What Happens If You Use a Brita Filter for Too Long?

What Happens If You Use a Brita Filter for Too Long?

Brita filters give you pure and tasty water while preventing waterborne illness. However, Brita filters can accumulate pollutants much like any other filter, which lowers its filtering capacity. Thus, not changing your Brita filter regularly can defeat the purpose of using a water filter.

If you use the same Brita filter for too long, you will notice a loss of water quality. You may notice the taste, smell, and color are off, or that the water does not have the same quality it did when the filter was new. If you use the filter for too long, it will get clogged, and the filtration rate will decrease.

There’s a lot to know regarding Brita water filters. In this article, we review the signs that it’s time to replace your filter, we explain how to change a Brita filter, and discuss the average lifespan of different filter models. Continue reading to learn more.

Read my article: What Does a Brita Filter Remove – Is Your Drinking Water Safe?

What Could Happen If You Don’t Change Your Brita Filter?

Letting your Brita filter go unchanged for an extended period of time can lead to consequences for both the water quality and your health. It’s important for you to know the early warning signs that your filter has been in service for too long.

Here are the four most common issues you’ll have if you don’t change your water filter on time:

1.   Water starts to taste bad

The main purpose of the Brita filter is to remove various contaminants and pollutants so you can drink clean, delicious water. As time goes by, the filtering capacity of Brita filters deteriorates. This doesn’t happen to Brita filters only; it applies to all types of filters.

When your filter is used for a very long time, the flavor of your water will begin to change. Eventually, the water may taste and smell bad.

The Brita filter was initially doing its job by getting rid of chemicals and impurities that taste bad. By not change it on time, the filter is letting these contaminants pass through, and your water quality is suffering.

2.   Water may become cloudy

If you don’t change your Brita filter for a long time, the water may become cloudy. If you make ice from the water, it will look cloudy. If you see your ice becoming like this, it may be time to replace your Brita filter.

Even if the water does seem clear, ice made from that water may indicate that it’s time to change the filter. You might notice that the water has turned murky and drab. This is not good and most of the time it happens because of an unchanged filter.

3.   Water filters slowly

As time goes by, the particle filter in your Brita becomes fouled by the suspended solids in your water. Eventually, enough debris accumulates in the filter media and the filtration rate becomes noticeably slower. This happens with every filter, not just Brita filters.

When the filter is new, the flow rate through the filter will be fast. However, over time as the filter becomes partially fouled, you’ll see a significant decrease in the water flow rate. This is a serious indication that you need to change your water filter as soon as possible.

4.   Contaminated water

Not only does the water quality suffer when you use a Brita filter for longer than recommended, but the purity of the water is also affected. When the filter can’t trap any more contaminants, your water will still have some of the toxins you were trying to remove.

Lead, pesticides, and other contaminants are all filtered out of the water when your Brita filter is new. If you use the filter for too long, your water can have contaminants in it without your knowledge. This defeats the purpose of using the Brita filter, so you’ll want to avoid this scenario.

Can You Become Sick If You Don’t Change Your Brita Filter?

Brita filters remove a lot of contaminants from your drinking water. After a while, the filter builds up a lot of nasty chemical and impurities on it. If you don’t change the filter when it’s spent, the contaminants can start to come off the activated carbon and back into your drinking water. This degrades the quality of your water and can make you sick if consumed over a long period of time.

Another issue with Brita filters is that bacteria can start to grow on the media. This is especially likely if you keep the filter in service longer than Brita recommends. Many people don’t realize that the filter is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other germs.

Your filter will eventually be packed to capacity with germs and other contaminants. If you neglect to change your water’s filter, the bacteria will taint the water and can even make you sick.

How Long Do Brita Filters Last?

Stream and Standard Brita filters (the white and gray ones) may typically be used for two months before replacement. Stream filters are gray, and the standard filters are white. The Brita Longlast+ filter, which is blue, lasts for up to six months.

The estimates for how long your filter will last vary depending on two factors:

  1. the amount of water you filter
  2. the length of time the filter is used

Here is a quick look at how long each type of Brita filter lasts:

  1. Brita Standard: Out of all Brita products, Standard filters have the shortest service life. They last for about two months or 40 gallons.
  2. Brita Longlast: Brita Longlast has the highest lifespan among Brita filters. It lasts for about six months or 120 gallons.
  3. Brita Water Bottles: Brita water bottles can filter 40 gallons of water and last about two months.
  4. Brita Stream: Brita Stream, also known as Brita gray filters, last the same as Brita white and Brita water bottles. They can be used for two months or 40 gallons, whichever comes first.
  5. Brita Faucet Water Filter System: Brita water faucet system model OPFF-100 lasts 94 gallons or three months; model SAFF-100 lasts 100 gallons or 4 months; and model FF-100 lasts 100 gallons or 4 months.

Read my article that answers the question Do Brita filters expire.

Infographic How to know if my Brita filter is working

How To Change Your Brita Filter

Changing your Brita filter is very easy. Brita has simple step-by-step instruction on their website.

  1. Remove the used filter from the pitcher.
  2. Flush the new filter with cold water; 15 seconds would suffice.
  3. Put the filter into the pitcher.
  4. Align the filter’s groove with the ridge of the pitcher to fit.

The first three pitchers of filtered water may have some carbon dust in it, so don’t drink those batches of water. Rather than waste this water, use it to water your plants. Now your filter is ready to use.

What Affects the Lifespan of Brita Filters?

There are a few factors that affect the lifespan of Brita filters. A lack of understanding about these factors is often why people express dissatisfaction with how long their filters last.

Water quality, water usage, and filter materials largely determine the lifespan of Brita filters. Let’s have a look at each of these factors in more detail:

1. Water quality

The quality of your water has a significant impact on the longevity of a Brita water filter. If your water is low in hardness minerals, chlorine, and heavy metals, there will be fewer pollutants for the filter to remove. In this instance, the filter won’t have to work as hard, and it will last at least as long as its recommended lifespan. However, water full of contaminants and impurities will cause your filter to lose its ability to treat water faster.

As you can see, the lifespan of your filter largely depends on the quality of the water it treats.

2. Water usage

The lifespan of a Brita filter is indicated by two factors: water capacity and time. If you treat a lot of water before the stated time, you will have to change the filter.

However, if you use less than the stated amount of water within the time limit, your filter will last longer. The life of your Brita filter all depends on how much water is used and how long the filter has been installed.

3. Filter type

The lifespan and efficacy of your filter significantly depends on the specific one you purchase. Brita elite lasts three times longer than Brita’s standard filter. Brita elite filter is made from active filtering agents and pleated filtering media which are proprietary assets of Brita.

These materials are more advanced than the carbon granules used to make Brita standard. The difference in materials significantly impacts the lifespan of these filters.


Filters do not last forever. Over time, dirt and organic pollutants accumulate on them, serving as a breeding ground for bacteria. So, you have to change your filters regularly; not just Brita filters but every type of filter you use in your household. We hope you found this helpful!

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has a degree in journalism and has worked as a freelance writer and author for many years. She is passionate about clean drinking water and has written many articles on this subject. Amy enjoys hiking and water skiing with her husband and is grateful to have the opportunity to help others learn more about the importance of clean drinking water. Follow Amy on Twitter.

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