How To Clean A Dehumidifier? (7-Step Guide)

If you’re looking to learn how to clean your dehumidifier, you’re in the right place!

In this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll learn:

  • What You Need To Know About Cleaning Dehumidifiers (dirty dehumidifiers can cause a lot of problems)
  • Tools And Supplies You’ll Need For Cleaning A Dehumidifier (have these in place before you get started)”
  • How To Clean A Dehumidifier (7 step guide)
  • And much more!
proHVACinfo | How to Clean a Dehumidifier

What You Need To Know About Cleaning a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers exist solely to remove moisture from the air in our homes.

That air isn’t necessarily the cleanest, and therefore the moisture it removes is also likely to be dirty.

While the dehumidifier collects the water in a dedicated tank, or pumps it out via a drain hose, there are several touch points throughout the appliance that the water contacts prior to entering the tank or being pumped out.

Any contaminants within this reclaimed water will deposit themselves anywhere they come into contact with, leaving residue all over the internal components.

This residue can cause a whole host of issues, both for the performance of the dehumidifier, and you and your family’s health.

Let’s take a look at some of the problems that can be caused by dirty dehumidifiers.

Freeze Over

With a clean dehumidifier, the condensate that collects on the evaporator coils can freely drip away into the collection tank.

When these coils are dirty, however, water can become trapped and will quickly freeze.

When even a small amount of ice forms, a phenomenon known as ice accretion occurs as more ice builds on top of the existing ice.

Within a short space of time, the entire coil will be frozen over and will no longer work properly, if at all.


Dehumidifiers with storage tanks have a float switch that alerts the system that it’s full.

If dirt and grime are preventing the float switch from moving properly, it may not activate, and this could allow the unit to keep running long after it gets full.

Depending on where your dehumidifier is located, a leak like this could cause significant damage if you aren’t able to monitor it.

Asthma Symptoms

If your dehumidifier is dirty and in a commonly occupied area of the home, any bacteria or mold that it is harboring could be causing wheezing, shortness of breath, or any other number of asthma related symptoms.

Supplies You’ll Need For Cleaning A Dehumidifier

Fortunately you won’t need a lot of tools and supplies to clean your dehumidifier, in fact, you may already have many of these items around your home already.

If you are missing any of these supplies, be sure to have them on hand before getting started.

  1. Vinegar – White distilled vinegar is one of the most acidic vinegars, which makes it a great, natural cleaning agent, perfectly suited to jobs like cleaning dehumidifiers. On its own, it’s actually a little too strong to use for cleaning, so it should be diluted 1:1 with distilled water.
  1. Fin brush – The coil fins inside your dehumidifier are magnets for dust and dirt and definitely need to be cleaned, but beware, they are extremely delicate, and require a specialist brush in order to clean them safely.
  1. Microfiber cloths – Microfiber cloths are essential for drying the inside of the device once you have cleaned it. They don’t leave lint and other debris which can cause problems later on, and they do a great job at drying
  1. Vacuum cleaner – Before you clean, it’s a good idea to take a vacuum cleaner and clear out large dust, dirt, hair, and any other debris which may have accumulated inside the dehumidifier
  1. Spray bottle – Spray bottles are a great way to get your vinegar and water solution into every nook and cranny without making excessive mess. This continuous spray bottle makes a fine mist for excellent coverage.
  1. Distilled Water – Not only will you need water for mixing with the vinegar, you will also need it to rinse the solution off afterwards. We always recommend using distilled water for cleaning dehumidifiers to prevent mineral deposits.
  1. Bottle Brush Set – This bottle brush set will allow you to scrub the tightest corners and get into all areas of the unit. A toothbrush will work, but the 90 degree angle of the bristles can make getting into corners difficult.
  1. Precision Screwdriver set – As you’ll need to fully disassemble the dehumidifier, it’s best to have a precision screwdriver set to prevent the possibility of stripped screws from using oversized tools.
  1. Gloves and Mask – In the event that your dehumidifier hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it is potentially covered in allergy causing mildew and mold, or worse, infection causing bacteria. If this is the case, be sure to protect yourself by using a protective mask and glove while you’re cleaning.

