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Cartridge Filter Maintenance

How to clean cartridge type filters

1. Rinse any debris from the filter with a garden hose and spray nozzle before the filter dries after you have removed it. Drying will allow the collected debris to set into the filter media, making it more difficult to remove later.

2. Allow the filters to dry thoroughly, preferably in bright sunshine, which helps kill algae.

3. Shake or use an air compressor to remove loose particles from the filter's fabric. If using compressor, wear eye protection! This can also be done by tapping it on a surface, brushing with a stiff paint brush, or other means. Note that this step is in preparation for the actual cleaning, so getting it perfect is not necessary.

4. Save the filters you would normally throw in the trash until you have several to clean. Because cleaning involves using chlorinizer and takes time, cleaning individual filters is not efficient. five gallon/18.9 liter plastic paint bucket will hold about five type C filters.

5. Prepare a large bucket with a tight-fitting lid to soak your filters. Use a solution of 1 part pool chlorinator to 6 parts water. Submerge the filters in this solution, then place the lid on the bucket.

6. Allow the filters to soak to kill any microorganisms that are trapped in the filter media, and to break down any organic contaminants. One day is good, but 3 to 5 days will provide better results.

7. Remove the filters and rinse in a bucket of clean water. Agitate the filters by holding them at one end, and dunking them briskly in and out of the rinse water. You should see a cloud of rinsed contaminants coming from the filter.

8. Hang or place the filters in bright sunlight and allow them to dry thoroughly. Any more dirt that is trapped on the surface of the filter should be brushed off, using a stiff bristled paint or parts cleaning brush.

9. Seal the bucket you soak the filters in when not in use so you won't have to add additional chlorinizer each time you clean filters. Some sediment will accumulate in the bottom of this bucket, but it doesn't affect the cleaning properties of the solution.

10. Mix a solution of muriatic acid and water to dissolve minerals that accumulate in the filter media, reducing the rate water can pass through the filter. Use another clean bucket with a lid that seals tightly. Add about 2/3 of a bucket of clean water, then carefully pour in enough muriatic acid to give you a 1 part acid to 10 parts water solution. In a typical 5 gallon bucket, this means about 3 gallons of water to 1 1/2 quarts acid.

11. Soak the filters in the acid solution until it quits bubbling. The bubbles are an indication the acid is reacting with the mineral deposits, and when the bubbling has quit, the minerals should be dissolved.

12. Seal this container when you are finished with it. If you keep your containers sealed tightly, the chemicals (either the acid or chlorinizer) will not weaken and may be reused for several cleanings. Allowing the containers to remain open will allow the chlorine to evaporate out of your solution, rendering it useless in a short time.

13. Rinse the acid cleaned filters with plenty of fresh water, then allow them to dry, shake any remaining collected dirt from the pleats, and they are ready either to proceed to chlorine soaking, or if this step has followed the chlorine soaking, they are ready for reuse in your pool.

14. Reuse your cleaned filters.

Special Notes:

  • Pool filter cleaning chemicals are marketed specifically for cleaning cartridge type filters, but the cost is fairly high in consideration of their performance.
  • Make sure the filter/pump unit is working correctly before using shock or adding chlorine or other chemicals to the pool.
  • Store filters in a plastic bag or other container when they are cleaned to keep insects from making a home in them.
  • You may want to use a new filter instead of dealing with acids, having a sealed bucket of bleach around and using used filters.
  • Remove the collected dirt from the filter in stages, removing as much as possible in each stage. Simply tapping or brushing the filter after it has dried in the sun will reduce the amount of organic contaminants that need to be broken down in the cholrinator soak.
  • Filters may become clogged much more rapidly when using clarifier in the pool water, as this product will cause the particles that cloud the water to be trapped more easily in the filter media.
  • Discard any filters that become damaged or deteriorate to the point they no longer filter efficiently.
  • Using a 5% muriatic acid solution to remove calcium deposited in the filter media will increase the filter's performance if high concentrations of minerals exist in your pool water.
  • For cleaning filters in pools where a large number of people swim, and suntan lotions or other materials may accumulate, using a dish washing liquid solution to presoak the filter may yield superior results.
  • Maintain your pool water chemistry to minimize the organic contaminants in the water, making the filter's job much easier.
  • Remove and clean or replace the filter on a regular basis.