How to Clean Your Kitchen Aid Dishwasher Filter: A Comprehensive Guide

Maintaining the efficiency of your KitchenAid dishwasher is essential for ensuring clean and spotless dishes after every cycle. One crucial aspect of this maintenance is cleaning the dishwasher filter. Over time, the filter can become clogged with food particles, debris, and soap scum, leading to reduced performance. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of effectively cleaning your KitchenAid dishwasher filter, ensuring your appliance works optimally and your dishes sparkle.

Understanding the Importance of a Clean Dishwasher Filter

The dishwasher filter plays a crucial role in trapping food particles, debris, and other contaminants from circulating and re-depositing onto your dishes. A clogged filter not only reduces cleaning efficiency but can also lead to unpleasant odors and mold growth. Regular cleaning of the filter is vital to maintain the dishwasher’s performance and extend its lifespan.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

Before you start, gather the following items:

  • Screwdriver
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Toothpick or small wire

Preparing for the Cleaning Process

Ensure your dishwasher is empty before you begin. Turn off the power supply to avoid any accidents. Open the dishwasher door and locate the filter assembly at the bottom of the tub.

Removing the Dishwasher Filter

  1. Remove the bottom rack for easier access.
  2. Depending on your model, twist or unscrew the cylindrical filter cover.
  3. Lift the filter out gently.

Cleaning the Filter

  1. Rinse the filter under warm running water to remove loose debris.
  2. Create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap.
  3. Submerge the filter in the soapy water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the filter. Pay attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas.

Cleaning the Interior of the Dishwasher

  1. Wipe down the interior walls and components using a microfiber cloth dampened with a vinegar and water solution.
  2. Use a toothpick or small wire to dislodge any debris from the spray arms and nozzles.
  3. Check the bottom of the dishwasher for debris accumulation and clean if necessary.

Reassembling the Filter

  1. Rinse the filter thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
  2. Place the filter back into its original position.
  3. Secure the filter cover by twisting or screwing it back into place.

Running a Test Cycle

After reassembling the filter, run a test cycle with no dishes. This ensures that everything is properly reinstalled and that there are no leaks.

Dos and Don’ts of Dishwasher Maintenance

  • Do: Scrape excess food off dishes before loading.
  • Don’t: Pre-rinse dishes, as modern dishwashers are designed to handle food residue.
  • Do: Regularly check and clean the filter every 2-3 months.
  • Don’t: Use abrasive cleaners that could damage the dishwasher’s interior.

Frequency of Cleaning Your Filter

Cleaning your dishwasher filter every 2-3 months is recommended, but if you use your dishwasher frequently, consider checking it monthly.

Troubleshooting: When to Replace the Filter

If the filter is damaged or has holes, it’s time for a replacement. Additionally, if your dishes aren’t coming out clean despite regular cleaning, the filter might need replacement.

Benefits of Regular Filter Cleaning

  1. Improved cleaning performance.
  2. Prevention of foul odors.
  3. Prevention of mold growth.
  4. Longer lifespan for your dishwasher.

Tips to Prevent Future Buildup

  • Run the garbage disposal before starting the dishwasher.
  • Use a high-quality dishwasher detergent.
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher.

Common Misconceptions About Dishwasher Filters

  1. Misconception: Dishwasher detergent cleans the filter. Reality: The filter requires manual cleaning to maintain optimal performance.
  2. Misconception: All filters are the same. Reality: Different dishwasher models have different filter types and maintenance needs.


Regularly cleaning your KitchenAid dishwasher filter is a simple yet effective way to ensure your dishwasher runs efficiently, dishes come out spotless, and your appliance’s lifespan is extended. By following these easy steps and adopting proper maintenance habits, you’ll enjoy hassle-free dishwashing and a cleaner kitchen.


Q: How often should I clean my dishwasher’s filter?

A: Cleaning the filter every 2-3 months is recommended.

Q: Can I use bleach to clean the filter?

A: No, avoid using bleach as it can damage the filter and other components.

Q: My dishwasher has an automatic cleaning cycle. Do I still need to clean the filter?

A: Yes, while automatic cleaning cycles help, manual cleaning is still necessary for optimal performance.

Q: Is it normal for the filter to have a slight odor after cleaning?

A: Yes, a mild odor is normal. It will dissipate after a few cycles.

Q: What if my dishes are still not clean after cleaning the filter?

A: Check for proper loading and detergent usage. If issues persist, consider professional maintenance.

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