Skip To Content
How to clean a dishwasher filter

How to clean a dishwasher filter

Learn about dishwasher filters and how to clean them, from spotting the signs that it’s overdue a clean, to the different filters available.

The dishwasher filter’s main purpose is to protect the pump from getting clogged or damaged by food debris. It also helps prevent the remnants of last night’s dinner from recirculating back onto your dishes. As it plays such an important role, a well maintained and clean dishwasher filter can make all the difference when it comes to clear, shiny and smudge-free glasses and other dishes.

Dishwasher manual filter vs self-cleaning filter

There are two types of filters available for your dishwasher: a self-cleaning dishwasher filter and a manual one. You can find out which one you have by consulting your dishwasher manual.

Self-cleaning filters do what it says on the tin – it doesn’t need much maintenance on your side as there’s often no build-up to worry about. This is because it has a grinder that blitzes food chunks which then washes down the drain with the water. The downside is that these types of filters tend to be significantly louder than manual filters due to the grinding process.

A manual dishwasher filter, on the other hand, usually has a mesh net that catches bits of food – which you’ll then need to remove yourself. This requires at least a monthly clean (or more often, depending on your usage) to prevent build-up of left-over food, bad odours and a reduction of water flow. All these will, of course, hinder the overall clean of your dishwasher, so keeping your manual filter cleaned is important.

The best way to clean a dishwasher filter

Cleaning your dishwasher filter regularly is paramount to the proper running of your machine. Just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Empty your dishwasher completely and remove the bottom rack from the machine
  2. Locate the filter (it should look like a short cylindrical tube), twist to unlock it, and then gently remove it from the machine. It may have two parts: the tube and a flat filter beneath it. This will also have to be removed.
  3. Run your filter under running water to clean it, removing any visible debris. You may need to use dish soap and an old, soft sponge to remove any stubborn limescale and food. Do this gently, though – you don’t want to break the filter mesh.
  4. Replace the filter back into the machine and lock it back into place.

Signs you should be cleaning your filter more

Being hidden behind the bottom rack of your dishwasher, it is easy to forget to clean your filters regularly. But if you spot any of these, take it as a sign that it’s time to clean your dishwasher filter:

  • Visible build-up of food in the filter
  • Water not draining properly
  • Nasty and unpleasant odours
  • Visible food stains or remnants left on dishes, glassware and cutlery after the cycle
  • Food stuck in the sprayer arm

Now you know how to clean your dishwasher filter (and how quick and easy it is), try and get into the habit of cleaning it at least once a month. Fortunately, if you scrape your dishes well before placing them in the dishwasher, you may have to do it less frequently. Either way, your regular clean of your filter might also be the perfect opportunity to clean your dishwasher. Use the Finish Dishwasher Cleaner to do just that.