How to Clean Pool Filter Sand

After years of operating a big concrete in-ground swimming pool, I’ve learned that your pool filtering system with a booster super pump that is set to run 2 full pool turnovers won’t matter if the sand in the filter is corrupted by suntan lotions and grease and oils that cause clogging and channeling throughout the sand bed. How do you clean pool filter sand?

  • Set filter to Backwash
  • Switch Pump off
  • Open pump lid & pour sand filter cleaner into strainer basket.
  • Turn the Pump on for 15 Secs moving sand cleaner from the pump to the filter tank.
  • Turn Off
  • Leave off for 8 hours & let cleaner work in tank
  • Backwash the filter again to remove gunk
  • Filter Water as Normal


Backwashing a sand filter is not as effective at releasing trapped dirt and oils, smaller, lighter debris and dirt are mostly flushed out, but heavier minerals and oils coagulate together in clumps that fill the top few inches of filter sand that can only be removed by physically removing the top layer of sand or deep cleaning using a degreaser type sand cleaner.


How to Clean Pool Filter Sand


The general rule is that the sand in a sand filter should be replaced about every 3-5 years. This is due to the gradual deterioration of the sand and accumulation of debris inside the filter vessel. The gradual deterioration may be hard to notice, but there are some signs to look out for. If you have to backwash your filter more often, you could have deteriorating sand.

There are a few maintenance things to do to get more time and increased efficiency from the sand used as filter media without changing the sand which is time-consuming and somewhat expensive.  Backwashing your sand filter is a necessary way of cleaning sand in the vessel but is limited compared to other types of cleaning methods.

  • Prepare to Backwash

Connect your backwash hose, turn off the pump, and set the valve to “backwash”.

  • Backwash the Filter

Turn on the pool pump and backwash for 3-5 minutes.

  • With the Pump Switched Off, Pour in a Filter Cleaner

Open the pump lid and pour the sand filter cleaner into the pump’s strainer basket. The dosage will depend on the specific product.

  • Turn the Pump on for 15 Seconds

Switch the pump on for 15 seconds before turning it back off. This will move the sand cleaner from the pump to the filter tank.

  • Leave for 8 or more hours

Let the cleaner sit and do its work in the tank for at least 8 hours.

  • Backwash the Filter Again

Set the valve to “backwash” and turn the pump on for 3 to 5 minutes to remove whatever debris the cleaner dislodged. Turn the pump off and set the valve to “rinse”.  Turn the pump back on for 15 seconds to rinse out the tank. Turn the pump off and set the valve to “filter”. This step will clean out the filter and remove all the gunk and the filter cleaner from the system.

  • Filter the Water as Normal

Finally, turn the pump back on and let your pool system run as normal. Make sure to check that the filter’s PSI is back to its normal level As you can see, besides the sand filter cleaner, there’s nothing else to add to deep clean your sand filter. All in all, it’s a relatively simple process, if you don’t mind all the turning on and off.


How to Backwash a Sand Filter?

  • Turn the filter system’s power off
  • Attach backwash hose
  • Set to Backwash position on the multiport valve
  • Turn the filter on & backwash for 2-3 min or until the sight glass clears.
  • Turn the filter off again
  • Set it to Rinse………………………………………………………….read more




How often should you backwash a sand filter?

As a general rule of thumb, you should backwash and rinse your filter about once a week or after you vacuum high usage,  or according to the filter’s system pressure gauge if it rises above 8-10 psi above baseline………………………… more


What Chemical is Used to Clean Pool Filters


Inside your sand pool filter there is a lot going on that will never see. As the filter cycles throughout the summer months, what accumulates inside the filter vessel is everything that it took out from the swimming pool.

That can be threads of fabric clothing soaps and detergents along with oils and grease that come with guests. Backwashing can blow some of those nasties from the sand filter but a lot of it remains clogging and channeling the sand. That will affect filtering.

There is no one filter sand cleaner that should be recommended I use a cleaner that:

  • Reduces the amount of time & work you spend on pool maintenance
  • Effective in removing debris from sand beds, keeping your filter operating efficiently
  • Promotes better filtration, lengthens filter cycles & reduces maintenance costs
  • Convenient dosage view stripe
  • A Deagreaser Cleaner-breaks down oils and minerals on your sand filter
  • Restores the sand filter to “like new” performance condition.

The periodic use of a Sand Filter Cleaner will also help maintain good swimming pool water quality with proper filtration and chemical treatment of the sand collected in the filter. It promotes better filtration, lengthens filter cycles, and reduces maintenance costs.

Pick a cleaning product that is chemically formulated to break down caked-on oils and minerals on your sand filter, allowing them to be back-washed away. 



How does Push-Pull type Backwash Valves operate?

  • Turn pump off
  • Twist valve handle
  • Pull up on valve & move into backwash position
  • Turn pump back on & H2O will start to come out backwash line.
  • Backwash for 3 min.
  • When H2O runs clear from backwash line, turn pump off
  • Push valve handle to filter position & twist…….……………………………… more



JimGalloway Author/Editor


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