Is your dishwasher filter due for a cleaning? With our quick and easy-to-follow guide, you’ll get the job done in no time. Keeping your dishwasher filter clean is one key to sparkling dishes. In fact, the filter is responsible for:

  • Protecting the pump from being clogged by oversized or foreign objects.
  • Cleaning and clearing the dishwater.
  • Keeping food particles from recirculating and resticking to your dishes.

That’s a big job. So, periodically cleaning the filter helps prevent buildup and clogs, keeping your appliance running smoothly.

When should you clean your dishwasher filter?

You should clean your filter if you’re noticing any of the following issues:

  • Soil or other food particles are visible.
  • Cleaning performance has worsened (e.g., there are food remnants on your dishes after a cycle).
  • Dishes are gritty or grimy to the touch after they’ve been cleaned.

To help prevent these issues, it’s best to clean your dishwasher filter regularly. But don’t worry, it’s not as time consuming as you might think. Check out our step-by-step guide below to learn how to clean your dishwasher filter and how often you should clean it.

Closeup of the filter in the bottom of a dishwasher

Where is the dishwasher filter?

The dishwasher filter is at the bottom of your dishwasher, under the bottom rack. To find it, pull out the bottom dish rack, then look for the filter—it’s usually either in one of the back corners of the dishwasher tub or around the base of the bottom spray arm.

A Whirlpool® Dishwasher in a kitchen

3 steps to a clean dishwasher filter

Ready to get started? Follow these instructions to clean your dishwasher filter in three easy steps.

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Step 1: Remove your filter

  • To access your dishwasher filter, remove your lower dish rack to expose the bottom of your dishwasher. The filter can be found in either a back corner of the dishwasher tub or around the base of the bottom spray arm.
  • Many dishwasher filters are composed of two parts: an upper and lower filter assembly. Give the upper filter a quarter turn clockwise and take it out.
  • Then, gently lift and pull the lower filter forward to remove it.
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Step 2: Clean your filter

  • Run water over your dishwasher filter to remove most soils.
  • You may need to use a soft brush and dish soap on calcium deposits and other hard-to-remove debris. Don’t use a wire brush, scouring pad or anything rough to scrub the filter as these materials could damage the filter.
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Step 3: Replace your filter

  • Return the lower filter to the bottom of the dishwasher tub, placing it properly under the tabs so the upper filter will line up with the round opening in the bottom of the tub.
  • Fit the upper filter into the opening on the top of the lower filter.
  • Turn the filter clockwise until you feel it glide into place. If your filter still turns freely, it’s not seated properly. Keep turning it clockwise until it locks.
  • Do not run your dishwasher without first making sure the filter is locked. Check both the upper and lower filter assemblies. A loose filter could damage your dishwasher.
  • Remember that if the upper filter still turns clockwise, it’s not securely locked. The arrow on the upper filter does not have to line up perfectly with the arrow on the lower filter. As long as the filter is locked, your dishwasher can run optimally.

If you notice that your dishwasher filter is damaged or worn, be sure to replace it immediately. Visit the Whirlpool replacement parts site to find the part you need. You can follow the instructions above to install your new filter.

Someone loading a water bottle in a Whirlpool® Dishwasher

How frequently should you clean your dishwasher filter?

Cleaning your dishwasher filter on a regular basis can help your dishwasher perform at its best, load after load. Find out if your dishwasher filter is due for a cleaning based on the recommendations below.

If you wash before loading

  • Up to 14 loads per week: clean once per year


If you only scrape
before loading

  • 1–7 loads per week: clean twice per year
  • 8–14 loads per week: clean every three months


If you scrape and rinse before loading

  • 1–7 loads per week: clean once per year
  • 8–14 loads per week: clean twice per year

If you do not scrape or rinse before loading

  • 1–3 loads per week: clean every two months
  • 4–7 loads per week: clean once per month
  • 8–12 loads per week: clean every two weeks
  • 13–14 loads per week: clean once per week

Ready for an upgrade?

Sometimes all you need is a new dishwasher filter. But if it’s time for a new appliance, use this chance to upgrade to a Whirlpool® Dishwasher with a 3rd Rack that frees up space for more dishes in the racks below or start shopping our top picks below.

More cleaning tips and tricks

How do you remove a clog from your dishwasher?

How to unclog your dishwasher

The last thing you need is a malfunctioning appliance. Try our troubleshooting tips to fix a clog and then get on with your day.

Why your loading strategy matters

How to properly load a dishwasher

A properly loaded dishwasher also ensures more efficiency and better cleaning so you can save time and energy.

Discover an easy way to keep your dishwasher clean

How to clean a dishwasher in 3 easy steps

Keep the inside of your dishwasher clean to make sure dishes stay sparkling.

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