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Washing Machine Filter: Where to Find it & How to Clean it

For a washing machine that is used frequently, proper maintenance is imperative. The last thing you want is for your washer to underperform while your dirty laundry continues to pile up! Unfortunately, this is something that many homeowners face due to a lack of proper cleaning and routine maintenance. 

While you might have become accustomed to cleaning the dryer’s lint trap and wiping down or rinsing the machine’s drum, one very important part of keeping a washing machine running efficiently involves cleaning the filter. Much like the lint trap, the filter gets clogged with lint, hair, dirt and the likes, thereby reducing the efficiency of the washing machine and potentially shortening the lifespan of the appliance. 

So, if you want to get optimal functioning (and cleaner laundry) out of your washing machine, learn how to clean your washing machine filter with the help of Maid For You’s cleaning tips and crucial information shared below. Read on.

How to Find the Filter on Your Washing Machine

With consistent advances in technology and innovative features changing the ways in which washing machines are designed, it is not always possible to relate one model to another. Therefore, in order to locate the washing machine filter on the particular type, brand, and model you have, we suggest looking it up online, or simply referring to the owner’s manual. 

Typically, the filter of a washing machine is located in one of the following areas:

  • Inside the drum, somewhere at the top (along the rim)
  • Beneath a cover in the middle of the drum (underneath the agitator)
  • On the front or at the back of the appliance, concealed by a hatch
  • Somewhere close to the drainage hose

Bear in mind that some washing machine models do not have an external filter because they are in-built in the pump. These advanced models are designed in a way that the filter cleans itself; therefore, you needn’t have to worry about doing any manual work as far as filter maintenance is concerned. 

If you have, in fact, located the filter on your washing machine, follow the instructions below to unclog and clean it properly.

Steps to Clean a Washing Machine Filter

When cleaning this all-important filter in your washing machine, it is imperative to do a thorough job as the buildup found inside can interfere with the machine’s drainage and lead to nasty deposits on your clean laundry. Everything from lint and dirt to hair and detergent get trapped in the filter which means you will need to properly clean and sanitise this crucial component of your washing machine to ensure that it is doing its job efficiently. 

Here are the six, simple DIY steps to clean a washing machine filter.

Step One: Carry Out Safety Precautions

Before you begin cleaning your washing machine, even if it is just one component of the machine such as the filter, it is very important to ensure that the main power switch is off and that the appliance is unplugged. Once that is out of the way, it is also a good idea to put down some towels or a plastic bowl to soak/collect water that may spill out when the filter is removed. This is especially necessary when the filter is located close to the bottom of the washing machine (either in front or at the back) where there is a drainage hose.

Step Two: Remove the Filter

Depending on where the filter is located, there will either be a cap or cover that needs to be removed before you can get to the filter. Once the filter is within reach, grab hold of the top and twist it counter-clockwise before pulling it forward or upward to remove. If you find that it is stuck, move it from side to side to loosen up the debris holding it down. More often than not, hair and lint get entangled in the cavity and cause the filter to stick inside; however, with a little manipulation, the filter will break free from the debris.

Step Three: Clean Off Debris

Use an old toothbrush or small cleaning brush to remove lint, hair, soap scum, etc. A paper towel is also helpful in wiping off wet debris while a quick rinse should take care of the rest. If you are having trouble removing dirt that is clogged in the mesh of the filter, don’t worry about it as the next step will work to loosen and remove the debris.

Step Four: Soak the Screen/Wash the Filter Casing

The easiest way to sanitise a washing machine filter AND to remove clogs in the mesh is by soaking the screen of the filter in hot water. Typically, the screen pops out from the filter casing; however, if it is not removable, simply rinse the filter under hot running water by holding it with tongs to protect your fingers from getting burnt. For a removable screen, soak it in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. If there is an unpleasant smell coming from the filter, add a squirt of mild hand soap to the water to create a soapy cleanser while manually washing the filter casing with soap and water. 

Step Five: Clean Out the Canal

The narrow canal in which the filter sits can also become clogged with lint and debris. Use a toothbrush and paper towel to clean inside the canal to ensure that there is no existing buildup that will eventually get transferred back to your cleaned filter. For a washing machine filter that is located on the bottom of the front/back of the machine, there will be a small drainage hose that should also be opened and inspected for debris. To do this, place a plastic bowl underneath it and remove the cap; allow water to drain out before checking for a clog. A thin metal wire slightly hooked on one end can be used to pull out tangled lint/hair, if any. 

Step Six: Replace the Filter and Cap

When everything is clean, i.e. the filter casing, filter screen, canal, and drainage hose, it’s time to put each component back in place to finish off! Cover the drainage hose with the cap, fit the screen back into the filter, and screw it back inside the canal while the drainage hose is also put back in place. 

NOTE: After putting the filter back into the washing machine, it is advisable to run a low, empty water cycle to ensure that it has been fitted properly and there are no leaks. 

Depending on the frequency of use, you should deep clean your washing machine once in two months or when visibly dirty. The washing machine filter, on the other hand, might require more frequent cleaning. For best practice, inspect the filter once a month and clean it using the steps above as and when buildup is found. 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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