Close up view of dishwasher tub floor

How to Clean a Dishwasher Filter

Help keep your dishwasher performing at its peak by cleaning your dishwasher every three to six months.

You may need to clean your dishwasher filter if:

  • Soil or other residue can be seen on the upper filter assembly.
  • Cleaning performance has dropped significantly (food remains on dishes after a cycle).
  • You can feel grit and grime on your dishes after they are cleaned.

However, there is no need to worry. Cleaning a dishwasher filter is easier than you might think. Our guide shows you how to remove, clean and reinstall your dishwasher filter in a few simple steps.

For specific information and maintenance instructions for your particular dishwasher model, consult your product manual.

HOW TO REMOVE, CLEAN AND REPLACE A DIRTY DISHWASHER FILTER

Follow these simple steps to clean your filter and keep your dishwasher performing at its best.

Push down and turn cylinder in bottom of dishwasher

Step 1: Find & remove your dishwasher filter

To access the dishwasher filter, remove your lower dish rack to expose the bottom of your dishwasher. You can find the filter in a back corner of the tub bottom, or around the base of the bottom spray arm. A damaged filter can adversely affect the performance of the dishwasher, so when removing your filter, do so carefully to avoid any damage.

 

Some dishwashers have a triple filter system with two parts: an upper filter assembly and a lower filter. The upper filter assembly collects oversized items and foreign objects, along with very fine food particles, while the lower filter keeps food from being recirculated within the dishwasher.

  • Give the upper filter a quarter turn counterclockwise and take it out.

  • Gently remove the lower filter by lifting it slightly, then pulling it forward to take it out as well.

Step 2: Clean your dishwasher filter

Rinsing your filter under the faucet with warm water will remove most soils and residue. If food particles don’t rinse off easily, soak the filter in warm water for a few minutes. 

  • Calcium deposits or other stuck-on bits might require gentle scrubbing with a soft brush, sponge or an old toothbrush to get clean. 

  • Do not use a wire brush or scouring pad, as they may damage the filter.

STEP 3: REINSTALL YOUR DISHWASHER FILTER

Once your filter is clean, reinstall it in your dishwasher.

  • Return your lower filter to the bottom of the dishwasher tub, locating it properly under the tabs, so that the upper filter will line up with the round opening in the tub bottom.

  • Place the upper filter into the opening in the top of the lower filter.

  • Turn the filter clockwise. You should feel it drop into position. If your filter still turns freely, it’s not seated properly, so keep turning it clockwise until it locks into place.

  • Avoid damaging your dishwasher by ensuring that both the lower and upper filter assemblies are returned to the locked position before running. 

  • The arrows on your upper and lower filters don’t have to align perfectly — a filter that won't turn clockwise is locked and ready to run.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR DISHWASHER FILTER?

Depending on how frequently you’re using your dishwasher, you should clean your filter anywhere from once a year to once a week, but usually every three to six months. Removing, cleaning and reinstalling your dishwasher filter is easy and takes only a few minutes. Check out the chart below for some recommendations on how often you should clean your filter based on the number of loads you run per week and whether you rinse or scrape your dishes before loading.

You can skip the need for pre-rinsing, soaking or scrubbing with Dual Power Filtration available on Maytag® dishwashers, so doing your dishes can be fast and easy.

Number of Loads Per Week

If you wash before loading

If you scrape and rinse before loading

If you only scrape before loading1

If you do not scrape or rinse before loading

1–3
Once per year
Once per year
Twice per year
Every two months
4–7
Once per year
Once per year
Twice per year
Once per month
8–12
Once per year
Twice per year
Every three months
Every two weeks
13–14
Once per year
Twice per year
Every three months
Once per week
Maytag® stainless steel dishwasher

REPLACING A DAMAGED DISHWASHER FILTER

If your filter is damaged or worn, it should be replaced.

 

Check out the Maytag replacement parts site to find the part you need. Once you have your new filter, follow the instructions above to install it in the dishwasher.

Food pieces spinning in a microfilter

Want self-cleaning dishwasher filtration with lower routine maintenance?

Select Maytag® dishwasher models feature Dual Power Filtration. It filters out then chops up any food in its path, so there's no need for routine maintenance.

SHOP MAYTAG® DISHWASHERS

If you’re looking to add a new dishwasher to your kitchen, Maytag offers a selection of powerful dishwashers that will get the job done the first time.

MORE DISHWASHER BASICS

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