How to Clean and Maintain the Lint Filter in Your Washing Machine


Did you know your washer has a lint trap or filter just like your dryer? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t; most people aren’t aware the filter exists. Unlike the lint trap in a dryer, the filter in a washing machine does not need to be cleaned after every use, however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean it on a regular basis. To learn how to properly care for your washer’s lint filter, follow the instructions provided below.

Why Does Your Washer Have a Lint Filter?

Like the lint trap in your dryer, the lint filter in your washer is there to keep lint from clinging to your clothes. Keep in mind, newer high efficiency washers do not rely on a lint filter, instead they use self-cleaning pump filters. If your washer doesn’t have a lint trap, simply run a clothes-free wash cycle once a month to clear out leftover lint.

How Do You Know a Lint Filter is Clogged?

If you’ve never cleaned the lint filter in your washer there’s a good chance it’s clogged by a mixture of lint, detergent and fabric softener. When this happens, your clothing will come out of your washer with bits of lint everywhere. Another indication of a dirty or clogged filter is a smelly washing machine. The smell is caused by mold and mildew growing on the filter. Unfortunately, this can also lead to an unpleasant odor clinging to your clean clothing.

Where is The Lint Filter in Your Washing Machine?

The location of the lint filter depends on the brand and model of the washer and the year the machine was made. Always check the washing machine’s owners manual to find the exact placement of the filter. Listed below are the most common spots the lint filter is found in most washers.

  • There’s a good chance you’ll find the filter on the rim of the washer drum. To check if this is where your washer’s lint trap is located, open the appliance’s lid and run your fingers along the rim of the drum. If your fingers brush against a screen, you’ve found the filter.
  • In a top load washer, there’s a possibility the filter is located inside the agitator near the top or bottom of the component. In some washers you can remove the agitator’s cover by simply lifting it up. If this is the case, take the cover off to find the lint trap. If the cover is not easily removed, you may be able to unscrew the top of the agitator.
  • Sometimes the lint screen is placed at the end of the washing machine’s drainage hose or near the appliance’s water pump.

How to Clean Your Washer’s Lint Filter.

Now that you know your washer has a lint filter, we suggest cleaning it at least 2 to 4 times a year. This will ensure a clog doesn’t affect your washer’s ability to clean your clothes.

  • Clean a removable lint filter by taking it out of the washing machine and placing it in a sink filled with hot soapy water. Allow the filter to sit in the water for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the filter has soaked, take it out of the water and gently scrub it with a soft brush. When you’re done, inspect the lint filter to ensure there’s no more gunk leftover before placing it back in your washer.
  • In order to clean a non-removable filter, grab either a soft brush or a clean rag and carefully wipe away the lint and detergent residue clogging the component.

If you have more questions about your washing machine’s lint filter or you would like to schedule an appliance repair appointment with one of our experienced technicians, please contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help you.

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