How often should I clean my pool filter cartridge?

This is a question that we get a lot through our social media channels as well as our email channels and we usually tell people that as a rule of thumb, it’s best to give your pool filter cartridge a good rinsing once a month to ensure longevity of the cartridge. Again, this is just an estimate as the actual cleaning interval will depend on a lot of factors which we will be talking about today. But before that, here’s Tom to give you a quick overview of your pool filter cartridges.

How to tell if it’s time to clean my pool cartridge filter?

If you’re not going by schedule (don’t worry, we sometimes forget to clean our filters monthly as well) there are some telltale signs that it’s time to clean your pool cartridge filter and we’ll go over those signs in detail now.

Higher than normal filter pressure

This is one of the best signs that your pool cartridge filter needs cleaning. Hopefully you’ve written down your filter’s optimal pressure somewhere. Check against that, and if the pressure of the filter is at least 8 PSI or more above the optimal pressure reading, then it’s a sure sign that your filter cartridge is clogged and it needs cleaning. The explanation for this is simple. When your filter is clean, the water passes through it easily, when it’s gunked up by dirt and debris, then the water will have a hard time passing through the filter, and in turn increasing the pressure.

For more tips on how to maintain your pool filter, click here.

After a heavy algae bloom

After dealing with a heavy algae bloom, no matter what your filter is, sand, D.E., or cartridge, you will need to thoroughly clean the filter afterwards. After the chemicals have killed off all of the algae, there’s one place where they will end up, your filter!

After a party / heavy usage

Cleaning your filter after a Summer Pool Party. This is self-explanatory. Having lots of people in the pool means that your filter has to work overtime to remove all of the dead skin cells, body oils, and other debris that might have been deposited into your pool.

After a heavy rainstorm

After a heavy rainstorm or when unusual amounts of leaves have found their way into your pool, give it a good manual vacuuming and clean the filter afterwards. Even though you think you may have gotten all of the visible debris from your pool, it’s the ones that are invisible to the naked eye are the ones clogging up your filter cartridge.

How to Clean your Filter Cartridge

We’ve gone over when to clean the filter cartridge, now it’s time to go over the HOW.

Step One:

Turn off your pump. If you have an automated system, turn off the main power to the pool completely for safety reasons, you don’t want the pump turning on while you’re tinkering with the cartridge filter.

Step Two:

Release the air from the cartridge filter through the air valve that’s located on top of the filter. After this, you can safely remove the collar that’s holding the cover in place. Don’t forget to drain the cartridge as well by removing the drain plug at the bottom.

Step Three:

Lift the filter cartridge out and set it down at your desired cleaning location, preferably somewhere away from the pool and with good drainage.

Step Four:

Give the filter cartridge a good rinse with a garden hose, making sure to spray each pleat thoroughly to ensure that all of the debris is rinsed out. Alternatively, you can use the Water TechnixX Waterwand Cleaning Wand to clean your filter cartridge. Think of it as a toothbrush for your filter cartridge, allowing you to clean multiple pleats at once, drastically reducing the time and the water used when cleaning your filter cartridge.

Step Five (Optional):

If there are stubborn bits that refuse to detach themselves from your filter cartridge, it may be time to give it a soak in some Zodiac Filter Cleaner. This filter cleaner is specially designed to melt and loosen up stubborn debris from your filter cartridge without harming the elements. Give it a good soak overnight then repeat step four.

Step Six:

Reinstall the filter cartridge back into the housing and ensure that all seals are in place, secure the collar, make sure that the valves are closed (as well as the drain plug) and turn your pump back on.

Step Seven:

Take note of the operating pressure if you haven’t done so before.


Cleaning your pool filter cartridge is a task that you should never neglect to do. This not only ensures that your pool water remains crystal clear the whole year round, but this also extends the life of your filter cartridge. With the proper tools and chemicals, cleaning your pool filter cartridge should be a breeze. Cleaning not working? Maybe it’s time to replace your cartridge! Check out our post on how long cartridge filters last to see if it’s time to change your filter cartridge.

Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

We Need This
We Need This
We Need This
Thank you!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published