How To Clean A Pool Cartridge Filter?

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October 17, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers, MA (English), Certified Consultant

To clean a pool cartridge filter, start by turning off the pump and removing the filter. Rinse the filter with a hose, removing any debris and dirt.

Then soak the filter in a cartridge cleaner solution for the recommended time, scrubbing any remaining dirt or algae away. Rinse the filter again thoroughly, ensuring there is no residue left. Finally, reinstall the filter and turn the pump back on.

Cleaning your pool cartridge filter regularly will improve its efficiency and prolong its lifespan. A clean and well-functioning pool cartridge filter is essential for maintaining crystal-clear water in your swimming pool. Over time, debris, dirt, and algae can accumulate in the filter, reducing its effectiveness and hindering water circulation. To ensure optimal performance and extend its lifespan, regular cleaning is necessary. We’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of cleaning a pool cartridge filter. By following these simple instructions, you can keep your filter operating efficiently and maintain a pristine swimming environment. So, let’s get started with the pool cartridge filter cleaning process and enjoy a sparkling pool all season long.

How To Clean A Pool Cartridge Filter?


Pool Cartridge Filters

Pool cartridge filters are a crucial component of any swimming pool’s filtration system. These filters use a cartridge made of pleated material to remove debris and contaminants from the water. Understanding how pool cartridge filters work and their benefits will help you keep your pool clean and clear.

Here is an overview of pool cartridge filters:

  • Efficient filtration: Cartridge filters provide excellent filtration, capturing particles as small as 10 to 20 microns. This ensures that the water in your pool remains free from dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris.
  • Easy maintenance: Unlike other types of pool filters, cartridge filters are easy to clean. Simply remove the cartridge, rinse it with a hose to remove debris, and then re-insert it into the filter housing. This process can be done without any professional assistance.
  • Longer cleaning cycles: Pool cartridge filters have longer cleaning cycles compared to other filter types. This means you won’t need to clean them as frequently, saving you time and effort.
  • Cost-effective: Cartridge filters are a cost-effective option because they don’t require regular replacement like sand filters. With proper maintenance, a cartridge filter can last several seasons.

Benefits Of Using Pool Cartridge Filters

Using a pool cartridge filter offers several advantages over other types of pool filters. Here are the key benefits:

  • Better water quality: Cartridge filters provide superior water quality by efficiently removing dirt, debris, and microorganisms from the pool water. This results in cleaner, safer, and more enjoyable swimming experiences.
  • Energy efficiency: Cartridge filters operate at a lower pressure compared to other filters, reducing the workload on your pool pump. This leads to energy savings and lower utility bills.
  • Easy installation: Cartridge filters are simple to install and don’t require any complex plumbing connections. You can easily incorporate them into your existing pool system or during a new pool construction.
  • Minimal water wastage: Unlike backwashing with sand or de filters, cartridge filters don’t require water wastage. This makes them an environmentally friendly choice for pool owners.

How They Differ From Other Pool Filter Types

While there are different types of pool filters available, pool cartridge filters stand out in several ways:

  • Filtration efficiency: Cartridge filters are known for their exceptional filtration efficiency, effectively capturing smaller particles than sand filters and de filters.
  • Maintenance: Cartridge filters have the advantage of easy maintenance compared to sand filters and de filters. They can be easily cleaned without the need for backwashing or complicated regeneration processes.
  • Cost: Cartridge filters are often more cost-effective in the long run. While the initial investment may be higher than sand filters, the longer cleaning cycles and lower maintenance requirements translate to savings over time.
  • Space-saving: Cartridge filters are compact in size and require less space compared to sand filters and de filters. This makes them a suitable option for pools with limited space.

Overall, pool cartridge filters offer efficient filtration, easy maintenance, and cost-effectiveness. Understanding their unique benefits and how they differ from other filter types will help you make an informed decision when it comes to keeping your pool clean and well-maintained.

Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning Your Pool Cartridge Filter

If you want to keep your pool clean and sparkling, regularly cleaning your pool cartridge filter is essential. Over time, debris, dirt, and other contaminants can clog the filter, reducing its efficiency and preventing proper water circulation. To ensure your filter is working effectively, follow this step-by-step guide to clean your pool cartridge filter:

Gathering The Necessary Equipment And Supplies:

To begin the cleaning process, gather the following equipment and supplies:

  • Large bucket or container
  • Water hose
  • Pool filter cleaner solution
  • Soft bristle brush or filter cleaning wand

Turning Off The Pool Pump And Relieving Pressure:

Before removing the cartridge filter, it’s crucial to turn off the pool pump and relieve any built-up pressure in the system. This step ensures your safety and prevents water from spraying out during the cleaning process.

To turn off the pool pump and relieve pressure:

  • Locate the pump’s power switch or circuit breaker and switch it off.
  • Open the air relief valve on top of the pump to release any pressure.
  • Wait for a few minutes to allow the system to depressurize fully.

