The key to a clean dishwasher filter

Keeping your dishwasher filter clean is one key to sparkling dishes. The filter is responsible for protecting the pump from being clogged by oversized or foreign objects, cleaning and clearing the dishwater and keeping food particles from recirculating and resticking to your dishes. That’s a big job. So periodically cleaning the filter helps prevent buildup and clogs, keeping your appliance running smoothly.

But how do you know when it needs cleaning? Check your filter if:

  • Soil or other food particles are visible. 
  • Cleaning performance has worsened (e.g., there are food remnants on your dishes after a cycle).
  • Dishes are gritty or grimy to the touch after they’ve been cleaned.

Recommended filter cleaning frequency

If you wash before loading

  • Up to 14 loads per week: clean once per year


If you scrape and rinse before loading

  • 1–7 loads per week: clean once per year
  • 8–14 loads per week: clean twice per year


If you only scrape before loading1

  • 1–7 loads per week: clean twice per year
  • 8–14 loads per week: clean every three months


If you do not scrape or rinse before loading

  • 1–3 loads per week: clean every two months
  • 4–7 loads per week: clean once per month
  • 8–12 loads per week: clean every two weeks
  • 13–14 loads per week: clean once per week



How to clean your dishwasher filter

1. Remove it
  • To access the filter, remove your lower dish rack to expose the bottom of your dishwasher. The filter can be found in either a back corner of the tub or around the base of the bottom spray arm. 
  • Many filters are composed of two parts: an upper and lower filter assembly. Give the upper filter a quarter turn clockwise and take it out. 
  • Then gently lift and pull the lower filter forward to remove it. 
2. Clean it
  • Run water over your filter to remove most soils. 
  • You may need to use a soft brush on calcium deposits and other hard-to-remove debris. Make sure it’s nothing rough like a wire brush, scouring pad, etc., because those materials could damage the filter.
stainless steel dishwasher with front bar
3. Replace it
  • Return the lower filter to the bottom of the dishwasher tub, placing it properly under the tabs so the upper filter will line up with the round opening in the bottom of the tub.
  • Fit the upper filter into the opening on the top of the lower filter.
  • Turn the filter clockwise until you feel it glide into place. If your filter still turns freely, it’s not seated properly. Keep turning it clockwise until it locks. (Refer to previous illustrations for assistance.)   

If you notice that your filter is damaged or worn, be sure to replace it immediately. Visit the Whirlpool replacement parts site to find the part you need. You can follow the instructions above to also install your new filter.  

For specific information and maintenance instructions for your particular dishwasher model, consult your product manual.

Care Tip
  • Do not run your dishwasher without first making sure the filter is locked. Check both the upper and lower filter assemblies. A loose filter could damage your dishwasher.
  • Remember that if the upper filter still turns clockwise, it’s not securely locked. The arrow on the upper filter does not have to line up perfectly with the arrow on the lower filter. As long as the filter is locked, your dishwasher can run optimally.

Ready for an upgrade?

Sometimes, filters get worn out or damaged and need to be replaced. And sometimes, dishwashers themselves are ready for an upgrade. If it’s time for a change, learn more about what Whirlpool has to offer in dishwasher filters — and dishwashers

More cleaning tips and tricks

How do you remove a clog from your dishwasher?

How to unclog your dishwasher

The last thing you need is a malfunctioning appliance. Try our troubleshooting tips to fix a clog and then get on with your day.

Why your loading strategy matters

How to properly load a dishwasher

A properly loaded dishwasher also ensures more efficiency and better cleaning so you can save time and energy.

Why you need to replace your filter every six months

How to replace your refrigerator water filter

You’ve probably never given much thought to changing your refrigerator water filter. You might not even know where it is. Read this.

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1. Manufacturer’s recommendation: This practice will conserve the water and energy that you would have used to prepare your dishes. This will also save you time and effort.