How to Clean Your Dehumidifier Properly [Complete Guide]

If you want to clean your dehumidifier in proper way, you may follow this article. It will explain the things you should know.

Dehumidifiers are a fantastic invention. These compact devices keep indoor moisture at balanced and comfortable levels. However, to keep it performing optimally, it is essential that you clean dehumidifier at regular intervals.

Cleaning the dehumidifier is not difficult at all. However, you should know the appropriate cleaning method. The process is important to understand as you need to remove dirt from dehumidifier and disinfect it.

But, don’t worry, no special training is required to properly clean dehumidifier. You can easily do it in your home within an hour. In this guide, you will learn about all those necessary steps, cleaning equipment/materials needed, and the appropriate method of how to clean dehumidifier.

How to Clean Your Dehumidifier

Why Should You Clean Dehumidifier Regularly?

There are more than one reasons to clean dehumidifier. With regular cleaning, it will stay functional for years. Most importantly, you can remove mold from dehumidifier and keep it dirt-free.

Dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air and collect it in the bucket. That’s why there’s always the risk of mold growth in the reservoir, interior components, and hose of the dehumidifier. If you don’t clean it regularly, the unit will release spores into the air while running. This triggers allergic reactions and aggravates respiratory issues, such as asthma.

Moreover, dehumidifiers use filters for trapping contaminants in the air that enters the unit. Eventually, the dust in the air clogs the filter. If you don’t properly clean dehumidifier, the accumulated dirt can be expelled back into the air that you’ll breathe. Hence, it is essential to clean the dehumidifier filter.

Remember that the dirtier your dehumidifier is, the harder it will be for it to function correctly. Your health is associated with the air dehumidified by the unit. Therefore, make sure all the components are free of clogged grime, mold, and dirt. Regular cleaning cleans the unit’s timespan and saves money you may need to spend on a new unit in the long run.

dehumidifier mop and bucket

Things you Need to Clean your Dehumidifier?

The first step to clean your dehumidifier is gathering your supplies. For this purpose, you don’t need many items or spend money on exclusive cleaners. You can use your favorite household cleaner. Or else, you may use vinegar mixed in some water to clean the unit.

Apart from the cleaner, you will require some rags, a toothbrush to clean hard-to-reach areas, and a wire brush. To clean dehumidifier you will need protective gear, such as a dust mask and gloves.

Another important thing is a wet-dry vac or vacuum with a hose attachment to remove any remaining or loose debris/dirt. The last step before starting to clean the unit is moving the dehumidifier to an outdoor area. That’s because while cleaning, some debris can knock out of the unit. Hence, the ideal place to properly clean dehumidifier is a large sink or an outdoor area.

how to clean dehumidifier

How to Clean Dehumidifier?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your dehumidifier properly.

Step 1: Unplug your Dehumidifier

First of all, turn the dehumidifier off and unplug it. It is one of the most crucial steps to clean dehumidifier as it ensures the unit is safe to clean. No matter if you want to wipe it down only or perform a thorough cleaning, unplugging should always be the first step.

Step 2: Wipe the Unit from the Outside

Your dehumidifier performs the task of removing hazardous elements from the air tirelessly, day-after-day. The exterior shell serves as the first line of defense between the unit’s internal components and the muggy air. Therefore, after unplugging the dehumidifier, get a dry cloth/rug and wipe it off carefully. Be sure to remove all the gross stuff collected on the outside. If the exterior is filthy, dampen the cloth slightly and clean with it. However, do not use spray water on the outer shell. Also, never apply any cleaning solvents directly onto the unit.

Step 3: Clean the reservoir.

You must already be aware that all the moisture from the air ends up in the bucket of your dehumidifier. It’s the exact mechanism in every unit unless you pump the water into a separate drain. This is why the reservoir or bucket gets dirty quickly. The next step to clean dehumidifier is to wash the bucket at least once every three weeks. You must clean the bucket if using dehumidifier frequently. To wash:

  1. Mix mild liquid soap in water and add it to the bucket.
  2. Gently scrub the bucket and rinse it thoroughly.
  3. Dry it fully before putting it back.

Step 4: Clean the hose

Some dehumidifiers use a hose to drain water continuously. If your unit has a hose, clean it thoroughly as well. To clean:

  1. Run water mixed with soap through the hose.
  2. Keep washing until the hose runs clear.
  3. Check for the buildup of mold or dirt inside the hose. If you find any, wash it until all of it is removed.

Step 5: Rinse Air filter

The air filter is like the workhorse of the unit. It is vital to clean dehumidifier filter because it extracts the dirt, mold, mildew, and other impurities from indoor air.

To clean the filter, take it out, dip a sponge in soapy water, squeeze it gently, and wipe the filter with the sponge.

Once done, clean the soap using a clean cloth or sponge.

Let it dry before reinstalling into the unit.

If you see any dust or link accumulated inside, gently tap it to loosen it from the filter. Or else you can use a vacuum if the filter is filthy.

