How To Clean Pool Filter Cartridge? A Step By Step Guide

How To Clean Pool Filter Cartridge

Earlier my wife used to complain that I hardly went out during weekend or off days. Now she complains that I am never around to help her with household chores. Well! She is right. Each weekend I am at one friend’s house, or another’s, doing what I do best – fixing their pool pumps. They call me if they have an issue with the pool. Just last weekend I guided my friend to replace pool pump motor instead of replacing the whole pump.  

I have to tend to my friends, but I try to maintain peace at home, by taking my wife out on a movie and dinner date, every alternate Sunday. Last month, your “friendly neighborhood pool man” was busy cleaning pool filter cartridges at four different locations. Can anyone be more occupied than me!


Cleaning Pool Filter Cartridge With Bleach

Step 1 – Pick The Right Bleach For Cleaning

As I always say, it is better to have confidence in your skills. But a quick chat with the experts will offer small tips, which will make the task easy. I am not an expert in all matters, so, whenever I have any doubts, I rush to the supermarket. Mark and I drove to the mall to get the right bleach for the pool filters. I stood in front of the stands, wondering which one will serve my purpose best. Finally, I decided to shun my ego and asked the sale executive. With the right bleach filter cleaner in my possession, we headed back to Mark’s home.

Step 2 – Remove Loose Dirt

The filter mesh was dark as it has not been washed for a long time. I immediately gave mark an angry look, and he tried to handle the situation by running inside to bring two beers. It took the filters and started to tap them gently with a wooden spatula. The idea was to dislodge any loose dirt or debris.

Step 3 – Mixing Bleach And Water

Too much bleach can corrode the mesh, while too little bleach will not be able to dissolve dirt completely. Thus, I took a measuring cup to pour out the required amount I needed. As soon as I poured out the first cup of bleach, the strong stench drove me crazy. So, you better not make the same mistake, and take prior precautions. Once I had the adequate amount of bleach in the bucket, I added water to the potent liquid.

Step 4 – Immersing The Filters In The Mixture

The strong stench of the mix gave me the message that I was not to put my ungloved hands in the liquid. So, I put on a pair of gloves and immersed the filters in the bucket one by one. I made sure that the screens were not tightly packed, and had enough room for one another.

Step 5 – Leaving It Overnight

Once the filter cartridges were in the liquid, I covered the bucket slightly, and set it at one corner of the garage. I asked Mark to make sure that his kids don’t touch or disturb the liquid. The bleach worked on the filter cartridges and loosened the dirt.

Step 6 – Washing Out The Dirt

The next morning, I went back to Mark’s house. As soon as I took the lid off, the clear liquid had turned dark. It was due to the leaching out of the dirt from the filter mesh. I took out each cartridge and used a forceful hose to wash out each speck of dirt with warm water.

Step 7 – Dry And Place The Filter Cartridges

I placed the cartridges out in the sun to dry for few hours. In the meantime, I enjoyed a delicious spread that Mark’s wife had prepared for us. Though I don’t charge any money for fixing their pools, I get what I would otherwise not have been able to acquire – quality time with my old pals. When the filters were bone dry, I gave them a final tap and then fitted them back in the filter.

Cleaning Pool Filter Cartridge With Muriatic Acid

Step 1 – Arrange The Necessary Things

It was time for me to tackle the filter cleaning task at John’s home. He has one of those giant pool pumps, which have slightly tall filters. With John’s filters, I thought of trying the acid and bleach method. So, I took a quick trip to the store and picked up a big barrel of muriatic acid, pH neutralizer, a bottle of bleach, gloves, masks, and goggles for our eyes. I had already asked John to arrange a trash bucket that is tall and big enough to hold all the filters.

Step 2 – Primary Washing The Filters

When we opened the pump and took out the filters, I decided to use a strong jet of water to give it a quick wash. Then we put on our masks, goggles, and gloves to avert any unwanted situations as muriatic acid is very strong. John filled the trash bucket with water, and I poured the required amount of muriatic acid. It is better to use an acid to water ration of 4:1. As soon as I finished pouring the acid into the water, I saw and smelled acid fumes.

