How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

Dishwashers are a convenient way to wash your dishes. It removes the need for manual labor. All you need to do is put your dirty utensils inside and let it do its work. However, you need to clean the dishwasher's filter after a while. If that's your concern, let's go over the details below.

If it's your first time cleaning the filter, there's no need to worry. It's a simple process that requires little effort. Here's an overview of what you'll need to do:

  1. Locate the filter.
  2. Take the filters out.
  3. Rinse it with warm water.
  4. Put the components back in place.
  5. Run your dishwasher with a cleaner inside.

As you can see, the process is relatively short. It requires a lot of rinsing. However, looks can be deceiving. If it's your first time cleaning the machine, you might need a bit more help. To learn more, keep reading.

Placing a newly cleaned dishwasher filter, How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

The Difference In Whirlpool Dishwasher Designs

Before you start the process, you'll need to figure out the model you own. Not all Whirlpool dishwashers are the same. If you own an older model, you will need to remove screws to access the filter.

Both new and old models use two components to filter foods. In modern models, a cylinder filter will lay on top of a circular food strainer. Older models will have two circular filters.

You can locate the second smaller filter under the main one.

In any case, it's best to look at a user manual for instructions on accessing the dishwasher's filter. We'll go over cleaning both models. Let's start with the easy one first.

An old and dirty dishwasher filter in need of replacement

Cleaning Modern Whirlpool Dishwasher Filters

The location of the filter is one design choice Whirlpool didn't change. So, it shouldn't take much effort to find it.

1. Locate The Filter

You'll find it at the bottom of the dishwasher. So, remove the bottom rack to avoid any obstructions.

You may remove the top rack if you'd like, but it isn't necessary. Now you should be able to see three components. There is the spray bar, the filter, and the circular food strainer.

2. Take The Filters Out

Dirty and old dishwasher filter filled with gunk and white mold

The filter is the cylinder with a ball in the middle. Removing it is as simple as turning it counterclockwise. Then, lift it up and out.

You should be holding the fine filter. It's a hollow cylinder that catches small bits of food. It will also trap large particles if they've managed to get down there somehow.

Before heading to the sink, take out the large food strainer too. It shouldn't have anything holding it in place. So, you can take it out by pulling it up and out from under the spray bar.

3. Rinse It With Warm Water

Head to the sink and rinse the components with warm water. Some of the debris on the filters might be difficult to scrub off. So, you might also want to use a soft brush to scrub it.

If you see any calcium deposits, you can use dish soap to remove them. It's not recommendable to use any harsh cleaning items on the filters. Any rough items can potentially damage it.

4. Put The Components Back In Place

Once you're satisfied with the cleaning, head back to the dishwasher. You'll need to put the components back into place. So, line up the food strainer with the hole at the bottom.

Push down on the food strainer to lock it into place. Then, put the fine filter into the hole. Turn it clockwise until it stops turning. Generally, you don't need to screw it in tightly.

Nevertheless, you want to be careful with inserting it. It should glide into place. If it still moves around freely, it's not seated correctly. A simple turn in either direction shouldn't be enough to move the filter.

Make sure it's locked in place before you move to the next step. Otherwise, the fine filter can potentially damage the dishwasher.

5. Run Your Dishwasher With A Cleaner Inside

This last step is an optional one. As long as your filter is clean, it should be able to work without a problem. But, there's debris in places out of our reach.

View this dishwasher cleaner on Amazon.

So, we'll need a dishwasher cleaner to help us in this case. There are a few options you can choose. Some use a bottle that opens only when the hot water from a dishwasher unplugs the lid.

See these other cleaning pods on Amazon.

Others use a simpler cleaner. You can find tablets that disintegrate under hot water. They can remove limescale and mineral buildup. In any case, make sure to use them in an empty dishwasher.

Otherwise, they can potentially wash off labels and paints on dishes. You wouldn't want to turn a measuring cup into a regular cup!

Regardless, here's a YouTube video for a live demonstration:

Cleaning Older Whirlpool Dishwasher Filters

As mentioned, the location of the filter is one design choice Whirlpool did not change.

You'll also need to remove the bottom rack to see the filter in older models. However, you'll need to remove the top shelf as there are more components you will need to remove to access it.

Since there aren't too many differences, we'll go over the parts that differ from the modern models.

Removing The Filter

Man removing the dishwasher filter

You'll want to start by removing the screw in the middle of the spray bar. You can loosen it by turning it clockwise. After a few turns, you should be able to lift off the spray bar. Underneath, you'll see the filter.

Unfortunately, it's kept in place using four screws. Three will be visible. But, there's one underneath another component. Remove the three visible screws.

Then, remove one screw from the middle of the dishwasher. There will be another on the ceiling. The upper arm should be free to move now. Turn it 45 degrees and lift it. It should come out relatively easy.

A fourth screw should be visible at this point. So, remove it using a screwdriver. The filter plug on top will come off. Grab hold of the hole and pull up to remove the filter.

Cleaning The Filter

Removing a dirty dishwasher filter

The filter is one giant circular item that looks like a gear. There should be a second filter that can pop off the main one. Rinse both with warm water to remove any fine particles.

If you have a problem washing it clean, use a soft brush and dish soap. Once you're satisfied with the cleaning, pop the filters back on together.

Reassembling The Dishwasher

It's time to work your way backward. So, pop the filter back into place. Then, take the plug and place the clear ring over it. Work the four screws back into place on top of the filter.

Take the plug and place it under the bottom half of the spray arm. From here, it's all a process of putting screws back in.

Since it's tough to visualize the process through words, here's a YouTube video to help:

How Often Should You Clean A Dishwasher Filter?

If it's your first time hearing about the dishwasher filter, you might be curious to know all the details. For example, how often should you clean it? After all, cleaning components don't come to mind all the time.

Are you doing a disservice to your dishwasher if you neglect this area? That would depend on how often you use the machine. If you don't use it often, it won't hurt if you missed a cleaning or two.

More specifically, if you wash 1-7 loads per week, the filter needs cleaning twice a year. Like any other machine, the more you use it, the more maintenance it will need.

Cleaning more than seven loads a week will require you to clean the filter every three months. In any case, it's better to keep on top of your chores unless you want a dishwasher with drain problems.

How Do You Know When A Dishwasher Filter Needs Cleaning?

Man removing the dishwasher filter to clean it

The dishwasher filter hides at the bottom of the dishwasher. It's not often you look at it. Of course, that's unless you pull out the bottom rack regularly.

Since you don't have a clear sight of it at all times, it can be complicated to know when it needs cleaning. Fortunately, you don't need to look at the filter to know when to give it a clean.

The food it traps will make it apparent.

If your dishwasher begins to develop an odor, there are too many food particles in the filter. Another consequence of this is a decrease in water flow. As a result, your dishes might come out less clean than usual.

Should you wait until it gets this bad? Most likely not. Set up a day to clean your dishwasher if you want it to operate optimally.

To Wrap It All Up

Placing a newly cleaned dishwasher filter

How long have you held off cleaning the dishwasher filter? Hopefully, it hasn't been too long! Fortunately, it doesn't take too much effort to clean one.

We hope you found the information above helpful.

Before you go, do you have other dishwasher concerns? Are you thinking about cleaning your crocs in one? To learn more, check out:

Can You Put Crocs In The Dishwasher?

Are you without access to a hot water supply? A dishwasher can still work in this situation! For more information, check out:

Can You Run A Dishwasher Without Hot Water?

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