How to Change a Pitcher Water Filter the Right Way?!

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/08/12 - Updated: 2022/12/22

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Having a water filter pitcher for your household ensures that you have access to clean drinking water.

These filters require very little maintenance and it’s very straightforward – we’ll show you how to do it today.

This guide will teach you how to change a pitcher water filter, how to recycle used cartridges, and how frequently you need to change them.


This is a step-by-step guide on how you should change the filter on a water pitcher:

  1. Remove the lid.
  2. Take out the feed water reservoir.
  3. Remove the used filter cartridge.
  4. Clean and wash the inside of the jug.
  5. Before installing the new filter cartridge, prime it by rinsing it with water.
  6. Install the new filter cartridge.
  7. Attach all other parts you removed before.

How to Change a Pitcher Water Filter

How to Change a Water Filter Pitcher thumbnail

The process of changing the filter in your water pitcher isn’t difficult, but you must do it properly. Here’s how:

Hygiene is Key

Before handling the filter element, ensure your hands are clean. Make sure you do not contaminate the new cartridge or the jug with dirt, oils, or other contaminants that could be on your hands.

1. Remove the Old Filter

In order to install a new pitcher water filter, you will need to remove the old one first.

Carefully remove the pitcher lid. Next, remove the filter cartridge from the top reservoir.

Note: The old filter can either be thrown away or recycled.

2. Clean the Pitcher

The jug, lid, and top reservoir should be hand washed, as most of these items can’t be put in the dishwasher. Wash using mild dish soap, then rinse well afterward.

3. Prepare the New Filter

There is no standard method to prime a new pitcher filter cartridge, as it can vary from model to model. However, the process is generally similar:

You first need to remove the new filter from its packaging. After that, place the filter under running cold water for about 15 seconds. You can also let the filter soak overnight.

Make sure you don’t use hot water when priming a water filter.

4. Insert the New Filter

As with priming, the procedure for installing a new filter might vary somewhat depending on your pitcher model.

In general, you’ll have to align the filter’s groove with the notch on the pitcher to install it. When they are aligned, slide the filter into place before putting the pitcher back together.

5. Reset the Filter Life Indicator

You only need to follow this step if your filter pitcher includes a filter life indicator, and the exact steps might vary depending on the manufacturer. Here is an example based on a Brita filter pitcher:

  1. Hold down the start button for 5-10 seconds.
  2. Release it once you see four blinking bars.
  3. Use a capped ballpoint pen if you can’t hold down the start button with your fingers.

Every two weeks, a bar will disappear. Once only one bar is left, make sure you set up a new filter cartridge.

6. Start Using

Now you can fill the pitcher reservoir with cold tap water.

All you have to do now is wait for the filter to do its thing and drink the refreshing water.

How Often Do You Need to Change Your Pitcher Water Filter?

water filter pitcher on kitchen countertop

You should replace your pitcher’s filter on a regular basis. How often depends on your specific model.

Remember: Water filters will only reduce pollutants if used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

How Long Does a Pitcher Filter Last?

Check your user manual or contact the manufacturer to determine how often you should replace your pitcher filter.

In general, it is recommended that you replace the filter element every 1 to 3 months. The filter will need to be changed sooner if the pitcher is filled several times per day.

Listed below are examples of when you should change the cartridge in 4 popular water filtration pitchers:

  1. Aquagear: Filters should be changed every 6 months or 120 gallons.
  2. Brita Standard filter: The filter should be replaced every 2 months or after 40 gallons.
  3. Clearly Filtered: Change every 4 months or after 100 gallons.
  4. ZeroWater 10-Cup: The filter should be replaced after about 20 gallons, depending on water quality.

Shipping Used Filters for Recycling

Once you have used up your pitcher water filters, you might wonder what to do with them. Rather than simply throwing them away, it’s better to recycle them if you can.[1]

Contact customer service to find out if your filter manufacturer offers a recycling program.

If they do, follow their recycling instructions.

  • The filter must typically be allowed to dry for a few days before recycling.
  • Next, plastic must be used to cover the filter before shipping.
  • The manufacturer may even provide you with an envelope with a pre-stamped return address.

In case the manufacturer of your water filter pitcher doesn’t recycle old cartridges, check the filter shell to determine what type of plastic was used. You will see a number surrounded by three arrows. If it matches the types of plastics that your local recycler handles, recycle it. Otherwise, discard it.


The process of changing your water filter pitcher is pretty straightforward.

It is simply a matter of removing the lid, taking out the old cartridge, priming the new one with cold water, and installing it.

It is necessary to repeat this process every couple of months, depending on the filter’s brand.

Contact your manufacturer or a local recycler if you want to recycle your used filter cartridges.

Further Reading


Meet Jason Hollow

Jason Hollow Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.

His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.

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