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The benefits of buying a water filter seem to wane after a while. The filter gets slower, and you naturally assume that it’s less effective. Sure, you could throw it away and buy a new cartridge altogether…
But there’s a cheaper and more effective solution.
You can clean your water filter, and it will be as good as new. Not only is this option more affordable, but it’s also more effective.
If you’re not sure about cleaning the water filter yourself, this is the right guide for you. We’ll simplify the process and teach you how to clean Zero Water filters. Your days of spending lots of money on new filters every few months are over!
Why You Should Learn How to Clean Zero Water Filters
While there are many excellent reasons for purchasing a water filter, there are even more reasons why you need to keep your water filter clean. Here are a few:
More pathogens get into the water
Experts recommend that you clean your water filter every two months. Water filters are great at first, but they also depreciate over time. If one can catch 90% of microbes over the first two months, the number might decrease to 70% or less over time.
The longer that your water filter goes without cleaning, the less effective it gets. This will not only put your health at risk, but it obviously undermines the reason you bought a filter in the first place.
Higher mineral content
Apart from filtering pathogens, water filters also keep out minerals. Minerals determine the difference between hard and soft water. Hard water has higher mineral content. It’s created when water comes in contact with limestone and chalk deposits. Buying a water filter limits percolation and ensures that you have soft water.
However, hard water isn’t always a bad thing. It has moderate health benefits (think increased calcium and magnesium). There are speculations (yet to be proven) that drinking hard water has cardiovascular benefits. Unfortunately, hard water is bad for your appliances and might negatively impact your skin.
Soft water has a high sodium content, but it doesn’t have salts like magnesium, calcium, and iron. It’s great for appliances because they’re less likely to stain or rust. Also, soft water easily absorbs other chemicals, so it’s good for dishwashers and washing machines. Since it contains fewer minerals, soft water is also better for your skin.
One of the reasons why people buy water filters is for water softening. However, the nutrients can build up over time, and the filter won’t work as well as it once did. You might notice your water getting harder by how long it takes to boil or how your skin reacts. It might also take more time for the water to get soapy. If you want to reverse the process, you’ll need to learn to clean your Zero Water filter regularly.
A water filter works like a lint tray in a washing machine. The lint trap catches all the lint on your clothes and keeps them in a tray. The lint builds up, and the tap becomes less effective over time. It’s similar to how a water filter builds up with all the dirt that it catches. The dirt is stuck there and eventually makes its way into the water.
Like the lint trap, the only way to unclog a water filter is by cleaning it. We’re going to teach you how to clean your Zero Water filter so that you can prevent clogging.
Buying a new water filter is relatively costly. Having to buy a water filter every time the old one doesn’t work well is even more expensive. It’s easier and cheaper to learn how to clean the older one. Don’t be discouraged by rumors that cleaning doesn’t work. It does, and if you clean your filter well, it’ll be as good as new.
Bonus tip: re-using your filter is great for the environment.
The Cleaning Process
Test the Filter
The first step is to remove any water that might be in the filter. The water is useless to the cleaning process, and it might hamper results. It also messes with measurements since it’s hard to track how long it’s been in there.
After removing the old water, pour tap water into the filter. Watch how long it takes the filter to clean it. A brand new filter can clean water in a few minutes, but an old filter might take hours. If you’re short on time, you can use Zero Water’s test stick to check the TDS. The TDS measures total dissolved solids in the water. Simply put, the higher the number, the more effective the water filter.
Testing is crucial because it determines how much cleaning the filter needs. In some cases, it even indicates whether you can save your filter or not. In some unfortunate circumstances, you might be too late, and there’s no option but to buy a new one.
Check for Clogging
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t diagnose it properly. Now that you know that the filtration process is slow, you need to figure out why. The clogging could be caused by sediment build-up or air bubbles.
Check for air clogging by unscrewing the filter. You might require a small wrench for this. Unscrewing the part where the filter is attached will free all the air and reveal sedimentary build-up. Be careful about how you unscrew it because too much force might break the filter completely. Unscrew the filter slowly and gently.
Rerun the filtration test. Measure the TDS levels to see if the air was the problem. If the water still isn’t pure, you can move on to the next step. If you’re lucky, the levels will be back to normal after this stage, and you can consider your filter thoroughly cleaned.
Removing Sedimentary Build-Up
Now that you know that air clogging isn’t your problem, it’s pretty apparent that there is chemical build-up in your filter. Luckily, you don’t need to use any heavy chemicals. A baking soda and lemon juice mixture can kick things up a notch, but it’s not necessary.
You need to poke holes in the front of the filter. You can use a pair of tweezers or a needle to do this. Just like removing the filter, you need to be extremely careful. The holes should only be small enough for tiny particles to pass through. Big holes might actually let the pathogens in.
If you reach the filter screen, it will stop filtering water, and all the harmful particles will slide straight through.
Run tap water through the filter to check if poking multiple holes worked. You can check if it worked by looking at how quickly the water passes through. The first run might be a little dirty since some of the pathogens pass through, but it should be cleaner when you pour water for the third and fourth time.
If you want to be extra cautious, you can run a mild cleaning solution through the filter. You can stick to dishwashing liquid or make your own concoction. Either way, it’s important to remember that a strong cleaning agent could negatively impact your water’s taste.
Test the Filter Again
The best way to check whether your hard work paid off is by putting it to the test. The water might look cleaner but the TDS test might tell a different story. You can also use a taste test if that’s what you’re more concerned with.
Collect unfiltered tap water in one cup and then put filtered tap water in another. Insert a TDS test stick in both cups. The unfiltered tap water is likely to record a reading between 25 and 500mg per liter. The filtered water should have a 0 reading. If it doesn’t, it means that the cleaning didn’t work, and you need to buy a new filter. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get a 0 and the cleaning process is complete.
People often ask how often they should clean their filter, but there’s just no definite answer. It depends on where you live and the water quality. It also depends on how often you use the filter. However, we suggest regular cleaning so that it gets easier over time. The more dirt that builds up, the harder it is to clean.
We hope that our explanation about how to clean Zero Water filters has helped you out. Let us know if your cleaning worked, and feel free to explore the rest of our site for more information about water filters.