POOL & WATER MAINTENANCE

How to Clean a Pool Filter (Sand, Cartridge, D.E.) Step by Step

Take the stress out of cleaning your pool by learning how to maintain your pool filters. The hardest part about cleaning a pool is not knowing where to start or what tools to use. We break down the 3 main types of pool filters and how to clean them. Follow our step-by-step guide for quick pool maintenance

How to Clean a Pool Sand Filter


Maintaining and cleaning pool sand filters is required to keep your pool clean and clear. When you run your pool filter for at least 12 hours a day, debris and other dirt are bound to build up in your filter. Don’t worry, once you read this guide and learn our quick and easy steps, cleaning your sand filters will be easy and the results will make your pool a lot more enjoyable.

Required equipment

Here’s the required equipment:

  • Filter system with a multiport or slider valve
  • Backwash hose – these come in vinyl or heavy-duty rubber

Instructions for Cleaning a Pool Sand Filter

  1. Before performing any maintenance, make sure to turn off the pool pump. This prevents any damage from occurring.
  2. Set the valve to “backwash”. Normally this is set to “filter”. Setting the valve to backwash will reverse the flow of water inside the filter and prevent dirty water from entering the pool.
  3. Attach your backwash hose. The majority of pools won’t have a waste line, so you’ll need to hook a backwash hose to the “waste” port of your filter. You can skip this step if you have a waste line.
  4. Backwash your filter. Turn the pump on and run it for 3-5 minutes. Once the water changes from cloudy to clear, shut off the pump again.
  5. Set the valve from “backwash” to “rinse” to clean the filter so the debris do not go back into the pool.
  6. Once you’ve set the valve to “rinse” turn the pump back on and rinse the tank for 30-60 seconds.
  7. Turn the pump off and put the multiport valve back into the “filter” position.
  8. Turn the pool pump back on.

How to Clean a Pool Filter Cartridge


Cleaning a pool filter cartridge is simple and takes only 30 minutes once you learn the process. You’ll know your filter needs to be cleaned when the filter gauge shows the PSI (pounds per square inch) as more than 8 to 10 PSI higher than what is normal for your filter.

Required equipment

You’ll require the following:

  • Filter system
  • Garden hose
  • Cartridge cleaner

Instructions for Cleaning a Pool Filter Cartridge

  1. Turn off the pool pump.
  2. Bleed the filter tank of air by turning the air relief valve to the open position.
  3. Open the filter tank. Remove the clamp that secures the lid on the tank. Most modern tanks use an O-ring that can easily be removed by pressing up on the release tab and turning counterclockwise.
  4. Remove the cartridges from the tank and set them aside to be cleaned.
  5. Check cartridges for wear and tear. With regular cleaning, a cartridge can last 3-5 years. Every time you clean it, do a visual check for cracks or signs of damage.
  6. Remove debris from the cartridge material. The best way to clean a cartridge is with a garden hose to rinse the debris. Rinse on both sides for best results.
  7. Degrease or deep clean the cartridge using cartridge cleaner. This will remove algae, sunscreen, and body oils, that seep into the cartridge material.
  8. Reassemble the filter tank. Once the cartridges are clean, return them inside the filter tank and set the top portion of the filter tank firmly in place.
  9. Turn the air release valve back to the closed position.
  10. Turn on the pump to make sure everything functions properly.

How to Clean a Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) Pool Filter


Diatomaceous Earth is made of pulverized plankton fossils that coat the filter elements to act as a filtration medium. If your D.E filter needs to be cleaned, the filter gauge shows that the PSI (pounds per square inch) is more than 8 to 10 PSI higher than what is normal for your filter. It’s also recommended to clean the filter after you have a lot of pool guests over to remove sunscreen and other particles that can build up.

