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How To Clean a Dehumidifier (Filter, Bucket, Coil, Hose)

A clean dehumidifier is crucial in providing healthy air for you and your family. With regular maintenance, it will give you the best moisture removal performance consistently. However, there are many internal parts in a dehumidifier that require proper cleanings such as the filter, coil, bucket, and hose. Failing to do so may reduce its effectiveness and promote the growth of mold. To extend the device's lifespan, here are the best tips on how to clean a dehumidifier without breaking a sweat.

How To Clean A Dehumidifier And Its Filter

A dehumidifier reduces home humidity levels by drawing excess moisture in the air. It helps you breathe better, prevents rust, and water damage. By lowering the room humidity level, it will also create an inhabitable environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria to thrive on. However, failing to keep the dehumidifier clean will reduce its effectiveness and promote the growth of microorganisms in the machine. So to keep everything in check, follow these steps to ensure your dehumidifier is clean and running like new.

  1. Turn off and unplug the dehumidifier – Move it away from electrical sources even if you are performing simple wiping and cleaning. This will protect you from getting an electric shock and reduces the risk of fire hazard. Better safe than sorry.
  2. Wipe the exterior – Use a soft cloth like microfiber and start wiping outside of the dehumidifier from dust, grime, and moisture buildup. Doing so will prevent particulates from falling inside the machine and causes blockage. Be extra careful when cleaning the ventilation grill as it may break from excessive force. For hard-to-reach places, use a toothbrush to scrub out the stain. You can also use a damp cloth to remove stubborn stains. In any case, never spray water or cleaning solvents directly onto the exterior as it may lead to irreversible damage.
  3. Empty and clean the reservoir – Slowly pull out the reservoir and empty the collected water if there is any. Next, mix white vinegar or liquid soap with lukewarm water (around 1/10 ratio), scrub the reservoir thoroughly and rinse it with water. Make sure there is no mold or mildew forming inside the reservoir as it could spread and trigger allergies. Dry the reservoir with a cloth before inserting it back to the machine. Skip this step if the dehumidifier runs on auto drainage that pumps the water straight to the floor drain via a hose.
  4. Wash the air filter – Carefully remove the detachable filter. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment and gently vacuum away the trapped dust, dirt, mold, mildew particles. For stubborn dirt that cannot be vacuum off, use a soft-bristled brush and gently wash it away with warm soapy water (below 104°F) or white vinegar. Rinse the filter and let it air dry completely before placing it back into the dehumidifier in the exact alignment. Never use a hairdryer to speed things up as the heat may damage the filter. It is important to have the filter cleaned regularly because it stops dust particulates from getting into the dehumidifier’s internal components. If the filter is non-washable, replace it according to the owner’s instructional manual.
  5. Clean the internal components – Some models allow you to clean the inside of a dehumidifier by vacuuming the exposed coils or compressor for accumulated dust. You can also use a spray bottle by mixing it with water and one-third of distilled white vinegar. Spray on hard to remove stains, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and carefully wipe it away with a sponge or toothbrush. Leave it air dry before closing the panel. White vinegar is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and natural disinfectant with antimicrobial properties.
  6. [OPTIONAL] Clean the hose and bucket filter – Some dehumidifier comes with additional drainage hose and bucket filter. Remove and flush it with warm water and white vinegar, leave it dry before installing it back. A bucket filter captures stray impurities while a hose redirects the water to a floor drain rather than to the bucket. While you’re at it, check and gently vacuum any exposed coil or compressor if there is dust accumulation.
  7. Final check and repeat – Plug back the dehumidifier and turn it on for a couple of hours to make sure everything is running smoothly. Record down the date of cleaning for future references. Monitor and check for any faulty error code displayed, weird knocking sound, condensation, or dip in performance. Repeat the cleaning steps every 2-3 weeks or when it is necessary. Never operate a dehumidifier without a filter.
how to clean a dehumidifier filter

Does a Dehumidifier Need To Be Cleaned?

Yes, a dehumidifier needs to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to ensure it is working optimally without any airflow disruption. There are no two ways about it. You will be protecting yourself from inhaling airborne impurities that thrive in a wet condition like a dirty reservoir. So routinely inspect the filter and reservoir for mold, mildew, bacteria growth. Never use a dirty dehumidifier as it will do more harm than good.

  • No drainage - Clogged drain hose
  • Poor moisture removal - Dirty filter, clogged grill, or coil
  • Increase fan noise - Faulty compressor, blockage on the fan motor
  • Frost on coil - Coil iced up or malfunction de-icing sensor
  • Error code display - Missing part, poor installation, or electronic board failure

How Often Do You Need To Clean A Dehumidifier?

We recommend cleaning the dehumidifier and its filter every 2-3 weeks depending on the usage frequencies and surrounding environment. Without regular maintenance, a dirty filter will be clogged with dust, hair, debris, and other contaminants that prevent air from passing through. Water accumulated in the bucket will also promote the growth of mold and bacteria over time. The mineral residues in the reservoir will eventually spread to the coils, compressor, and hose when it is left unattended.

When Should You Change A Dehumidifier Filter?

For models that utilize a non-washable filter, the general practice is to replace the filter every three months. The longer the operational hours, the quicker you will need to replace the filter. Check the product's instructional manual for more information.

How To Clean Frigidaire Dehumidifier Filter?

Our cleaning guide is universally compatible with all dehumidifiers including Frigidaire. However, you should also refer to the dehumidifier cleaning manual on what needs to be cleaned and when to do so. Some models even come with an indicator notifying you it is time to wash the filter.

Final Note

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Cleaning a dehumidifier is easy but it may take some time especially on the first try. Before you get started, make sure all the cleaning tools are right next to you. For those that are sensitive to dust, consider wearing a mask and a pair of rubber gloves. It will protect you from direct contact with the allergens during cleaning. Lastly, if you have not clean the dehumidifier for quite some time, do it in an open space area as there will be a lot of dust buildup that will let loose.

References

Dehumidifier

Kingston Kay

Growing up in New Orleans; one of the highest relative humidity in the United States, Kingston Kay knows a thing or two about humidity. Besides reviewing dehumidifiers for living, you will find him gyming in the basement.