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How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter in Seconds

Learn how to clean a dishwasher filter (and remove all the gunk!) in six simple steps.

Written by
Asha Swann

For most of us, running the dishwasher is as easy as loading your dishes, adding detergent, and pushing a button. We let the dishwasher do its job, and when it's finished, we're met with perfectly clean plates. It's like magic. But what many of us don't think about is what exactly happens while the dishwasher is running.

Dishwashers actually aren't magic, and that gunk has to go somewhere. A recent TikTok has gone viral, showing just how easy (and important) it is to keep your dishwasher filter clean. When Babs, the lifestyle content creator behind @brunchwithbabs, removed the filter from her dishwasher, it was filled with slimy pieces of food.

"Did your mom ever tell you that you have to clean the filter in your dishwasher at least once every three months?" says Babs. "Sometimes once every three weeks!"


If your dishwasher is fighting through an extra layer of gunk on the filter, it could prevent your dishes from getting completely cleaned... meaning you may end up needing to hand-wash your bowls and plates. This isn't just a waste of energy from running the dishwasher, but also a waste of water from having to clean the dishes twice.

Not every dishwasher will have a filter that's easy to access, so be sure to check your owner's manual before you start taking things apart. Then to learn how to clean a dishwasher filter, follow the step-by-step tutorial below.

How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter

Note: All dishwashers are different. Check your owner's manual before attempting to take things apart.


1. Remove the bottom rack of the dishwasher.
2. Lift off the spinning arm. This should reveal the filter basket below.
3. Lift out the filter basket.
4. Clean the filter with warm, soapy water, gently scrubbing it with a sponge. Rinse off the excess food particles until it's clean.
5. Once it's clean, replace the filter in the dishwasher.
6. Repeat once every three months—or every three weeks, if needed.