How Often Should I Clean My Washing Machine Filter? (Answered)

Aside from washing your machine filter as a maintenance procedure, there are other reasons you should clean your machine regularly, but that is not the focus of this article. 

Nevertheless, factors such as your machine model and size determine how often you should clean your washing machine filter. 

If you want to know the best way to clean your washing machine filter and how often you should do that, read on. 

You should clean your washing machine filter at least once in one to four months. However, most manufacturers already have specific instructions on how often you should clean your washing machine filter. While some suggest cleaning it once or twice annually, it is a regular ritual for others. 

In this article, I will explain how often you should clean your washing machine filter, what happens when you don’t clean it properly, and the remedy to those problems. 

In the end, this article will help you understand how best to clean your washing machine filter. 

How Frequently Should I Clean My Washing Machine Filter?

How Often Should I Clean my Washing Machine Filter

For most homeowners cleaning their washing machine filter is a necessity. Some washing machine models have their filters fixed, while others are removable. 

Since homeowners need to learn how to clean the washing machine filter frequently, knowing the right way to do it becomes a challenge.

 If you are one such person, you are in the right place, so delve in. 

As I mentioned earlier, most manufacturers’ instructions specify and recommend that the washing machine filter gets cleaned at least once a month or twice a year. 

Luckily, this difference mostly depends on the type of washing machine you are using, its size, and its model. 

Many factors could influence how frequently you should clean your washing machine filter, and I will outline a few. 

The Manufacturer’s Instruction 

The manufacturer’s instruction significantly affects how frequently you clean your washing machine filter. 

The manual suggests that you always take a sneak peek at the section where cleaning your washing machine filter falls in on your owner’s manual to correctly grasp your machine operation guidelines. 

Machine Usage 

Here’s another factor influencing how frequently you clean your washing machine filter.

As for the usage, the duration of use, the intensity, and general maintenance all fall into this category. 

For example, a household where a washing machine gets used daily will clean their machine filter and even machine compartment more frequently than one that uses their machine less. 

In addition, washing heavy clothes in large quantities could result in the machine filter getting dirty faster. 

Always look for a few signs when your washing machine filter is dirty, stuffed, or stuck and needs a thorough cleaning. 

The first and most obvious sign is the accumulation of dirt, especially from detergent, which usually leaves white patches or particles on clothes after a wash cycle. 

The second sign is that the filter gets clogged, resulting in your clothes remaining wet even after running a dry cycle on your washing machine. 

Lastly, the washing machine compartments produce a smelly odor, indicating the presence of dirty, stagnated water in the filter. 

How Do You Clean a Washing Machine Filter? 

Ideally, the most crucial reason for a washing machine filter is to trap dirt and other particles when running a wash cycle. 

However, the filter is one of the most ignored parts of the washing machine and thus brings about consequences. 

For example, when your washing machine filter is long overdue for a cleaning, the water used for running a wash cycle could get stuck in the filter, or your clothes will not wash properly. 

You could even have your clothes not dry as quickly as they should, or the filter will produce a smelly odor. 

Not all washing machine filters are removable. While you can do that for some models, it is impossible to remove your filter before cleaning it on most models. 

Notwithstanding below is the cleaning process of a removable washing machine filter and a non-removable filter. 

Removable Filter Cleaning Procedure

Step 1Remove the filter from the machine compartment
Step 2Place it in hot soapy water and ensure it is in a bowl or sink
Step 3Wait for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the filter from the water
Step 4After that, use a brush to scrub out all dirt particles, clogs, and detergents.
Step 5Reinstall the filter into the machine 

Non-Removable Filter Cleaning Procedure 

Step 1Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe out the dirt and residual detergents
Step 2Soak the filter in warm water and wait for some minutes
Step 3After that, rinse the filter with clean water
Step 5Use dishwashers with good fragrances to cut out foul smells if there are any
Step 6Allow the filter dry

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Washing Machine Filter? 

Your washing machine filter is designed to trap clothes-like particles and retain things like hair pins, detergent, sand, human hair, and even paper.  

Therefore, you should clean your washing machine filter regularly to avoid keeping the trapped particles in the filter too long. 

Many things could go wrong if you don’t clean your washing machine properly or don’t clean it at all.

Here are a few. 

Clogged Filter 

The efficiency of a washing machine filter gets determined by its ability to serve its purpose. However, when the filter is clogged, it becomes almost impossible to function correctly. 

The more dirt or debris, the less the machine’s efficiency, so always clean out anything in your filter that might hinder you from having an excellent wash cycle. 

Smelly Clothes 

When you don’t clean your filter, the debris that is at least degradable begins to rot and smell. Subsequently, washing your clothes in the washer gives your clothes very offensive odors. 

Now, who wants to walk around with smelly clothes? No one. Therefore, clean your machine as promptly as you should once you notice any odors. 

Damaged Washing Machine 

If you keep leaving debris and dirt in your washing machine filter unattended for too long, sooner or later, you may discover that your filter is damaged. 

As expected, they must not be overloaded or overfull. So, always clean it out as soon as possible. 

It would help if you clean your washing machine once in two months, or you can always contact your manufacturer’s manual for detailed guidance on what you should do. 

Poor machine maintenance also slashes the entire lifespan of your machine to at least half of what you expect it to last. 

Growth Of Mildew and Fungus

Another thing that could happen is if you do not clean your washing machine filter. 

As the particles in the filter accumulate, microorganisms break them down and further convert them to fungi, bacteria, and mildew.

These microorganisms are capable of causing diseases and skin contamination. If you don’t want this, clean your washing machine filter as soon as possible. 

Risk Of Having A Fire Hazard 

When the washing machine filter is overloaded, it causes the machine to work twice as much. 

Unfortunately, when this happens, the machine generates more energy and power to run the wash cycle effectively.

 In addition, the machine’s temperature rises above the ideal point as it generates too much heat. 

The wires and outlets also supply more voltage than they should, resulting in a power surge that could cause the whole machine to blow up or start a fire. 

How Do I Know If My Washing Machine Filter Is Blocked? 

The first thing most homeowners notice when their washing machine filter gets blocked or clogged is: the water used for a wash cycle takes longer to drain completely from the machine. 

Aside from this, there are other ways to detect if your washing machine filter is blocked. They include 

  • A visible build-up of detergent, debris, and dirt particles. 
  • Your clothes may begin to take longer to dry or won’t dry in the entirety 
  • Clothes take longer to dry 
  • Smelly clothes and machine compartment 

Interestingly, as recommended, you can do away with all these problems and issues by cleaning your washing machine filter once in two to four months. 

Nevertheless, if you prefer to wash using your washing machine daily, consider cleaning the filter regularly. 

In the end, always clean your washing machine filter at least once in four months. Neglecting this could result in the following: 

  • Washing machine filter damage
  • A clogged or blocked filter 
  • Smelly odors on clothes and machine compartment 
  • The build-up of debris, dirt, hairs, pins, sand, and detergent. 

You can avoid these problems if you clean your washing machine filter when you should. 

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