How to Clean Felt Filter Socks and Filter Bags & FAQ
FELT FILTER SOCKS
The Aquatic Experts Way to Clean
Many people have asked us about the best way to clean their filter socks. Some people will take their aquarium filter socks and simply clean them at a sink. While this may work for thin mesh bags, fine micron felt filter bags require a more thorough cleaning process to remove trapped particles.
When you remove your filter socks for cleaning, ensure that they are empty by shaking them out 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, as well as algae, pieces of rock and other mysterious materials. Many times trapped animals will actually be alive and can be returned to your aquarium. Since our method uses a washing machine, it may be more efficient to collect several sets of dirty socks [from previous changes] before cleaning them.
HOW TO WASH YOUR AQUARIUM FILTER SOCKS
Optional - run your washer in a hot rinse cycle to remove all soap residue (normally only necessary in older machines).
Set washer to heavy-duty cycle and wash socks in hot water. (Note: any temperature seems to give good results with this method.)
Use 3 capfuls (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.
HOW TO DRY YOUR FILTER SOCKS
Place socks in a clean, chemical free open air environment to dry for at least 48 hours.
Filter socks can be dried in a clothes dryer but USE LOW HEAT ONLY! Obviously no fabric softeners or anything else.
Thoroughly rinse new filter socks with clean fresh water, wring them out and repeat this process before using them in your filter. You can also follow the above method and clean new socks in the washing machine.
New filter socks may have a non-toxic residue from the manufacturing process which can cause bubbles throughout an aquarium and make protein skimmers overflow for several days. After a few days the skimmer will go return to normal. This phenomenon can be avoided by rinsing filter socks well before use.
If you have any residual fishy smell in your washing machine after you remove the socks you can always run a quick wash with bleach in an empty washer. If there is any odor in your aquarium, you can use activated carbon in our fine drawstring mesh bags to eliminate the smell, along with any discoloration in your tank.