If the filter is washable, you may rinse it under cold, running water using a small amount of mild soap.

Note: When washing, be very careful because air filters can get damaged quickly. Replace it in the dehumidifier when dry.

Step 6: Vacuum the Dirt

To properly clean dehumidifier a good idea is to use a vacuum. It removes any remaining dirt traces. Look for the appropriate attachment to clean the remaining dirt. Or else use a brush and clean the unit thoroughly so that all the debris is removed. You may use a regular brush attachment or hose to clean the corners. Wipe down the fan blades with a damp rag if the vacuum cannot reach the corner areas.

Step 7: Clean the Bucket Filter

The good thing about dehumidifiers is that there are a handful of components that you need to clean. The bucket filter is an integral part of the unit as it traps any leftover impurities. This step prevents any remaining impurities from being left in the indoor air.

The bucket filter is comparatively small than the primary air filter. The bucket filter is usually installed inside the water bucket/reservoir. However, not all units come with a bucket filter. You should check the user manual to confirm that your dehumidifier has it.

To clean the filter, remove it from the bucket and rinse it with warm water. Return it to the bucket after it is fully dry.

That’s the whole process. Your dehumidifier is clean now.

Final Inspection.

After the unit has dried completely, reassemble it and plug it back in. Turn it on and check for the condensation on the coils. If you don’t find any, pat yourself on the back. Because this indicates the dehumidifier has been cleaned thoroughly, and it is safe to use it now.

However, if you see condensation on the coils, immediately turn it off and call in a professional to repair it.

The steps mentioned above work for almost all plug-in home dehumidifiers. We recommend you read the manual that came with your unit to get the model-specific cleaning and care instructions.

Dehumidifier Mold Problem

How to Remove Mold from Dehumidifier 

The mold problem can be worse. Sometimes, You may notice that your dehumidifier is spreading a bad smell. It is due to the molds inside it. So, You should take steps to remove these molds. It is essential to disinfect the unit to eliminate mold. To do that, follow these steps.

  • Fill the water bucket with water and add around one-half cup of bleach per water gallon.
  • Leave it for 15 minutes.
  • Now empty the bucket.
  • Rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
  • Dry the bucket.

How to Clean Dehumidifier Coils?

To clean the dehumidifier coils and fins, you can use a vacuum with a brush attachment. The coils are sensitive parts of the dehumidifier as they remove the air moisture.

Fins are equally sensitive as they collect all the dust. Therefore, when using a vacuum to clean coils and fins, use it at the lowest setting.

Make sure to vacuum gently to prevent any damage to the coils. If you clean the fins too harshly or roughly, these may bend. If this happens, the airflow will be impeded when the unit is turned on. Use a gentle toothbrush or a smaller brush to clean any hard-to-reach spots.

How Often Should You Clean Dehumidifier

You should properly clean dehumidifier at least once a month and conduct regular inspections every other week. The frequency of dehumidifier cleaning depends on how often you use the unit. If it is used daily and gets dirty, clean it twice a month.

How to Disinfect Dehumidifier

Disinfecting the unit is essential to remove dirt from dehumidifier thoroughly. Oftentimes, dehumidifiers are too dirty and require a more profound cleaning process. In such situations, you can use a bleach solution. It is the perfect option to kill all lingering bacteria.

To disinfect the unit, follow these steps.

  1. Disassemble it first and follow these instructions.
  2. Mix 1 gallon of water with 1 teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach.
  3. Pour over half of this solution into the water tank.
  4. Swish it a little so that the tank is coated with the water entirely.

Some brands recommend using a combination of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water instead of bleach.

  • If your dehumidifier has a second tank, fill it with bleach mixed water as well.
  • Allow it to stand for at least 20 minutes.
  • Now empty the tank and base. Rinse with clean water. Keep washing until the scent of bleach is wholly gone.
  • Dry the tank and reassemble it.
opening portable dehumidifier water tank

Dehumidifier Maintenance Tips:

To keep your dehumidifier running smoothly, here are some handy tips and tricks.

  • Always empty the reservoir and tank when the unit is not in use. If you don’t clean the bucket, bacteria and mold can grow. It takes them just one to two days to accumulate.
  • To enhance the lifespan of your dehumidifier’s wick filter, turn it over every time you fill the tank. This prevents the top from drying out and helps the filter age slowly and evenly.
  • Always replace the filter after every 30 to 60 days. The replacement need depends on the frequency of use and the unit’s overall condition. If you notice that the filter is hard and crusty from minerals or has developed an odor, or the performance has declined, replace it.

Final Thoughts:

It is an inexpensive and time-effective process to clean a dehumidifier. Regular cleaning is fundamental to keep the indoor air quality healthy and balanced. If you have any questions or confusion in mind, don’t hesitate to reach out. Share your thoughts and queries in the comments section. We would love to hear from you.

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