How to Clean Dehumidifiers

A clean dehumidifier will give you better performance, cleaner air, and more use throughout the years. Cleaning can take time, but when done right it will ensure you have excellent dehumidification for your entire home.

Whether you use a dehumidifier year round or simply to reduce seasonal humidity, these are the steps you need to take to have a clean, effective, long-lasting dehumidifier.

woman removing dehumidifier tank

Benefits of Cleaning Your Dehumidifier

Cleaning your dehumidifier, while certainly not a massive undertaking, requires time, patience, initiative, and a little energy on your part. From start to finish, it could take as long as an hour, depending on the type of unit you have and the severity of cleaning it needs.

Why go to so much trouble to clean a dehumidifier? There are many reasons…

Above all, cleaning the dehumidifier will help reduce the chances of mold growth in the machine. It’s somewhat ironic that a product which helps reduce the household fungus can actually become a haven for mold growth.

Dehumidifiers store water, and if not properly cleaned, this water can eventually lead to mold growth, both in the reservoir or in the interior of the machine. If the dehumidifier uses a hose, this hose can also contain mold.

Cleaning the dehumidifier can also enhance overall efficiency. The dehumidifier uses filters that can become clogged; if these filters are not cleaned, the machine will not run as efficiently as it should.

You will also enhance overall air quality by cleaning your dehumidifier. If your appliance is covered with dust, it can be expelled back into the air, reducing the overall air quality in your home.

Mold in the dehumidifier can also release spores, increasing the chances of allergic reactions or asthma attacks. If you or someone in your household suffers from a respiratory condition, you will want to clean the dehumidifier on a regular basis.

Finally, by cleaning the dehumidifier regularly, you help prolong its working life. Otherwise, components can be clogged with dirt, grime, and mold, making the machine work harder to achieve proper humidity in your house.


Before You Start: What Equipment Will You Need?

While a dehumidifier can be cleaned with a few household items, you may want to pick up a few items before starting. One item you might want is a pair of rubber gloves. You’ll be working with lots of dust and grime, as well as soap and other cleaning materials, so if you have sensitive skin or simply want to protect your hands from filth and chemicals, a pair of gloves will do you well.

People sensitive to airborne allergens will also want a dust mask. If you haven’t cleaned the dehumidifier in a while, you likely have a lot of dust inside. It can come loose and fill the air, so you may be breathing particulate matter while cleaning. To keep from inhaling too much dust, keep a mask ready for use at all times.

You’ll also want an assortment of basic cleaning tools to help complete the job. This can include rags and towels for wiping down surfaces, as well as wire brushes and even small toothbrushes for reaching some of the hard-to-reach locations.

Household cleaners should also work for cleaning the dehumidifier. Soap is generally enough to clean the machine, although you may need something stronger if the unit hasn’t been cleaned in a while.

You will also want to have a vacuum cleaner or wet-dry vac with a hose attachment, as this can be used to remove the loose dirt and grime from the interior of the dehumidifier.


Steps Before You Start

Before you begin, there are a couple of steps you should take. First of all, turn off the dehumidifier and unplug the power cord. You will be cleaning the interior of the machine, so it’s important for your safety that the power cord is not attached.

You should also choose a good spot to clean the dehumidifier. There could be a lot of debris that gets knocked loose when you start cleaning, so having a good work space is crucial; you certainly don’t want to do it on the kitchen table or the living room couch. A good spot would either be outside in a clean, clear location, or at a large sink, such as a laundry room sink.


Wipe Down the Exterior

Before digging down into the internal components of the dehumidifier, you should simply use a damp rag to wipe down the exterior. Most dehumidifiers have an outer shell that will collect grime, throughout the months of use. The cover essentially acts as a shield against the dust, protecting the inner components from harm.

In some cases, you may be able to use a dry rag, but if the outer shell is particularly dirty, a damp rag will clean it better. Wipe everything with a dry rag and you can move to the next step.


Detach and Clean the Reservoir or Hose

Dehumidifiers either use a reservoir where collected water is stored or a hose that moves water from the machine to a drain. Detach whichever component and give it a thorough cleaning with hot, soapy water.

If you have a reservoir, clean the interior with soapy water or a cleaning solution and dry with a towel. These reservoirs can hold a lot of mold if not cleaned properly, so be very thorough with this step.


Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Your dehumidifier should also have an air filter that can be removed. Depending on how dirty it is, you will either want to clean it or replace it. The dehumidifier filter will collect dust and lint, and it will eventually become clogged, damaging the efficiency of the unit. You can use a vacuum filter hose or gently tap debris loose. Once the larger pieces are off, rinse the filter under cold water. You can use a mild soap for this step, but be very careful not to damage the filter material and never place the filter in a dishwasher. Once the filter is dry, you can place it back in the dehumidifier.

If you need to replace the filter, you should have instructions for replacement in the dehumidifier’s owner’s manual.


Clean Behind the Outer Cover

If you didn’t have to remove the outer cover to access the filter or other components, you should now take it off. With the outer cover removed, you should have access to the the inner components of the machine, including the coils and fan blades. If you have to take off screws to remove the outer cover, be sure to store them in a safe, secure spot so they don’t get lost. A clear plastic sandwich bag is a perfect holder for the screws.

Each one of these components will need to be cleaned, but for now you simply want to take a vacuum-cleaner hose and remove any large clumps of dirt, dust, or lint. Be extremely careful not to touch any sensitive components during this phase.


Carefully Clean the Coils

Next, you can clean the evaporator coils and the fins with a vacuum hose using a brush attachment. Dehumidifiers have a coil that helps extract moisture from the air; they will also have fins, which resemble thin shutters, that can also collect dust. Cleaning these components will be essential for the performance and consistency of your dehumidifier,

Throughout this process, be very careful to avoid damaging the coils, and do not bend the fins, because that will impede the airflow through your dehumidifier. If there are spots in your dehumidifier that are particularly hard to reach, you may have to use a small brush.


Wipe the Fan Blades

Most dehumidifiers also use a fan to move air into the dehumidifier so moisture can be removed. Just like the fans in your home, the blades will collect dust, which can harm their overall performance and consistency. Cleaning these blades will help ensure your dehumidifier works better.


Routine Maintenance for a Clean, Long-Lasting Dehumidifier

In addition to cleaning, you will also want to perform a few basic maintenance steps. Filter replacement is likely the most important step for maintaining your dehumidifier.

Most dehumidifiers have an air filter that protects the internal components and ensures efficient operation. The owner’s manual of your dehumidifier should describe the time frame for filter replacement.

You should also check the water container or hose frequently. Make sure the water reservoir is not too full, and empty and rinse as needed. If the machine uses a hose, rinse out the hose with clean water.

On occasion, take off the outer cover and inspect the condenser coil for frost. If there is frost, unplug the machine until it thaws.


Enhance Your Air with Oransi Products

Now you know how to clean dehumidifiers, and you can use this information to enhance the air quality in your household.

You deserve clean, healthy air in your home. Contact the staff at Oransi and we’ll help you choose an air purifier that works perfectly for your needs. From large air purifiers for commercial offices to small purifiers for a child’s bedroom, we have the products you need for your work or home.
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