A drain hose is one of the three ways you can drain condensate out of a dehumidifier. It allows you to gravity-drain the water to a more convenient spot and continuously. You don’t have to keep emptying your unit. However, with time the drain line can develop clogs or a smell if left without cleaning. So, how do you clean a dehumidifier drain hose?
The process is pretty easy; the best place to start would be the drain pan inside the dehumidifier. You want to track all the dirt from its source down the drain. You will need some cleaning agents to force out all the buildup grime inside the drain hose. Additionally, you might need a wet/dry vacuum to help clear possible clogs in the system.
As you can tell, cleaning a dehumidifier drain isn’t that complicated. However, it will all depend on the type of dehumidifier you have and accessibility to the drain. I have broken down all the steps you need to follow to make the whole process as seamless as possible in this post.
How to Clean Dehumidifier Drain Hose (the Right Way)
Why Do You Need to Clean a Dehumidifier Drain Hose?
Even though you might argue that a dehumidifier drain hose is reasonably tiny to get dirty, as dirt and debris flow with the water from the drain pan, some will be left inside the drain hose.
Even though the dehumidifier water might seem clean, it does collect all types of air contaminants from dust, mold, and other microscopic stuff. This stuff accumulates on the drain pan and is carried out by water as it flows through the drain hose.
As the water flows through the pipe, some are left inside the drain hose. With time, bacteria will form a biofilm slime that consists of multiple bacteria species.
The buildup of this thing starts to cause more dirt not to flow out of the drain hose. As time goes by, you begin to get green-whitish stuff out of the drain hose.
As more of this stuff collects, it will create a clog and blockage, and before you know it, your dehumidifier is leaking water. You might never notice it with a portable dehumidifier, but it’s a common problem with whole-house dehumidifiers.
These units have a long extended drain hose or pipe that drains condensate water from the drain pan outdoors. When the debris collects in the drain line, the water starts to back up the drain pan leading to a leak.
What’s more, you might start to get strange smells that you can’t seem to find their source. Apart from these, bacteria and fungi can start to grow inside the drain hose, something you don’t want happening in your watch.
Step-By-Step Cleaning of a Dehumidifier Drain Hose
Step 1: Remove Potential Drain Hose Clogs
You want to make sure the drain hose is clear before cleaning, especially if you started to see low to no condensate flow.
You can get rid of the potential clogs in the drain hose by using a wet/dry vacuum. It will help pull any stuff blocking the drain line from the drain pan to the drain hose mouth.
To create enough vacuum, you have to connect the vacuum hose to the drain hose mouth and seal it with tape or a wet towel.
When that is done, start the vacuum cleaner and allow it to run for three-five minutes. You can even pour vinegar or bleach on the drain pan as you vacuum to help sanitize and break down the bacteria inside the drain hose.
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If you don’t have a wet/dry vacuum, you can go with:
- A barbed plastic cleaning tool can work perfectly if the drain clogs are near the drain hose opening. You can get yourself a sink snare for this task. It’s able to pull out clogs inside the line relatively quickly, thanks to its back-angled barbs.
- You could use air or water-powered cleaner to blow out any stubborn drain clogs inside the drain hose. You can get yourself an aerosol drain cleaner or a water bladder that uses pressurized water.
- You could also treat the drain hose buildup and clogs biologically. You can get a bacterial or enzymatic hose cleaner for this task. However, the process requires patience; you will have to leave it overnight to allow the cleaner to break down and dissolve any organic matter in the drain line. These biological cleaners work slowly compared to chemical cleaners.
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Step 2: Clean the Drain Hose
Once you have cleared the potential clogs, it’s time to give the drain hose a nice cleaning to ensure all the bacteria that might have buildup inside it is gone and to get rid of any smell that might have started creating inside it. There are two methods you can try:
a) Use of Vinegar, Hot Water, and Baking Soda
When you mix these three ingredients, you create an organic cleaner that many people have used to clean home drains. It’s an effective cleaner for eliminating odors and also other buildups in the drain line.
It can help ensure you get rid of the bacteria and other organic matter inside the drain hose. It will also help prevent future clogs. How to apply them:
- Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain hose
- Follow by pouring ½ cup of white vinegar down the drain
- Cover the drain hose openings and allow it to sit for 15 minutes
- Afterward, pour three cups of boiling water down the drain (flush everything out)
- Mix two teaspoons of vinegar and baking soda and use it to clean the hose opening to remove mineral deposits around it.
b) Use of a Biological Cleaner
A biological cleaner is powerful enough to strip away any grime, bacterial, or dirt buildup inside the drain hose. It’s also called enzymatic drain cleaners.
It’s an effective cleaner that can help ensure all drains in your home, not just the dehumidifier drain hose, are clean and odor-free. It’s a proven method of dealing with harmful bacteria and mold. When applying it, follow the instructions provided by the manufactures.
And the best biological or enzymatic drain cleaner should be safe and environmentally friendly. You also want to make sure it’s safe for use with your drain hose or pipe type.
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How will I know my dehumidifier drain hose need cleaning?
One of the dehumidifier’s maintenance procedures is to make sure the water is draining out properly. If you notice some dirt flowing out of the drain with the water or there is no water draining out, and the dehumidifier pan is collecting some, it’s time to give the drain line some cleaning. What’s more, you should clean the drain when cleaning the dehumidifier, which should be done once every month.