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How to Remove Calcium Buildup in your Sawyer Filter

Calcium deposits can slowly build up in your filter and eventually restrict water flow. If backwashing your filter doesn't help clear it, you might have calcium deposits. Luckily removing calcium deposits is easy with this quick trick.

Paul Bodnar      Educational     6/25/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
6/25/2021

Removing Calcium Buildup

The Sawyer water filter should be able to filter 1 liter of water in about a minute. If your Sawyer filter is flowing much slower and backwashing doesn’t increase the flow rate, you might have calcium buildup. Having calcium buildup is a common problem after months of backcountry use. Luckily, it’s easy to remove the calcium buildup following these two steps.

1. Soak your Sawyer water filter in vinegar for 30 minutes

Using a sealable bag reduces the amount of vinegar needed to soak the filter.

2. Flush the water filter with warm to hot clean water

Repeat steps 1 and 2 if needed.

Summary

After a few months of backpacking it is common for the Sawyer Squeeze water filter to experience calcium buildup. This calcium buildup can easily cut your water flow rate in half. So before you replace your slow flowing Sawyer Squeeze I recommend treating your filter with vinegar to remove any calcium buildup. The Sawyer Squeeze water filter is designed to last over 6 months (up to 100,000 gallons of water) with proper maintenance.

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A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the PCT again in 2010 to do research for his guide book, Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the PCT.