters back in the dishwasher and locking them into place, make sure there aren’t any additional particles or grease build-up left behind in the filter housing. If so, use a damp rag to wipe them away.


Running your dishwasher once a month while it’s empty can help keep it in tip-top shape. Place a bowl with two cups of distilled white vinegar on the top rack. Run a regular hot water wash.

A clean dishwasher makes keeping up with daily chores easy and painless. Now that you know how to clean your dishwasher filter by just setting aside a few minutes each month, you can keep it running efficiently, so it can continue doing the dirty work for you!

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Check out Simplemost for additional stories.