Why Do You Need To Clean the Pool Filter Cartridge?

Pool filter cartridges operate similarly to air purifiers or cigarette filters. Water passes through the accordion-pleated polyester material, capturing debris and particles as small as 10 to 15 microns. They prevent issues like cloudy water, germs, bacteria, algae growth, and scale buildup. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent a dirty filter, which can strain the pump and potentially damage the motor.

In addition, pool filter cartridges are larger in size and come with a higher price. Regularly cleaning the pool filter cartridges can extend their lifespan, saving on expenses.

Determine if your filter needs to be cleaned

Your pool filter plays a crucial role in capturing small debris in the pool water and screening it out. As time passes, dirt accumulates in the cartridge elements, requiring periodic cleaning.

Start by determining if your filter needs cleaning. When the filter gauge indicates that the PSI (pounds per square inch) is 8 to 10 PSI higher than the normal range for your filter, it's time for maintenance.

Tip: While you can refer to your owner’s manual for the correct PSI range, it's best to be familiar with what's "normal" for your pool based on its specific features and equipment configuration. Establish this baseline by checking the PSI when the cartridge is new or right after a deep cleaning.

Inspect the entire filter for holes and tears once it is removed from the filtration system. Even minor rips can allow water to flow through without effectively removing dirt and debris. If the filter is damaged, it is recommended to discard and replace it rather than attempting to clean it.

TipsIt's advisable to promptly inspect the filter after removal to avoid wasting time cleaning a filter that should be replaced.

Pay attention to these Refresh Alert: Swap Your Spa Filter Cartridge Now with These Urgent Signs!

How To Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge

To clean your cartridges effectively, follow the straightforward steps provided below. Additionally, included are some tips to help you avoid common pitfalls and streamline the cleaning process.

How To Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge

  1.**Turn off the system:**

   Always begin by turning off the pool equipment. Never attempt to work on the system while it's running to ensure safety. Bleed the filter tank of air by opening the air relief valve, but only do so after turning off the pump to prevent potential damage or personal injury.

  2.**Open the filter tank:**

   Remove the clamp securing the tank lid. For modern tanks using O-rings, release tabs and turn counter-clockwise to detach. Older models may have metal clamps; refer to the owner's manual for removal instructions.

   Tip: If the manual is unavailable, check the manufacturer's website for a downloadable version.

  3.**Remove the cartridge(s):**

   Once the clamp is off, carefully lift the top section of the filter tank. Depending on the filter's make and model, it may contain one large or multiple smaller cartridges. Remove all cartridges for cleaning, following the manual for instructions.

  4.**Check cartridges for wear and tear:**

   During each cleaning, visually inspect the cartridges for cracks, tears, or other damage. Even minor tears can impact the filter's performance. Replace damaged cartridges to ensure optimal filter efficiency.

  5.**Remove debris from the cartridge material:**

   Use water, preferably from a garden hose, to rinse away debris from between the folded pleats of the cartridge. Start from the top and work your way down, turning the cartridge upside down after a complete rinse.

   Tip: If a regular hose nozzle is insufficient, try a high-pressure nozzle designed for household projects or consider using an air compressor for a more water-efficient approach.

  6.**Degrease or deep clean the cartridge:**

   For stickier substances like algae, sunscreen, and body oils, perform a deeper cleaning using a commercial pool degreaser or cartridge cleaner. Apply the product directly, covering all surface areas between pleats, and rinse thoroughly.

How To Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge

   Special process for mineral removal:

   If your pool water has high calcium levels, use a diluted mixture of muriatic acid and water to address mineral deposits on the filter. Soak the cartridge, rinse thoroughly, and exercise caution, as the acid can react with organic matter.

  7.**Reassemble the filter tank:**

   Once cleaned, return the cartridges to the filter tank, reassemble any attachments if needed, and securely close the O-ring or clamping mechanism. Apply a small amount of silicon-based lubricant to the O-ring to extend its life.

  8.**Test the filter's air pressure:**

   With the pump running, open the filter's air relief valve to release excess air. When water consistently sprays out, check the filter pressure to ensure it falls within the proper range for a clean filter.

Following these steps will help maintain your pool filter's efficiency and prolong its lifespan.

Additional cartridge maintenance tips

For optimal performance and extended lifespan of your pool filter cartridges, follow these guidelines:


  • - Read your filter owner’s manual and adhere to the specific cleaning instructions for your brand and model.
  • - Regularly monitor your pool water chemistry and maintain proper balance consistently.
  • - Clean cartridges only when necessary—when the pressure is 8 to 10 PSI higher than the normal range for your filter.
  • - Minimize organic build-up on cartridges by using an antimicrobial pool filter. If your cartridges lack Microban®, consider replacements with this product protection to inhibit the multiplication of microorganisms on the material.

How To Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge


  • - Use a stiff brush to clean the pleats, as it can cause damage. Opt for a soft-bristle brush or a device designed for gently removing debris caught between the folds of material.
  • - Depend excessively on brushing. Brushing is the primary adversary of cartridge wear, as even specialized cleaning tools can slightly break down the material with each use.

Properly caring for your pool filter cartridges, as outlined, can lead to long-term cost savings. Ultimately, well-maintained filter cartridges will contribute to keeping your pool water irresistibly pristine.