How Often Do You Change A Brita Filter?

Brita filters are a popular and inexpensive way to get filtered water without investing in a whole-home filtration system. A whole-home or under-sink filtration system might not be feasible for many homeowners. In this case, many decide to go with a filtered water pitcher or dispenser. 

This is an excellent, cost-effective alternative that makes sense for most homeowners. However, in order to reap the benefits of a Brita filter, you need to change the filter regularly. Not sure how frequently you need to change the filter in your Brita? Keep reading to learn more!

What Do Brita Filters Remove Or Reduce?

Brita filters effectively remove the majority of contaminants in tap water. The list includes multiple contaminants that other water filters leave behind, including lead, mercury, and the taste/smell of chlorine. 

Brita filters are highly efficient at removing most contaminants, including:

  • Calcium
  • Mercury
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Chlorine
  • Chloramine
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Limescale

These contaminants can affect the smell, taste, and appearance of your water, so the removal improves all three sectors. 

How Do Brita Filters Work?

Brita Standard Water Filter, Standard Replacement Filters for Pitchers and Dispensers, BPA Free, 6 Count

The exact function of a Brita filter hinges on the particular filter in question. For example, consider the Brita water filter pitcher. This specific filter uses a coconut-based activated carbon filter that effectively removes most of the water’s chlorine, zinc, copper, cadmium, and mercury. 

While these activated carbon filters can’t remove everything, they do an excellent job at removing quite a bit of the major contaminants. Activated carbon filters (like the Brita filter) don’t eliminate all nitrates, bacteria and viruses, or dissolved material from the water. 

These particular things can pass through the filter as they don’t bind to carbon like metals. However, this dissolved content isn’t always hazardous, as most tap water is pre-treated to remove bacteria and similar harmful microorganisms. 

The filter works similarly to a sieve, filtering out contaminants using the carbon block. The result? Water that tastes, smells and looks better than unfiltered water. Of course, it depends on the quality of the water before filtration. 

A Brita filter might not improve if the water is primarily free of most contaminants beforehand. 

How Long Do Brita Filters Really Last?

The lifespan of a Brita filter depends on what type it is and how often you use it. Some Brita products come with an electronic filter change indicator, which lets you know when the filter reaches the end of its lifespan. 

However, not all Brita products feature the easy-to-use indicator. Or, perhaps you didn’t reset the filter after you changed it, so the indicator’s accuracy is off. Either way, there’s another way to tell how often you should change the filter. 

Brita offers guidelines for replacing the filter. According to Brita, you should replace the Standard Filter (white) every two months or after using 40 gallons of water from that particular filter. 

If you have a Brita Longlast Filter (blue), you can get away without changing the filter for a longer period. You’ll need to replace this filter after every 120 gallons through that particular filter, which is usually about six months. 

Lastly, if you have the Brita Stream Filter (gray), you need to replace it every 40 gallons or about every two months. Of course, the replacement frequency depends on how much water your household uses in a day. 

Brita bases these estimates on households using about 11 glasses per day. So, if you have a busy household or drink copious amounts of water (good to stay hydrated!), you’ll probably need to adjust the change frequency accordingly. 

You can use the estimates as a baseline to develop the best change frequency for your home. 

How Do You Change A Brita Filter?

Replacing a Brita filter is a straightforward process – simply remove the used filter from the pitcher, dispenser, or bottle, then prep the new filter. To prepare the new filter, run cold water through it for about fifteen seconds. 

After you flush the filter, insert the new filter into the pitcher (dispenser or bottle). Add cold tap water to the pitcher, then wait for the water to move through the filter. Brita recommends not using the first three pitchers full of filtered water. 

Of course, you don’t have to dump it down the drain. Use it to water a few houseplants or give the shrubs outside a drink. This water contains small amounts of carbon dust, which is entirely normal. If you ingest this water, it isn’t a health hazard to consume small amounts of the dust, but it is disconcerting to see tiny black specks in supposedly filtered water. 

What Happens If You Don’t Change A Brita Filter?

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Brita filters need to be changed regularly to ensure everything functions properly. Like most products, the filter itself has an expiration date, so to speak. The longer you wait after the filter reaches its limit, the worse your water quality will be. 

Here are a few things that can happen:

Different Flavor And Smells

After your filter sits for a while past its expiration date, you’ll probably begin to notice a change in the taste and smell of filtered water. The filter might not remove as many of the minerals and chemicals as it did when it was new, so you might notice the taste and smell of the water begin to change. 


As the filter sits, you might notice the water becomes cloudier and considerably less clear. You may see a change in the clarity of ice cubes you make with tap water. The water may even become murky or dull, indicating it’s past time to change the filter. 

Mineral Buildup

Old minerals and bacteria will build up in the filter over time, slowing the flow of water through the filter. You might notice it takes quite a while for the water to move through the system, considerably longer than it took in the beginning. 

Dirty Appearance

Alongside changes in taste, smell, and appearance, the water is no longer as clean. Since the filter isn’t functioning properly, things that should be filtered out are getting into the water. This can include things like chlorine, lead, pesticides, and more. 

In some cases, you might notice little flecks in the water, but most of the time, cloudiness is the only change in appearance. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Brita™ Elite™ Water Filter, Advanced Carbon Core Technology™ Replacement Filter for Pitcher and Dispensers, Made Without BPA, Reduces 99% of Lead, 2 Count (Package May Vary)

Will I Get Sick If I Don’t Change My Brita Filter?

Yes, you could potentially get sick from failing to change your Brita filter. A few days past the necessary change date shouldn’t cause issues, but failing to change it for months (or even years) could become a problem. 

Aside from the issues we mentioned above, you could get sick. The problem is that these filters are a breeding ground for bacteria if you don’t change them. Eventually, these bacteria can leak into the water. 

While it might not be an issue if your area has relatively clean water, it can become a hazard if you live in an area with a high contaminant content in the water supply.

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