Removing The Cartridge Filter From The Housing:

Once the pump is turned off and the pressure is relieved, you can safely remove the cartridge filter from the housing. Follow these steps:

  • Find the filter’s pressure gauge and turn it counterclockwise to release the clamp.
  • Gently lift the top of the filter housing to expose the cartridge.
  • Carefully remove the cartridge by pulling it upwards.

Pre-Rinsing The Filter Cartridge:

Before diving into the deep cleaning process, it’s best to pre-rinse the filter cartridge to remove loose debris and dirt. Follow these steps:

  • Use a water hose with a strong stream of water to rinse the cartridge from top to bottom.
  • Direct the water between the pleats to dislodge any trapped particles.
  • Continue rinsing until the water runs clear, indicating the removal of visible debris.

Soaking The Cartridge In A Cleaning Solution:

To thoroughly clean and eliminate any remaining contaminants, soak the cartridge in a pool filter cleaner solution. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill a large bucket or container with enough water to fully submerge the cartridge.
  • Add the recommended amount of pool filter cleaner solution to the water, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place the cartridge in the solution and ensure it is completely submerged.
  • Allow the cartridge to soak for the recommended time, usually around 24 hours, giving the cleaning solution enough time to dissolve and remove stubborn debris.

Scrubbing The Cartridge To Remove Stubborn Debris:

To tackle any remaining debris that may be clinging to the cartridge, gently scrub it with a soft bristle brush or a filter cleaning wand. Follow these steps:

  • Take the cartridge out of the cleaning solution and inspect it for any remaining debris.
  • Using a soft bristle brush or filter cleaning wand, scrub the cartridge’s pleated surface and between the folds.
  • Pay extra attention to areas with stubborn debris, ensuring they are thoroughly cleaned.
  • Avoid using excessive force or abrasive cleaning tools that can damage the cartridge.

Rinsing The Cartridge Thoroughly:

After scrubbing the cartridge, rinse it thoroughly to remove any leftover cleaning solution or loosened debris. Follow these steps:

  • Use a water hose with moderate pressure to rinse the cartridge from top to bottom.
  • Ensure that all surfaces, including between the pleats, are rinsed completely.
  • Continue rinsing until the water runs clear, indicating the removal of any remaining cleaning solution or debris.

Reinstalling The Clean Cartridge In The Filter Housing:

With the cartridge now clean and rinsed, it’s time to reinstall it back into the filter housing. Follow these steps:

  • Carefully place the clean cartridge back into the filter housing.
  • Ensure the cartridge sits properly and securely in its original position.
  • Put the top of the filter housing back in place and secure it by tightening the clamp.
  • Double-check that all connections are secure before proceeding.

Regularly cleaning your pool cartridge filter is vital for maintaining optimal pool water quality and ensuring efficient filtration. By following this step-by-step guide, you can keep your pool sparkling clean and enjoy a refreshing swim all season long.

Tips For Maintaining Your Pool Cartridge Filter

Regular inspection and cleaning schedule:

  • It is important to establish a regular inspection and cleaning schedule for your pool cartridge filter to ensure its optimal functioning and efficiency.
  • Aim to inspect and clean the filter cartridge at least once every two weeks, especially during the swimming season when the pool is frequently used.
  • Regular cleaning helps remove any debris, dirt, and oils that may accumulate in the filter and prevent it from effectively filtering the water.
  • Check for any signs of clogging or reduced water flow, as this indicates that the cartridge needs cleaning.
  • By maintaining a consistent cleaning schedule, you can prolong the lifespan of your filter cartridge and ensure crystal-clear pool water.

Proper storage during the off-season:

  • As the swimming season comes to an end, it is essential to store your pool cartridge filter properly during the off-season to protect it from damage.
  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the cartridge to remove any remaining debris or contaminants.
  • Allow the filter cartridge to dry completely before storing it to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
  • Place the dry cartridge in a clean plastic bag to keep it protected from dust and dirt.
  • Store the cartridge in a dry and temperature-controlled area, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and moisture.
  • Following these storage guidelines will help preserve the integrity of the filter cartridge and ensure its effectiveness when the swimming season resumes.

Checking for wear and tear on the cartridge:

  • Regularly inspect the filter cartridge for signs of wear and tear, as this can affect its performance and efficiency.
  • Look for any cracks, tears, or frayed edges on the cartridge material. If you notice any damage, it may be time to replace the cartridge.
  • Pay attention to the end caps as well, as they can become worn or damaged over time.
  • A damaged cartridge will not be able to effectively filter debris from the pool water, leading to poor water quality and potential equipment damage.
  • If you spot any signs of wear and tear, it is recommended to replace the cartridge promptly to maintain a clean and healthy pool.

Replacing the cartridge when necessary:

  • It is crucial to replace the cartridge when it reaches the end of its usable lifespan or if significant damage is detected.
  • Each cartridge has a recommended lifespan specified by the manufacturer. Follow their guidelines for replacement intervals.
  • Overusing a cartridge beyond its recommended lifespan can lead to decreased filtration efficiency and potentially damage the pool’s equipment.
  • If you notice a significant reduction in water flow or persistent water quality issues despite regular cleaning, it may be an indication that the cartridge needs replacement.
  • Always ensure that you purchase the correct cartridge model and size for your pool’s filtration system.

