With swimming being the fifth most popular activity in the U.S., 17.12% of American adults own a pool, hot tub, or spa. That’s a lot of pool maintenance!

If you’re reading this article, the chances are high that you have a pool in your home. And if you do, you know that maintaining your pool throughout the year can have a significant impact on your wallet.

So what can you do to cut back on how often you call in the professionals? One way is keeping your pool filter clean, so keep reading as we take you through the basics of how to clean your pool filter.

How to Clean Your Pool Filter

Knowing how to care for your pool pump and pool filter is essential to pool ownership. But different filters need different cleaning methods. You get three main types of pool filters:

The task of cleaning the pool filter could run over two days, depending on how clogged or unclean the filter is. However, for this guide, we are focusing on cartridge and sand pool filters.

Steps for Cleaning a Cartridge Filter

Cleaning a pool needn’t be a massive undertaking if you have the right tools and enough time.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Watering hosepipe
  • Spray attachment
  • Filter cleaner (if required)
  • New filter cartridge (if required)
  • Bucket (large enough to contain and submerge cartridge)
  • Lubricant for O-ring
  • New O-ring (if required)
  • Owner’s Manual


  • Switch off the pool pump and the filtration system
  • Rotate the air relief valve (often located on the top of the filter) slowly to release surplus air from the system
  • Remove locking mechanisms (i.e., clamps) keeping the filter together (refer to the manual for more information)
  • Release the top of the filter
  • Slowly extract the cartridge from the filter as gently as you can
  • Examine the cartridge for damage such as tears or cracks, and replace if damaged or beyond the ability to be cleaned
  • Using the spray attachment and the hose, spray the cartridge to remove dirt (paying attention to the pleats)
  • Use the filter cleaner if the hose doesn’t work
  • Submerge and soak the cartridge in filter cleaner overnight, using the 5-gallon bucket
  • Examine the O-ring for damage such as wear and tear or dry rot, and replace if damaged or worn out
  • If the O-ring is undamaged, apply lubricant to maintain
  • Thoroughly rinse the filter cartridge
  • Refit the cartridge into the filter and secure all locking mechanisms
  • Close the filter top
  • Switch filter on again, opening the air relief valve to release surplus air (wait for a constant stream of water before closing valve)

Once everything is complete, ensure the system pressure is correct by conducting an inspection. Pool filter problems can arise should the pounds per square inch (PSI) be off. This will require a bit of troubleshooting to find the solutions.

Steps for Cleaning a Sand Filter

Many people don’t perform sand pool filter cleaning as regularly as they should, which often results in a more arduous task, so it’s wise to clean your sand filter at least once a year.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Backwash hose
  • Sand filter cleaner
  • Owner’s manual

Directions for Chemical Cleaning:

  • To remove any debris, run a backwash on your filter for 3 -5 minutes
  • Switch the pool pump off and rotate the valve to “Filter”
  • Remove the pump’s strainer lid
  • Apply sand filter cleaner into the strainer basket, replacing cover once done
  • Switch the pump on again for 10 – 15 seconds (just enough to pump the cleaner to the filter)
  • Switch the pump off again and leave overnight (or minimum 8 hours)
  • To remove any remaining debris, rerun a backwash for 3 – 5 minutes
  • Switch the filter system on again

While this process can run overnight, the actual labor it takes is significantly less than its cartridge counterpart. This saving alone makes it worth the initial investment if you have the option to choose.

Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter

Its ability to trap particles down to 3-5 microns in size makes diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filters one of the most effective types of filters available. However, as they require a lot of maintenance and checking to keep the unit from being damaged, these pool filters are rare for in-home pools.

Cleaning a D.E. filter requires a lot of time, safety gear, and chemicals, so most pool owners with this type of filter hire professionals to maintain them.

Pool Filter Maintenance Tips

Adequately caring for and maintaining your pool filter, regardless of which type it is, is essential to keep it lasting a long time. We’ve compiled five important tips you should know for excellent pool filter maintenance:

  1. Clean the filter, baskets, and hair and lint collection pots every two weeks at least
  2. Use a tennis ball to soak up any oils from suntan lotions, natural body oils, and hair products from the water to keep your water surface looking good
  3. Prepare your pool for off-season by testing the water for chemical balance, draining excess water from the plumbing lines, and covering the pool until summer
  4. Check if water levels are optimal because it can cause the skimmer to not function (too high) or cause the pool pump to run dry or burn out
  5. Hire professionals at least once a year can ensure everything is being professionally inspected so you can catch any pool filter problems early

A well-maintained pool can offer hours of fun for the whole family right through the season. Following those essential tips can help keep your pool pump in tip-top shape.

A Clear Pool All Summer Long

It’s no secret that taking care of any machinery you own, from your car to your pool pump, can extend its life quite considerably. So, like you’d check your car filters, change your oil, and rotate your tires, you want to backwash your pool filter, clean out any debris, and keep parts well oiled and functioning.

If you’re looking to add a pool to your Texas home, or need some pool-related maintenance, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. With more than 15 years in the business, our team of experienced designers and framers is ready and waiting.