How To Clean A Swimming Pool Cartridge Filter
Step 1: Don't let it get this bad
Cleaning a cartridge filter can be a pretty straight forward process so long as you have an idea of what materials you are removing and how. There are three different types of materials we are cleaning from the filter with just a few basic steps. The first is the solid materials like dirt, leaves, or puppy fur balls. The second is oils from your skin, makeup, deodorants, and sunscreen. Last but not least are minerals. Not everyone will have minerals. The mineral content is going to be based on your local water AND if you prefilter your water prior to putting it in the pool with a whole house filter or a garden hose attachment type filter.
Overnight soakingIt is important to give the oils in the filter time to dissolve with a mild degreaser. A clean trash can or large Tupperware bin work great. Fill the container with warm water and 1/2 a bottle of Cascade complete dishwasher detergent (The Sams club stuff works well too). There are automatic cartridge filter cleaners available for sale but I don't think they do any better job. Let the filter soak overnight (or more if possible) before cleaning.
No power washer gadget
Cleaning the filter with a power washer is the best wayBigger is not necessarily better here. 2500 PSI unit with a 30 degree tip is just right. Place the filter on a clean surface and start from the top to bottom slowly and systematically until dirt no longer is coming from the pleats your spraying. Then turn the filter to clean the next set of pleats. Be sure to maintain a steep angle on the filter to allow the water to wash the dirt off the filter NOT drive it further into the material. Once there is no more dirt coming out of the bottom of the filter pleats, turn and repeat. If you don't have a power washer an 'Aqua Comb' works pretty well too.
Once the filter has been cleaned of solid material and oil residue we can address the mineralsIt is important NOT to move to this step until the filter is completely free and clean of oils or the filter will be ruined. Set up you trash can or Tupperware bin again. This time fill the bin full and add a 1:10 ratio muriatic to water mix. CAUTION: NEVER ADD WATER TO MURIATIC ACID. ALWAYS ADD MURIATIC ACID TO WATER. Soak overnight as you did with the detergent solution and rinse in the next day.