How to Clean an RO Water Filter Membrane Properly

clean ro water filter

In theory, cleaning and reusing your old water filter is a much better alternative to replacing it with a new cartridge each month or so. The latter isn’t only more expensive. It is also a burden on the environment.

However, if you wish to enjoy the advantages of house water filtration fully — and that’s pure water cleanup, a used filter is not always that easy and effective. What you can and what you should not do, you will find out in this article.

Steps to Clean a Water Filter

Firstly, if and how you can clean your water filter is dependent on what type you’re using. While some like synthetic fibre-folded sediment filters c washed nicely to revive filtration rate and efficacy, others, such as most paper versions, are less appropriate to this.


You should also consider if the entire cleaning method is truly deserving your time, compared to just making yearly or half-yearly replacements, which will cost you $40 in total.


Also, by cleaning, you won’t have the ability to remove all of the trapped contaminants, so changing your old filter with a new one will eventually have to happen. And although bleach does an excellent job at disinfection, there isn’t a guarantee that germs, mould, mildew, or any other harmful germs won’t accumulate within your filter without you noticing.


In other words, if you use the water for drinking, you need to be sure that the filtration is up to the mark and can compete with a fresh cartridge.

clean water filter

Sediment Filters

If You’re on a private well with higher iron content or surplus hardness, or your town supply comprises high levels of contaminants, cleaning your sediment (pre-)filter regularly is a superb way to expand its lifespan. Here’s what you need to do (Doesn’t work for many filter types):

  1. You will require some form of acid. Oxalic acid and muriatic acid work well for this. If you would rather oxalic acid, mix nearly 2 ounces of oxalic acid powder (available on Amazon) with 1 gallon of clear water. Muriatic acid can be purchased as a pre-mixed solution.
  2. Remove the filter casing and take the cartridge out.
  3. Place the O-ring aside.
  4. Wash the housing to get all heavy particles out.
  5. Gently wash off the filter. The further you get off through mechanical cleaning today, the more successful your acid mix will be.
  6. Soak the housing with the cartridge inside with the acid solution for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the contamination amount). No scrubbing at all is required here.
  7. Gently wash both parts with plain water. You want to be sure that there are no acid leftovers.
  8. Before you fix everything back together, allow the filter to dry.

Note: You can neutralize the acid with regular baking soda — a few tablespoons should be sufficient — so you don’t have to bother about pouring it down your drain.

If your sediment filter has passed the point of no return and you’re seeking a worthy replacement, be sure you consult the BOS whole house water filter reviews manual.

Charcoal (Carbon) Cartridges

Most carbon block filters comprise three layers. On their inside, there’s the concrete carbon block. Coiled around, it’s a paper-type layer. The paper eliminates contaminants from your water the carbon couldn’t trap. A carbon filter generally has a synthetic mesh netting that holds the form in place at its exterior. To clean the filter, you will have to eliminate that netting:


  1. You can use a knife to cut twice around the whole perimeter as near the top/bottom of this cartridge as possible. Remove the netting.
  2. Then cut through the paper layer below but leave a little strip, perhaps a half-inch, connected to the inner carbon block. This way, the paper remains on and is easy to roll back up.
  3. Peel back the outside paper coating.
  4. Use a garden hose to wash off the dirt out of the paper in addition to the charcoal core.
  5. Use warm water with a couple of spoonful of bleach to wash off the paper coating with a brush from either side.
  6. Allow the whole filter soak in the water-bleach mix for sanitizing.
  7. Meanwhile, you can wash the housing if need be.
  8. Gently wash everything with clear water.
  9. Roll up the paper coating tight.
  10. Secure it with a nylon tie at the very top. Trim off the excess end. Add 3 to 4 nylon ties this way.
  11. Now it is time to place everything back together.

In this procedure, you’ll find a considerable improvement in water taste and pressure. And what is significant is that you can do this several times before replacement is needed.