Required equipment

To start, you’ll need these materials:

  • Filter system with a slide or multiport valve
  • Backwash hose – these come in vinyl or heavy-duty rubber

Instructions for Cleaning a D.E. Pool Filter

  1. Shut off the pool pump.
  2. Rotate the filter valve to “backwash” to reverse the stream of water.
  3. Attach your backwash hose. The majority of pools won’t have a waste line, so you’ll need to hook a backwash hose to the “waste” port of your filter. Skip this step if you have a waste line.
  4. Turn the pump “in reverse” and run it for 1-3 minutes to strip the old DE powder and impurities off the filter grids. You’ll want to wait until the water changes from cloudy to clear.
  5. Turn the pump off again.
  6. Rotate the filter valve into the “rinse” position to clean the debris off the filter.
  7. Turn the pump back on and run for the second cycle of about 30-60 seconds. This will purge any remaining impurities through the backwash hose or waste line.
  8. Turn off the pump again.
  9. Rotate the valve to the “filter” position. This is the normal position that your filter is in when it’s cleaning the pool.
  10. Turn the pump back on and add new DE powder to the filter to replace what was backwashed out. To do this, uncover the skimmer closest to the pump and filter, and slowly pour the amount needed into the skimmer while the system is running. The powder will travel through the plumbing and recharge the filter.

How to clean a pool filter with muriatic acid

To clean a pool filter with muriatic acid, you’ll need to follow the steps indicated above to turn off your pump, open your filter and remove your filter cartridges. Once you’ve taken out the filters, fill up a trash can with a 20:1 ratio of muriatic acid and water. Soak the cartridge in the muriatic acid solution for 1 hour to clean the pool filter cartridges completely. After an hour, rinse the cartridges with a garden hose and re-install them in the filter.

How to clean a pool pump filter


To clean a pool pump filter or sand filter pool pump, turn off the pool pump and filter, close the skimmer and main driver valves, and remove the pump lid. Take out the filters and wash them out with a garden hose. Once they are clean, re-install the pump filter and make sure the filter valve is in the “filter” position. Open the main drain valve all the way and open the air relief valve on the pool filter.

Once the pump catches a prime, open the remaining skimmer valves one at a time. When a steady stream of water is visible from the air relief valve, close the valve and turn the pump on. Now you’ll have a clean pool filter pump.

How often to clean the pool filter

How often you clean the filter depends on how much you use the pool. Sunscreen and oils can build up in the pool which will cause the filter to become dirtier. A good rule is to clean the pool filter every two weeks if it’s being used frequently, or once a month for less frequent use. You can also check the filter gauge – your filter is ready to be cleaned when the gauge is more than 8 to 10 PSI higher than what is normal for your filter.

How to keep a small pool clean without a filter


To keep the pool water clean without a filter, you need to use chlorine with a flocculant or use a flocculant chemical. This allows all the debris that floats in the water to fall to the bottom of the pool so it can be removed later with a cleaner. The flocculant chemical also prevents the cloudy appearance that some small pools may have.

There are a couple of ways to clean the actual pool. First, you can use a swimming pool battery cleaner that doesn’t need cables or to plug into an appliance during use. You can also use an electric pool cleaner, which has a filtration system that retains the small particles. It’s self-contained, lightweight, and easy to use. Lastly, you can use magic sponges for the waterline to remove stains. That’s all you need to clean a small pool
without a filter!

How to clean a salt water pool filter


Cleaning a salt water pool filter is not that different from a freshwater pool. Shut down the filtration system, remove the filter, and wash it down with a high-pressure hose.

If the filter is really dirty, you can use an acid solution for about 10 minutes to remove all the debris and dirt that built up. Remove the filter from the solution and spray it with a high-pressure hose inside and out. Return the filter, turn the filter and pump back on.

Don’t forget, if you used an acid solution you need to neutralize it with a pound of soda ash or several pounds of baking soda before disposing of it. Now you have a clean salt water pool filter.

How to keep a kid pool clean without a filter


There are a couple of different ways you can keep a kid pool clean without a filter. The first way, if the pool is relatively small, is to drain and refill the pool. Drain the water when it’s dirty, scrub it down with a sponge and mild soap, and refill it.

You can also cover the pool when it’s not in use to reduce bugs, twigs, and debris from getting in the pool. If you choose not to cover the pool, you can use a skimmer every day helps to remove large bugs, leaves, and more.

For a deeper clean, vacuum the bottom of the pool with a special pool vacuum to refrain from having to change the water as frequently. Lastly, soak up sunscreen and body oils with an enormous sponge that is made for soaking up oil. There you have it, all you need to keep your kid pool clean without a filter.

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