How to Clean a Dehumidifier: a Step-by-Step Guide

Carolina Evans
Carolina Evans
Research Writer
Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s ho read more
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Richard Powell
Richard Powell
Expert Consultant
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may read more
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Dehumidifiers are great for keeping the moisture in your home at the proper, comfortable levels. Of course, to keep your device doing its job, you need to clean it once in a while. Those who have never actually learned how to clean a dehumidifier bucket, filter, and everything else it contains may not be sure where to start. Luckily, this process doesn’t take any special training to accomplish. You can do it in your home in less than an hour. With regular cleaning, your dehumidifier will run smoothly for years to come. The following steps will help you get started.

Why you should clean your dehumidifier regularly

How to Clean a Dehumidifier: a Step-by-Step Guide

There are several reasons why you should clean your dehumidifier on a regular basis. The most important reason is to clean the mold from the dehumidifier. These units pull the moisture out of the air, collecting it in the bucket. With so much water going through the machine, there could be some mold growth in the reservoir, hoses, and the interior of the dehumidifier if it isn’t cleaned regularly.

Mold on the unit is bad enough, but if left to grow, it can also release spores into the air as the unit is running. This could cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, or other respiratory issues.

Dehumidifiers also use filters to trap any contaminants in the air entering the unit. Eventually, the filter will get clogged with dust, which could then be expelled back into the air that you breathe. For this reason, taking the time to clean or replace the dehumidifier filter is a must.

The dirtier the unit is, the harder it will have to work while it is running. This is because the components will be clogged with dirt and grime, so it won’t work as they are supposed to. Cleaning your dehumidifier regularly will increase its lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

What you need before you start

Before you can clean your dehumidifier, you need to gather your supplies. You can use your favorite household cleaner, or you can clean your dehumidifier with vinegar if you like. For cleaning the machine, you’ll also need some rags, a wire brush, and a toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas. Protective gear like gloves and a dust mask are also a must. A vacuum or wet-dry vac with a hose attachment can remove any loose dirt and debris inside the unit.

As well as gathering the cleaning supplies, you should also move your dehumidifier to a proper work area. There could be some debris that is knocked out of the unit as you clean it, so it is best to do so in a large sink that can be rinsed clean when you’re done.

How to clean your dehumidifier

After you gather your supplies, you’re ready to clean your dehumidifier using the following steps. These are applicable to most types of dehumidifiers, including Frigidaire and Tosot.

Unplug and disassemble the device

Turn off your dehumidifier and unplug it from the outlet. Remove any hoses from the back of the unit that has been in use for draining the tank automatically.

How to Clean a Dehumidifier: a Step-by-Step Guide

Wipe it from the outside

Wipe down the outside of the dehumidifier unit. You don’t need any cleaners to do this part. A simple damp rag will take off any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the exterior of the unit.

Wash the water tank

Now it is time to clean the dehumidifier bucket or water tank. Remove the tank from the machine and empty it if it contains any water. Fill it partway with clean water and add some liquid soap. Scrub it out with a rag or a brush if needed, removing all the dirt and grime. If there are any hard water deposits or extra-dirty areas, you can add some vinegar to the water to break it up. Dump out the water and rinse the tank out.

Clean the hose

If you’re using a hose for continuous draining, you’ll have to clean it as well. Run soapy water through the hose until it runs clear to ensure there is no dirt or mold buildup inside the hose.

Rinse the filter

Now you need to clean the filter on the dehumidifier to remove any dust or lint that has accumulated. Gently tap the debris loose from the filter or use a vacuum for an extra-dirty filter. It the filter is washable, you can also rinse it under cold water with a very small amount of mild soap, being careful not to damage the filter material. Let it air dry completely, then replace it in the dehumidifier.

Vacuum it

To make sure there is no debris left inside the unit, you can vacuum it out. Just use a regular hose or brush attachment and clean in all the corners. You can also wipe down the fan blades with a lightly dampened rag if the vacuum can’t reach this area properly.

How to Clean a Dehumidifier: a Step-by-Step Guide

How to clean mold from the dehumidifier

To ensure there is no mold left in the unit, you should disinfect it.

  • Fill the water tank, adding ½ cup of bleach for every gallon of water.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Empty it.
  • Rinse it with clean water and dry it out.
  • Replace the bucket in the unit.

How to clean the coils

Now it’s time to clean the dehumidifier coils and fins. The coils help remove moisture from the air, while the fins collect dust. You can use a vacuum with a brush attachment for these areas. Be extra careful when vacuuming these parts since any damage to the coils or bend to the fins could impede the airflow going through your dehumidifier when it is running. Any hard to reach spots can be cleaned with a toothbrush or other small brush.

How often you should clean a dehumidifier

You need to clean your dehumidifier regularly to ensure that there is no buildup of dust, dirt, grime, or mold. The more you run it, the more often you need to clean it to keep it working at optimal levels.

It is recommended to clean your dehumidifier at least once each month. If you notice that the unit is quite dirty with this schedule, you can clean it twice each month to keep the unit running smoothly.

In conclusion

Now that you know the proper procedure for cleaning all the parts of your dehumidifier, you should have no trouble doing this yourself. This will ensure that the unit is running smoothly and efficiently, plus it will guarantee that it isn’t releasing any contaminants into the air as it is running.

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