How to Clean Your Dehumidifier

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As your dehumidifier sucks the moisture out of the air, it comes into contact with all sorts of things that will get it dirty. 

The dust, dirt, and water inside a dehumidifier creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. It can even harbor growth for bacteria if not kept in check.

Besides emptying its tank regularly, you also need to give your dehumidifier a thorough cleaning. Cleaning is important especially during the humid months. When you’re using your dehumidifier every day, it will come into contact with a lot more dirt and water.

Cleaning your dehumidifier is an important task if you want to keep it running efficiently. More importantly, keeping your dehumidifier clean will ensure that the air inside your home is safe to breathe. Nasty mold and bacteria growth inside your dehumidifier can eventually find its way into the air inside your home.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different parts of a dehumidifier and provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean them. We’ll also discuss what to do (and what not to do) when cleaning your dehumidifier.

How to clean a dehumidifier with vinegar

Using vinegar is one of the easiest ways to clean and disinfect your dehumidifier. Using a vinegar solution helps to prevent mold growth inside your dehumidifier

We recommend using a solution of equal parts water and vinegar to clean your dehumidifier. Simply mix the water and vinegar together, and use this solution to scrub the inside of your dehumidifier’s tank and other areas that get dirty.

Using a vinegar solution is an excellent choice for most people since it is readily available and safe to use. A vinegar solution is strong enough to clean and disinfect most dehumidifiers.

We recommend using a vinegar solution to clean most of the plastic parts of a dehumidifier– such as its tank and body. 

Read further below for instructions on how to clean out the individual parts of your dehumidifier.

How to clean a dehumidifier filter

The filter is the easiest thing to clean in a dehumidifier. You should clean your dehumidifier’s filter on a regular schedule, such as once every month. During periods of heavy use, you may need to clean it more often, especially if you have pets.

Most dehumidifiers have a built-in reusable filter. These types of filters usually have a plastic frame with a thin mesh screen. These filters can easily be cleaned by rinsing out with water. You can also use a mild detergent, if necessary.

To clean your dehumidifier’s filter, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off and unplug your dehumidifier. Power down and unplug your dehumidifier before conducting any maintenance on it.

  2. Remove the filter. Take the filter off of the dehumidifier. If there is an excessive amount of dust on the filter, take care in removing it. You don’t want dust flying all over the place.

  3. Clean off excess dust. Remove excess dust build-up from the filter. You don’t need any special tools, your hand will work fine.

  4. Rinse with water. For dirtier filters, a rinse with water is necessary to completely clean the filter mesh of dust.

  5. Dry the filter. Allow the filter to completely dry before putting it back into the dehumidifier. Once the filter is dry, you’ll be able to see if there is any dust still stuck to the filter. 

Reusable filters tend to be delicate, so don’t apply too much pressure when cleaning them. Most times you won’t even need a brush to scrub them.

How to clean a dehumidifier tank

The tank is one of the dirtiest parts of a dehumidifier. With the constant refilling of water, mineral deposits can form on the tank’s interior walls. Mold will also grow in the tank if it is not clean.

To clean your dehumidifier’s tank, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off and unplug your dehumidifier. Power down and unplug your dehumidifier before conducting any maintenance on it.

  2. Remove the tank. Take the tank off the dehumidifier and empty all its water out.

  3. Prepare your cleaning solution. Use a vinegar solution (equal parts white vinegar and water) to clean your dehumidifier tank. Alternatively, a mild detergent solution (dish soap and water) will work just fine.

  4. Soak the tank in the cleaning solution. Pour your cleaning solution inside the tank and swirl it around. The cleaning solution should come into contact with all the tank’s interior surfaces. Let it sit for 30 minutes to allow the cleaning solution to soften the mineral and mold build-up inside the tank. For stubborn build-up, allow the tank to soak for longer.

  5. Scrub the tank. Using a soft scrubber, clean the interior surfaces of the tank. You’ll want to remove any build-up that the solution didn’t remove on its own.

The kind of scrubber that you use to clean your dehumidifier is important as well. Use a nylon brush or other non-abrasive scrubber when cleaning your dehumidifier. Using a toothbrush can be helpful for cleaning corners and cracks.

Stay away from those green scrubbers – they will scratch the plastic on your dehumidifier!

  1. Rinse the tank. After you have scrubbed off all build-up, rinse the tank with water and let it completely dry before reinstalling it on the dehumidifier.

How to clean dehumidifier coils

The coil on a dehumidifier is where the magic happens. As air passes through a cold coil, water condenses out and collects inside a tank. That’s the gist of how dehumidification works.

With all that airflow the coils can get pretty dirty, especially since they get wet too. Cleaning your dehumidifier’s coils is critical to keep it functioning.

To clean your dehumidifier’s coils, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off and unplug your dehumidifier. Power down and unplug your dehumidifier before conducting any maintenance on it.

  2. Disassemble the dehumidifier. Remove the protective covering from your dehumidifier to expose the coil. Keep careful note of how the pieces fit together so you can put it back together when you’re done. Take lots of pictures.

  3. Clean excess dust. Carefully remove excess dust from the coil. Don’t use compressed air or something that will push dust into the coil. Use a vacuum instead.

  4. Use coil cleaner (if necessary). Using a coil cleaning solution will remove grime from the coils of your dehumidifier. A detergent-based spray cleaner will work for most purposes.

    Depending on the type of cleaner you use, it may be necessary to rinse your coils out with water after you clean them. Some AC coil cleaners don’t need rinsing after using them– but it’s still a good idea to wipe off as much cleaner as possible.

  5. Reassemble the dehumidifier. After you finish cleaning your dehumidifier, put it back together. Ensure that the dehumidifier is completely dry before putting it back together and using it again.

Quick Pick: Coil Cleaner

Nu-Calgon Evap Foam No Rinse Coil Cleaner

This spray-on coil cleaner helps remove grime build-up from your dehumidifier coils. Better yet, it doesn’t require a rinse after you use it.

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How to clean out mold from a dehumidifier

Unfortunately, the moist, warm environment inside of a dehumidifier is perfect for mold to grow. As dirt and dust build up inside your dehumidifier, mold will show up and feed on it.

Keeping mold out of your dehumidifier requires persistent cleanliness. Always be sure that your dehumidifier is clean and free of excess dust and water. Empty and clean your dehumidifier’s tank on a regular basis. During the humid months, you might even need to empty your tank daily.

If you have mold growth inside your dehumidifier, follow these steps to remove it:

  1. Turn off and unplug your dehumidifier. Power down and unplug your dehumidifier before conducting any maintenance on it.

  2. Examine the mold growth. Open up your dehumidifier and identify the extent of the mold growth. Is it isolated to one area? Or has it spread around to different places in the dehumidifier?

  3. Clean the dehumidifier. Depending on the extent of the mold growth, you may need to clean one or more parts of the dehumidifier.

    To clean your dehumidifier’s filter, follow these steps
    To clean your dehumidifier’s tank, follow these steps
    To clean your dehumidifier’s coils, follow these steps
  1. Use an anti-mold reagent. For stubborn mold that keeps coming back, use an anti-mold spray to fight against mold growth.

Quick Pick: Fungicide Cleaner & Disinfectant

RMR-141 Disinfectant Spray

This EPA-registered disinfectant inhibits the growth of mold, bacteria, and viruses. Great for using on parts and areas that are susceptible to mold growth.

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