How to clean the washing machine filter top loader?

Washing Machine Filter is an extremely important component as it not only helps to prevent the lint from clinging to the clothes but also ensures smooth and optimum cleaning performance of your washer.

An uncleaned filter not only affects the performance of the washer but also affects the fabrics post-wash.

In short, the cleaning quality gets drastically affected if the filters are not in good shape.

Having said that with advancements in technology most modern-day washers these days do not rely on several filters. Instead, they rely on self-cleaning pump filter technology.

Let us find out the cleaning techniques for the washers that rely on the filters depending on their types.

In today’s post you will learn:

  • Types of filters in a washer
  • How to locate them?
  • How to clean the filter?
  • Tips to maintain the filters.
  • Commonly Asked Questions
  • And More…

Different types of filters and their location

Before locating the filters, be aware of the fact that most modern-day top loaders do not rely on filters such as the lint filter or the drain hose filters, instead, they depend upon self-cleaning pump filters.

Refer to your user manual to identify and locate the available filters in your washer model.


Le’s take a quick look into a few filter types that are usually available in a top load washer and again it completely depends on your washer type.

Water inlet hose filters

If your washer has both hot and cold water features, then you may find 2 hoses attached to the water inlet valves.

There are filters attached to the valves in order to avoid debris and hard particles to enter the washtub.

Such filters are usually located inside the valves of the water inlet hose.

You may detach them with a gentle push with your fingers and at times you may have to loosen the valves to remove them.

Lint Filter

Lints are the tiny fibers that are released from the fabrics during the wash cycle and tend to accumulate over time with prolonged usage of washers.

These Lints are caught by the lint filters available in the top loaders.

For top-loaders that use an agitator, the lint filter is usually located below the agitators.

Most of the agitators based washers are detachable, which means you get access to not only clean the lint filters but also the agitators.

Having said that most modern-day top loaders especially the High-Efficiency ones do not have lint filters. Instead, they rely on self-cleaning pump filters.

Drain filter

These filters tend to catch hair, lint, dirt residues, and any other foreign objects such as coins, pins, buttons, etc. 

Drainage filters are usually fixed at the bottom backside of the top load washers.

You may simply detach the drainpipe by loosening the hose clamps and you may have access to the drain filter for cleaning purposes.

How to clean the washing machine filter?

In a washer, most filters are easily detachable and if you have a challenge in doing so, then simply use a soft brush and clean the filter by applying a cleaning solution without removing it.

Let us see how you can clean a detachable and non-detachable filter step by step.

Cleaning Non-detachable Filters

With the readily available cleaning solutions such as a spray or the liquid gels you may follow the below steps:

  • Use a soft brush and thoroughly apply the liquid-gel cleaning solution to the filter. If you are using a cleaner in the form of a spray then simply spray the solution to the filter areas.
  • Leave the application to settle for about 15 minutes, so that the application loosens the clogs and the residues.
  • Now gently scrub the solution using a toothbrush for about a couple of minutes, this will assure you that the solution has weakened the residues.
  • You may sprinkle hot water and try wiping it off with a soft and damp cloth before running a clean cycle.
  • Run a clean or an empty cycle by adding the cleaning solution with hot water for about 45 minutes.

By following the above steps you are not only cleaning the washer but you are also cleaning the filters.

As an alternative you may use home remedies to clean the filters, remedies such as distilled vinegar and baking soda are considered to be an excellent cleanser.

Here’s how you can use a simple home remedy to clean the filter.

  • Make a paste of baking soda with water and apply it to the filter areas.
  • Alternatively, mix distilled vinegar with water in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the filter areas.
  • Leave the solution to settle for about 15 minutes and clean it off by pouring water.
  • Alternately you may add 2 cups of baking soda or vinegar and run a clean or empty cycle with hot water for further cleaning of the filter.

(Note: The above method can be used on filters that are non-detachable or for the ones that you are having difficulty in separating)

Cleaning detachable or removable filters

Most detachable filters can be easily removed with the tip of fingers.

All you need to do is gently push the filter OR press the button to detach it from the source.

