Plus, how to recycle those old filters.

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Here's How Often You Should Really Replace Your Brita Water Filter 
Credit: Amazon

Many of us trust that our Brita water filters are removing contaminants from our tap water—but if you haven't replaced the filter in several months (er, years), it's probably not working as well as you think. In fact, if you have hard water, you may need to change your Brita filter even more often, as mineral deposits could build up and interfere with the filtration process.

To make sure your water filter is working properly and removing everything from lead to chlorine to asbestos, follow the guidelines below on exactly how often to change your Brita filter. Plus, learn how to recycle all of those old filters and save them from the landfill.

How Often to Change Brita Filters

Exactly how often you need to change your Brita filter depends upon how much water you filter through it, as well as which filter you own. On your Brita pitcher, activate the electronic filter change indicator, or use this timeline as a general guide.

The Brita Standard Filter (white) should be replaced after every 40 gallons, or about every two months. The Brita Longlast Filter (blue) needs to be replaced after every 120 gallons, or approximately every six months. And the Brita Stream Filter (gray) should be replaced after every 40 gallons, or about every two months. These estimates are based on a household that filters about 11 glasses of water per day, so if your household filters much more or way less, feel free to adjust your schedule.

How to Change Brita Filters

Remove the used filter from your Brita water pitcher. Then, flush the new filter with cold water for 15 seconds. Insert the filter into the pitcher, lining up the groove in the filter with the ridge in the water pitcher. Add cold tap water to the pitcher. Brita recommends either discarding the first three pitchers full of filtered water (or using it to water your plants!) because it will contain some carbon dust (aka, those black particles you see floating in the pitcher). After that, your water filter is ready to go.

How to Recycle Brita Filters

Throwing out a filter every two to six months may feel wasteful, but luckily, Brita has partnered with TerraCycle to save filters from the landfill. Here's how it works: Fill out the form on Brita's recycling page and a free shipping label will get emailed to you. Make sure the used filters are dry, place them inside a trash bag, pack them in a box, and mail them using the free shipping label.

Want one more reason to recycle your Brita filters? You'll rack up Brita Rewards points, which can be redeemed for free products or coupons.

Brita Water Filters, 3 count, $14 (originally $36) at

Brita Longlast Filters, 2 count, $20 (originally $35) at

This Story Originally Appeared On Real Simple