How to Clean a Water Filter Pitcher: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Water filter pitchers are essential for any home. They remove impurities from tap water and make it safe to drink. However, most water filter pitchers require manual cleaning. This means that you have to get up every day and manually scrub away dirt and debris from the inside of the water filter pitcher.

Most water filter pitchers come with instructions telling you exactly how to clean them. Unfortunately, these instructions aren’t very helpful because they assume that you already know how to do it. In fact, most people just throw the filter in the sink and hope for the best.

In this article, I’ll explain how to properly clean your water filter pitcher. Then you’ll never have to worry about clogged filters again!

how to clean a water filter pitcher

Why Clean Your Pitcher?

Keeping your water filter pitcher clean is important. Not only does it prevent buildups of contaminants, but it also helps maintain the taste of your water.

A lot of times, we think that our pitchers are perfectly fine, but they actually need to be cleaned. Filters are meant to remove particles from the water, but they won’t work properly if there’s a buildup of dirt or debris on the outside of the pitcher.

To keep your pitcher clean, wash it thoroughly after every use. You can either hand wash it or run it through the dishwasher. And remember to dry it completely before storing it away.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean the Water Filter Pitcher?

If you don’t clean your water filter pitcher regularly, you risk growing harmful bacteria inside. This can cause health issues, including stomach problems, diarrhea, skin rashes, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and more.

You should clean your water filter pitcher every two weeks or once per month depending on how frequently you use it.

To keep your water filter pitcher clean, simply run hot water through it. Be careful not to let the water sit in the pitcher for long periods of time though. Hot water helps kill off any bacteria that might be present.

How to Clean a Water Pitcher Filter

Cleaning a water filter pitcher isn’t difficult if you know what you’re doing. But if you’ve never cleaned a water filter pitcher before, then you might be wondering where to start. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out.

What You Need

To clean your water filter pitcher, you’ll need a sponge, warm water, dishwashing soap, a small brush, a bucket to soak the jug, a towel, vinegar, a drying rack, and a replacement filter if needed.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Clean a Water Filter Pitcher

There are many things to consider when cleaning a water filter pitcher. First, you should know which parts of the pitcher you can disassemble. Second, you should understand how to properly prime the filter cartridge. And finally, you should know how to put everything back together again.

Disassembling the Pitcher

First, drain out all the fluid from the jug and remove the lid (if applicable). Then, take out the inner parts of the pitcher.

To start, drain out all of the water from the jug and remove its lid. Then, take the filter cartridge out and the top reservoir. If it’s time for a cartridge replacement or if it’s working fine, throw away the old one. If it’s still working fine, rinse it thoroughly with warm water and keep the pitcher in a clean, dry space.


Make a solution using warm water mixed with dishwashing liquid. Pour this mixture into the reservoir and let sit for at least 15 min. Stir the soapy water for several seconds to cover the inside of the pitcher well.

If you notice an unpleasant odor coming from the pitcher, add some fresh lemons to the water. Lemons give off a nice scent and neutralize bad smells.


Put on your rubber gloves and scrub all hard-to-reach areas. Since almost all water filter pitchers are equipped with tiny crevices, it’s important to reach all of these areas to clean them out. These little spaces are breeding grounds for bacteria and dirt.

Rinse Well

Don’t be hasty while rinsing your pitcher. Washing it with clean water multiple times until the water runs clear is necessary.

Allow to Air Dry

After you’ve washed your water filter pitcher and dried it thoroughly, leave it to air dry on either a bottle rack or a dry surface for at least fifteen minutes.

Filter Priming

Most pitchers require some kind of pre-filtration before they can be used properly. Filters usually contain a large number of surface-active agents which cause them to become sticky when wet. To remove these agents from the filters, they must be flushed with full water pressure.

If you don’t prime the cartridge, it takes you hours to filter any tap/well/lake/river/etc. so if you fill-up the upper chamber in the mornings, by the time you get home from work, there won’t be much left in the lower chamber.

That is why you need to always follow specific instructions related to your models and prime your filter before using them.

Here is a breakdown of how most pitchers can be prepped for use.

  1. Remove the flush valve from the new water filtration cartridge.
  2. Remove the protective sticker.
  3. After soaking the cartridge in a container of water for at least fifteen (15) minutes, ensure that it is fully immersed. You may want to weigh it down so that it doesn’t pop off.
  4. After doing so, unscrew the flusher from the cartridge.
  5. Hold the disk to the faucet, turn the water on, and let it run for at least one min­ute.

Put it Back Together

After cleaning everything up, it’s now time to put everything back together again.

If you’ve replaced your filter, throw away the first gallon of water that it filters through. Don’t worry about wasting it; you can use it for something else.

How Often Should You Clean a Water Pitcher?

Cleaning your water pitcher is important. Not only does it keep your water fresh, but it also helps prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria build up in your water pitcher over time, and it can cause health problems if left untreated.

So how often should you clean your water pitcher? Well, it depends on the manufacturer of your water pitcher. Some recommend cleaning your water pitcher once per month or every 2 months. Others suggest cleaning it every 3 months or 4 months. But whatever you decide, remember that it’s recommended that you clean your water pitcher every 2 months.

To clean your water pitcher, simply run hot, soapy water through it. Be careful not to let any soap residue remain inside the pitcher after washing. And if you notice any mold growing inside your water pitcher, throw it away immediately.


What Should I Use to Clean a Pitcher?

Use a solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid to clean your pitcher. After soaking it for several hours, rinse it with hot water and then allow it to cool down before washing it with detergent and drying it out.

Can I Use Bleach to Clean a Water Filter Pitcher?

If you notice slime and dark green mold growing on the pitcher’s lid or bottom, you may be inclined to use household chlorine products to remove them. However, we recommend against doing so because they could cause serious health issues.

Are Water Filter Pitchers Dishwasher Safe?

Most water filter pitcher filters are dishwasher safe too. Just remember not to use soaps when cleaning them.

How Do I Clean a Pitcher With Mold?

Make a solution of one teaspoon of white vinegar to one cup of water. Use a sponge dipped in the solution to wipe away mildew from surfaces.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a Pitcher?

It takes about five to ten minutes to clean the pitchers. If you clean them regularly, they will be easier to clean because you won’t need as much effort.

How to Tackle Mineral Buildup on Filter Pitchers?

The answer is simple and found in every kitchen cupboard: Vinegar. White vinegar is an inexpensive and easy answer to fight off those minerals. To get the best result, soaked your filters overnight in undiluted white vinegar. Then wash them thoroughly in the morning and you should see all the residue disappear.


You need to clean your water filter pitchers regularly. This is especially true if you live in an area where tap water isn’t safe to drink. It’s also important to clean your water filter pitcher after every use.

Otherwise, bacteria and mold can build up inside the pitcher and cause problems. So, when you’re cleaning your water filter pitchers, make sure you remove all of the debris and dirt that has built up inside.

Joanna G. Lackey

Hi, I'm Joanna, a writer freelance writer who specializes in topics about health and nutrition. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and three children. I'm a mom to two dogs and a cat. I love reading, writing, and taking photos.