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How to Properly Maintain Your Pool Cleaners and Filters

Last Updated: April 16, 2021

cleaning swimming pool cartridge filter

Just when you thought your cleaning was done, now your cleaner needs cleaning! When it comes to maintenance and pools, be prepared to spend some time doing maintenance. Since your filters and pool cleaners work so hard to keep your pool clean, it is only fair to keep them clean as well. Cleaning pool cleaners and filters is not difficult as long as you know the proper procedure, and you make it part of your regular pool maintenance routine.

Cleaners

Cleaning your pool cleaner

Depending on what type of pool cleaner you have, there will be different areas that need to be cleaned.

Some pool cleaners have scrubbing brushes. Those brushes can get full of grime, and it is highly recommended to rinse them out occasionally.

Some pool cleaners have a collection bag attached. It is not always just enough to rinse the collection bag. Sometimes, you need to take the entire bag off and clean it with soap and water. Small particles can get lodged in the bag, and the last thing you want is a dirty pool cleaner swimming through your pool.

Suction pool cleaners should be checked occasionally to make sure that the mechanisms used to attach themselves to the pool walls and floor are free and clear of debris or any mold or algae build-up.

Pool cleaner storage

When you take your pool cleaner out of the pool, don’t put it away immediately. Give the unit some time to drain and dry before storing it. If you store it filled with water, you could potentially see mold start to grow.

Pool cleaners should be stored indoors once they are dry. With all the money that you spent on your pool cleaner, leaving it outside in the elements makes no sense at all.

Filters

Cleaning a cartridge filter

A cartridge filter is designed so that you can remove the filter often and clean it. When it comes time for a cleaning, make sure to pull the cartridge out and inspect it for damage carefully. Cartridges will get to the point that they need to be replaced, not just cleaned.

Once you have the cartridge out and it is time to clean, you simply need to rinse it with a hose. If the filter seems dirty, you can use a cleaner that is explicitly designed for cartridges. Usually, you would let this cartridge sit in the soap for 24 hours.

Most of the time, as long as you are cleaning your cartridge filter regularly, you should be fine, just spraying it with a hose and popping it back into place.

cleaning pool cartridge with hose

Image credit: MDIYer, Shutterstock

Cleaning a diatomaceous earth filter

Diatomaceous earth (DE) filters are perhaps the most complicated to maintain. When it comes time to clean your DE filter, there are some extra steps involved.

The process starts with a backwash, just as you did with the sand filter. You can allow this backwash to go on for about three to six minutes. Anything longer than that is not necessary.

Next, you will want to turn off the filter and remove the filter manifold and all the grids. You can rinse these with a garden hose or soak them in a cleaner. Be sure that you fully understand how to take your DE filter apart and put it back together again. If you are not used to doing this, it may be best to hire a professional to clean your filter every month or so. The last thing you want to do is create damage while trying to help prevent damage!

Cleaning a sand filter

Sand filters are even easier to clean that a cartridge cleaner. Cleaning a sand filter is something that should be done once a month, if possible.

First, start out by backwashing the pool for several minutes. Once that is finished, turn the filter back over to filter mode. Once your filter is back in filter mode, pour some sand filter cleaner into the strainer basket.

Once that cleaner is into the filter system (probably about 15-20 seconds), go ahead and turn off the entire system. Let your pool filter system sit overnight and allow that cleaner to work on cleaning the filter.

In the morning, run another backwash for about four minutes. When that is done, you have successfully cleaned your sand filter. Not a difficult job at all, and it is a big reason why people like to use sand filters in their pool setup.

sand pool filter

Image credit: Ralf Geithe, Shutterstock

Pool filter protection

If you live in a climate where your pool is shut down for a few months, be sure to take proper precautions when storing your pool filter. Sometimes you will be able to take your pool filter in for the winter, and this is the best-case scenario.

If you have a more complicated setup and you can’t take the pool filter in, there are winter covers you can purchase to put on the filter itself. The cover will not keep the filter wholly enclosed, but it can help to protect from the elements a bit. When you close your pool down for the winter, make sure that every last drop of water is out of the filter. Leftover liquid can grow mold, or it can freeze and start cracking your filter pieces.

Conclusion

Maintaining and cleaning pool filters and pool cleaners is just an extension of your pool maintenance responsibilities. These jobs only take a few minutes, but they are necessary to keep your equipment in working order. The pool filter and your pool cleaner are probably two of the more expensive pieces of equipment you own at your house. Proper maintenance is worth the time if you can ensure the longevity of this equipment.


Featured Image Credit: DF1, Shutterstock