Do I Need a Water Filter for a Washing Machine?

Do I Need a Water Filter for a Washing Machine?

You’re trying to stay healthy and have concerns about hard or contaminated water. While most people associate water filtration with drinking water, a kitchen isn’t the only place where your home uses water. What about in your laundry room? Does your washing machine need a water filter, too?

A water filter may be needed for a washing machine if a home’s water is rusty, contaminated, or contains high levels of metals. A water filter on a washing machine may also allow detergent to wash clothing more efficiently and can help prolong the life of clothing.

Keep reading to learn if your laundry room needs a water filter and to discover the benefits of installing a water filter on your washing machine.

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Does My Washing Machine Need a Water Filter?

A water filter is generally needed if incoming water is dirty, rusty, has an unpleasant odor, or contains high concentrations of metals like calcium and magnesium. If your clothing is being washed and dried but still smells unpleasant, and if your favorite laundry soap doesn’t seem to be doing its job anymore, the problem could be your water.

Discoloration or excessive fading in fabric and soap scum on clothing is another sign that the water being used by your washing machine needs to be filtered.

A good way to determine if your washing machine’s water needs to be filtered is to test it. The simplest process is as follows

  • Purchase hard water testing strips from a hardware store or online
  • Start your washing machine while it’s empty of clothing
  • Collect a sample of inflowing water, then turn off your machine
  • Test the sample with your test strips
  • Let the water sample sit overnight and check for silt or sediment in the morning

Some rural water is known to contain high levels of sediment, and this soil can find its way into your washing machine and cause a mechanical breakdown or decreased efficiency.

If your home uses water from a well, get it professionally tested, as such water doesn’t get filtered through a municipal water system and can be gritty. It’s less than helpful to try to get clothing clean with sandy or silty water, and this grime can also cause excessive wear and tear to delicate fabrics.

If any of these situations apply to you, a water filter on your washing machine can help. But what kind of washing machine filters exist, and which type is best for you?

What Kind of Washing Machine Filter Should I Buy?

The simplest and least intrusive type of filter to install on your washing machine is going to be a point-of-use system. These are smaller units that simply hook on to your plumbing at the point that it attaches to your washing machine.

This means that only the water flowing into your machine is filtered, as opposed to all the water in your home.

If water safety is a concern for your entire house, however, a point-of-entry water filtration system is going to be more helpful. This water filtration system is going to be a bit larger and will filter all water flowing into your home. From the kitchen to the bathroom to the laundry room, you’ll get pure and treated water with every use.

This is a great all-home option, but won’t be necessary if you already have a filter in your kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere in your home. If the only appliance you’re concerned about is the washing machine, a smaller and cheaper point-of-use system will work just fine.

Make sure you purchase a point-of-use water filter that is high-quality and will last you for at least a couple of years. You’ll get more use out of your filter this way, and your clothes and wallet will thank you.

Are there any financial advantages to using a washing machine water filter?

Can a Washing Machine Filter Save Me Money?

Contaminated or hard water can do significant damage to clothing. While your favorite garments may be well-made, they’re still relatively delicate and need to be washed in clean, safe water.

Adding a washing machine filter will help spare your clothing the harsh effects of metals, as well as reduce the abrasion of silt or contaminants. This will allow you to keep these items longer, and save you trips to the store for new garments.

Your favorite laundry soap will work better in soft water, and you may find yourself needing less of it per wash. This will save you money, and help you keep your clothes looking beautiful for longer.

Saving water and energy is another important benefit of a water filter. The better your soap works, the less water you’ll need. You may even be able to use cold as opposed to hot water on your laundry, saving money on your energy bill, as well. So, how much will a water filter for your washing machine cost you upfront?

How Much Will a Washing Machine Water Filter Cost Me?

So how much will a washing machine filter set you back in the short term? A high-quality point-of-use in-line water filter for your washing machine will cost you anywhere from $50 to $200, while a whole house water filter can run you anywhere from $400 to $3,000 or more depending on the type and brand installed.

A filter with brass components will serve you better than one with plastic parts. It’s a better idea to invest in a product that will last you and keep your clothing fresh, rather than a cheaper item that will need to be replaced in a couple of months.


Your home may need a washing machine water filter if your clothes are stiff, worn, not getting clean, smell funny, or are caked in soap scum after being washed. These filters can help remove rust, calcium, and magnesium from water, making it softer, and can also remove damaging silt from well or rural water.

A whole-home water filtration system will cost you anywhere from $400 to $3,000 or more, while a much more economical point-of-use water filter for your washing machine will cost you between $50 and $200.

Once your washing machine water filter is installed, your clothes will last for longer, and your laundry soap will work more effectively, too. You’ll save money on detergent, and can even save energy by switching to cold water washes.

Boch Richard

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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