Our heavy duty mesh filter socks are constructed to be cleaned and reused many times. There are two popular methods to clean mesh filter socks. When you remove socks for cleaning, ensure that they are empty of debris by either viewing through the mesh bag or shaking socks into a bucket. Depending on how your aquarium overflow system is built it is possible to find all sorts of critters including small fish, crabs, snails, bristle worms, sea cucumbers, pieces of rock and other mysterious materials. Many times trapped animals will actually be alive and can be returned to your aquarium.
#1 Quick Clean Method
Remove filter socks from your sump and take to a sink. If you have a faucet sprayer this works best to wash away debris in and attached to the filter sock. This process takes only a few minutes and the filter socks are ready to return to your aquarium filter. DO NOT use OxiClean, laundry detergent, or any other soap product to clean your socks.
#2 Thorough Cleaning (Optional)
This method uses a washing machine and therefore it is more efficient to collect several sets of dirty socks [from previous changes] before using it.
- Optional - before cleaning your socks in your washing machine, run a hot rinse cycle to remove all soap residue (normally only necessary in older machines).
- Set washer to regular or normal cycle and wash socks in hot water. (Note: any temperature seems to give good results with this method.)
- Use 3 capfuls or 3 teaspoons dye- and fragrance-free BLEACH (Sodium hypochlorite with no additives).
- DO NOT Use OxiClean, laundry detergent, or any other soap product.
- Add an extra rinse cycle at the end of the wash to ensure the bleach is removed.
- After you remove socks from the washer they may still have a hint of bleach smell.
- Place socks in a clean, chemical free open air environment to dry for at least 48 hours.
- Should you need socks sooner - place them in a bucket with 2 gallons of water with 1/5 teaspoon of Seachem Prime or similar chlorine remover for 30 minutes.
Q. How do you know when to change filter socks?
A. Mesh filter socks do not catch fine debris and therefore do not need to be cleaned as often as felt socks. But you should still rinse or clean your socks at least once a week or every other week. The more often you clean/change filter socks, the better the water quality. This is especially important for aquariums such as living reefs which require low levels of nitrates and other nutrients.
Q. When should you throw away your filter socks?
A. Quality filter socks should last through many cleanings in a washing machine. Eventually, stitching will come undone or a glue joint will separate; at this point, you will know it is time to replace your filter socks.
NOTE: Some filter sock manufacturer purposely continues the stitching off one corner of their filter socks. Please do not cut these threads; your filter socks will last much longer.
Q. My Mesh filter socks are rated at 200 Microns like my felt socks but it traps very few particles from the water. Is this really 200 microns?
A. Your filter socks could very well be rated at 200 microns. Mesh filter socks, unlike felt filter socks, are made to have a very uniform structure which gives the sock an exact pore opening size. In your case the opening is 200 micron; meaning any floating debris that is larger than 200 microns will be trapped and particles that are smaller than 200 microns will flow through the pores in the material.
Our 200 micron felt sock fibers are randomly locked together and as a result they trap an array of different size particles. Felt filter socks are tested to ensure they trap particles at least 80% of their micron rating size.