The better you are at cleaning the different parts of your pool, and the pool itself, the longer it will last. It’s the same as anything you own, with proper upkeep, you won’t find yourself needing to replace it soon. Your pool filter is no exception and if anything, requires more attention than most parts of your swimming pool.

It is fitted in a place that is susceptible to dirt and debris making it a part of your pool that needs to be cleaned regularly. Not only this, neglecting it can lead to expensive repair work that can easily be avoided. There are different steps, and lots to learn about its importance, here we explain everything.

Why Do You Need To Clean A Pool Filter?

The long and short of it is, a clean pool filter keeps your pool clean.

Debris will clog it up which means water cannot pass through so easily. This will start to make the pool water dirty but worse than that, it can lead to an increase of pressure within the filter which can cause it to break. A broken filter will need fixing ASAP.

Different Types Means Different Methods

It might come as no surprise but there are a few types of pool filters and they require different approaches when it comes to giving them a proper clean. The most common you will find are cartridge, D.E, and sand filters. Let’s take a look at how to make each of them clean, so you can keep your water crystal clear.

How to Clean Cartridge Filters

One of the most common types, and thankfully the easiest to clean. Most of the time the cartridge is removable and cheap to replace if necessary. However, there is no need to throw away a perfectly good cartridge, a good clean will ensure it is fully operational.

1) Firstly, turn the filter system and pump off, it’s always the safest approach.

2) Now you need to alleviate the pressure from the pool filter, turn the relief valve and don’t worry if water sprays out.

3) Remove the filter head and pull out the cartridge.

4) Starting at the top, use a hose to spray the build-up from the cartridge. Be careful not to use too much pressure as it can damage the cartridge. Rotate until you have removed all the debris and be sure to spray the inside. (If necessary, give it a scrub as you hose it down and if it is particularly dirty, you may wish to soak it overnight in cleaner).

5) Finish by spraying out the bottom as this is where a lot of the dirt and debris will have fallen.

6) Check the filter over to make sure there are no cracks or damage. This will be where you can tell if it needs replacing or is still useable.

7) Return the cartridge filter

8) Lubricate the O-ring as this will help it last longer. If there is damage to it, you will need to replace it.

9) Put the filter head back on and secure it by closing the clamps

10) Turn everything back on and ensure the air relief valve is still open, closing it when water starts to spray from it.

11) Check the psi of the water pressure and make sure it is within the usual range.

How To Clean A Sand Filter

Most people consider this method to be less complex, it won’t take long and is still simple enough. You’ll usually know when you need to clean your sand pool filter because the water will either be cloudy (although other factors can cause cloudy pool water), or the psi on the pressure gauge will read 8 – 10 psi over the normal pressure.

All you need to do is push the dirty water out the system through a waste hose.

1) Turn off the pump and the pool via the circuit breaker

2) Set the valve to backwash (anything between 2-5 minutes should clear the debris).

3) Point the waste hose where you want to debris to go.

4) Turn the power back on, this should start the backwashing process.

5) Watch the cloudy water pass through the looking glass until it becomes clear.

6) Turn the pump and power back off

7) Set the valve to rinse to clear any loose sand then turn the pump and power back on for another couple of minutes

8) Switch the power off again, set the valve to filter

9) Now, to clean the filter, remove the pumps lid and wash the basket with a hose, working from the top to the bottom. Check for damage or cracks as if you find any, you will need to replace the basket. All being well, place it back where you found it and close the lid.

10) Turn the power back on. Remember to make sure the valve is set to filter and enjoy your clean pool and filter.

How To Clean A D.E Filter

Similar to the previous technique, if you notice the pool water is cloudy, or the pressure gauge level is 8-10 psi above what it should be, it might be time to clean your D.E filter. Most experts recommend you do this at least once a month.

1) Turn off the pump and pool

2) Set the valve to backwash and open the relief valve

3) Drain the water from the filter tank by removing the plug

4) Remove the filter clamps, keeping any parts you need to unscrew close

5) Open the filter

6) Hose the grid assembly to rinse any powder and remove the grids

7) Hose down the grids, the manifold, and the inside of the tank and check for any damage. If it is particularly dirty, you may wish to soak it overnight.

8) Lift the grids back into the tank

9) Inspect the O-ring and lubricate it before putting it back

10) Place the lid back on and make sure everything is secure, tightening the clamps to keep everything in place

11) Replace the drain plug

12) Make sure the air relief valve is open and the valve is set to filter before turning the power and pump back on

13) Close the air relief valve when water starts to spill out

14) Following the instructions of the brand you use, add DE powder


The upkeep of your filters is all part of owning a pool and unless you are using an expert every week, it is something you cannot avoid. Once you have done it once, it will become second nature.

Don’t be afraid to replace it when necessary as a broken or damaged pool filter will significantly reduce the cleanliness of the water. Always remember to check whether or not your water is cloudy, or the psi has increased by more than 8-10 of what it should be and enjoy a clear pool.