What is the best method to clean filter cartridges?

TheOne

LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
167
Houston, TX
I have been using a water hose to clean my filter cartridges twice a year. Is it better to soak them in some sort of solution in a trash can or other method?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
It all depends on how dirty/oily they are. The standard cleaning is simply spraying with a garden hose. Every now and then, many people do this once a year, they should be soaked overnight in automatic dishwasher detergent (or TSP if you can find it) and then rinsed off. If they are getting clogged with scale (or other stubborn dirt the detergent won't take off) you do the detergent soak and rinse and then soak them in dilute acid for a little while and then rinse again.
 
G

Guest

Here's how to clean a cartridge filter.
First get a short, brass, non adjustable, small bore (inside hole) garden hose nozzle for about $4 from any hardware store. It's the BEST thing for hosing off a cart.
Place your cart on a flat surface and hose down the pleats from top to bottom with the water stream at a 45 degree downard angle. This will minimize spashback and keep you drier.
Once or twice a year soak the cart in a degreaser. You need a plastic container big enough to submerge the cart. Remember the cart does NOT need to be standing up but can be laying on it's side. I use a rubbermaid storage container that my cart fits in on it's side. It uses about 15 gallons less water to submerge it this way then standing up in a garbage can. As a bonus I use the container to keep my spare cart in. (Having 2 carts and swapping them out each cleaning means that your pool has minimal down time and it extends the life of your carts.)
Soak the carts in a soluion to one cup of either electric dishwasher powder such as Cascade or Electrosal or 1 cup of REAL TSP (not the TSP substitute sold in many places today!) for every 5 gallons of water. Soak the cart overnight and then hose it off again. If you have two carts and have already swapped them out then let the clean one dry in the sun before storing it.

IF AND ONLY IF you have scale deposits on the cart after soaking (or metal staining) the you can acid wash the cart. NEVER ACID WASH A CART THAT HAS NOT BEEN DEGREASED FIRST unless you want to throw it out! The acid will cause the organics to form a cement like mass that cannot be removed. You will find that your filter pressure rises very rapidly and you will need to replace the cart. Also be aware that each time you acid wash a cart or use a commercial acid based cleaner you are causing the Remay Polyester material to stretch and become a bit less effective of a filter so you only want to do this if you really need to.

If you need to acid wash use a 20 to 1 dilution of muriatic acid and soak the cart until the bubbling stops or for about 20 minutes and then hose off again.

You should clean a single cart filter when the pressure rises about 8 psi or every month, whichever comes first by giving it a hose down. If you unit is oversized you might not see any pressure rise at all but if you do this then cleaning is a fast process! If you wait several months it can take a long time to properly clean the cart.

IF you have one of the 4 cart monsters you might be about to get away with cleaning it every 3 months but I would have one or two extra carts and swap them out in roataion each time and soak the ones you take out so each cart gets soaked once or twice a year. This way your carts could last about 5-7 years before you need to replace them!

I have tried a lot of fancy cart cleaning gadgets and I have found the $4 garden hose nozzle I mentioned above does the best job! Second best was a $15 cleaning wand but it was plastic and did not last long (1 season). I have an expensive metal cleaning wand and it was a piece of trash!

If you hose off the cart on a regular basis and soak it once or twice a year (I soak one in the fall and one in the spring) you will find that the regular hosing only takes a few minutes (from the time I turn the pump off to the time I turn off the hose is only 10minutes and I have a Pentair Clean and Clear 150 which has one of the largest cartridges in length and width available in filters that use a single cartridge. (Jandy might have a slightly bigger one.) You will also find that you will extend the life of your cart and it becomes a minor expense instead of a major one!

Hope you find this helpful.
 
G

Guest

You will see white to tan deposits or stains that don't come off and if you put a bit of diluted acid on it it will bubble.
 

salinda

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 25, 2008
130
Los Gatos, CA
The Blaster is a keeper

I have to tell you, I have a 4 cartridge huge monster. I never see a perceptible pressure increase, but a lot of crud comes out of the cartridges every time I clean. I have soaked the cartridges in dishwasher detergent as suggested, but I never did a true overnight because it would take two nights to clean two cartridges since they have to be inverted to get both ends soaked. They are so long they don't fit in a large trash barrel.

I also cleaned the cartridges with a nice high-pressure nozzle as described above, but there was still "stuff" in there and they never got truly clean and it honestly took so long that I was concerned about the water waste.

I finally broke down and bought The Blaster last year.

Neoterics

The videos they show are for real. This is an amazing product and makes owning a cartridge filter, even a monster, a snap. Even my kids can do it and they love it.

(I'm new here but have been on PF for years.)
 
