How To Clean The Filter On An Old Whirlpool Dishwasher

It is important to keep the filter clean in your dishwasher to allow the machine to operate correctly. A dirty filter can cause your dishes to come out of the appliance still dirty or at least not smelling fresh and clean. 

If you have a Whirlpool dishwasher, well done, they are a popular and reliable brand and have been manufacturing dishwashers for a long time.

The type of Whirlpool dishwasher you own will determine how to clean the filter.

Which Type Of Dishwasher Do You Have?

As we just said, Whirlpool have been making dishwashers for a long time. So we need to determine which type of Whirlpool dishwasher you own. A self-cleaning dishwasher or a non self-cleaning dishwasher. 

Self-Cleaning Whirlpool Dishwasher

In the self-cleaning dishwasher by Whirlpool, the filter has a grinding mechanism which helps to remove the food waste, limescale deposits and other debris from the dishwasher. The grinder turns these deposits into very fine particles which can then be flushed out through the drain hose.

These filters are difficult to remove and as the grinder crushes most of the waste products into minute particles, there is no need to clean the filter. You can tell if you own a self-cleaning dishwasher as it will have a filter which is difficult to remove and it will make a lot of noise when it’s in operation.

If you are in doubt as to which type of dishwasher you own, consult your user manual.

Old Whirlpool Dishwashers (Non Self-Cleaning)

These will be quieter when in operation and the filter will be easier to remove. The filter will have arrows on it indicating the direction you need to to turn it to open or lock it.

It’s this type of Whirlpool dishwasher which this article is aimed at. If you have a Whirlpool dishwasher with a removable filter, keep reading, because the contents of this article are related to the maintenance and care of your appliance.

How To Clean A Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter On An Old Model

To remove limescale and other debris from the filter of your Whirlpool dishwasher just follow these simple steps;

  1. Locate the filter
    You will need to remove the lower dish rack, the filter will be found on the floor of the dishwasher either towards the back corner or under the bottom spray arm.
  2. Remove the filter from the dishwasher
    Turn the filter anti-clockwise to unlock it and then remove it from the dishwasher.
  3. Soak the filter in warm water
    Place the filter in a bowl filled with warm water and detergent and allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove any limescale or debris from the filter
    Using a soft bristled brush or toothbrush, gently remove all of the limescale and other debris from the filter.
  5. Rinse the filter in cold water
    Remove the filter from the bowl and wash it under a running cold water tap for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Replace the filter back into the dishwasher
    Now the filter is clean and free from any detergent etc, push it back into the dishwasher and turn it clockwise to lock it into position.

How Often Should You Clean An Old Whirlpool Dishwasher Filter?

The frequency for cleaning the filter on your Whirlpool dishwasher will depend on the frequency of use. In other words, the more you use your dishwasher, the more times it will need the filter cleaning.

Another factor is whether you scrape all of the leftover scraps from your dishes or not. If you don’t scrape your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, the filter will need cleaning more often than if the dishes are scraped clean before being placed in the dishwasher.

If you use your dishwasher once per day and you scrape your dishes, the filter should only require cleaning once per year.

If you use your dishwasher twice per day, or if you don’t scrape the dishes before placing them in the dishwasher, the filter will need to be cleaned around every 6 months or twice yearly.

Obviously if your dishes are not coming out of the machine perfectly clean, there’s a good chance that the filter needs cleaning.

Baking Soda

How To Clean The Whirlpool Dishwasher

At the same time as you clean out the filter on your dishwasher, you should also clean the dishwasher.  You can buy a proprietary dishwasher cleaner and follow the instructions on the pack. Or you could use natural ingredients like;

White Vinegar

To wash the dishwasher using white vinegar, simply fill a cup with white vinegar and place it on the bottom rack of the machine. Then run a wash cycle without adding any detergent. When finished, allow the machine to dry naturally (turn off the heated drying cycle).

Baking Soda

Once the white vinegar cycle has finished, pour a cup of baking soda all across the floor of the dishwasher evenly. Run a hot water wash with no drying cycle. The dishwasher should now be clean and smell fresh as well.

When using white vinegar and baking soda, it is important to allow the dishwasher to air dry, so remember to turn off the heated drying cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the filter on an older Whirlpool dishwasher?

The filter on an older Whirlpool dishwasher can be found below the lower dish rack. Remove the lower dish rack, the filter will either be in a back corner or under the bottom spray arm.

How long does a Whirlpool dishwasher filter last?

Whirlpool dishwasher filters tend to last for a long time. As long as you maintain your dishwasher correctly, the filter could last for 5 years or more.

Where can I buy a filter for an old Whirlpool dishwasher?

You can buy filters for old Whirlpool dishwashers direct from Whirlpool or from many spares stores online.

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