How to Clean a Dehumidifier


A dehumidifier is an essential appliance for those living in high humidity areas. The unit takes moisture from the air and deposits it in a moisture collection tank or drains from the unit via a drain hose. Having a dehumidifier in your home helps manage moisture levels while protecting surfaces against mould and mildew. Like most appliances, regular cleaning is recommended, so here is your step by step guide on cleaning your dehumidifier properly.

Turn the Unit Off, Unplug, and Empty the Collection Bucket

Make sure the dehumidifier is unplugged and in the off position. Remove the collection bucket from the machine and empty the water. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe excess water from the collection bucket and check for any mould spots that may have accumulated within the bucket. Spray with an all purpose disinfectant spray or bleach to ensure the hard to reach areas are clean. Make sure the bucket is completely dry before placing it back in the unit.

Remove the Filter

Every dehumidifier has a filter that requires special attention. The filter location varies by brand and model of your dehumidifier, so consult your owner’s manual for the specific location. Take the filter out of the unit and tap lightly to remove any clogs. If any damage is apparent in the filter, you might need to order a replacement. However, if no damage is seen, use a mild detergent and water to soak the filter for 15 minutes. The detergent will target underlying mildew and mould that could be hiding.

Outer Cover

While the filter is soaking, carefully remove the outer cover of your dehumidifier. The cover is held on with a few screws and bolts, so you will need a screwdriver that fits the unit’s screws. Remove the front grille and ensure you do not obstruct or pull on any wires or essential mechanisms.

Heating and Cooling Coils

Once the cover is off, you should be able to see the heating and cooling coils. This area of the unit does not have to be cleaned often, but when a deep cleaning is necessary, you will need to access them. Use a long handled brush to carefully clean each coil. The fins can easily be broken or damaged, so us an up and down motion to go along the groove of the fins. A soft bristled brush will remove most dust and debris, but if the coils are exceptionally dirty, employing a coil cleaner is the best thing. The coil cleaner is specially designed with a degreasing solution to eliminate stubborn debris from the unit.

Protect the Motor

Once the coils are cleaned, you can turn your attention to the motor of the unit. The motor needs to be oiled and just a few drops into each hole will suffice. Take your time with this step and allow the oil to seep into the motor before adding more drops. Straiten any fins that move during cleaning and ensure all components of the motor are free of dust and debris.

Clean the Blades

The interior blades of your dehumidifier can get just as dirty as the rest of it, so make sure to wipe down each blade carefully with a damp cloth. Vacuum excess debris from hard to reach places on the inside of your unit.

Let Everything Dry

The last step in the process of cleaning your dehumidifier is allowing everything to dry completely. The blades, fins, motor, and the filter should be completely dry before putting it all back together. Once everything is dry completely, put all components back together and replace screws and bolts.

Check the Drain Hose (if applicable)

Not all dehumidifiers have a collection tank. Some makes and models utilize a drain hose to whisk moisture away from the unit. The drain hose can get clogged, so while you are cleaning the rest of your dehumidifier, check the drain hose and use a thin, long handled brush to clear out any debris. The hose is clean if it is draining properly.


Cleaning your dehumidifier is not a difficult process, but can be time consuming. Allowing the unit to dry can take up to an hour depending on how much cleaner is used or how thick the filter is. Generally, you want to empty the collection tank whenever it is full to keep the unit running as it should, but never neglect the need for a deep clean. Deep cleaning at least once per month will allow your dehumidifier to last for many years to come and help keep your home from harbouring harmful mould and mildew.

While cleaning your unit, wipe down the exterior structure as well. Although exterior dirt and grime may not limit the use of the dehumidifier, it is much better to have a clean looking appliance in your home.

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