How to Clean a Dehumidifier with Vinegar

The dehumidifier’s primary purpose is to clear up humid air (a mixture of water vapor and dry air) in your home. But if it doesn’t do that anymore, what should you do?

Well, a homeowner can do a cleaning process on the dehumidifier. So, one of the ways of doing the dehumidifier clean-up is using distilled white vinegar and water or mild soap. Without delay, here’s how to clean your dehumidifier using vinegar.

Does a Dehumidifier Need To Be Cleaned?

Yes, you need to clean and disinfect the dehumidifier regularly to keep it working at total capacity and prevent any airflow disruption. You have to protect yourself from harmful airborne pollutants that do well in wet conditions like dirty reservoirs.

So, routinely scan the reservoir and air filter for bacteria growth, mold, or mildew. And never use dirty humidifiers as they will do more harm than good.

Why should you Clean the Dehumidifier?

For you to purify and dry the air at your home, a dehumidifier draws out too much moisture, gunk, mold, and mildew from the air. Its inner parts like the air filter,  exhaust grills, and water collection bucket accumulate any impurity in the machine. If you don’t clean them regularly, you risk retransmitting impurities to your home’s atmosphere.

Moreover, debris or a loose dirt buildup can cause blockage in your dehumidifier’s air filter or pipes. And also reduce your dehumidifier’s overall performance. Moreover, you won’t experience a comfortable and healthy environment.

Can you Use Vinegar to Clean a Dehumidifier?

The best way of cleaning a dehumidifier is by spraying white vinegar or an apple cider vinegar cleaning solution on it, as it helps clean and disinfect its inner parts like the exhaust grill, drain pipe, water bucket, and air filter.

Moreover, vinegar is the best solution when it comes to killing fungal; it has the usefulness of destroying molds or mold spores in the shortest time.

How Often should I Clean my Dehumidifier?

I recommend a thorough cleaning of your dehumidifier every three weeks, depending on its surrounding environment and usage frequency. As it will boost your indoor air quality. Without frequent maintenance, dirt, dust, debris, hair, or other contaminants can clog the filters.

Water in the dehumidifier can also boos mold and bacteria growth over time. Also, if you don’t attend to the dehumidifier, mineral residues from the reservoir will spread to the compressor, hose, and coils.

How to Clean a Dehumidifier with Vinegar

1. Unplug the Dehumidifier from the Power Source 

Move the dehumidifier away from the power source even if you do a simple wiping or cleaning. Unplugging the dehumidifier will protect you against electrocution and also a fire hazard. Safety comes first!

2. Wipe the Exterior 

Use a soft fabric like microfiber to wipe the outer surface of the dehumidifier; this clears up grime, dust, and water buildup. Doing so will prevent harmful particles from dropping in the dehumidifier, causing a blockage. 

3. Clean the Water Reservoir

  • Pull out the dehumidifier’s water reservoir and clear out the moisture collected if there’s any.
  • Next, mix white vinegar with lukewarm water in a ratio of 1 to 10, rub the reservoir thoroughly. After that, wash it with water. Make sure you clear out any mold or mildew forming in the reservoir. As it may spread or trigger allergies.
  • Dry the reservoir using a damp cloth before returning it to the dehumidifier machine.

Note, skip that step if your dehumidifier has the auto drainage feature that pumps moisture towards the floor drain through a hose. 

4. Clean a Dehumidifier Air Filter 

Carefully discard the detachable filter. After that, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently clear away the dirt, dust mites, mold, or mildew particles sticking on the air filter.

For persistent dirt that you can’t vacuum off, look for a soft-bristled brush that will help you gently wash away the dirt with white vinegar.

Soak the filter and dry it thoroughly before attaching it back to your dehumidifier the way it should be.

Remember, never use a hairdryer when cleaning the air filter as it may heat it, leading to unnecessary damages. Importantly,  clean the air filter regularly to stop dust particles from reaching the dehumidifier’s inner components.

