Learn How to Clean a Whole House Water Filter!

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/09/21 - Updated: 2022/12/22

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With a whole house water filter, your family gets access to filtered water anywhere at home.

Apart from their ease of use and practicality, these systems offer a number of great benefits such as a relatively low level of maintenance. Still, maintenance should be performed properly when necessary.

In this guide, you will learn how to clean a whole house water filtration system, including how to clean the filter housings and cartridges.

So, here is our step-by-step guide on how to clean a whole house water filter!


  1. Turn off the water source and relieve pressure from within the whole house water filter system.
  2. Detach all of the filter housings.
  3. Use warm soapy water and a brush to gently and thoroughly scrub the filter housings’ inside.
  4. Wash and rinse with clean water.
  5. If the filter cartridges are due for a replacement or are already worn out, change them with new filter cartridges.
  6. Put everything back together, carefully placing each component and ensuring they are properly installed.
  7. Turn back on the water supply and run the system to check for leaks.

How to Clean a Whole House Water Filter

How to Clean a Whole House Water Filter Thumbnail

The following steps can be used to clean a cartridge-based whole house water filter:

Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you even start, make sure to turn off the water supply.

This can be done at the main water valve or another valve directly before your whole house water filter.

In case you cannot find any valve at all, follow the water line to the pressure tank and turn it off. You could also turn off your water pump.

Pressure Release

The following step is to relieve the pressure within the filter system. You can accomplish this by doing the following:

  1. Look for a small red button (or other color) on the top of your filter. Wrap it with a towel and press it to relieve the pressure. The towel is used to keep any water from spreading.
  2. Let the remaining water pressure escape by opening the taps around your home.

These steps will also ensure that as much water as possible is flushed out of the pipe attached to your whole house water filter.

If your filter has an exit valve, close it now.

Filter Housing Removal and Cleaning

After clearing water pressure, it’s time to remove any filter housings and their filter cartridges inside:

  1. Before you begin, get an empty bucket and place it underneath. This will allow you to catch leftover water.
  2. Begin by removing the first filter housing. You will need a filter wrench for this.
  3. After removing the housing, take out the old cartridge and discard the water inside the housing. Be careful to remove any O-rings as well, since you’ll want to clean them and their grooves. If you discover any O-ring being in poor condition, now is the time to replace it.
  4. Examine the housing for dirt like sediment, mold or algae.

Cleaning a whole house filter housing can be done with warm soapy water and a brush. Then, rinse the filter housing and the caps thoroughly.


If any housing of your whole house filter shows symptoms of algae, mold or is otherwise dirty, you can clean it further with a sanitizing solution.

To sanitize, follow these steps:

  1. Mix ⅓ teaspoons of unscented bleach[1] and 1 gallon of water in a clean bucket.
  2. Pour 1 cup of the mixture into each filter housing.
  3. Refit the housings, but without the cartridges.
  4. Turn on the water supply to allow water into the filtration system.
  5. Turn on a faucet in the house and leave it open until water begins to flow, then close it.
  6. Let the solution sit for 30 minutes.
  7. Restart the cleaning procedure by turning off the valves and removing the filter housings.

Don’t forget to flush any lingering bleach traces from your home’s plumbing system once you’re finished. You can accomplish this by briefly opening multiple outlets.

Filter Cartridge Check

Your old whole house water filter cartridges can either be thrown away once you are done with them, or cleaned (sediment filters only).

However, you should take a minute to inspect them to see if there’s anything you should be worried about. For instance, if they are heavily clogged with dirt, it’s better to replace them rather than cleaning. You may also need to change them more frequently or add another step to your filtration setup.

Sediment Filter Cleaning

If you have a sediment filter, you can clean and reuse it as follows:

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution. There are different recipes to be found online.
  2. Place your sediment filter within its housing and soak it for about 15 minutes in the cleaning solution.
  3. Scrub.
  4. Rinse both filter housing and cartridge well.


Fit any O-rings back in position and place the filter cartridge within its slot. Repeat this for each filter stage.

Reattach the filter cartridges and housings to the system module. Tighten by hand before using the wrench to tighten even more.

Turn On the Water Supply

After you’ve reinstalled all filter housings, reopen the water supply.

  1. To begin, turn on the valve that supplies water to the filter system. Inspect the unit for leaks while doing so, as this could indicate that an O-ring was not correctly placed or a housing is loose.
  2. Next, go to a nearby faucet and turn on the water. Water will initially come out in small bursts as air is being pushed out of the pipe.
  3. You may see gray or hazy white water if you’ve recently replaced your filters. New filters must be primed, so this is normal. After a few gallons, it should be clear.

That’s it; your whole house water filter is now clean.

When and When Not to Clean a Whole House Water Filter Cartridge

pressure tank with whole house water filter

While sediment whole house water filter cartridges can be cleaned and reused to some extent, it is still recommended that you replace them after some time.

Furthermore, if cleaning the filters instead of replacing them does not save you much money, you may be better off just replacing them in the first place.


Your whole house water filter can only be 100% effective if you properly clean and maintain it.

Cleaning takes a bit of time, but it isn’t an overly complex process.

Make sure to have a bucket around in case there are any leaks, and replacement parts in case you see there are any repairs that need to be made.

Before you put the unit back together, make sure to inspect every aspect of the filter to make sure you didn’t miss any other issues.

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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