Step 3 – Immersing The Cartridges

Once the fumes had subsided, we lowered each cartridge into the trash bucket. The acid water mixture takes around 10 minutes to work its magic on the dirk. Once ten minutes were over, we flipped the cartridges for another 10 minutes.

Step 4 – The Final Wash

After 20 minutes were over, we brought out the cartridges, poured some pH neutralizer on them, and gave each a nice wash with warm water. The water jet was powerful, and we were able to clean the cartridges easily.

Step 5 – Fit The Dry Cartridges

The cartridges were left out in the sun for few hours, and the heat dried them. Then we placed these back in the pool filter and gave it a test run to see whether it was working or not. With each success under my belt, I was taking a step closer to perfection.

Cleaning Pool Filter Cartridge With Solution

Step 1 – Pick The Right Filter Cleaner

There are several kinds of pool pumps, and each has a different filter type. Jerry had installed a pump with sand filters. I had an idea that these filters are huge, and cannot be detached. So, I decided to use a filter cleaner for Jerry’s machine. My experience tells that it is the easiest way to clean pool filter cartridges.

Step 2 – Getting Rid Of Water By Backwashing

Before we started the treatment process, I switched on the backwash mode of the pool pump to drain out every drop of water, contained in the filter. As the water drained out, we saw the dirty water flowing out. I tried to put a leash on my anger, yet could not stop myself from asking Jerry when was the last time he had his filter cartridges cleaned. As expected, he failed to give a decent reply.

Step 3 – Prepare For Treatment Procedure

After this, I asked Jerry to pour the entire bottle of the filter cleaner into the pump basket. Once he emptied the bottle, he put the lid on like an obedient student and kept staring at me. I felt like laughing but somehow prevented it. Then I turned the filter back on “filter mode” and switched it on so that the cleaning liquid can enter the actual filter compartment.

Step 4 – Give It Time To Work

Once the liquid was sucked it, I turned the knob to set the pump in backwash mode. Then I switched it off completely. The liquid required around one hour to dissolve the dirt. I left it for a few minutes more. Once the time was up, I turned it on and activated the backwash mode. Dark foam and froth gushed out of the pipe, proving that we had achieved our aim.

Step 5 – A Final Rise Is All It Needed

Once the backwash was done, I turned on the rinse mode for two minutes to clean the pipes as well. The final step was to switch the machine on to the filter mode once more to put things in place.

Cleaning Pool Filter Cartridge With Vinegar

Step 1 – White Vinegar For Filter Cartridge

Lastly, it was time I helped Pip with his pool. Pip had already told me that his pool water has a high level of calcium in it. It meant that his pool filter cartridge must have a high percentage of calcium build up as well. So, I picked up two tubs of white vinegar for the treatment. He had a pump that was similar to Mark’s. So, I knew I could easily detach and re-attach the parts.

Step 2 – Immersing The Cartridges In Vinegar

Pip knew that I was a very strict taskmaster, and he was also aware of the fact that he had not taken care of his pool, or the pool pump filter. To get into my good books, he had already dismantled the pump and removed the oil from the filter cartridges with a degreaser. So, when I reach his place, all I had to do was pour the white vinegar in a bucket, and immerse the filter cartridges in it.

Step 3 – Completion Of The Treatment

The wither vinegar took around 24 hours to dissolve the dense calcium deposits and dirt from the cartridges. So, I returned after a day to a bucket full of dark brown liquid. It was a sign that the trick had worked.

Step 4 – Final Rinse With Hot Water

Once the filter cartridges were out of the dirty fluid, it was time to hose out the remaining filth with a strong jet of hot water. I must say, Pip knew more than any of my other friends. I stood with a drink in my hands, while he did most of the cleaning. Once the cartridges were dry, we put them in place and turned on the pump filter.

I can sense that I am good at this poop pump related matters. Each project gave me the opportunity to learn something new. Each filter cartridge cleaning process is different from the other. Every method made me wiser. I came to know about the loopholes and ways to get the upper hand over them.

Bryan Mallory

My name is Bryan Mallory and I have over 25 years of experience in swimming pool, spa maintenance and repairs. With my experience and knowledge I can return your pool back to its best and keep it in peak condition.