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How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter for Cleaner Dishes

dishwasher filter cleaning

casa watkins living

Have you been keeping on top of cleaning your dishwasher filter? No? Don't worry, it's an easy task to miss. The dishwasher filter is (yet another) part of your kitchen that needs regular attention, but it's pretty easy to forget about. Thankfully, cleaning your dishwasher filter is as easy-as-can-be and can be done with no special supplies in nearly no time at all. Keep reading to learn how to clean your dishwasher filter, how often to do it, and how to keep it clean longer.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher Filter?

Dishwasher filters keep food from ending up back on your dishes, and they keep large pieces of food waste out of your plumbing. A clogged filter will prevent your dishwasher from properly draining, so it's important to clean it regularly. With normal, daily (or every-other-day) usage, your filter need only be cleaned once a month. However, if you're running it multiple times a day, clean it weekly. Additionally, if you've just run a particularly dirty or soiled load, clean the filter out after the cycle finishes.

What You'll Need

Make sure to gather your supplies before you clean your dishwasher filter. Here's what you'll need:

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge or scrubbing brush
  • Dishwasher cleaning tablet
  • White vinegar (optional)

Step 1: Remove the Bottom Rack

Though you may be able to access your dishwasher filter without removing your bottom rack, it will be a lot easier if you do. Roll or lift your bottom dish rack off your dishwasher and set it somewhere else.

Now that your bottom dishwasher rack has been removed, now is a great time to give it a quick clean. Spray it down in your sink and then scrub off any stuck-on food bits.

Step 2: Find Your Filter

Your filter will be on the bottom of your dishwasher, and will most likely be a raised circular object. To remove it, gently twist and pull up. Your filter may have arrows directing you which way to point.

Step 3: Time to Rinse

Take your filter to the sink and rinse it out, concentrating the water flow on the mesh. The mesh will be full of food particles and other dish grime, so it may take a second to come loose. If your filter still looks dirty after a rinse, fill a container with warm, soapy water and let the filter sit in it for 15 minutes. After this time has passed, take it out of the water and rinse out any remaining gunk.

Step 4: Clean the Dishwasher Floor

Now that your filter and bottom dish rack are out, take a few extra minutes to clean the bottom of your dishwasher floor. Food and grime can get stuck in corners and build up over time, especially near the opening of your dishwasher or its door.

Thankfully, it's nothing that a little elbow grease can't fix. Use a soapy sponge or brush to scrub away any gunk that's stuck. Don't worry about rinsing it—you'll be running the dishwasher on its 'clean' cycle after this.

A bright and airy kitchen with a dishwasher

Becca Interiors

Step 5: Put Everything Back

Place your filter back in your dishwasher, twisting in the opposite way you took it out to secure it. Roll your bottom rack back onto the dishwasher as well. Once everything is secure, place a dishwasher cleaning tablet (or some white vinegar in a mug or bowl) into your dishwasher and run it on its 'clean' cycle. It will be the perfect finishing touch for your already-clean dishwasher filter.

How to Keep Your Dishwasher Filter Clean Longer

One of the best things you can do to keep your dishwasher filter clean longer is by removing excess food before putting dishes in the dishwasher—some sauce and crumbs are fine, but try to avoid sticking a plate in that still holds a half-serving of last night's mashed potatoes. This prevents excess food waste from ending up stuck in your filter.

Another thing you can do? Clean out the dishwasher regularly. This can be done with dishwasher cleaning tablets, or by running a hot water cycle with only a bowl full of white vinegar on the bottom rack.