How To Clean A Dehumidifier – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: March 7, 2021

Any appliance works at its best when it undergoes regular maintenance, and this applies to dehumidifiers too. Just like other appliances, a dehumidifier also works efficiently when it is well maintained.

Improper or even no maintenance makes the unit noisier and lowers its efficiency, which ultimately causes its breakdown. Thorough cleaning not only provides good performance but also cuts down on the maintenance cost.

So, if you think it’s time to clean your dehumidifier, here’s how you can do it in the right manner.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Dehumidifier?

With time, debris and dust collect in different parts of the humidifier. This includes the cooling and heating coils present inside the unit as well as those housed in the water reservoir. The accumulation of such elements can lead to excessive damage if the unit isn’t cleaned properly. Eventually, the unit will stop working at all. So, to enjoy the highest efficiency from your humidifier, you must clean the unit at least one or two times per month when in use.

How to Clean a Dehumidifier

When it comes to cleaning a dehumidifier, the task isn’t hard at all. You must know that every part has to be cleaned including the filters, the water reservoir, and even the unit’s exterior. If it’s your first time cleaning a dehumidifier, here are six simple steps that can get the job done easily.

1. Unplug Your Dehumidifier

Before you start or even bring a damp cloth near it, make sure to switch off your dehumidifier and unplug it from the power outlet. Doing so will ensure that the unit is completely safe to clean whether you just want to wipe it down quickly or you want to clean all the individual parts thoroughly.

2. Wipe the Outside

A humidifier works efficiently to remove all the potentially hazardous stuff present in the air. Its exterior, or better understood as the outer shell, works as the first line of defense between the dirty air it tries to collect and the internal components of the dehumidifier.

So once you’re sure that your dehumidifier is unplugged, use a dry cloth to wipe off the gross elements like dirt and grime that has collected on the exterior. If it is excessively dirty, then use a damp cloth.

However, remember that you shouldn’t spray water or cleaning solvents on it directly at any time. This could damage the unit and cause it to cease to function.

3. Clean Out the Reservoir

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The water collection tank, or reservoir, of your unit must be emptied frequently to save it from potentially damaging elements. However, it’s better to take a step further and clean it using warm water and soap or simply a disinfectant.

Mildew and mold tend to build up quite quickly, and once they make their way inside the tank, they are dispersed into the air and can spread illnesses. For this reason, it is better to have it cleaned thoroughly once every three weeks, particularly if it’s in frequent use.

Simply pour in liquid soap into the tank along with water. Gently scrub it and rinse it. Let it dry off fully before putting it back in place. You may also use vinegar to break up hard water deposits or stubborn dirt during this step. Just check your owner’s manual to ensure it is not contraindicated.

4. Rinse the Air Filter

The air filter is the part which does all the magic and if you have a dirty filter, your dehumidifier won’t work at all. So, to clean the filter, remove it from your dehumidifier and check if it has been damaged or if there are any blockages.

Depending on the dirt and dust on the filter, determine if you need to replace the filter. If you think that the filter is usable, then you can get started on cleaning it. For that, make a solution of a gentle detergent and warm water. Then let the filter soak in the mixture for several minutes before you dry it off.

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5. Vacuum

Just to make sure you get all of the particles and have your dehumidifier unit completely clean, you can vacuum it. Just grab a vacuum attachment and get rid of any remaining dirt that you can spot. You can also vacuum the filter before washing to get any loose dirt off.

6. Remove and Clean the Bucket Filter

Your unit may not necessarily have a bucket filter. This filter helps to trap the stray impurities in your dehumidifier. Compared to the main air filter, this one is smaller and is just about the size of a thimble. It is typically tucked in the reservoir, but you can check your unit’s user manual to ensure that your dehumidifier is fitted with one. If a bucket filter is present, just rinse it using warm water. Once it's completely dry, return it to its place.

Video Review

Reading the steps might seem too confusing and you might feel lost in the middle of cleaning. To help you out, here’s a video which takes you through all the steps of how to take apart the unit and clean it. You can follow along and get your job done without any problem.

The video also gives you a few helpful tips so that cleaning is made as easy as possible. So, before starting clean, put on this video and do as it is shown in the video.

How to Clean a Dehumidifier With Vinegar

1. Unplug the Unit

Power off the dehumidifier unit and unplug it from the power outlet and disassemble to separate the water collection tank from the appliance.

2. Pour Equal Measures of Water and White Vinegar into Tank

Fill the water collection tank a quarter way with warm water and white vinegar and scrub the surfaces with a soft brush to disinfect. 

3. Clean Other Minor Parts

Submerge the disassembled parts – except those with electrical wiring – into a bowl of vinegar and brush gently.