How To Clean A Dehumidifier (7 Steps)

Remember, the exact steps for cleaning a dehumidifier will vary between makes and models, so think of this as a general guide, and refer to your appliance’s owner’s manual for more specific instructions.

Before getting started, be sure to unplug your dehumidifier and let it stand for a few hours.

Some of the internal components are very hot, and some are very cold when the unit is running, and touching them could cause serious injury.

et everything come to room temperature before starting.

Step 1 – Disassemble the Dehumidifier

Cleaning your dehumidifier is much more than rinsing out the storage tank.

In order to do this job properly, you will need to break down the unit as much as is possible.

Refer to your manual for exact guidance, but in summary you’ll need access to the filter, filter housing, evaporator coils, collection tank, and the inside of the shell.

If you’re able to remove the motor, you will want to do so, but again, not all models will have this ability.

Step 2 – Clean the Collection Tank

The first item to clean is the collection tank.

Start by emptying out any collected condensate and rinsing with fresh water.

Next, spray it with your vinegar solution inside and out – leave the solution to clean the surface for 10 minutes before spraying again.

Take one of your brushes and scrub in the corners before taking a rag to wipe down the rest of the tank.

Rinse it with fresh water, then dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

Set the tank aside for now.

Step 3 – Clean the Filter

Take your vacuum and clean any large, loose dirt away from the surface.

Taking a soft bristled brush, gently brush off the surface of the filter.

If your manual says it can be rinsed with water, go ahead and do that, and set it aside to dry.

Be sure to clean the intake and outlet grilles, too!

Step 4 – Clean the Coils

Spray the coils with your cleaning solution, then take your fun brush and gently scrub, getting into all of the gaps.

Spray with a fresh distilled water rinse and allow to drip dry. Ensure that the motor is protected from water at all times.

Step 5 – Clean the fan blades

Like any fan in your home, the fan blades in a dehumidifier are magnets for dust, dirt and hair (if you’ve got pets).

The easiest way to clean them is to take a cloth and wipe away any obvious dust.

Next, spray with vinegar solution, scrub, then rinse with distilled water.

Dry with a clean microfiber cloth and move on.

Pro tip! After you’ve cleaned the fan, take a laundry dryer sheet and wipe the surfaces of the fan blades with it – this helps to prevent the static buildup caused naturally as the fan rotates which is what causes the fan to attract dust and dirt.

Step 6 – Clean The Inside Of The Shell

Take your vacuum cleaner and suck up any noticeable dirt you come across.

Then, spray down with your vinegar solution and allow 10 minutes for it to disinfect.

Spray with some more solution and scrub every nook and cranny using your bottle brushes, ensuring you get right into the corners.

Scrub the flat surfaces with a fresh rag, then rinse with distilled water spray and dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

Step 7 – Reassemble

Once you’ve cleaned all components of the dehumidifier and you’re sure everything is rinsed and dry, it is time to put it back together.

Be sure that you retighten screws firmly, but not with excessive torque to prevent damage. Run the dehumidifier and listen for any rattles or vibration that wasn’t there before.

If you encounter strange noises, double check that everything went back the way it was supposed to and sufficiently tightened.

Final Thoughts On Cleaning A Dehumidifier

Like any modern electrical appliances, dehumidifiers are not designed to last forever, however, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, your dehumidifier will last a long time and run with optimum performance throughout its lifetime.

Stephen Marks

Stephen Marks

Stephen is an HVAC and home-repair enthusiast. He's here to answer any of your questions about HVAC!

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Stephen Marks

Stephen Marks

Stephen is an HVAC and home-repair enthusiast. He's here to answer any of your questions about HVAC!

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