Plumbing, Heating and Pool Repair Guides

How To Clean Any D.E. Pool Filter


How To Clean Any D.E. Pool FilterThe D.E.(Diatomaceous Earth) swimming pool filter can be one of the most effective types of swimming pool filters to keep your pool water looking and feeling its best all season long.  Many popular brands like Hayward, Pentair, and Sta-Rite have been making quality D.E. swimming pool filters for many years. The average D.E. pool filter can last up to 25 years if it is taken care of properly.

Some ways to take care of your swimming pool filter properly are to make sure that your swimming pool is maintained though tout the year. Even things like not covering the pool over the winter can make the pool filter work harder during the season which will ultimately result in a shorter lifespan for the filter. Properly back washing your swimming pool filter at least once a week is also another way to keep the life of the filter long. After a while however there will come a time where you will have to take apart your D.E. pool filter and clean all excess D.E. from the grids, fingers and manifolds. You will also want to inspect all the internal parts like o-rings, filter grids, filter fingers(Hayward EC-series) to make sure they do not need to be replace from normal wear and tear.

Cleaning the D.E. Pool filter can be done with some basic hand tools, a garden hose and a milk crate or something to put the filter elements on. Cleaning the D.E. swimming pool filter can take anywhere from 2 – 6 hours depending on your skill set and how dirty or old your pool filter is. You will also want to make sure that you do this all in one day so that you don’t have the filter away from your swimming pool to long which could make the water condition of the pool even worse.

Shutting Off The Filter System:

Hayward 3600 DE Pool Filter
The First thing you will want to do before you take apart and clean your D.E. pool filter is to make sure that the filter system is off and unplugged. If you have a swimming pool timer you will want to make sure that the timer is manually set to the off position. The next thing you will want to do is to make sure that you unplug the swimming pool pump from the electric source. Most swimming pool pumps have some something called a “pigtail” which is basically a wire that runs from the pool pump to an electrical outlet box nearby. The best thing to do is to actually unplug the pump as well.

How To Take Apart The D.E. Filter:

Depending on what type of D.E. swimming pool filter you have will depend on how you will have to take it apart. Some pool filters have something called “belly bands” which hold the pool filter tank together at the center making it easy to preform repairs such as cleaning the filter grids. Other types of filters have bolt patterns that will contain many bolts that you will have to remove one by one. Most newer filters these days use the belly band model rather then the bolts that you will have to remove one by one.

How To remove the grids from a belly band D.E. Filter:

1) Make sure that the filter system is off as described above.

2) Open the air relief valve on the top of the filter tank.

3) Remove the drain plug or open the backwash valve.

4) Loosen the Belly band nut and remove the spring and washers.

5) Pry the tank open from the center with a Flathead screwdriver or small pry bar and remove the filter grids.

How To Wash The D.E. Grids & Fingers:

Once you have taken apart the filter tank and you have the grids or fingers exposed you will now want to clean them. What you will need to do is to take a garden hose and completely rinse the entire surface area of the grids and the fingers. This simply means you will want to spend some time and really give both the fingers and the grids a good cleaning. You of course will only either have grids or fingers. You will not have both in a filter. As we mentioned above, some pool filters use grids and some use “fingers”. Both of these can be washed the same way. Using a garden hose with a spray attachment, wash and rinse everything from top to bottom until you notice that the filters or the grids are now starting to turn from a brownish yellow to a bright white. If you have rinsed off all of the extra D.E. from the filter and your fingers and grids are still yellow you might need something called an acid wash.

What Works Best To Clean The Fingers & Grids:

The best thing to clean the fingers and grids with is high pressure from your garden hose. If you have a local pool store nearby you can also pick up some filter grid cleanser that will also help you clean the grids and fingers even better. If you want you can also pick up something called a “filter cleaning wand” which will attach to your garden hose and also help you clean your filter better.

How To Get The Pool Filter Working 100% After Cleaning It:

After you have cleaned the filter and re-assembled the filter system you will of course now want to get your swimming pool going 100%. In order to do this you will need to do a few things.

1) Make sure to adjust all your pool chemicals within the proper PPM Range.

2) Make sure to add the proper amount of D.E to the filter system by looking on the side of the pool filter.

3) Make sure you backwash your pool filter at least once a week to keep the filter at it’s best.

4) Make sure to vacuum your swimming pool once a week so that the filter does not have to work so hard.

If you properly clean your D.E. pool filter as we explained above and make sure to follow the four other simple rules, then you should be able to swimming in a clean, clear blue swimming pool all season long without trouble.


