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Water filter pitchers are probably the most convenient means to purify your water. The good ones remove harmful contaminants like lead and arsenic, and invisible chemicals including chlorine and pesticides. Some high-tech ones even remove chromium 6 and PFAS/PFOAs.
But if you are here, you already own one and know why pitcher water filters are all the rage. Regardless, it’s reassuring to hear this, right?
Most people would like to believe their filter pitcher doesn’t get dirty. They just carry filtered water and rest snugly inside the bacteria-free cold fridge all day.
The truth is, just like any other piece of water treatment equipment, your pitcher needs a deep clean once in a while. Since most units are made with plastic, they are susceptible to mildew or mold growth and require regular cleaning.
We’ll get right to business and explain how to quickly and effectively clean a water filter pitcher, plus tips to keep it cleaner longer. Undoubtedly, a clean filter pitcher equals cleaner and safer water.
Instructions for cleaning a water filter pitcher:
All you need to clean your water filter pitcher is perhaps already available at your home. There are no unique cleaning products or sanitizing chemicals required; just plain old soap and water.
Of course, you need a tidy countertop or table to keep the pitcher components while you wash the rest of it.
Here’s a checklist for all other items that you should keep at hand to make cleaning even quicker.
The following step-by-step cleaning procedure is suitable to clean any model and brand of water filter pitcher. Mostly, all pitchers feature the same or a similar design with curves, crevices, reservoirs and hollows in the handles. Let’s get busy.
The first step is to take apart the filter. Divide and conquer!
Begin by removing leftover water from the jug. Then, carefully remove the lid and take out the filter element and the top reservoir. Discard your filter cartridge if it has served its life (typically 1 to 3 months). If it’s still working fine, rinse it with warm water and keep it in a safe place while you wash the jug.
Some models like the Clearly Filtered Pitcher are far easier to disassemble compared to a Brita. If the reservoir in your Brita doesn’t come out easily, hold a flat screwdriver under the tab at the handle and gently flick it. The reservoir will pop out.
Make a solution of water and dish soap. Then pour it in the lid, the pitcher, and the reservoir. Swish it around and let it sit for fifteen minutes.
Pitchers that feature a chrome lid or electronic display should only be wiped with a soft, damp cloth. You can use soapy water or add a vinegar solution as required. Just be careful not to submerge the lid.
Bonus Tip: Some people use the age-old technique and add a few lemon slices to the pitcher. The lemon gives a deep clean and cancels out any odors.
Use a sponge or small soft brush to get into the nook and crannies and scrub the stuck-on dirt and grime. Make sure you reach all the curves, crevices and gaps without tempering the seal (if applicable). To easily scrub hard-to-reach spots use a toothbrush.
Rinse the filter pitcher with warm water multiple times to make sure all soapy water is drained out.
After the soap is completely removed from all parts of the filter, turn the jug upside down on a bottle drying rack.
Again, it’s essential to let the pitcher air dry completely. Alternatively, if you are in a rush, use lint-free towels or paper towels to dry the container.
While your pitcher dries out, prime your new filter cartridge. All pitcher filter cartridges have different instructions to prime them. Depending on your model, you may use any of the following ways to prime them.
For Brita Standard and Longlast Filter:
For Brita Stream Filter:
For Clearly Filtered Pitcher Filters:
Lastly, put all the pieces back together, ensuring the filter fits perfectly and the seal is in place. It is essential to follow the exact instructions related to your pitcher water filter model to avoid leakage and poor performance.
That wasn’t hard, was it? No wonder water filter pitchers are fuss-free and low-maintenance. Here are a few bonus tips and tricks to keep your pitcher in excellent shape.
Ideally, you should quickly rinse your water filter pitcher once a day or every time you use up one full reservoir. Washing with warm water and soap should suffice for weekly cleaning – no need to soak or bring out the sponges and brushes.
You must, however, deep clean your pitcher at least twice a month to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria and keep away nasty smells.
Not to forget, all new filter pitchers must be washed thoroughly before use.
The minute you see slimy and dark green mold growth on the pitcher’s lid or bottom, you are tempted to use household bleach.
While bleach is generally harmless and mostly used for disinfection, we advise against using bleach or any harsh chemicals to clean your pitcher.
Unless the bleach is washed out properly, there are chances of severe side effects.
Most water filter pitchers are not dishwasher safe. The parts and jug could get disfigured when placed in the dishwasher due to hot water, harsh detergents, and water pressure.
Thus, you want to check the manual first if you can put your water pitcher in the dishwasher.
If you want to be on the safe side, always handwash all parts to avoid problems.
If your water supply is hard (don’t worry, most Americans have the same problem), then you are likely facing mineral buildup in all your water-based appliances.
What appears to be a white powdery residue is, in fact, limescale from excess minerals in your water supply.
You can easily remove mineral deposits from your water pitcher by using:
Vinegar is highly acidic and dissolves the calcium film on surfaces. Just fill-up the pitcher with vinegar and let it sit for a couple of hours.
There is no need to discard the vinegar; you can toss it back into a bottle and use it the next time you see a whitish film.
Since bacteria don’t grow in vinegar, it’s safe to use this soaking vinegar solution repeatedly.
Finally, use warm water and wash your water filter pitcher as usual.
Mold and mildew can grow anywhere as long as they find favorable conditions. They love damp areas with high moisture. Unfortunately, mold exposure is directly linked to many issues like allergic reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties.
If you are experiencing recurring mold or musty smell from your water filter pitchers, you aren’t alone. It’s a common problem that can easily be prevented by replacing the filters on time. If the filter cartridge is not changed according to schedule, there will be repeated occurrences of mold.
Secondly, you must allow the filter pitcher to dry completely before assembling it. Let it air dry upside down on a bottle rack.
Third, ensure that you wash all surfaces properly, including the lid, the reservoir, the hollows of the handles, and the nooks and crannies on the jug.
For the stubborn mildewy bits, attack them directly with a solution of vinegar and water. Vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Therefore it is an effective and inexpensive treatment for removing mold from many household utensils.
Add a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of water and dip an old toothbrush into it. Scrub the surface carefully. Follow up with a warm water rinse and air dry.
If you have any questions about how to clean a water filter pitcher please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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