How to clean and maintain your pool filter system?

If you’re the owner of an in-house pool, it is plausible that you have already encountered this question regarding how to clean a pool filter. While pools are a beautiful source of enjoyment and exercise, cleaning them is a formidable task.

For this purpose, filters are installed in a pool to make our life easy. However, as you might have noticed in your career as a pool owner, it is extremely crucial for the wellness of your pool that you clean its filters regularly.

In this article, we won’t only give you the step by step guide on how to clean a pool filter, but will also acclimatize you with the pre and post cleaning requirements.

Thus, once you have acted upon this guide, you will be able to clean your filter in a much better way.

Things you need to know before cleaning the filter

Similar to every serious work which you do in your life, cleaning a pool filter is a task which requires proper planning before the execution.

Unless you haven’t taken all the necessary prerequisite steps, it would be very difficult for you to achieve a result of your liking.

Thus, before we give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean a pool filter, below mentioned are some things which you need to know.

Types of pool filters

Types of pool filters


Contrary to the common public opinion, choosing a particular pool filter is NOT crucial to the wellbeing of your pool. When you maintain your pool, clean it regularly and install the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, every filter will do the job for you.

Below mentioned is a brief description of each type.

Sand Filter:

Sand Filter


As suggested by its name, a sand filter employs a bed of sand to purify the water. Once the water passes through the bed, the clean water will exit from the bottom whereas the dirty water will go out from the top.

Here, after the debris is removed from the dirty water, it will be sent back to the pool. Just like your hoover, the bed will become clogged with debris after frequent usage. Therefore, you’ll have to clean it according to the aforementioned guide.

Cartridge filter:

cartridge filter


If you want to select a new filter for your pool – with a tight budget, I would recommend you to go for the Cartridge filter. While its capital cost could be high – which isn’t always the case, the running cost of the cartridge filter is the lowest.

The low running cost is due to the large operating area which is available for the cartridge. Due to the large area, the filter doesn’t clog quickly, lasting longer.

Looking at its principle of working and it works just like the water filter which we use in our households. Water passes through the filter, the filter captures the debris due to their high density, leaving alone the clean water.

If you are concerned about the type of particles that this filter will wash filter out, it lies between the sand and diatomaceous filter.

DE Filter:

DE Filter


If you want to get the most efficient filter that is available in the market, the DE or the diatomaceous earth filter is a must-have for you. With a removed particle size of 3-5 micron, this filter won’t allow any dirt to pass through.

It is filled with a DE powder which coats the grids of the filter, which are located inside the filter tank. As the dirty water passes through the filter, the dirt gets trapped in the powder, allowing the water to go through.

Mistakes you need to avoid before cleaning

We all make mistakes, and it is common for a person who is doing it for the first time.

However, since we human beings aspire to reach towards perfection, below mentioned are the mistakes which are the most common, and which you can avoid with simple planning.

  • Not using a brush:

The one mistake which is done most often by the pool owners, albeit inadvertently, is that they fail to brush the pool. While the vacuum filter will suck out the dirt, algae which are attached to the walls of the pool cannot be washed using it.

Therefore, if you want to maintain your pool clean and good-looking, manually brush its walls to disintegrate the algae.

  • Not checking the pool Pump:

In case you don’t want to spend extra money on buying a new pump, make sure to maintain the current one carefully. Just like a good football referee, pumps seem to be invisible to our eye when they are working correctly.

how to repair pool pump


  • Not emptying the skimmer basket:

There are two things which you need to take into account when dealing with the skimmer basket. First, dump the leaves out to prevent the skimmer basket from cracking.

This will also reduce the strain on the pump as well as save the line from clogging. Secondly, ensure that the basket is weighed down and not floating over the surface of the water.

  • Not adding enough DE to your DE Filter:

If you are using the DE Filter in your pool, it is very plausible that you would have done this mistake. Several pool owners failed to decide on the optimum amount which they need to add to their DE filter.

While adding more will do less harm, adding less amount of DE will cause short cycling of your filter. Consequently, the time between backwashing will be reduced and the performance of the filter will deteriorate.

  • Over Backwashing the filter:

While cleaning a pool filter is directly proportional to your pool’s health, overdoing it could cause problems. Thus, unless you aren’t dead sure that the filter demands maintenance, don’t backwash it.

However, one mistake and we know their importance. Therefore, if the pressure of your pump has gone 15-20psi above the normal level, immediately backwash the system. The whole process will require 5-10 minutes at most.

How to Clean a Pool Filter?

As evinced by the aforementioned description, there are three different types of filters. Therefore, we will be giving you different cleaning methods for each of these three. Let’s start with the Sand filter.

How to clean a Sand Filter?

