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

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

How To Clean A Pool Filter

Imagine diving into a crystal-clear swimming pool on a hot summer day. The cool water refreshes your body, and you feel free and weightless as you swim through the sparkling water.

However, maintaining a clean and clear pool requires more than just enjoying a refreshing swim. It requires regular upkeep of the pool’s filtration system to keep it free from dirt, debris, and pollutants. Neglecting this maintenance can lead to clogging, reduced efficiency, and even damage to the filtration system, ultimately impacting the quality of your swim.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of filter upkeep in maintaining a sparkling clean pool. We will explore the different types of pool filters, including sand, cartridge, and D.E. filters, and provide guidelines for cleaning and maintaining them.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your pool remains clean and healthy for you and your loved ones to enjoy, providing a sense of freedom and relaxation during those hot summer days.

Types of Pool Filters

Dirty Pool Filter

The pre-existing knowledge on pool filter cleaning includes specific instructions on how to maintain sand, cartridge, and D.E. filters, which are the three main types of pool filters used to keep pools clean.

Each type of filter has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, making it important for pool owners to choose the right filter for their specific needs.

  • Sand filters are the most common type of pool filter, and are known for their low maintenance and affordability. However, they are not as effective at removing small particles as other types of filters.
  • Cartridge filters, on the other hand, are highly efficient at capturing small particles and require less water to clean, but they are more expensive and require more frequent cleaning.
  • D.E. filters are the most effective at removing small particles and maintaining clear water, but they are the most expensive and require the most maintenance.

When choosing the right pool filter, it is important to consider factors such as pool size, frequency of use, and budget.

Cleaning Cartridge Filters

To maintain optimal filtration, it is advisable to perform routine maintenance on cartridge filters. This process includes inspecting the filter for damage, washing it with a garden hose, and soaking it in a cleaning solution if necessary.

Here are four essential steps to cleaning cartridge filters:

  1. Turn off the pool pump and depressurize the filter tank before removing the cartridge. This step is crucial as it ensures that the filter is safe to handle.
  2. Use a garden hose to rinse the cartridge thoroughly, ensuring all debris and dirt is removed. Avoid using a pressure washer as it can damage the filter’s delicate fibers.
  3. Soak the cartridge in a cleaning solution for tough contaminants. There are various cleaning solution options available, including specialized cartridge filter cleaners, muriatic acid, or a mixture of water and white vinegar.
  4. After soaking the cartridge, rinse it thoroughly before replacing it in the filter tank.

Regular cleaning of cartridge filters can extend their lifespan, ensure optimal filtration, and keep your pool sparkling clean. However, if you encounter any issues, such as decreased water flow or a dirty pool, troubleshoot the cartridge filter to identify and resolve the problem promptly.

In conclusion, cleaning cartridge filters is a crucial maintenance task for pool owners. By following the steps above, using the appropriate cleaning solution options, and troubleshooting any issues, you can ensure optimal filtration, extend the life of your filter, and keep your pool clean and inviting.

Cleaning Sand and D.E. Filters

Performing routine maintenance on sand and D.E. filters is crucial for maintaining optimal pool filtration. Sand filters require backwashing when the pressure gauge reading is 10 psi above normal operating pressure.

Backwashing involves reversing the flow of water through the filter, dislodging trapped debris and flushing it out of the system. After backwashing, the sand bed needs to be inspected for signs of clumping or channeling, which occur when the sand is not evenly distributed. These issues can be corrected by adding new sand or redistributing the existing sand.

D.E. filters require monthly backwashing to remove debris and refresh the D.E. powder coating on the filter grids or fingers.

After backwashing, the filter manifold should be removed, and the D.E. grids or fingers should be thoroughly rinsed and soaked in a cleaning solution for the recommended soak duration.

Muriatic acid can be used as an alternative to D.E. filter cleaner for tough cleaning jobs, but it should be used with caution and diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Regular maintenance of sand and D.E. filters can extend their lifespan and keep your pool sparkling clean.

Sand filters are low maintenance and easy to operate.Sand filters require more water to backwash than other filter types.
D.E. filters provide the highest level of filtration and clarity.D.E. filters require more maintenance and attention to detail than other filter types.
Sand filters are affordable and widely available.D.E. filters may need to be recharged with D.E. powder more frequently than other filter types.
D.E. filters are environmentally friendly and use less water than sand filters.D.E. filters may be more expensive and harder to find than other filter types.

By regularly maintaining your pool filter, you can ensure that your pool is clean and safe for swimming.

Consider the pros and cons of each filter type when selecting a filter for your pool. Keep in mind that sand filters are low maintenance, while D.E. filters provide the highest level of filtration.

When cleaning your filter, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use caution when handling muriatic acid or other harsh chemicals. With proper maintenance, your filter can provide years of reliable service and keep your pool crystal clear.


In conclusion, proper upkeep of pool filters is vital for maintaining a sparkling clean pool that is safe for swimmers. Neglecting filter maintenance can lead to clogging, reduced efficiency, and damage to the filtration system. Therefore, it is essential to keep sand, cartridge, and D.E. filters clean and well-maintained.

Regular cleaning of cartridge filters involves rinsing with a hose and soaking in a cleaning solution, while sand and D.E. filters require backwashing and periodic replacement of filter media.

By implementing these simple tips and guidelines, pool owners can ensure that their filters are performing at their optimal level. So, keep your pool filters in top shape, and enjoy a refreshing and clean swim every time.

Remember, maintaining pool filters is a small step that can have a significant impact on the overall health and longevity of your pool. So, don’t wait until it’s too late to take care of your filters. Keep them clean, and keep your pool sparkling!

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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