How to clean a dehumidifier

Heating, Cooling & Air Quality

While you may want to expedite the drying process, it is important to let the parts of your dehumidifier air dry. Never use a hairdryer on any part of your dehumidifier, especially the filter, as the heat may damage the unit.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

What’s the best way to clean a dehumidifier?

If you live in an exceptionally dry climate, such as Arizona or other southwestern states, you may have no need for a dehumidifier. However, for most of the country, humidity levels are high enough at different times of the year to make running a dehumidifier beneficial to your home and health.

A dehumidifier needs to be regularly cleaned to keep it at its peak and to keep you healthy. While the level of cleaning you can (and should) perform will vary from model to model, there are a few basic tasks that must routinely be performed on all models.

Who needs a dehumidifier?

People tend to feel the most comfortable when the relative humidity is between 30% and 60%. However, once you get above 50%, the environment becomes suitable for mold growth, so many experts recommend that humidity levels in the home stay below 50%.

Rather than focusing on a particular number, it is important to look for signs. If you have beads of water on your windows and/or walls and ceiling, mold spots, a musty odor that permeates your home or someone with chronic respiratory issues, these could all be signs that your house (and the people living there) may benefit from a dehumidifier. Additionally, the wood in a home with humidity that is too high may swell and crack — this includes furniture as well as hardwood floors, joists and studs.

Why do I need to clean my dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier doesn’t just remove the moisture from the air, it helps circulate that air throughout your home. If the filter is dirty, your dehumidifier will need to work harder to operate, which can shorten its lifespan. Beyond that, the wet environment inside a dehumidifier can promote mold growth inside the unit. If you don’t regularly clean that mold away, the dehumidifier could potentially make the mold problem in your home worse. 

How often do I need to clean my dehumidifier?

While areas such as the filter will need to be cleaned according to usage — if the unit isn’t running, the filter isn’t being used — other areas will need to be cleaned routinely, regardless of how often the dehumidifier is running. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning your dehumidifier every three weeks, while others suggest once each week. If you are cleaning your dehumidifier once every three weeks and finding a lot of mold and mildew, move to cleaning it every two weeks. It is better to clean before a problem starts than to wait until it is obvious.

How to clean a dehumidifier: A step-by-step guide

There are three areas on every dehumidifier that need regular attention. Before beginning any cleaning, however, make sure the dehumidifier is turned off and unplugged.

How to clean the outside of your dehumidifier

microfiber cleaning cloth

Cleaning the outside of your dehumidifier is often just a matter of wiping it down with a microfiber cleaning cloth. If the unit is particularly dirty, moistening your cleaning cloth with warm water should do the trick. Never spray water directly on the dehumidifier.

How to clean the filter of your dehumidifier


Consult your owner’s manual to locate and learn how to remove your model’s filter. Before washing, consider vacuuming the filter to remove any dust. When you are ready to wash the filter, use warm water, mild detergent and the non-abrasive side of a sponge, being careful not to damage the filter while cleaning. Rinse thoroughly and let the filter dry completely before replacing.

How to clean the reservoir of your dehumidifier

Consult your owner’s manual to locate and learn how to remove your model’s reservoir. Again, using warm water, mild detergent (or equal parts white vinegar and water) and the non-abrasive side of a sponge, clean the reservoir, being careful to remove any and all mold and mildew spots. Allow the reservoir to dry thoroughly before replacing.

Should I clean other parts of my dehumidifier?

Unless a cleaning process is specifically recommended by the manufacturer and detailed in the owner’s manual, the only other cleaning you may want to do is give the dehumidifier a good vacuuming.

Best dehumidifiers

LG Electronics PuriCare 50-Pint Dehumidifier

LG Electronics PuriCare 50-Pint Dehumidifier

If you need a dehumidifier that can handle large rooms, this Energy Star certified model is a top choice. It is packed with safety and convenience features such as an automatic shutoff and an automatic restart for power outage situations.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

FRIGIDAIRE Energy Star 50-Pint Dehumidifier

FRIGIDAIRE Energy Star 50-Pint Dehumidifier

Capable of removing up to 50 pints of water from the air each day, this is another model that is large enough for basements and garages. It features three speeds, a full-tank alert and an optional continuous drain mode.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Toshiba 50-Pint Dehumidifier

Toshiba 50-Pint Dehumidifier

For value, this model is hard to beat. It is capable of covering up to 4,500 square feet, yet costs significantly less than comparable models. This unit also features a filter cleaning warning that lets you know when it is time to clean the filter so the dehumidifier will always operate at peak efficiency.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

hOmeLabs Dehumidifier

hOmeLabs Dehumidifier

If aesthetics are important, this sleek model may be for you. It can handle an indoor space that is up to 1,500 square feet, is Energy Star certified and can remove up to 22 pints of water from the air in a day.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Frigidaire 22-Pint Dehumidifier

Frigidaire 22-Pint Dehumidifier

This smaller model can remove up to 22 pints of water per day. It has all the essential features of other top models, plus a front water-level indicator for at-a-glance convenience.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.