5. Clean the Dehumidifier’s Inner Parts 

Several dehumidifier types allow you to clean them up by vacuuming their naked coils or compressor if there is a dust accumulation.

Also, a spray bottle with water and ⅓ of white vinegar will help you deal with the dust.

Spray thoroughly to clear up the stains, wait for ten minutes.

After that, use a toothbrush or sponge to wipe away the inner parts. Air-dry it and close the panel afterward.

Most people go for white vinegar because it’s eco-friendly, a natural disinfectant, and cost-effective. 

6. Clean the Bucket Filter and Hose

Several dehumidifiers come with an extra drainage hose or bucket filter. Using white vinegar and warm water, flush the bucket filter and leave it to dry before placing it back.

The bucket filter traps stray pollutants while the hose diverts excess moisture to the floor drain instead of the dehumidifier bucket.

While at it, gently vacuum the naked coil or compressor in case of a dust accumulation.

7. Final Check

Plug the dehumidifier back and turn it on for a few hours; this gives you a chance to examine if it’s running smoothly. Remember to record the date you cleaned the dehumidifier for future reference.

Scan and check if there’s an error code, condensation, dip in performance, or a knocking sound. Repeat the cleaning process every 2-4 weeks or when need be. Never use a dehumidifier without a filter.

Other Alternatives to Clean a Dehumidifier

1. Dehumidifier Cleaning Tablets

  • Unplug the Dehumidifier from the power source
  • Discard the tank from the dehumidifier 
  • Drop 2-4 cleaning tablets on the tank. You can use AC-safe pan tablets.
  • Repeat the above step every time you empty the tank
  • Rinse and wipe the tank
  • Reattach the tank back to the dehumidifier 
  • Turn on the dehumidifier

2. Vacuuming

  • Unplug the Dehumidifier from the power source 
  • Remove the filter from the dehumidifier
  • Locate the dirt, dust, or debris
  • Vacuum both the dehumidifier’s filter sides for about two minutes
  • Examine the filter against bright light for any unwanted particles left behind
  • If there are no persistent particles on the filter, attach the filter back to the dehumidifier

3. Using Bleach

  • Unplug the Dehumidifier from the power source 
  • Shut off the dehumidifier from the power supply
  • Pour some drops of bleach into the tank.
  • Dilute the bleach with cold water
  • Spread the bleach to the mold spots
  • Let it stay for a few minutes
  • After that, scrub the tank to make it spotless
  • Turn on the dehumidifier

4. Muriatic and Sulfamic Acids

  • Unplug the Dehumidifier from the power source 
  • Mix ½ cup of muriatic or sulfamic acid with a gallon of water
  • Stir the solution thoroughly 
  • Pour the acidic solution into the dehumidifier reservoir
  • Let the solution stir for a few minutes
  • Dry the reservoir using a damp cloth 
  • Return the reservoir to the dehumidifier machine

How to Clean a Dehumidifier Air Filter

  1. Shut off and unplug the dehumidifier. Cut it off from the power supply before attempting to maintain it.
  2. Remove the filter. Detach the filter from the dehumidifier. If there is excess dust on your filter, consider removing it. I’m sure you won’t like it when the dust flies all over your home.
  3. Clear excess dust. Get rid of the dust buildup on the filter. On this, you don’t need special tools. Your hand will sort it out.
  4. Rinse with water. Water is necessary when cleaning dirtier filters since you have to rinse them to clear up the dust mesh.
  5. Dry the filter. Before attaching the filter back to your dehumidifier, let the filter dry. Once it’s dry, you will be able to notice any persistent dust on the filter. 

