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How to clean your washing machine filter: Remove dirt and obstructions and get your washing machine running like new

Read on for all the tips and tricks you’ll need to effectively clean your washing machine’s filter

With the growing list of daily cleaning tasks an average household has to deal with, it’s understandable that you might not know how to clean your washing machine filter – or that you were even supposed to. Though it may not seem like the most important task, cleaning the filter will not only make your machine run more effectively but can prevent costly malfunctions.

The generally accepted advice is to give your filter a deep clean every three to four months, though some manufacturers suggest a monthly clean to keep things in top working condition.

To get started on learning how to clean your washing machine filter, check out our full guide below. Here, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about the function of your washing machine’s filter, how to find it and the best way to clean it once you do.

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What is a washing machine filter?

Much like the filter in your dryer, your washing machine filter’s job is to catch and trap any debris – lint, excess detergent, dirt – that might make its way into your machine and damage the internal pump. Without proper maintenance, your filter can become clogged or damaged.A compromised filter will likely reduce the effectiveness of your washing machine, which can leave your clothes waterlogged at the end of even the most vigorous spin cycle.

Are there different types of washing machine filters?

There are four different types of washing machine filter and you should consult the manual or manufacturer’s website to determine whether your machine’s filter is removable, replaceable, fixed or self-cleaning.

A removable filter can be safely taken out of the machine, cleaned and put back in. A replaceable filter is designed to be taken out and replaced with a fresh filter, which you can purchase online or at a local hardware shop. A fixed filter, which can’t be removed from the machine at all, will need to be cleaned with the aid of a brush or similar tool. Finally, a self-cleaning filter, more common in very new machines, is not designed to be removed or accessed. Should you have a problem with one, it’s best to contact a professional repair service.

The vast majority of UK washing machines are front loading models, which will have simple, removable filters. Our advice below will focus on this type.

Where is the filter located in my washing machine?

The most common location for filters on front-loading washing machines is at the front, toward the bottom right corner. Sometimes your filter will be located behind a plastic panel, called a kick strip.If you can’t locate it or your washing machine doesn’t have an accessible filter, it may be worth investigating the area around your machine’s drainage hose, which is another area where debris can build up and cause problems. Alternatively, you can check inside the drum for a lint trap more similar in form to ones found in dryers.

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How do I remove and clean my clean washing machine filter?

1. Make sure your machine is switched off at the wall and that the drum is empty.

2. Place a large, absorbent towel on the ground in front of the area where the filter is located, as water can leak from your machine during this process

3. If applicable, carefully remove the kick strip from in front of the filter. Be gentle with this part of the task, as kick strips are usually made from fairly brittle plastic.

4. Unscrew or remove the filter from the machine. If you have trouble or find the filter to be moving stiffly, try using a toothbrush or similar to clear debris or build-up which may be making the filter difficult to remove.

5. Once the filter has been removed, gently brush lint and larger debris off the filter with a soft-bristled brush.

6. If removable, allow the filter to soak in a basin of warm, soapy water for around 10 minutes.

7. Before returning the filter to its original position, clean any excess debris or grime out of the filter socket, to ensure it fits smoothly and doesn’t become clogged again quickly.

8. Once the filter is back in place, run your machine on a short cycle to make sure the filter has been reinserted successfully.

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