Dehumidifiers of different types require very little maintenance, but it is an essential step in keeping your unit in excellent condition for a long time. This typically includes emptying and washing the tank and cleaning the dehumidifier filter.
Like most useful appliances, a disadvantage of dehumidifiers to be aware of is that they do require a small amount of basic regular maintenance. Each part of your dehumidifier has a role to play and it must be cleaned regularly. Failure to do so can reduce the unit’s effectiveness and efficiency or shorten its life.
In particular, the air filter needs cleaning after a certain period of use or if you notice that it’s full of dust and dirt and the unit isn’t functioning as usual. If you think you need to clean your dehumidifier’s filter but are not sure how to do it, this guide aims to help you with this task.
Why You Need to Clean Dehumidifier Filter
Moisture attracts mold and dust mites to your home. When airborne, these particles can trigger severe reactions in people with allergies or asthma. To prevent these, a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. Meanwhile, the dust, dirt, and mold spores that come along with it are trapped in the filter, improving your indoor air quality. Frequent cleaning of your dehumidifier’s air filter removes these allergens that accumulated on the surface and inside the unit. Thus, it reduces the chances of mold growth and the potential harm it can cause.
The filter also protects the internal components of your dehumidifier. If any impurities settle inside the unit, it can hinder proper operation.
Additionally, a dusty filter and air grilles can block the airflow. If the air filter is clogged with dust, dirt, and other impurities, the limited airflow can cause the fan motor to heat up. You will first notice a wheezing noise as the air tries to pass through the clogged filter. The dehumidifier has to work harder to accomplish its task, and over time, if the air cannot pass through the filter at all, the unit will keep working while getting no results. This wastes a lot of electricity on poor performance.
Many dehumidifiers feature indicator lights on the panel to remind you to clean the filter after a certain amount of time. In any case, you can check it yourself and see if it needs cleaning.
How to Clean a Dehumidifier Filter (Step by Step)
The process is pretty straightforward. It involves essentially the same steps for any standard residential dehumidifier. You can always check your manual for specific details, but here are some basic steps that will be useful in maintaining your dehumidifier’s air filter.
First, you will need a dish soap or mild detergent, a sponge or clean cloth, and gloves.
1. Turn off and unplug your dehumidifier.
Before you remove any part of the dehumidifier, make sure to switch it off and unplug it. Remember that a dehumidifier is an electrical appliance that deals with water or condensate. For your safety, it’s best to keep the unit’s surroundings dry and do the cleaning from a safe distance.
2. Locate the filter panel.
Dehumidifiers from recent years usually feature more or less the same design, but older models may look a bit different. In any case, the air filter should be in the same place where the air enters the unit, behind the air grilles on the back of the unit. Check your manual to make sure you’re looking in the right place.
3. Remove the filter.
Again, it depends on each individual dehumidifier model, but usually, once you locate the filter panel, the filter itself must be right behind the panel. In most cases, you just need to remove the panel and then the air filter. For some units, the two may be stuck together so you can clean them both at the same time. There are also some models with filters that you can simply pull out from the top of the unit. Although, there may be some cases where you need to remove the tank first to pull out the filter from the bottom. It’s always best to consult your manual first.
4. Wash the filter.
If your dehumidifier has a check filter reminder, this should be done at least every month. If not, and this is only your first time cleaning your filter after months of using it, your filter may be filled with dust, dirt, and all kinds of impurities in the air. Reusable filters are typically made from mesh that’s perfectly washable. Just rinse it with warm water in the sink until all dust and dirt are removed.
You can also use a cleaning solution with a mixture of warm water and mild liquid soap. If you notice any breaks or tears in the mesh during washing, you may need to replace the filter with a new one. Most manufacturers provide filter replacements for particular units. If it’s under warranty, you might even get a replacement for free.
5. Dry the filter.
After removing all the dust and dirt from your dehumidifier’s filter, you need to let it air dry for a few minutes. Remember that your dehumidifier removes water from the air, so a wet filter will only make that job tougher. Wipe the filter dry with a soft cloth and again make sure there are no tears on the mesh. Now, you’re ready to put back the filter.
6. Clean the dehumidifier.
Meanwhile, you should also clean your dehumidifier bucket and bucket filter with warm soapy water. Every few weeks, you also must disinfect the reservoir bucket with white vinegar and scrub it clean to prevent mold build-up. Wipe it with a dry cloth before placing back.
While you’re at it, you should also clean the exterior of the unit, but remember not to spray water directly on the unit. The dehumidifier’s coils also need to be cleaned, but it usually requires professional service. You may vacuum any remaining debris inside.
7. Place the filter back in your dehumidifier.
This step is only as simple as removing the filter. Make sure the rest of the dehumidifier is also clean before placing back the filter. Put it back in its proper position along with the panel and other parts you removed. Press the filter button, if your unit has one, to reset the filter timer.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dehumidifier’s Filter
Many dehumidifiers today have a filter reminder on the panel. It lights up after 250 total hours of dehumidifier use to remind you to clean the filter. If you run the unit for 8 hours a day, this is equivalent to around one month.
If the dehumidifier doesn’t have a filter reminder, it may be easy to forget to clean its filter, especially if it’s running in the basement or any room you don’t frequently visit. In this case, it will be helpful to take note of the date on your calendar and set a reminder yourself. Depending on the frequency and duration of use and the conditions in the room, you should clean your dehumidifier filter at least once every month. If any, follow the user manual for cleaning instructions.
Even the best dehumidifiers need proper care and timely maintenance and cleaning to keep functioning for a long time. To ensure your health and comfort and help your dehumidifier last long, it’s recommended that you clean the filter at least once every month. These are only some basic steps in the cleaning process to keep your dehumidifier working efficiently. Each model may be different, with specific guidelines for usage, troubleshooting, and maintenance. For specific concerns, consult your manual for instructions or contact your manufacturer.