This TikTok Video Will Have You Cleaning Your Dishwasher Filter ASAP

TikTok is home to a lot of goofy clips, cute trends like frog bread, and fun tips like this lemon juicing hack. But you can also discover a lot of sobering truths on the app — revelations that are good to know, but at the same time, maybe hard to stomach.

A new TikTok trend going around is catching the attention of the platform's users, but not because it's fun. People have been filming as they untwist and pull out their dishwasher filters. This may sound boring, but if you watch a TikTok of the process, it's far from unremarkable. In fact, it's downright shocking.

As people have been removing their dishwasher filters, they have been horrified to find that there are layers upon layers of disgusting gunk stuck on them in shades of brown, white, or other unsettling colors. Ick. Delish described the TikTok trend as a "PSA about changing your dishwasher filter" and it's definitely an effective one. One look and you'll definitely want to clean yours.

Where does all that gross, caked-on goo come from? Unfortunately, when your dishwasher washes your loads, the leftover residues and bits stuck on them don't just magically disappear. They have to go somewhere — and that place is the filter.

Why you should clean your dishwasher filter regularly

Remnants of food, grease, undissolved detergent, and water minerals build up on your dishwater filter (and the machine's interior walls) over time, resulting in a foul odor and unpleasant look. But what's more alarming is that, if left uncleaned, all of this build-up can actually leave spots or a grimy film on your glasses, dishes, and silverware, so they won't actually be clean after a wash. Also, if all the gunk and goo really piles up, your dishwasher filter and pump can become seriously damaged, which requires expensive repairs (via Good Housekeeping).

You might be appalled by this news, but dishwasher filters are actually meant to catch and store all these little bits and pieces. They prevent the debris from redepositing onto clean dishes and clogging up the drain. According to Larry Ciufo, the dishwasher expert for Consumer Reports, only dishwashers that are about 10 years old or older probably have a self-cleaning filter. Apparently, over the past decade, manufacturers have switched to manually-cleaned filters to offer quieter dishwashers, which are more preferred among consumers. Self-cleaning filters are often paired with a noisy grinder.

How to clean your dishwasher filter

As revolting and smelly as they can get, dishwasher filters can be cleaned really easily. To wash one, first open your dishwasher and pull the lower rack out. Then, look on the bottom of the dishwasher tub for the upper filter, which is around four inches wide. Turn this part counterclockwise to lift it up from the bottom of the dishwasher. By doing this, the lower filter is also released (via SFGate). 

Unlock these filters and take out the cylindrical upper filter by twisting and pulling it out. There might be directional arrows on top for this. Once you have the upper filter removed, rinse it under hot, running water. If there are any layers of grime or gunk stuck onto it, scrub the filter gently with a soft cloth or brush (you can use a toothbrush). Avoid using things like wire brushes or scrubbing pads though, because these can damage the filter (via Family Handyman).

Another handy tip for the future is to set a cleaning schedule for your dishwater filter. If you're someone who uses your dishwasher frequently and don't scrape off or rinse your dishes before you load them into the machine, you should clean your filter monthly. If you only use it a few times a week and clean off dishes well before putting them in for a wash, you will only need to clean the filter once or twice a year.