How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

Sparkling dishes never come by magic! Whirlpool dishwashers have cleaning needs. One must clean the whirlpool dishwasher filter regularly for that.

Dishwashers happen to be one of the most expensive appliances used in homes.

And among all the dishwasher brands in the US, Whirlpool dishwashers enjoy a prime position. Like all other home appliances, Whirlpool dishwashers also need regular maintenance for optimal performance.

Maybe you are getting gritty and greasy dishes after washing, and/or the dishwasher is stinking.

In most cases, the reason behind this is the clogging of the filter. So, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Here is all you need to know about cleaning a whirlpool dishwasher filter.

As filter cleaning is a part of the maintenance program, it should accompany a full cleaning session.

How To Clean Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

Different Dishwasher Types

Whirlpool dishwashers can be of two types based on the filtration system. These are manual cleaning dishwashers and self-cleaning dishwashers.

  • Manual cleaning dishwashers: Filters of such dishwashers can be removed and cleaned manually. These require filter cleaning at least once a month. However, the frequency may vary depending on the usage.
  • Self-cleaning dishwashers: These can dispose of hard foods. They grind the food particles and then wash and drain them out. These do not require manual cleaning.

Regardless of the type of filter, it is located on the bottom, underneath the spray arm.

Steps To Clean a Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

When you wash dishes using a dishwasher, the residual food particles and greases get trapped on the filters.

The filters also prevent those from contaminating the clean dishes. As the filters clog with time, they need to go through a cleaning procedure.

Whirlpool dishwasher filtration system delivers minimum sound, optimizes water consumption, and also helps energy conservation.

It provides superior cleaning performance by keeping oversized items, foreign objects, and fine food particles out of the pump and off your dishwasher.

The filtration system consists of two parts; an upper filter assembly and a lower filter. They need cleaning when there are visible objects or soils on the upper filter assembly or the dishes.

You can clean the filters through the following steps.

A. Removing the filter

  • Remove the lower dish rack. It will expose the bottom of the dishwasher and give access to the filters. The filter is located in the bottom tub beneath the bottom spray arm. You may also find the filters in the back corner in some models.
  • Turn the upper filter assembly one-quarter, turn counterclockwise and lift out. Hold the lower filter in the circular opening. Lift it a little and pull forward.


B. Cleaning the filter

  • Soak it for some time in hot water to kill bacteria. Then clean the filters by rinsing them under running water until most soils are removed.
  • If it is hard to remove soils, or calcium deposits from hard water, use a soft brush to remove those. Do not use a wire brush or scouring pads as they are likely to damage the filters.
  • Rinse again after brushing.


C. Re-installing the filter

  • Reinstall the lower filter by placing it under the locating tabs at the bottom of the dishwasher. It will make the circular opening for the upper filter assembly aligned with the round opening in the tub.
  • Insert the upper filter assembly into the circular opening on the top of the lower filter.
  • Slowly turn the upper filter assembly clockwise until it drops into place. Press down and continue to rotate the filter until it locks into place.
  • If the upper filter turns freely, then it is not fully locked. Continue to turn clockwise until it drops and locks in place.
  • There is no need to align the upper filter assembly arrow with the arrow on the lower filter.
  • Check again to make sure that the filters are locked properly. Running the dishwasher with a loose filter assembly may damage the machine.

Note: Reinstallation is a delicate task. So, one should not rush it up.


When To Clean The Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter

One must clean a whirlpool dishwasher filter at least once a month.  However, they should be cleaned for any of the following issues:

  • Delay in washing
  • Stains after washing
  • Washed dishes feel gritty or grimy to touch
  • Bad odors


Frequency of cleaning filters

When there is no scraping or rinsing before loading, the filters should be cleaned as per the following schedule.

  • Clean every 2 months for 1 to 3 loads per week
  • Clean once per month for 4 to 7 loads per week
  • Clean every 2 weeks for 8 to 12 loads per week
  • Clean once per week for 13 to 14 loads per week

However, you can reduce the frequency of filter cleaning if the dishes are if you scrape & rinse before loading or wash the dishes before loading.

In the case of very hard water, the filter cleaning frequency should be at least once a month.


Fixing a Clogged Dishwasher

If the dishwasher drains well or there is an inch or more of water always in the tub, that indicates a clogged dishwasher. You may try the following to clear the clogging before calling a pro.

1. Check the whirlpool dishwasher filter

Jamming of the filter is the most likely cause of a clogged dishwasher. Tough food particles can stick in the filter and hinder the drainage of the water. Remove the bottom rack to locate the filter.

2. Remove the filter

Remove the filter following the instructions given under the cleaning of filters. In all probabilities, there will be food particles, soil, and debris on the filter.

3. Rinse and replace the filter

Rinse the filters under running water and clean them with a soft brush, if required, following the instructions for cleaning of filters.

Never use any wire brush or scrubber. They may damage the filter. Insert the filters carefully into their places and lock them securely for proper function.

4. Check other culprits

In case proper drainage is not there even after cleaning the filters, then you have to look for other reasons. Check the drain valve. One should be able to move the drainage bracket manually.

If that sticks into place, it means that the electrical components have burnt out. Replacement is necessary in such cases.

Consult the owner’s manual for specific information, or contact Whirlpool Customer Care.


Eliminating bad smells

Your whirlpool dishwasher may stink even if it delivers clean dishes. It could be due to

  • Your Whirlpool dishwasher filter is dirty.
  • Trapped food particles in the tub corners.
  • Mildew growth.

Taking the following steps will eliminate the stinking smell:

  • Clean the dishwasher filter. It will remove a significant amount of odor.
  • Clean dishwasher tub. It harbors stinky mold and mildew and cleaning it will help to remove foul odor.
  • Clean dishwasher spray arms. They have small holes for spraying water to clean dishes. These holes get clogged with tiny food particles and produce smells. Cleaning them will eliminate bad smells.

One must do a thorough cleaning of the dishwasher so that it runs on its peak performance.


Cleaning The Whirlpool Dishwasher

Having a warm and moist interior, dishwashers are ideal places for bacteria, mold, and mildew growth.

Only regular cleaning can clear these out. Moreover, regular cleaning helps to run it smoothly throughout its life span.

Cleaning the exterior of the dishwasher is also important. Usually, you can clean the outside with a soft cloth and mild detergent. If it has a stainless steel body, then you must use a stainless steel cleaner.

To clean the interior, open the doors and let it cool.

Make a paste of powdered dishwasher detergent and water and clean the interior with it. Or you can also use a liquid dishwasher detergent.

You can also give the interior a white vinegar rinse. It will remove the spots and stains. But white vinegar is an acid.

So, one should not do frequent vinegar washing. It may damage the dishwasher.

Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into a glass or dishwasher-safe cup and place it on the bottom rack of the dishwasher.

Next, run a complete dishwashing cycle using the air-dry option. Alternatively, you can also run it on the energy-saving option. It will clean the interior and eliminate stinking smells.

Whirlpool makes Affresh® tablets for cleaning dishwashers. It attacks lime scales and other mineral build-ups in the dishwasher.

Remove all dishware from the dishwasher and place one tablet in the bottom tub.  Run a full cycle to clean it properly. Read more

A home warranty can protect dishwashers.

Maybe you are regularly cleaning the whirlpool dishwasher filter. But a dishwasher is a machine, and like any other machine, it may suddenly break down. Having a home warranty can save you in such situations.

Wrapping up

The above is only a general guideline for cleaning a whirlpool dishwasher filter. If these do not match with the model, one must refer to the service manual or visit whirlpool customer care.