How to Clean a Dehumidifier

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a clean dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are excellent tools for reducing the amount of moisture in your air. They help keep your home comfortable while preventing mold and mildew. But with so much water running through these devices, the interior – including the water collection tank – requires regular cleaning. We’ll show you how to do it in this article.

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How to Clean a Dehumidifier – Step by Step

Cleaning a dehumidifier isn’t especially complicated, but there are quite a few steps involved. This is due to the number of components in the dehumidifier and the different methods of cleaning each component. Here’s a step-by-step on how to do it:

Step 1 – Preparations

Before you begin cleaning, make sure your dehumidifier is unplugged. You will use water and a cleaning solution during the process, so be sure to eliminate any potentially unsafe contact with an electrical device.

You’ll also need to gather the following materials that you’ll use in cleaning:

Now that you’re ready to go, here’s how to clean your dehumidifier piece by piece:

Step 2 – Wipe the Machine

The first step in cleaning the dehumidifier is to wipe the outside of the device. Your dehumidifier has vents and grills on the outside of the device, which help remove contaminants from the air. Use a dry cloth (or a slightly damp cloth) to wipe any obvious dirt, debris, or smudges off the exterior of the device.

Be sure you don’t use an excessive amount of water or solution for this process. Your dehumidifier has electrical components, which can be damaged by excess moisture. This is why we need to remove components from the device – including the dehumidifier bucket – to clean it effectively.

Step 3 – Clean the Filter

The air filter is the section of your dehumidifier which purifies the air of undesirable decontaminants – including mildew, dirt, and other particulate matter. You need to clean the dehumidifier filter so that it doesn’t get full of debris to the point that it can’t do its job properly.

Remove the air filter from your device and rinse it with water. Take your sponge and wipe down the air filter with soapy water, being sure that you free the dirt and debris – which could include mold spores – from the filter. Be sure to scrub to remove any stuck-on matter, but don’t damage the delicate filter. Let the filter sit and be sure that it’s completely dry before putting back in the dehumidifier.

woman cleaning a dehumidifier water resevoir

Step 4 – Clean the Water Reservoir

The moisture taken from the air has to go somewhere, and your dehumidifier collects it in a “bucket” or “reservoir” at the bottom of the device. Since the dehumidifier water may contain certain contaminants, the bucket can get quite dirty as the water sits.

Remove the tank, and fill it with warm, soapy water. Let it sit for 10 minutes and drain. Then, scrub the dehumidifier bucket with your sponge and warm, soapy water, completely cleaning the sides of any dirt or mildew. Before you reinsert the bucket, let it dry completely.

How Do You Get Mold Out of a Dehumidifier Bucket?

It’s not uncommon to find mold or mildew in your dehumidifier bucket. If this is the case, use your best mold and mildew remover – we recommend RMR-86.

Spray down the water collection reservoir (where you would typically find mildew) and let it sit for 10 minutes. If you use RMR-86 you shouldn’t need to scrub it, but using a scrub brush won’t hurt.

Now rinse it off and you should be mold and mildew-free!

How Do I Clean the Gunk out of a Dehumidifier Bucket?

You may find grease and gunk built up in your dehumidifier bucket. If so, spray down your bucket with a degreaser (we recommend Super Clean). Let it sit a few minutes, then take your hose and rinse it off. You’re going to love the clean air coming out of your freshly cleaned dehumidifier!

Clean the Bucket Filter

While the reservoir is outside of the device, don’t forget to locate and clean the “bucket filter.” The bucket filter is a small filter that acts as an extra layer of protection to remove impurities from the bucket itself. This filter is small and will be attached somewhere around the reservoir if your device has one. To be sure, check the manual beforehand. To clean, simply soak in warm water and scrub the filter. The device is small, so it’s quick and easy.

Step 5 – Vacuum the Device

Often with devices such as this, dirt and debris can get stuck just below the surface of the device in little nooks and crannies as it enters the machine. This is why we recommend taking a vacuum to the exterior of the device. This works best with a thin vacuum attachment, for targeting your efforts.

Run the vacuum over the device, and you’ll be good to go.

Step 6 – Regularly Change Water Tank

Once you’re done, be sure that you regularly empty the water tank. You may need to do this more or less often depending on how frequently you run the dehumidifier and the amount of moisture (humidity) in your air. This prevents buildup from occurring within the tank and prevents it from overflowing.

cleaning gunk from water reservoir

Remember – Check the Manual

The above guide was intended for most home-dehumidifier devices. But don’t forget to check the manual for your specific device. It might be the case that your machine has a unique construction or specific components that need to be cleaned. Your manual will give you all the details on what to use and how to remove certain components for cleaning.

Can I Use Vinegar to Clean a Dehumidifier?

For many household cleaning tasks, people prefer to use a homemade vinegar solution for cleaning. We’re happy to report that this solution is an effective way to clean your dehumidifier. Vinegar’s acidity helps to break down particulate matter so you can rub it away.

A vinegar solution can help clean both your reservoir and the air filter on the device. We recommend a solution that is 50/50 warm water and vinegar.

For cleaning the bucket, you’ll want to remove the bucket and fill it about halfway with your vinegar solution. Then, take your sponge or cloth and rub the sides clean.

For the air filter, fill a sink or bucket with your vinegar solution. Then, submerge the filter and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Wait for the solution to break down particulates on the filter. Then, remove the filter and scrub with your sponge, removing any further dirt or debris.


Thanks for reading our guide to cleaning out your dehumidifier. Giving your dehumidifier a regular clean is a great way to keep it in working order and keep your home clean of particulates and extra moisture. Follow our steps above and be sure to give your dehumidifier regular attention, even if it’s just emptying the reservoir!

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