How Long Do Brita Filters Last? (Spoiler: Not Forever…)

Plus, when to replace them

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how long do brita filters last a photo of a brita pitcher and a glass of water
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We’ve long relied on our Brita pitcher to keep us hydrated while sparing us the unpleasant taste (and potentially questionable content) of the water that comes from our kitchen tap: It’s a refrigerator staple and a real workhorse. That said, it’s important to periodically hand-wash the pitcher with mild soap and change the filter regularly so that your Brita system continues to remove contaminants and produce great tasting H2O. But how long do Brita filters last, exactly? We went straight to the source to find out everything you need to know about how and when to replace your Brita filter.

How Long Do Standard Brita Filters Last?

On average, standard ($40) and Stream Brita filters (i.e., the white and gray ones, $19) can be used for roughly two months (about every 40 gallons) before they need to be replaced. Fun fact: Any unused Brita filter that's been sealed in its pouch never expires, according to the brand, so it's not a bad idea to stock up so that you never have to worry about running out.

How Long Do Elite Brita Filters Last?

The Brita Elite filter (i.e., blue ones, $35) can be used for up to six months (about every 120 gallons).

When Should I Change My Brita Filter?

According to Brita, how often you should change a filter depends entirely on how much water your family goes through. (The time estimates listed are based on households who drink an average of 11 glasses of water a day.) Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to obsessively track your water consumption. All you have to do is activate the built-in electronic filter indicator on your Brita pitcher, which will also let you know when it's time to replace the filter.

Other times you should consider changing your filter are if it ever cracks or breaks. Be sure to always store it in a cool place to avoid having to immediately replace the filter if algae begins to grow. The brand also mentions that you may need to change it more often if you have hard water (which means H20 that contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium).

how long do brita filters last changing filters
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How to Change Brita Filters

The process for changing your Brita filter depends on the type of filter you have.

  • How to change a Brita standard filter: The new filter must be rinsed under cold water for 15 seconds before you remove the old one. Then, you change them out, snugly inserting the filter into the reservoir by lining up the grooves and pushing down tightly. (Note: Brita recommends that when using standard and Elite filters, the first three pitchers of water you pour after changing the filter be discarded or used to water plants.)
  • How to change a Brita Stream filter: These guys should also be rinsed, but have a slightly more complicated installation process that involves inserting the filter into its cage with the blue ring facing up and pressing it down until it clicks. Last but not least, return the filter cage to the lid with a firm, twisting motion. Once that’s done, you’re ready to fill your pitcher.
  • How to change a Brita Elite filter: Skip the rinse and proceed straight to popping the thing into place.

How to Recycle Brita Filters

Don’t throw those old Brita filters in the trash, friends: Brita has teamed up with TerraCycle to take care of your waste in an eco-friendly fashion—and all types of filters, pitchers and dispensers are accepted. Even more good news: Participation in the Brita recycling program will earn you Brita Reward Points, too.

To sign up, simply fill out the request form on the Brita Recycling page and you’ll be emailed a prepaid label; then, box up your Brita waste (a minimum of five pounds per shipment) and send it off—just be sure you’ve let your used filters thoroughly dry first, since wet and leaky packages will be declined. It’s also worth noting that this program is only available within the United States.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...

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