Once a month or when the filter flow slows, swish the filter in the old tank water you've siphoned during your water change. This dislodges the "dirt" but not the beneficial bacteria (BB). The type of filter media you have depends on the filter. I have internal filters and the media is a sponge.
You do not want to rinse the filter in plain tap water or you might kill off the BB.
That looks like the carbon pack that came with my Aqueon tank. If the instructions say to replace it every month, you can ignore it. The carbon will cease being active as a chemical filter, but it will serve as media for bb and become a bio filter. If you replace it you'll prevent the tank from cycling. You save money this way, too.
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