What to do with old water filters?

Water filters are a piece of essential equipment in any household. However, water filters get dirty over time and how to dispose of them off is a significant question many of us come across. In this post, we will understand what to do with old water filters and how to dispose of properly.

When should you change your water filter?

Now that we are discussing what to do with the old filters, it may be a good idea first to discuss exactly when to change your filter or cartridges.

Ideally, it should be dependent upon the taste and smell of the water that passes through the filter. Another indication that the water filter needs replacement is the slower water dispensing rate. This can indicate that the filter is clogged and it should immediately be changed.

Some brands (e.g. EveryDrop, Home Master TMULTRA, Camco TastePURE ) specify an expiry date for the filters. It should be a great idea to adhere to the specifications to ensure good performance.

The ideal time frame should be around three to six months. Some portable water filters also come with a notification window for an assured level of safety for your drinking water supply.

Not changing the filter or filter cartridges can make it more clogged and thus the water from such filters will make your drinking water more contaminated. This can be the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

You would not want that to happen with you and thus changing the filters at the right time should be the right option.

What to do with the old water filters?

Water filters get clogged quite often because of the impurities it absorbs from the water. Many a time, an old filter can be washed, cleaned & reused but sometimes may require a replacement.

The identifier will be a decline in the quality of water that you get from your filter. You may be having a few queries in this context and looking to know what to do with the old water filters. The possible options are shared further in this article.

There are ideally three options with your old water filter. They are as follows-

  • Reuse
  • Replace
  • Recycle

1. Reuse

This is entirely dependent on the condition of your old water filter. There are a few of the experts who suggest using your water filter cartridges after thoroughly cleaning them.

Ideally, you can use water and bleach to clean the filter cartridges. You can even consider refilling the cartridge with activated charcoal so that they will begin functioning as new. There are several videos available online that instruct you on how to fill up carbon into your old and used filter cartridges.

Though economic it may seem, it may not be something that would always recommend. New cartridges are available at a very affordable price point. Cleaning the old filters with the water and bleach or even filling up them with activated carbon may not be practical enough considering the cost & time involved.

However, if you are someone who loves those Do it Yourself activities, this may be a good experiment platform for you.

2. Replace

This is perhaps one of the widely used options when your filter gets clogged. You can do it when the filter reaches its expiry period as indicated by the user manual or when you find that the quality of water is not good enough to consume.

A few brands supply an extra cartridge when you buy a new filter or 1/4 turn change filter replacement like Filtrete, but it should always be preferable to have a set of additional filter ready well before the expiry date. This will help you get pure water without having to wait for the arrival of a new filter cartridge.

Another factor you need to focus on is to check the right model number and brand before you replace them. You can find the details of the old cartridge on the label if you have preserved it.

In case you are not sure, it may be a good idea to get in touch with a technician. Preferably consult a technician who is working with the particular brand that you are using.

They should be able to assist you in choosing the right cartridge. You can even refer to the official website of the manufacturer to find relevant information.

3. Recycle

This is one of the best options you can use to dispose of your old water filter or filter cartridge. Recycling is an environmentally friendly approach and assists you take a proactive role in taking care of nature.

Ideally, the used old filters cannot be clubbed with your regular household waste recycling options. It should be a good idea to check out the statutory guidelines in your region for efficient recycling.

Some water filter brands like Brita allow you to drop your used or old cartridges at their dealerships and designated recycling centers.

These stores and centres let you drop off your used filters and cartridges at the place. In any case, it would be dependent upon the manufacturers whether they support any sort of recycling options. You can call up or get in touch with the manufacturer of your water filter model and brand to know more about any recycling facilities offered by them.

If you do not have any recycling options available from your manufacturer, it may be a good idea to find an alternative recycling option available from any third party service provider. Recycling is the best we can repay our environment – and this holds not only with your water filter but any of your household products for that matter.


Well, those were a few things you can do with your old water filter and the filter cartridges. You can either reuse it, replace it or even think of recycling it.

Avoid throwing it in the dustbin as it may be dropped in some landfill. If you care for the environment, you need to take care of those aspects. Reusing the filter can appear to be a cost-effective option, but still, it may not be a good idea from the health point of view. We would not recommend it.

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