  1. We have successfully removed our de filter and used our garden hose to spray it clean. we live where there is no pool service offering acid wash. if we were to use a white vinegar what would be the formula or washing or soaking the filter and for how long. You site is most helpful. Thanks

    • Hi Nancy,

      Yes you can use white vinegar at full strength. You you will want to let the fingers / grids soak for a few hours or until they turn while again,

      Let me know if you need more help.


  2. I took my filter apart last season to clean and dry. Now I don’t remember how to assemble the grids. My instruction manual doesn’t show the proper sequence. Help!!!!

  3. Have a Pentair DE filter without backwash, filter settings, etc. and need to know if there is a recommeded way to vacuum pool or is it just like any other filter and then taking filter apart to clean and re-powder?

    • Hi Jim,

      Yes kinda the same, If you have heavy debris in the pool vacuum the pool on “waste” while adding water to the pool and keep checking the skimmer basket that you have the vacuum disk in. (empty it often)

      But if the pool is basically blue with a few leaves, some dirt etc, then yes, plug all skimmers expect for one, and then prime your vacuum hose and then hook put the vacuum disk in the skimmer that is closet to the pool filter system for the best suction.

      If you see the filter increasing pressure as you vacuum, then you will need to back wash the filter once the pressure reaches 10 – 15 PSI above the normal operating pressure.

      If you have more questions let me know,


      • Hi Joseph:

        Thanks for your response. Problem is, this filter does not have backwash capability. It only has a pressure release valve on top. Would that work the same way? Do I need to keep that valve open while vacuuming? I was not sure if that would hurt the filter. Jim

        • Hi,

          Yes, in that case leave the bottom valve open while you vacuum, but be sure to add water to the pool as your vacuuming to make up for the water loss,

          Let me know if you need more help,


  4. after I have cleaned and reasembled my Pentair filter Series 4060 I resupplied the filter with the proper amount of D.E. I’ve just put new grids in. When I put the D.E. back into the pool filter the D.E. flows back though the filter into the pool. I also have a salt system. How do I stop the D.E. from returning to the pool and will this hurt my salt generator?

  5. I have a hayward perflex de extended filter!!!! i have gone through a 25lb bag of earth!!! i take it aprt and clean it at least once a day pool was very green.. ive been working on it for a week and half!!! i cant get the cloudy to go away what should i do!

  6. We are having a pressure problem with our pool as well. We just purchased a brand new DE filter and are having a problem keeping the pressure when we vaccum the pool. The pressure is also a little high when we run the filter alone but is seeming to work. Take note, we did have a cover issue over the winter and the water was a lovely shade of brown when we first started filtering this year. The pool has since gotten almost clear except for the algae that is left on the bottom of the pool, which obviously we are not getting enough pressure to vacuum it out. We were also told that perhaps the DE dirt is going back into the pool— but I don’t know if that is the case– when we add the DE dirt to the skimmer it goes right down into the filter. Can it go from there back into the pool? Or is it just indeed the algae that is on the bottom of the pool?


  7. Hi, just cleaned my de filters, and put everything back together, now the problem is that the pump does not stay consistent. The water into the basket will come full blast, and then down to a trickle. What could the problem be?

  8. Hi, my problem is a leak in the pool I let the water level drop below the light and steps and I’m still losing water, so the next thing is the main drain at bottom of pool, Is there a anything I could do to seal the main drain to prevent loss of water

    • Hi Lou,

      Yes, you could put a #10 rubber plug in the bottom of the main drain. You will first need to get the cover off the main drain… Are you sure its the main drain and not a liner seam? Have you checked all the seems in the liner?

      Let me know if you need more help.


      • Hi Joseph, thanks for your quick response. I will double check the seams and then plug the main drain and then keep an eye on the water level. thanks again and I’ll let you know of the outcome.


  10. Hello, I have a Pentair DE Filter model FNS48 that is about 6 years old. The cloth on the grids look great but the tubes at the top of each grid which are slotted to fit into the top assembly have at least two of the 4 tabs broken off. To replace all of the grids is expensive, will the filter work with half the tabs broken off on each grid or is there any kind of patch repair?


  12. Just cleaned de filter and replaced earth now I have extreme suction with my vacume as well as the pool jets are 10x’s stronger than before. Is this normal?

  13. We have a few tears in the fingers. Can they be sewed up or patched instead of replacing? If so, any special type of thread or material? Also, any thoughts why I got these tears (in 6 out of 8 2-year-old fingers)? Am I not using enough DE? Thanks.

  14. I have a de filter for inground pool. I have had to clean it 4 times in 2 days! It get very caked with de and algae. Just opened the pool recently and working on getting it clean. The filter and pool itself though seem to be working fine except the water for the water slide starts off fine but then tapers off. I can’t figure out why the grids are getting so dirty so fast! I vacuum on waste. Help! Getting tired of taking the filter apart all the time!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar
Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views :