Let us now look at a few steps to easily clean the detachable filters with readily available solutions as well as by using home remedies.

Readily available solutions can be directly applied for cleaning purposes, but for the homemade solution you may need to know the preparation part which is explained below.

Cleaning with the readily available solutions

  • Use a bowl that fits the detachable filter, add hot water and the liquid gel to the bowl.
  • Soak the filter or the filter screen in the solution for about 15 minutes. 
  • By using a soft brush scrub the filter and rinse it with clean water.
  • Fix it back to its location and you are done.

Alternatively, you can use spray cleaner if you don’t like liquid gel.

Simply spray the cleaning solution thoroughly on the filter.

Let it settle for about 15 minutes and scrub it using a soft brush. And then, soak it in the hot water for 5 minutes followed by rinsing it thoroughly with clean water.

Lastly, fix the cleaned filter back to its position.

Cleaning with homemade solutions

  • Make a paste of baking soda by adding water Or add distilled vinegar to a spray bottle in a ⅓ ratio mixed with water.
  • Now apply the paste to the filter with a soft brush.
  • If you are using distilled vinegar then simply sprinkle it over the filter with the help of a spray bottle.
  • Leave the above solutions to settle for about 5 minutes and gently scrub the filter with a soft brush.
  • Now soak the filter in hot water for another 15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with clean water and fix the filter back.

Tips to Maintain the Filter

  • Run a clean cycle using the available cleaning solutions at regular intervals.
  • Use water softeners in areas that supply hard water, this helps to avoid limescale formation in the washer and filter areas. Limescale is formed in the form of chalky patches on the parts of the washer that comes in contact with the hard water.
  • Use a suitable detergent or softeners.
  • Prewash heavily soiled fabrics before you load them into the washer, this helps to keep the formation of dirt residue in check.
  • Timely inspect and clean the filters, as a best practice always clean the filters once every week or at least twice a month depending on the frequency of your laundry.
  • Replace the worn-out filters.

Final Thoughts

Filters play a vital role in maintaining the efficiency of your washer, hence cleaning the filters will not only prolong the lifespan of your washer but also maintain its efficiency.

Always refer to the user’s manual to locate the filters and detachment techniques, as not all brands have the same design.

The location of a filter may vary depending on the washer model.

For more information about your laundry care, do visit our FAQ section.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions that many ask when cleaning the top load filter.

How often do I clean the filter of my washer?

If you do a lot of Laundry, then cleaning the filters once every two weeks is recommended. Likewise, if you are an average user then you should clean the filters at least once a month. Timely cleaning of the filters at regular intervals will help you maintain the efficiency of your washer.

What are the drawbacks of an uncleaned washer filter?

Uncleaned filters may result in adamant clogging due to the accumulation of lint and debris. Over time, the accumulation of lint and debris happens to amplify if it is unaddressed, eventually leading to the formation of mold and bacteria inside the washer. Furthermore, the lint formation inside the washer leads to a situation where your clothes come out full of lint post-wash.

When should I replace the filter of my washer?

You should replace the filter when you come across the below scenarios.

Stubborn clogging: Adamant clogging is indeed a possibility if the filters are left uncleaned for a long time. In such a situation you should attempt to try cleaning the filter first using a cleaning solution, if that does not work, replacement should be the only alternative.

Worn-out filters: Do not try any alternative workaround if the filter has been worn out, simply replace the filters. If you attempt to persistently use a worn-out filter, then it may affect the washer’s efficiency.

If recommended by an expert: At times you may not be able to determine the status of your washer’s filter until an expert inspects and advises on a fix or a replacement. At times the filter may look just fine, but there may be an underlying cause that may not be visible.

How do I replace the filter of my washer?

If your washing machine is a High-Efficiency variant, then it may not have a detachable filter. In such a situation consult an expert for replacing it. Having said that, if your washer is a Non-HE variant, you should be able to detach the filter through a simple push.

All you need to do is find an ideal replacement, and detach the worn-out OR bad filter by either pushing it or by pressing the detach button. And then replace it with the new one.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)