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How Often Should you Clean your Filter?

Did you know that properly cleaning your pool filter is just as important as adding chlorine? Your pump and filter are vital parts of your pool care and need to be taken care of routinely. Let’s go over the different types of filters out there, and how to clean them.

Sand Filters 

In a sand filter, debris is caught as the pool water flows through the sand. When the sand gets dirty enough to start restricting flow, the pressure on your pressure gauge will rise. When the filter pressure reaches 10-12 PSI over the starting pressure*, it is time to backwash and rinse. Performing a backwash essentially does a quick clean of the sand in the filter. Turn your pump off, move the handle on the multiport valve to the backwash position, and turn the pump back on. Watch for the water in the sight glass on your filter to run clear. This could take a few minutes. After the backwash is complete, turn the pump back off, and move the handle to rinse. You will only need to run the rinse cycle for about 15 seconds. After doing the backwash, the sand in the filter is very loose and will not filter efficiently. The rinse cycle re-compacts the sand for the best filtration. There will be times when you will need to chemically clean the sand. We recommend chemically cleaning the sand twice a season or after an algae bloom or problem with metals. To chemically clean your sand using BioGuard’s Kleen It, follow these steps:

  1. Backwash filter thoroughly. Turn the pump off.
  2. Chlorinating products must be removed from the skimmer basket prior to adding product.
    • Automatic feeder should be turned off prior to any addition of this product.
  3. Pour the entire bottle of Kleen It® into the skimmer.
  4. Turn the pump on until the pump primes and the product moves into the filter.
  5. Turn the pump off. Leave the filter selector in the backwash position or in the closed position.
  6. Wait 1 hour. Turn the pump on with the selector in the backwash position, and backwash until the water in the sight glass is clear.
  7. Return the filter to the filter position.


DE (Diatomaceous Earth) Filters

There are quite a few different DE filters out there. Some types have the ability to backwash and rinse, some have a “Bump” or Slide feature instead of backwashing, and some you cannot backwash at all. In any case, it is important to chemically clean your filter at least twice a season. Because DE filters down to the smallest micron, they clog rather quickly and may need a chemical cleaning more frequently.

  1. Turn the pump off and rinse off loose dirt from the filter elements.
  2. Apply product by spraying directly onto filter elements. If needed, lightly brush heavy grease spots.
  3. Let wet filter elements soak for 5–10 minutes. For heavily soiled filters, allow elements to soak for 1 hour.
  4. Rinse elements thoroughly with full-strength water from a garden hose.
  5. Reassemble the filter and resume normal operation.
    • As an alternative, soak filter elements overnight into a solution of 32 oz. of this product added to 5 gallons of water. Rinse elements thoroughly with full-strength water from a garden hose.


Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters do not have the ability to backwash. Normally when the filter pressure rises and needs to be cleaned, you will just be rinsing it off really well. However, rinsing the filter is kind of like showering without shampoo. Greases and oils from hair products and cosmetics, sunblock, detergents, etc. build up on the cartridge and will affect filtration over time. Eventually, it will need a deep chemical cleaning. Follow the same instructions for chemically cleaning a DE filter.


*The Starting Pressure of your filter is the pressure shown when it is completely clean. After chemically cleaning your filter, write down the PSI of pressure shown on the gauge. You will use this to determine when you need to backwash or clean your filter.


Written by Advanced Spa And Pool