Remember to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for maintenance and replacement of your pool cartridge filter. By following these tips and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule, you can enjoy a clean and sparkling pool all season long.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Pool Cartridge Filters

If you own a pool with a cartridge filter, you may encounter some common issues that can hinder its performance. It’s essential to identify and resolve these problems to ensure your pool stays clean and clear all summer long. In this section, we will address some of the most common problems and provide troubleshooting tips to help you keep your pool filter running smoothly.

Low Water Flow Or Pressure:

  • Inspect the pool pump: Check if there are any clogs or obstructions in the pump basket or impeller housing. Clean them if necessary.
  • Verify the pool skimmer and cleaner lines: Ensure there are no blockages or debris inhibiting water flow. Clear any obstructions if found.
  • Examine the cartridge filter: Remove and clean it thoroughly. If it’s damaged or worn out, consider replacing it with a new one.
  • Check the pool water level: If the water level is too low, it can affect the filter’s performance. Maintain the water level within the recommended range.

Cloudy Water After Cleaning:

  • Inspect the cartridge filter: Make sure it is clean and free from debris. If it’s dirty, rinse it with a hose or soak it in a filter cleaning solution.
  • Assess the water chemistry: Test the pool water for ph, alkalinity, and chlorine levels. Adjust them accordingly to maintain proper balance.
  • Consider shock treatment: If the water remains cloudy after cleaning the filter and adjusting the chemistry, a shock treatment might be necessary. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage.

Unpleasant Odors:

  • Clean the cartridge filter: A dirty filter can contribute to foul odors. Give it a thorough cleaning to remove any built-up debris or bacteria.
  • Verify the water chemistry: Unbalanced ph or chlorine levels can lead to smelly pool water. Test and adjust them as needed.
  • Consider using a pool clarifier: Clarifiers can help eliminate odors and improve water clarity by binding small particles together for easier filtration.

Leaks Or Cracks In The Filter Housing:

  • Inspect the filter housing: Look for any visible cracks or leaks in the filter body. If found, it may need to be replaced.
  • Check the connections: Ensure all the connections between the filter and pump are tight and secure. Tighten if necessary.
  • Apply a sealant: If there are minor cracks, using a pool-safe sealant may temporarily stop the leakage. However, consider replacing the filter housing for a permanent solution.

Unusual Noises Coming From The Filter:

  • Investigate the pump and motor: Check for any strange noises or vibrations coming from the pump or motor. If needed, consult a professional for repairs or replacement.
  • Inspect the cartridge filter: Remove and clean the filter, ensuring it is properly installed without any obstructions that may cause noise.
  • Lubricate moving parts: Apply silicone lubricant to motor bearings, gaskets, and o-rings to minimize friction and noise.

By troubleshooting these common issues regularly, you can ensure your pool cartridge filter operates efficiently and keeps your pool water crystal clear. Remember to follow proper maintenance routines and seek professional assistance whenever needed.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Clean A Pool Cartridge Filter?

How Often Should I Clean My Pool Cartridge Filter?

Pool cartridge filters should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks to prevent debris buildup and ensure optimum performance.

What Is The Best Way To Clean A Pool Cartridge Filter?

To clean a pool cartridge filter, remove it from the housing, rinse off loose debris with a hose, soak it in a filter cleaner solution, and rinse it thoroughly before reinstalling.

Can I Clean My Pool Cartridge Filter With Bleach?

No, bleach should not be used to clean pool cartridge filters as it can damage the filter material. Use a filter cleaner specifically designed for this purpose.

How Can I Extend The Lifespan Of My Pool Cartridge Filter?

To extend the lifespan of your pool cartridge filter, regularly clean it, maintain proper water chemistry levels, and ensure adequate water flow.

Is It Necessary To Replace My Pool Cartridge Filter?

Yes, pool cartridge filters need to be replaced occasionally. Signs that it is time for a replacement include reduced water flow, tears in the filter material, and excessive wear and tear.



Cleaning your pool cartridge filter is an essential task to maintain the cleanliness and functionality of your pool. By following the step-by-step process we discussed in this blog post, you can easily keep your pool water crystal clear and free from contaminants.

Firstly, remember to turn off the pool pump and release the pressure before removing the filter cartridge. Thoroughly rinse off the cartridge to remove any debris, and consider using a filter cleaner solution for a more extensive clean. Inspect the cartridge for any signs of damage, and if necessary, replace it with a new one.

Additionally, regularly cleaning your pool cartridge filter can help prolong its lifespan and improve its efficiency. By incorporating this simple maintenance routine into your pool care regimen, you can enjoy a clean and sparkling pool all season long. So, don’t neglect cleaning your pool cartridge filter and make it a priority for a great swimming experience!

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About Author (Marjorie R. Rogers)

The inspiring mum of 6 who dedicates her time to supporting others. While battling with her own demons she continues to be the voice for others unable to speak out. Mental illness almost destroyed her, yet here she is fighting back and teaching you all the things she has learned along the way. Get Started To Read …