If you are looking for a relatively easy process to clean your sand filter, I would recommend you to go for backwashing. Below mentioned is the step by step guide for your convenience:

  • Step # 1: Turn Off the PumpIf you want to prevent the pump, plumbing and valves from damage, turning off the pump at the start is a good idea.
  • Step # 2: Turn the Filter Valve to the backwash settingEven if you have cleaned your sand filter in the past, it will be at the Filter setting when you will start this time around. Therefore, moving it to the “backwash” setting is important.
  • Step # 3: Lay Out Waste House and Check water in the sight glass valveThese are two different steps but I have combined it for your convenience. First, place the waste hose in such a position where you want the waste water to go.Secondly, check the color of the water in the sight glass valve. At the start of the cleaning process, water will be cloudy. However, as time passes out, it should become clear. Once the water has become clear, turn the pump off.
  • Step # 4: Place the filter valve at Rinse SettingWhile you have done your part to clean the pool, here’s a mistake which could cost you all your hard work. In order to avoid the dirty water from going back into the pool, locate the valve at the “Rinse” Setting.
  • Step # 5: Turn back the valve at “Filter” SettingAfter turning off the pump, move the valve to the filter setting once again. Once ample, turn on the pump. Congrats! You have cleaned your sand filter.

Bonus Tip: Here is a YouTube Video which could guide you as well.

How to Clean a Cartridge Filter?

  • Step 1: Remove the debrisFirst of all, you need to remove any debris which has accumulated on the filter with the help of a garden hose. If you haven’t done this at the start, the debris will become dry, making it difficult to remove it later on.
  • Step 2: Allow the filters to run dryFor this purpose, I would recommend you to place the filter in bright sunlight. Since sunlight contains algaecide properties, any algae will also be removed.
  • Step 3: Use an air compressorIn order to remove the particles which have found their home on the filter’s fabric, use an air compressor.
  • Step 4: Prepare a bucket of water and chlorine in 6:1After you have prepared the bucket, submerge the filters into the bucket. Now, close the bucket with the help of a tight lid. Allow the filters to remain there for 1 day to achieve better results.
  • Step 5: Make a solution of Muriatic Acid and waterAfter you have removed the filters from the abovementioned bucket, place it in yet another solution of muriatic acid and water. This will allow the filter media to shake off the dissolved minerals. Soak the filter until the bubbles – which will be formed at the start, stops their formation.
  • Step 6: Rinse it with fresh water before reinstalling the filter in the pool
    In order to make sure that your filter doesn’t carry any sort of acid with it, rinse it thoroughly with water. After this, shake it vigorously to remove the remaining dirt. Lastly, reinstall your filter in the pool.

You need image-by-image tutorial? Take a look at here.

How to Clean a DE Filter?

  • Step #1: Backwash the filterIn order to do this, you will have to turn off the pump which should be followed by turning the multi-valve at the backwash setting. Only turn the Pump “ON” once the water has become clear. In order to be safe, make sure that the pump is turned off when the valve setting is being changed.
  • Step 2: Drain the FilterIn order to completely drain the filter of excess water, the air release valve which is located on top of the filter should be opened. If you feel that some water is still remaining, it is probably a better idea to disintegrate the drain plug.
  • Step 3: Open the filter and disassemble the gridsIn order to open the filter, loose the nut which is holding the clump, before removing the clamp and lifting the lid to see the inner side. Similarly, in order to disassemble the grids, you will be required to loosen the clamps which are holding the assembly of the grids. Afterward, remove the nut which is holding the assembly.
  • Step 4: Clean the GridsSince there will be a myriad of grids located there, I would recommend you to clean each of them one by one. For cleaning the grids, you could employ the garden hose.After spraying them with water, put the grids upside down so that water can drain off them easily. Moreover, if you feel that the water isn’t draining our quickly – which is probably due to the calcium buildup, soaking the grids with a soap is a good idea.
  • Step 5: Clean the remaining partsWith the help of the same garden hose which has helped us in the previous step, spray water on the bottom rack, upper and lower filter case, top manifold, and the clamp. If possible, remove the o-shaped ring on the lower case and clean the surface which mates both the haves of filter case.
  • Step 6: Assemble the GridsFirst of all, locate the narrow grid in such a way that the curvy side is on the inside. Also, make sure that it sits right at the corner of the orifice in the opening rack. Afterward, do the same treatment with all the other grids by placing them one-by-one in the open slots.Now, you will see the top manifold marked with the sign “short element here”. Fix the top manifold in such a way that its center bolt locates atop the middle hole. Once the manifold is installed, install the washer and then the nut back in the center bolt. Afterward, lay down the assembly and tighten up the nut.
  • Step 7: Lube it and close the filterOn all the filter rings, apply a generous amount of grease before setting them into place. To close the filter, place the upper part of the filter back on top of the grids. Tighten the clamp and guess what? You’ve closed the filter!
  • Step 8: Recharge the filter
    In order to recharge the filter, you’ll have to make a slurry of DE and water. After making the slurry, turn the filter off and rinse your hand into the skimmer. Now, turn on the pump and start to slowly pour the slurry until all the DE is out of the bucket. After a few minutes, crack open the air release valve to release all the air. Congrats! You have recharged your filter

Find it difficult? Go Check this Video for more help.


While there are no hard and fast rules to determine the time when you need to clean your filter, keeping a look at the pressure is a handy idea.

When you notice that the pressure has increased to abnormal levels – i.e., 10-15 psi above normal, go ahead and use any of the three methods which are mentioned above.

Remember, if you want to keep your pool clean, and the water in it of the highest possible quality, cleaning the pool is your only way out. We are hopeful that you find this guide on how to clean a pool filter helpful.

Let us know what your thoughts or share with us your experience by commenting in the section below.