How to Clean a Sawyer Water Filter? 5 Important Steps

How to Clean a Sawyer Water Filter?

Table of Contents

When it comes to ensuring clean and safe drinking water in the great outdoors, few tools are as essential as a Sawyer Water Filter. These remarkable devices have become the go-to choice for hikers, campers, and adventurers around the world. They offer a compact, lightweight, and highly efficient way to filter water from natural sources, making it safe for consumption. However, like all equipment, Sawyer Water Filters require regular maintenance to perform at their best.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through how to clean a Sawyer Water Filter to ensure its maximum efficiency so you can enjoy crystal-clear water on your outdoor escapades.

Why Cleaning Your Sawyer Water Filter Matters

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details of cleaning your Sawyer Water Filter, let’s discuss why this maintenance task is crucial. Sawyer Filters utilize a hollow fiber membrane to trap harmful bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants, preventing them from entering your drinking water. Over time, these membranes can become clogged with debris, reducing the filter’s effectiveness. By regularly cleaning your Sawyer Water Filter, you not only extend its lifespan but also guarantee that it continues to provide you with safe and clean drinking water during your adventures.

Materials You’ll Need

Gather the necessary materials before beginning the cleaning process:

Sawyer Filter Cleaning Plunger: This specialized tool is designed to backwash your filter effectively.

Clean Water Source: Ensure you can access clean, potable water for rinsing.

Container: A clean container for holding your Sawyer Filter during cleaning.

Bucket or Sink: For collecting the filtered water during backwashing.

How to Clean a Sawyer Water Filter? Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Preparation

Start by ensuring your hands are clean. Dirty hands can introduce contaminants to the filter during cleaning. It’s also a good idea to clean the area where you’ll be working.

Step 2: Remove the Filter from Your Water Bladder or Bottle

If your Sawyer Water Filter is attached to a water bladder or bottle, carefully detach it. Be cautious not to spill any unfiltered water, as it may contain contaminants.

Step 3: Backwash the Filter

This is the most crucial step in cleaning your Sawyer Filter. Follow these steps:

  1. Attach the Sawyer Filter Cleaning Plunger to the filter’s output end.
  2. Immerse the filter in your clean water source, such as a stream or a container filled with clean water.
  3. Plunge the filter repeatedly, creating a reverse water flow through the filter. This dislodges trapped particles and cleans the hollow fiber membrane.

Continue this process until the expelled water runs clear. It may take several minutes, depending on the level of contamination in your filter.

Step 4: Rinse the Filter

Once the backwashing is complete, carefully remove the filter from the clean water source. Rinse the filter under a gentle stream of clean water to remove any remaining debris or particles.

Step 5: Dry and Store

Shake off any excess water from the filter and allow it to air dry completely. Ensure it’s stored in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight. Proper storage prevents the growth of mold and mildew inside the filter.

Testing Your Filter

After cleaning and reassembling your Sawyer water filter, it’s essential to perform a quick test to ensure it’s working correctly.

  1. Fill a clean container with water from a natural source.
  2. Attach the Sawyer water filter to your water pouch or bottle.
  3. Squeeze the container gently, forcing water through the filter.
  4. Observe the water flowing through the filter; it should be clear and clean.

How Often Should You Clean Your Sawyer Water Filter?

The frequency of cleaning your Sawyer Water Filter depends on usage. For regular outdoor enthusiasts, cleaning it after every outing is advisable. However, if you notice a significant reduction in flow rate during use, it’s a clear sign that it’s time for cleaning.


Your Sawyer Water Filter is invaluable for ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water while exploring the great outdoors. By following these simple yet effective cleaning steps, you can maintain its efficiency and confidently keep yourself hydrated during your adventures. Remember that a clean filter enhances performance and contributes to your overall safety.

Q: How often should I clean my Sawyer water filter?

Ideally, you should clean your Sawyer water filter after every outing. However, if you notice a decrease in flow rate or water quality during your trip, clean it immediately.

Q: Can I use soap to clean the filter element?

No, it’s best to avoid using soap as it can leave a residue that may affect the filter’s performance. Stick to using clean water for cleaning.

Q: What should I do if my filter element is damaged?

If your filter element is damaged, replacing it with a new one is best. Damaged filters may not effectively remove contaminants.

Q: Can I clean the filter with bleach?

No, bleach should not be used to clean your Sawyer water filter, as it can damage the filter and compromise effectiveness.

Q: How can I store my Sawyer water filter between trips?

Store your filter dry and in a cool, dry place. Ensure it is fully dry before storing it to prevent mold or mildew growth.



Want to keep up with our blog?

Get our most valuable tips right inside your inbox, once per month!

Related Posts