Do Washing Machines Have Filters?

All dryers have filters that need to be checked and cleaned before you start the dryer. Some dryer filters may pull out of the top and some may be in front of the door.

Do washing machines have filters that need to be cleaned? 

Washing machines do have filters that need to be emptied and cleaned out regularly. Some washing machine filters are in the agitator, behind the lip of the drum, behind a trap door, or near the pump drain hose. 

Below we will learn how to find and clean the filter on your washing machine. 

Washing Machine Filter

Washing machines also have a filter that needs to be cleaned out to keep your washing machine running at its best level.

Dirty filters on your washing machine can leave your clothes smelling dirty after they are washed or cause damage to the machine. 

Locating the Filter

The most difficult part of cleaning the filter is locating it. You may need to refer to the owner’s manual of your washing machine to find the location of its filter.

If you do not have the owner’s manual you may need to check in different locations on your machine to find the filter.  

Most filters will be located in a few different places. The filter for your machine may be in the center agitator. If not, it may be in the top lip of the drum.

You can also check for any trap doors on the front of the machine that may be removed to access the filter. It could also be located behind the machine near the water pump. 

Newer high-efficiency (HE) washing machines do not have a filter that needs to be removed. The filters on these machines are self-cleaning and do not require maintenance from the owners.

When Should the Filter be Cleaned? 

The recommendations for cleaning a washing machine can vary widely. Some filters need to be cleaned out once a month and other filters recommend once a year.

The usage of the washing machine will also dictate how often the filter will need cleaning.  Washers in large families that see higher use will need cleaning more often than seldom-used machines.

If you notice a lint build-up, excess detergent in the machine, the washer not draining properly, or a mildew smell this could indicate that the lint trap on your washer will need cleaning. 

Removable Filters

Most washing machines are equipped with removable filters. They are the easiest type of filter to clean. You will need to locate and remove them from your machine.

After the filter is out it can be soaked if needed to loosen the lint on them and scrubbed with a soft brush. 

After it has been scrubbed clean, replaced it in your machine. It is recommended that you run the washer through a rinse cycle while empty to clean out the machine after you replace the filter. 

Non-Removable Filters

If the filter on your machine can not be removed, you can use a soft-bristled brush to remove the lint and other particles that are stuck on it.

If there are particles stuck on it that do not want to get off you can use a spray bottle to wet them to aid with their removal. 

After you have cleaned the filter and closed the housing, it is recommended you run the rinse cycle to clean out your machine before washing clothes again. 


Most washing machines do have a lint filter that needs to be cleaned out. If your washer is not fully washing your clothes or has a mildewy smell the filter may need cleaning.