4. Let The Solution Settle

Let the vinegar work through the pieces for at least 30 minutes, and up to eight hours. Pour it out and rinse. Pat the parts dry using a clean cloth.

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How to Clean Dehumidifier Coils

1. Unplug the Unit

Turn the dehumidifier off and unplug it from the power outlet.

2. Disassemble the Parts

It can be a pain, but taking apart the unit's surface is the best way to access and clean the dehumidifier coils.

To get in, unscrew the back, front and side screws to remove the back and front shell, and the handles will come right off. 

Remove the fan blade housing to work through the components by unscrewing the air intake vents.

3. Clean with Uncompressed Air

Spray uncompressed air over the coils to get the superficial dirt and dust out.

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4. Clean with a Dry Wire Brush Gently

If your coils are baked in dirt and grime, scrub with a wire brush firmly. Be careful with the fins and brush in their direction to avoid bending them.

5. Rinse the Coils Using a Solution of Dish Soap and Water

Protect the motor from water and clean the coils with water and mild soap.

6. Soak in Warm Water

Soak the coils in warm water and let it settle for a couple of hours for all the dirt to come out.

7. Dry in the Sun

Let it out in the sun to dry and put it back in. 

The video below provides an overview of the cleaning process we have just described. Be sure to check it out.

How to Clean Dehumidifier Filter

1. Take the Bucket Out

Take the water bucket off the unit to give way to the air filter. 

2. Pull the Filter Out From the Panel's Bottom

You should notice a slot on the panel to fit your fingers in. Simply pull the panel down, and the air filter will slip out from the bottom.

3. Rinse it Under Warm Tap Water

Clean the air filter by washing it under a warm water tap until all the dirt and dust wash out.

4. Dry Accordingly

Dry it with a towel or leave it under the sun and fit it back in. Replacing a wet filter may encourage mold and mildew growth.

Be sure to check out the video below for a full overview of this process. 

How to Clean Dehumidifier Bucket

1. Remove from the Unit

Separate the water bucket from the unit and empty the water in it.

2. Fill it with Water and Detergent

Fill the bucket halfway with clean water and just enough dish soap to form a mild detergent.

3. Brush the Dirt Off

Swish the water and scrub with a soft-bristle brush gently, then empty and rinse it.

4. Soak in a Solution of Chlorine Bleach and Water

Fill the bucket with a mixture of half a cup of chlorine bleach and water. Again, swish the bleach solution and allow it to settle for about 15 minutes.

5. Empty and Rinse

Pour out the bleach solution and rinse with clean water and replace it in the unit after drying it completely.

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How to Clean Mold from Dehumidifier

1. Cleaning Mold on the Filter

After turning off and unplugging the appliance, remove the filter, wash under warm tap water, rinse, dry it fully before replacing.

2. Cleaning Mold on the Tank

Empty any water in the tank and wash it with soapy water, bleach, and then rinse it.

3. Cleaning Mold on the Coils

Ensure that you defrost the coils and let them dry fully to prevent mold from forming.

4. Disinfect with Bleach

Mix a cup of bleach per gallon of water and scrub the tank again in the bleach solution.

5. Clean with Vinegar

After bleach, disinfect the water tank in vinegar and water to prevent mold spores from growing.

6. Wipe  

Wipe the vinegar off the parts and reassemble them.

Photo credit: indoorair.com

Conclusion

By following the six simple steps listed above on how to clean a dehumidifier, you can ensure that your unit provides good performance for years to come. With the right maintenance and care, a dehumidifier can control the humidity in your house efficiently and provide a comfortable and healthy environment.

People Also Ask

Are you looking for clarification on questions or doubts about cleaning your dehumidifier? It's a good thing because it'll help you save your unit from possible damage. Here are answers to the most common questions dehumidifier owners ask to help clear your doubts and give you more insights into the cleaning process.

What Cleaner Should I Use to Clean My Dehumidifier?

You can use the cleaners available in your home, such as dish soap, to clean your dehumidifier. For a deep clean, most people find bleach as an excellent option to kill mold. However, distilled white vinegar is the ideal natural disinfectant that cleans and makes the surface inhospitable to mold spores.

Do I Need to Clean My Dehumidifier?

How dirty a dehumidifier can get will surprise you! It is vital to clean your unit regularly, depending on how frequently you use it. Draining the bucket and cleaning the other parts is crucial because dehumidifiers pick up moisture and specks of dirt from the air, encouraging mold growth.

Photo credit: IndoorAir.com

How Do I Get Rid of Hard Water Deposits in My Dehumidifier?

In most cases, you can treat mineral and hard water deposits with undiluted white vinegar. Allow the vinegar to settle and soak in the places where the deposits occur for a few minutes or hours, then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Mild soap and water can clean minor deposits. 

My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.