How to Properly Clean a Cartridge Filter

Properly Clean a Cartridge Filter

The time has finally come – your pressure gauge is 8-12 PSI above the recommended starting pressure of your pool filter. This can only mean one thing, it’s time to clean your filter element! Customers often ask us how we can help in simplifying the daunting task of cleaning their filter. We know that pool maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of owning a swimming pool, but these tips can help simplify the process.

Follow the below steps to efficiently clean your cartridge filter:

  • Quick Clean: 30 Minutes
  • Deep Clean: 10 Hours (to allow for soak)

Pressure Loss
VS Flow

Pressure loss vs. Flow graph

Flow Rate

clean & clear plus cartridge filters flow

Clean & Clear
Filter Diagram


Turn off the filtration system. Make sure the pool timer is not set to automatically turn on during the cleaning process.


Bleed the air from the filter by slowly turning the air relief valve.


Remove the tension clamp that holds the filter together. Each brand may have their own release mechanism, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can search for your filter at PoolSupplyWorld and find the product documentation on your cartridge filter’s page. If you are having an issue finding this information, please contact us at 800.772.0467.

Find Your

Clear & Clear
Hayward Swimclear filter
System 3


Now you can carefully remove the top section of the cartridge filter and set on a safe, clean area.


You may need to remove a part that is holding the cartridge elements, so make sure to take note for easy re-assembly. Again, if you are unsure how to remove this part, refer to the product documentation or contact us at 800.772.0467.


Carefully remove the cartridge elements and set them aside. It is important to check each cartridge for cracks, tears or other damage. We strongly recommend replacing any filter cartridge with damage because even a small tear can significantly decrease the filter’s performance.

Filter Cartridges

Pleatco PURE filter catridge
Pleatco PJAN100 Filter Cartridge


Use a garden hose to rinse debris from between the pleats while motioning from the top of your filter to the bottom. Make sure to hose the inside of the elements, as well. Now, flip the filter over and, again, hose from the top down. If you’re having a difficult time removing debris, or if you want to speed up the process a bit, you can use the Cartridge Cleaning Tool, Pool Blaster, or a straight flow hose nozzle.


For the next step, you’ll need a bucket or a large trash can that’s big enough to hold your elements. This step will help you remove sunscreen, lotions, and other oils. In order to do this, you’ll need to soak the elements in a Filter Cleaner, Natural Chemistry’s Filter Perfect, or dishwasher detergent (one cup per five gallons of water). For the best results, be sure to soak the filter cartridge up-to 10 hours. Give them a quick rinse with fresh water before proceeding. If you used dishwasher detergent, make sure to rinse very well!


Bonus tip – If you see any stubborn algae stuck to the filter cartridge, soak the cartridge in one part Muriatic Acid and twenty parts water (always add the acid to the water, never the water to the acid). Mixing water and acid forms hydronium ions. When these ions are highly concentrated it causes the acid to spit and splash. Soak the cartridge until all the bubbling has stopped.


Finally, give each filter cartridge one final rinse to remove the acid/water solution. When reassembling your pool cartridge filter, it’s a good idea to apply a small amount of silicon based lubricant to the o-ring to help extend the lifespan.


After placing the cartridges back in the filter, securely replace the tank lid and close the clamp to seal the equipment.


Turn on the filtration system and open the air relief valve to release the excess air in the tank. Leave the valve open until a steady stream of water sprays out of the valve.


A clean filter will increase water flow, which is visible through a stronger suction of your pool cleaner. Recalibrate the filter pressure, if needed. The pressure gauge should typically read between 10-15 PSI, depending on your filter. If the PSI is off, something may have been reassembled incorrectly.


Use your system normally!

Need Help? Contact us! 800.772.0467