One of the easiest, yet most overlooked, maintenance work you can perform on your home appliances is care for their filters. Whether that means cleaning or replacing them, this is a simple job you can do yourself ensuring your appliances continue working properly. Routinely caring for the filters also prolongs the life of your appliances. So to help you clean the things cleaning your home, here are some common filters you should be caring for and how often you need to do so.
For filters in a carafe water filter, they are typically good for 40 gallons. Although some do have indicators it is up to you to keep track of when they need to be replaced. Failing to do so can result in water dirtier than before you filtered it.
For water filters connecting to your water line under the sink or mounted to your faucet, these should be replaced after 100 gallons or every four months. Like the carafe water filters, some have built-in indicators to help notify you when a change is needed.
If you have an ice maker or a water dispenser in your refrigerator, the filters for these remove contaminants such as chlorine and lead and other impurities causing bad odor or tastes. These filters often need to be changed every six months.
Dishwashers either come with an automatic filter that grinds food pieces in order for them to wash away with the waste water or a manual filter that you’ll need to clean yourself. Depending on how often you use your dishwasher, the filters should be cleaned every three to six months. However, some manufacturers recommend cleaning every two to three weeks, so be sure to check the owner’s manual. Make sure the dishwasher is cooled down before reaching into the machine.
Most air purifiers today have an indicator telling you of when the filter needs changing. Though most prefilters can simply be wiped down, the main HEPA filter needs to be changed every six to 12 months. Please note that some indicators base their alerts on how much a dishwasher is used, while others are based on a set number of hours. So if your air purifier runs less often, inspect the filter before throwing it away to avoid replacing it unnecessarily.
Dryer Lint Filters
Having a dirty lint filter prolongs drying times and leads to lint buildup in the dryer’s duct and cabinet. This can lead to malfunctions and even fires! Be sure to clean the lint off the filter after each laundry load. Once a month, you can scrub the filter with an old toothbrush, warm water, and dishwashing soap to eliminate any sticky residue from fabric softeners. Also, check the dryer cabinet and duct every few months for lint any buildup.
Stove Range Hood Filters
These filters prevent grease from entering the stove hood’s vent. Check and clean this filter every one to three months. Place the filter into a sink of hot water, quarter cup of baking soda, and a couple drops of dishwashing soap. Let it soak for 30 minutes then use a sponge, scrub brush, or old toothbrush to remove any remaining debris or grease. Rinse with hot water and allow to air dry. If your cleaning attempts don’t do the trick, you will have to replace the filter.
Bad filters in your vacuum can cause it to lose suction or even spit dust back into the air. Especially with bagless vacuums, regularly changing the filters saves aggravation and work. Consult with the owner’s manual to see when filters need to be changed or if they can simply be washed instead.
Vacuums with pleated filters that look like they’re made of paper need to be changed about every six months. Once a month, in between changes, you can put the filters in a plastic bag and shake them to remove any dust build-up.