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Cleaning a water filter is a simple, and necessary, process consisting of removing, cleaning, and soaking the filter.

Water can be considered the most important natural resource to man because we all need water to survive. Water plays a vital role in our everyday life – we use it for washing, cooking, drinking, and several other applications.

Having access to clean water is important. Drinking water needs to be very clean, and a water filter is an effective way of achieving this.

We’re often focused on filtering water, and we forget about the water filter. At some point, the water filter gets dirty and will need cleaning. This post will show you how to clean a water filter with ease.

How to Clean a Water Filter

While your water filter’s job is to purify water, you should also remember to clean out the filter. It is prone to get dirty from constant use and eventually will no longer be safe. This is why we need to clean our filters regularly and effectively.

There are three categories of water filters – household water filters, camping water filters, and water filters for sprinklers. We’ll show you how to clean each filter type with easy-to-follow steps.

How to Clean a Household Water Filter

cleaning water filter

Cut Off Water Supply

The first step to cleaning a household water filter is to cut off the water supply. 

Your water filter is connected to a water source – it could be connected directly to the tank, a tap, and more. Before you do anything else, ensure you disconnect your filter from the water source. You should turn off a valve or tap or remove the entire filter unit from circulation.

Remove The Filter

There are many types of water filters with varying methods of operation. Paper and ceramic are common filters found in household water filters. Every water filter has a filter inside, and you need to remove it to clean it.

To clean your filter appropriately, separate the housing unit from the actual filter. Don’t rush to take your water filter apart – instead, read the user’s manual for cleaning instructions.

Take care when removing the filter, it’s possible for water to still be inside. Take the filter out over a bowl or bucket to catch any overflow or spills.

Take Off The Plastic Netting

After removing the filter, you may notice plastic netting in some filters. This plastic netting is common in carbon-based filters and you will need to take it off.

To take off the plastic netting, get a small knife or something sharp and cut the netting at the top and bottom. You can also cut into the netting, but be careful not to tear the filter.

Spray Filter with Water

After you’ve removed your filter and removed the netting, spray the filter with water at high pressure. This will loosen any hardened scum and dirt that might have formed.

Ensure you spray that filter thoroughly on all sides. If you’re using a carbon filter, you need to wash it down to the carbon layer.

Soak The Filter

After spray washing with water, you can move to more serious cleaning. The spraying step is to loosen any stubborn debris attached to the filter. To soak the filter, you will need oxalic acid

The type of filter you have will determine how you perform this step. For those with pleated filters, remove the excess water after spraying, and put the filter back in the case. Run oxalic acid into the filter unit, and soak for about 30 mins.

For those with carbon filters, you don’t need to place them back into the housing. Instead, after spraying, wash with a solution of bleach. Use a soft brush to scrub the filter with the bleach solution, then soak it in the solution for a few minutes.

You can get oxalic acid powder from the hardware store or online.


When you’re done soaking, rinse the bleach or acid off with tap water. For pleated filters, take the filter out of the housing and rinse under a gentle stream of water. You can also place it in a baking soda solution to remove the acid.

For carbon filters, rinse off the bleach properly. Repeat this process until your filter is completely free of bleach or acid.

Getting Ready

water filter

Before the final step of reinserting the filter, you will need to run a solution containing half an ounce of bleach for the pleated filter through the housing. This will help sanitize the entire unit.

You’ll need to adjust the netting and paper if you’re using carbon block filters. Wrap the paper and netting tightly and hold them with zip ties. Use two zip ties, one at the bottom and one at the top, where you cut earlier.

Reinsert The Filter

Now that you’ve prepared your filter, you can place it back in the housing. Connect your filter to the main supply, and let the hot water run for some minutes. Some units need to be regulated with a pressure button to release built-up pressure in the valves.

Allow water to run through the filter for a few minutes, and you can start enjoying purified water.

Camping Water Filter

Your camping water filter also needs to be washed. These portable water filters are very handy and don’t require high maintenance.

Reverse Flush

Reverse flush means running water in the opposite direction. Reverse the water flow in the filter to force out debris and other aggregations.

Rinse With Chlorinated Water

Chlorinated water contains a disinfectant that kills germs inside the filter. Run chlorinated water through the filter for a few minutes.

You can use chlorine tablets if your tap water isn’t chlorinated. Dissolve the tablet in warm water, and run it through the filter.


Allow the filter to air dry, but don’t place it under direct sunlight.

Water Filters For Sprinklers

There are specially designed filter units for your sprinkler, which also need to be cleaned. Here’s how to do it: 

Stop The Water Supply

First, turn off the valve supplying water into the filter.

Ease Pressure

Most filters come with a pressure valve. You’ll need to release pressure in the filter before taking it out. Slowly turn the valve and allow the water to flow out. Be careful not to open the valve completely at once, or you’ll get blasted with the water pressure.

Wash The Filter

After easing the pressure, take out the filter from the housing. Wash the filter with a brush, and scrub all the sides.

Allow the water to run for a few minutes before reinstalling the filter – this will help remove contaminated water hiding in the pipes.


Water filters help to provide a clean, trustable water supply. There are different types of water filters with different applications, and they need to be cleaned accordingly.

We’ve shown you how to clean a water filter, and these steps are easy to follow. Read through this post again, and get ready to clean your filter.