Clean filters are a necessary component for maintaining a clean and beautiful pool. When choosing a filtration system there are 3 main options you can choose from; a Sand Filter,  a Filter Cartridge, or a Diatomaceous Earth Filter. When it comes to easy maintenance and water conservation, most people agree that the Filter Cartridge is the best option. However, unlike its Sand and DE counterparts, cartridges cannot be back washed thus requiring a manual cleaning process. Here, we will take a look at the right way to ensure the longevity and optimal efficiency of these cartridge filters.

Cartridge Filter 101

Cartridge pool filter

In order to keep filtration elements cleaned properly, it’s very important to first understand the basics of how your cartridge filter works! Most cartridge filters are made of non-woven, spun-bonded polyester fabric. If you were to look under a high-powered microscope you’d see the individual fibers intersecting, creating a very tight mesh that can capture small dirt particles between the size of 10 to 12 microns. The depth of pleats in the filter hold onto the gunk that passes through the filter. Over time, more and more gunk builds up in the filter’s folds, reducing its ability to filter particulates and increasing the pressure on the pump itself. When the filter pressure reaches about 8-12 PSI above the designated pressure, it’s time to clean your cartridge!

Cleaning your Filter Cartridge

Now that you understand the basic makeup of your cartridge filter, it’s time to look at the simple steps to get your cartridge as clean as new!

1.) Water Rinse

Safely remove your filter cartridge from the filter and before it has time to dry (allowing the cartridge to dry will make cleaning a much harder task) thoroughly spray the cartridge with a hose, moving up and down. There are many hose attachments designed for this exact task (including some automated options). DO NOT use a pressure washer on your cartridge filter! These cartridge filters are sturdy, but the high pressure will break the heat-bonded cross-sections.

Depending on how frequently you clean your cartridge, rinsing with water can be sufficient, however, it’s oftentimes a preliminary step in a deeper cleaning process.

2.) Cartridge Cleaner Spray/Soak

Filter Cartridges are made of polyester which has a tendency to absorb oils which that’s a good thing! Nobody wants oils from sunscreens, hair products, body lotions, etc. creating a slick layer on the surface of the pool. These oils don’t just disappear, unfortunately. These oils get stuck in the filter cartridge and water won’t do trick to remove these oils from the cartridge. This calls for some cartridge cleaner.
Cartridge Cleaners will remove those oils and buildup within the polyester grid. Some cleaners you simply spray onto your rinsed cartridge, while some give you the option of diluting in a bucket of water and soaking your cartridge. After treating your filter with the cartridge cleaner, rinse your cartridge out again with hose water and most of the time your cartridge will be all ready to return to the filter.

3.) Muriatic Acid Bath (Optional)

This final step is optional and generally only used when the filter was very dirty. If you find your filter cartridge still isn’t clean after steps 1 and 2, it’s time for an acid bath. Giving your cartridge a diluted Muriatic Acid bath will fully clean any leftover gunk, calcium deposits in the pleats and any other stubborn particles still in the cartridge. Again, when you’re done with this soak rinse your cartridge well with hose water and return to the filter.
* Please follow instructions the acid product provides for proper disposal! *