If your carbon filter doesn’t have a paper layer that you could peel, use an iron sponge or clean pad to brush off its surface. This will help to increase water flow and aesthetics an excellent deal.

Activated Carbon

In a forum, we read, you could brew an activated carbon block in water for approximately 15 minutes to recharge it.

cleaning a water filter


Brita filter dispensers and pitchers are easy to use and provide you access to cleaner drinking water. And although you save a great deal of money compared to purchasing bottled water, prices for replacement cartridges can begin to add up fast.

Yet, for less than a dollar, you can easily refill your Brita cartridge with new granular activated carbon so that you won’t need to purchase a new one each month.

Activated carbon (or charcoal) is the most critical filtration element that Brita filters utilize. It traps chemical impurities like chlorine in its pores. However, as more and more pores become active as time goes by, the filtration turns less effective till, at some point, it eventually stops.

This is when we must replace it. Incidentally, activated carbon can be found at the local Walmart, for example, and can be purchased in bulk at a minimal price. You may also order online. In any event, you will save yourself a bunch of money in the long term.

Modular Filters (Like Refrigerator)

For modular filters that your fridge uses, all you can do is flush with clean water from both sides. Meantime, use a screwdriver to tap on the filter to loosen any more significant debris.

Some experts advise soaking modular filters in warm water using a mild cleanser — think vinegar or dish soap. Allow the filter soak between 10 and 30 minutes. Gently wash afterwards until the water comes out all clear. Finally, allow the filter to air-dry before popping it back inside your fridge.

How does the actual replacement work?

  1. Drill or cut a hole in the centre of the cartridge head. About 1/2″ should do.
  2. Optional: Consider including a few air vents to the casing top to improve water flow, a.k.a. filtration rate. You can use a sharp knife for this, though be careful not to cut yourself!
  3. Pour the old charcoal out of the hole.
  4. Gently wash the empty casing with clear water to flush out any residual filter press.
  5. You may also need to sanitize the home with household bleach at this time. If you do, rinse thoroughly afterwards.
  6. Fill in the carbon. A funnel makes this a good deal easier. The more carbon you put, the longer the cartridge will last.
  7. Carefully knock the filter onto your counter so that the media can settle in the cartridge.
  8. Use a rubber or cork piece to seal the hole.
  9. Install the cartridge on your pitcher/dispenser.
  10. Flush the carbon media.


You can now use simple modification to use your cartridge again and again, which is more eco-friendly than throwing another one into the trash every month.


Unclog A PUR Water Filter

It’s no denying that PUR’s pitcher filters are inclined to clogging. After just a few days of usage, you may see a drop-in flow rate, making the entire filtration procedure painfully slow.

There are two possible explanations for this:

  • Based on PUR, air pockets or bubbles have been trapped within the filter. You can test it by placing it in a bowl filled with water and see if it floats.
  • Little Styrofoam balls combined with the activated carbon media have blocked the holes of the pleated filtering component at the base where water is supposed to flow out.

The solution for 1.) It is to shake the cartridge for 5 to 6 seconds holding it upside down at a small angle. Can you hear the carbon moving inside? If this does not help, tap it against a hard surface a few times. Place the cartridge back in the water to find out if it floats. If it sinks, then pop it into your pitcher or dispenser. The flow rate should be far better now. If the cartridge continues to hover, then repeat the shaking and tapping.

If you battle with Styrofoam balls filling the holes of the plaited element, force water through each of the tiny slots at the base of the filter. It is possible to use a faucet sprayer for this. This should remove whatever is stuck in there.

Clean Only If It Makes Sense

In general, you should only wash your used water filter if it is logical, meaning that you may save money doing this, it is not too much of a time commitment, it is more ecological than easy replacement, and filtration performance won’t be compromised — the latter is crucial!

If that is the situation, you now understand how to wash a water filter in an ideal way. Happy cleaning.

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