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Do Dishwashers Have Filters?

A collage of dishwasher filter.

A dishwasher is a great appliance to have in the kitchen. If you are like me, you cannot imagine living without a dishwasher in your kitchen. However, your dishwasher is only beneficial when it is working. This means that you should ensure that it has proper maintenance and cleaning to ensure it works optimally for as long as possible.

One of the items that should be on your maintenance list is the filter in your dishwasher. This may lead you to say, “I did not know that a dishwasher has a filter”. If you fall into that category, this is the article for you. Continue to find out more details about dishwasher filters. 

Do Dishwashers Have Filters?

Yes, just about every dishwasher has a filter. For those with filters, the filter eliminates soggy food from sticking to your clean dishes. The filter also prevents these small bits of food from clogging the drain. The filter in your dishwasher needs regular maintenance to ensure it functions properly. There are two different types of dishwasher filters. 

Self-Cleaning Filters

Zoom in photo of a professional holding a self-cleaning filter of a dishwasher.

Some dishwashers have a self-cleaning filter. If you did not know that your dishwasher has a filter, it is most likely a self-cleaning one. This type of filter rarely needs you to do anything for it.

The best way to determine which one you have is to look inside your dishwasher. When you look inside, you should see either a series of holes or a plastic grid at the base of your dishwasher. This is where the filter is located. 

There are some differences between self-cleaning filters. Some of them have a grinder that works by pulverizing the food to help it go down the drain. Some people think that these pulverizers are noisy. To reduce the noise, most self-cleaning filters no longer have a grinder.

Instead, they have an ultrafine mesh to help grind the food. The water rushes and forces food through the filter and breaks the food into small particles that wash away the food.

These dishwashers are among the most expensive dishwashers that you can find. When they are insulated well, the noise from self-cleaning dishwashers is dampened. 

Manual Filters

The other type of filter is a manual filter. These are quotes but require regular maintenance. If you do not clean it, the food collects in the filter and begins to cause a bad smell. In addition, the water flow is reduced, which impacts how clean the dishes get. 

You can easily tell if you have a manual filter. You can look at the bottom of the tub under the spray arm and see if there is a round plastic piece. It looks similar to the filter on a water pitcher. There may be arrows to indicate a direction to turn to lock and unlock the filter. 

When you want to clean the filter, you turn it to unlock it and take it out. Then you can run it under water to rinse it. You want to rinse away all of the debris that is stuck to it. If there is any gunk left behind, you want to wipe the plastic clean. 

How Do I Provide Proper Maintenance For My Dishwasher Filter?

A photo of a man wearing a gloves while cleaning his dishwasher's filter.

To ensure you keep your dishwasher running optimally for as long as possible, there is some maintenance you should provide. There are some factors that impact how often you should clean your manual filter. The biggest factor is how dirty your dishes are when you put them in the dishwasher.

I know many people think what is the point of the dishwasher if you have to clean the dishes before you put them in. You do not have to clean the dishes, but you want to ensure there are no large chunks of food or food that are caked onto the dishes. 

If you use your dishwasher regularly and rinse and scrape them fairly well before loading the dishes, cleaning your manual filter once a month should be sufficient. If you do not rinse or scrape the dishes, you will have to clean your filter more often.

The owner’s manual for your dishwasher may provide additional information about how often you should clean your filter. If your dishwasher ever has a bad smell or seems gritty, you should clean the filter. 

Some other point to consider about your dishwasher is that you want to load it properly. While it may be a surprise to you, it is true that the way you load your dishwasher impacts how clean the dishes get and how dirty the filter becomes.

If you are not sure how to properly load your dishwasher, you can consult your owner’s manual. You also want to use the proper dishwasher detergent for your dishwasher. All of these steps will help ensure that your dishwasher and filter stay cleaner longer.

Related: How to clean a dishwasher properly

One Last Tip

Built-in dishwaher machine in a modern kitchen.

Keeping your dishwasher clean and free from odor is a top priority. After all, if your dishwasher is not clean, how can it clean your dishes? A tip to consider is leaving your dishwasher door open when you are not using it.

You do not want to keep it wide open, because that could be a tripping hazard. You can keep your dishwasher door cracked open before it clicks into place. This gives enough space for the dishwasher to air out and allows the moisture inside to dry.