How to Clean a Dehumidifier Water Tank

  1. Shut off and unplug the dehumidifier. Make sure to power down and unplug the dehumidifier before you do maintenance.
  2. Remove the water tank. Discard the water tank from the dehumidifier and clear out all the water.
  3. Prepare the solution. For this step, use a solution of equal amounts of vinegar and water to clean the tank. Alternatively, you can use different mild detergent solutions, for example, water and dish soap. Both work fine.
  4. Rinse the tank with the solution. Sprinkle your solution inside your tank and stir it around. Your solution has to contact the dehumidifier tank’s inner surfaces. Leave it for 30-35 minutes for the cleaning mixture to mold and mineral buildup within the tank. For persistent buildup, allow the tank to rinse for longer.
  5. Scrub your tank. Use a soft scrubber to clean the inner surfaces of the tank. You need to eliminate any buildup that the solution could not remove by itself. Similarly, the type of scrubber you chose to clean the dehumidifier is essential. Moreover, using a toothbrush will help when you have to clean up the tank’s corners or cracks. Please stay away from some green scrubbers; they will scratch any plastics on your dehumidifier.
  6. Rinse the dehumidifier tank. After scrubbing off the buildup, soak the tank using water and allow it to dry before reattaching it to the dehumidifier.

How to Clean Dehumidifier Coils

  1. Shut down and unplug the dehumidifier before trying to maintain it.
  2. Disassemble your dehumidifier. Discard the protective case from the dehumidifier to uncover the coil. Carefully note how the manufacturer’s pieces fit together to make it easier for you to put them back together after finishing the clean-up. Taking pictures of the dehumidifier will help a lot!
  3. Clean excess dust. Wipeout excess dust from the dehumidifier’s coil. Avoid using compressed air or anything that can push dust to the coil. You can try a vacuum instead.
  4. Use coil cleaners where necessary. Well, using a coil cleaner or a mild detergent solution will help you to peel off the grime from the dehumidifier’s coils. Detergent-based cleaners will work for several purposes.
  5. Depending on the kind of cleaner you decide to use, it’s necessary for you to soak the coils with water after cleaning them. You don’t have to rinse some aircon coil cleaners after using them. But I would advise you to wipe out as much coil cleaner as possible.
  6. Reassemble your dehumidifier. After cleaning up the dehumidifier thoroughly, put its parts back together. Confirm that your dehumidifier has thoroughly dried before putting its pieces back together. After that, you can use your dehumidifier.

How to Clean Out Mold Spores from a Dehumidifier

  1. Shut down and unplug the dehumidifier from a power supply before maintenance.
  2. Assess the mold to see if they have lined up on one area or scattered themselves throughout the dehumidifier.
  3. Clean your dehumidifier. If the mold growth is terrible, you may have to clean the dehumidifier’s extra parts.
  4. Apply an anti-mold reagent. For persistent mold reappearing, use the available anti-mold spray to disrupt mold growth.

How to Clean Dehumidifier with Vinegar FAQ’s 

What is the Brown Stuff in my Dehumidifier?

You’re bound to see some brown stuff in the appliance that consists of mold and dirt. Over time, the brown stuff develops to a heavy brown-beige slime – it sticks on the inner and outer parts of the dehumidifier unit. Lengthy exposure to the molds can cause a deadly respiratory problem called humidifier lung. The best way of dealing with the molds is to clean up the dirty dehumidifier unit.

Does Vinegar Kill Mold in Dehumidifiers?

Though most people use bleach and different solutions, they aren’t entirely effective as vinegar when cleaning a dehumidifier. Why so? Winegar helps clean and disinfect the dehumidifier’s inner parts like the exhaust grill, drain pipe, air filter, and water bucket. Moreover, it’s the undisputed fungal killer as it’s potent when destroying mold or mold spores in a short time. Compared to bleach, vinegar kills deeper fungus membranes.

What can I Put in my Dehumidifier to Prevent Mold?

There are different products you, as a dehumidifier owner, can add to it. They vary from bacteriostatic chemicals to treatment capsules that help maintain their cleanliness. You can spray such antimicrobials on the dehumidifier coil and other areas prone to mold growth. Remember to keep treating the dehumidifier each month to keep molds away.

Vinegar to Clean Dehumidifier

We’ve seen how it’s easy to clean a dehumidifier using vinegar. It gets highly uncomfortable to live in a house with humid. Trust me! But if you follow the tips I’ve mentioned before, your dehumidifier will function efficiently again. So, implement them!