G

Guest

the blaster still does not eliminate the need for soaking. As far as the size of the cart. I have a single cart clean and clear 150 and the cart is about the same size as yours. Instead of trying to soak it standing up find a storage container that the cart will lie down in. I found one by rubbermaid and it takes less water to cover the cart then if I try and stand it in a trash can (and I can't get the whole cart submerged that way either!)
 

salinda

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 25, 2008
130
Los Gatos, CA
Thanks! I bought a new set of carts last year but kept the old ones. I'll try to soak the old ones and get them ready for the next cleaning. Kind of laying low for winter now...
 

towney

Well-known member
Apr 5, 2007
84
Central Florida
Great info. I have not soaked mine yet, but will end up doing this at spring start up. Problem is I have the starite system 3 and the main cart. is to wide to fit into anything (any suggestions). How much detergent would you use? Could you use something like Simple Green too? Thanx.
 
G

Guest

You would use 1 cup of powdered automatic dishwasher detergent or REAL TSP (which has been illegal in Florida since the'60s because of the phosphate ban) per every 5 gallons of water. I would not recommend simple green. Automatic dishwasher detergent is basically a non foaming surfactant that DOES contain phosphorous. It is recommended by the major manufacturers of OEM and replacement carts.
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,800
Pleasanton, CA
Waterbear,

Just curious as to why would you not use Simple Green. I have used it for three years now and it cleans very well. It disolves oil without any phosphates or foam and biodegrades so you don't need to worry about run off as well as any residue that might end up in the pool.
 

iggy

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2008
175
The Cool Part of Arizona
Great job WaterBear

I had a pool for over 12 years and I cleaned my single filter about monthly using a garden hose with a pinpoint nozzle. I washed the filter from the top down which cleans very well. During the swim season I soaked in a degreaser but now I plan to try the dishwashing machine stuff. Never tried that before.

Anyway about 6 years into my pool I decided to buy a second filter and from then on rotated them in the filter and worked very well.
My new pool has 4 filters and have already cleaned them once since January 08.

My pool water is up to 65 degrees here in Arizona. Only a few more weeks and it will be swimming time in the desert.

Iggy
 
G

Guest

mas985 said:
Waterbear,

Just curious as to why would you not use Simple Green. I have used it for three years now and it cleans very well. It disolves oil without any phosphates or foam and biodegrades so you don't need to worry about run off as well as any residue that might end up in the pool.
Simply because the top three manufacturers of OEM and replacement carts recommend either real TSP or automatic dishwasher detergent powder. both of which contain phosphates. TSP substitute, which is phosphate free is not effective and I suspect that Simple Green, besides being an unknown in the pool, would also be similar. If they would list the ingredients in the products it might be a different story but they don't! When it starts being recommeded as a cleaner by the manufacturers then I will consider it.
 

iggy

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2008
175
The Cool Part of Arizona
Liquid TSP Substitute
A heavy duty all-purpose cleaner that cuts through and removes heavy deposits of greasy dirt and grime from interior and exterior surfaces. Liquid TSP is a phosphate-free concentrated cleaner - Recommended for walls, woodwork, ceilings, concrete, metal, vinyl and aluminum siding. Removes mildew stains when mixed with bleach. Can be applied by hand or with a pressure washer.

Deep Cleaning Degreaser


HomeDepot has this

TSPe - An organic phosphate-free degreaser
TSPe is an organic, phosphate-free degreaser that performs as well as regular TSP, but without the harmful side effects. For years paint manufacturers have worked hard to make their products more ecologically friendly. Now with TSPe you can easily clean your walls before you paint without worrying about damaging the environment.
$6.25 a qt I think
 
G

Guest

TSP is trisodium phosphate. It has been banned for most applications in many localities but there are some things it is still needed for, such as automatic dishwasher detergent and fetilizer! The TSP substitutes that iggy mentioned are usually just sodium metasilicate, sodium carbonate, or sodium sesquicarbonate. Most of them are just sodium carbonate. You also know this chemical as pH up or washing soda. It's not as effective a degreaser as TSP but because orthophosphates are excellent fertilizers they have been banned in many localities sincde runoff into water such as lakes and streams can cause algae to bloom and there is some evidence that phosphates interfere with the formation of coral reefs by changing the type of calcium carbonate precipitated from seawater when the phosphates are in high concentration. (I actually took part in some of the oceanographic physical chemistry research on phosphates and coral reef formation many years ago when I was in school!)

If you can't get REAL TSP then use automatic dishwasher detergent powder!
 

sanfordturbo

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 6, 2007
10
All I can say is "WOW".

I just soaked my filter with these tips over the weekend and it worked like a charm. After the pool was built, we had a few months of Landscaping that basically tore up the yard. It was a Georgia Red/Orange Clay Desert back there for a while.

The wind kept dumping huge amounts of Dirt/Georgia Clay into the pool. That while cartridge filter quickly became ORANGE. I would rinse it off weekly to get rid of the dirt, but the Orange stain remained. The pressure was fine, so I didn't care much.

Recently, the pressure took a huge spike. I didn't know what to do. After reading this post, I gave it a shot and it worked like a champ. The ORANGE stain on the entire filter is gone and the pressure is slightly above the way it was when it was brand new.

Thanks TFP!!!!!!