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What Is the Brown Stuff in My Dehumidifier

Woman Changing Water Container Of Dehumidifier At Home

Moisture is a good thing in the winter season. It prevents your skin from drying and keeps the environment moist and humid. However, its excessive amount can be harmful.

The extra moisture in your room can develop an ideal environment for mold growth resulting in several health issues.

A dehumidifier is a lifesaver for extracting excessive dampness from your home and creating a balance for optimal health.

If you often use your appliance, after a while, you will start noticing brown stuff inside it, making you wonder what it is.


The brown stuff in your dehumidifier is a build-up due to several reasons, such as

  • Mold growth.
  • Dust particles.
  • Mineral deposits.

No matter what the cause for the build-up is. It is gross to look at and affects your appliance’s performance.

Are you wondering about that strange substance in your dehumidifiers? Read further as we answer what is that yucky brown stuff in your dehumidifier and tips to prevent it.

What Is the Brown Stuff in My Dehumidifier and Its Causes?

Your dehumidifier can have brown build-up due to several reasons:

1. Dust Particles

Hand Take Air Conditioner Filter Net With Dust. Before Cleaning Process

As mentioned earlier, dehumidifiers are used to extract moisture from your room. In doing so, it also removes dust particles and mites from the environment.

These particles start accumulating in the water inside your dehumidifier, developing a gross brown color substance and a tangy smell.

2. Mold Growth

Very Dirty Humidifier Filter With Dust, Descale, Hair And Mold

If you do not clean your appliance regularly, you will also notice a brown color build-up inside the dehumidifier. It is due to mold growth that rapidly doubles in size, putting you at risk of several health issues.

Mold and mildew need a moist place to thrive with no sunlight. The stagnant water inside the dehumidifier serves as an ideal home for it, making it flourish within no time.

The best thing is to keep your dehumidifier clean and disinfected regularly.

3. Mineral Deposit

Changing Water Container Of Dehumidifier At Home. Dampness In Apartment

Another reason why you can get brown build-up in your dehumidifier is due to mineral deposits. Calcium is a common mineral in all types of water that starts accumulating in your dehumidifier.

After the water evaporates, it leaves behind the residue of calcium that sticks to the appliance component. With time, it changes color and turns brown from white.

Although it is not harmful to your health, it can affect your device’s performance and efficiency.

How To Clean Brown Build-Up

If you are sick and tired of having brown discharge in your dehumidifier that doesn’t go away, here are a few helpful tips to get a clean appliance within no time.

1. Regularly Empty Your Dehumidifier

Man Changing Water Container In Air Dryer, Dehumidifier, Humidity Indicator

As mentioned earlier, your dehumidifier extracts moisture from your home environment.

The vapor condenses and changes into water. This water is full of dust particles, mold spores, and minerals that can start accumulating if left unattended.

The best solution to prevent brown build-up is to regularly empty your dehumidifier and clean it with a soft cloth afterward.

2. Use Bleach

Mobile Air Purifier With Filters. Cleaning The Air In The Room. Dust Removal

An acid solution is ideal for removing the mineral deposit from your dehumidifier and making it work as well as new. If you notice a whitish deposit in your appliance, try to clean it immediately before it changes its color.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Take all the dehumidifier parts having build-up, and clean thoroughly with warm water.
  • Mix a teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water.
  • Use a soft cloth or brush to thoroughly clean the appliance with vinegar solution.
  • Once you have cleaned all the dirt and calcium build-up, place everything back, and you are good to go.

3. Disinfect Your Appliance

Moisture Absorption Process Of A Piece Of Quicklime

Cleaning your dehumidifier with an acid solution of bleach is ideal for removing the mineral deposits. However, if you have mold growth inside the tank, it is highly recommended to disinfect it.

Mold grows in multicellular structures called hype that release mold spores to look for ideal places for growth. If you do not disinfect your dehumidifier, the mold spores can redevelop, making it dirty again.

Here is an easy DIY solution to disinfect your dehumidifier:

  1. Clean all parts of your dehumidifier with soap.
  2. Make a mixture of a gallon of water with a cup of white vinegar.
  3. Use a soft cloth or brush to clean the appliance with vinegar solution thoroughly.
  4. It will clear out all the mold developed and keep it safe for future use.

5 Tips To Prevent Brown Build-Up in Your Dehumidifier

Man's Hand Turning On A Dehumidifier In The Entrance Of A House Or Office

Prevent is indeed better than cure. If you are vigilant and follow the tips mentioned below, you can prevent the brown discharge from developing on your appliance, making it more efficient and effective in performance.

Let’s look at some tips to make things easier:

  • Empty the dehumidifier regularly and let it dry before you place everything back inside.
  • A common reason for brown-colored build-up in your dehumidifier is dust particles. Clogged filters cannot clear the air properly and let the dust particles seep inside the water tank. It is highly essential to regularly clean the filters with warm water and let them dry before placing them back on.
  • If you notice brown stuff in your filter, it is better to change it. You can refer to the appliance manual to know the duration of a filter and replace it accordingly. It will not only help prevent brown stuff in the dehumidifier but also accelerates the performance of your appliance.
  • You can use a handheld vacuum to clean your dehumidifier. It will help in taking out dust particles set on tiny cervices easily.
  • Avoid placing your appliance in dusty places, as maximum exposure to dust will hinder its performance, and dust particles will also enter the device.


Nobody likes to see yucky brown stuff in their dehumidifier. If you notice a strange build-up in your appliance, immediately take action before it’s too late.

  • Thoroughly clean the machine using soapy water.
  • Use bleach or vinegar solution to clear out the accumulated brown discharge and get rid of it.
  • The best thing is to be vigilant with your dehumidifier and regularly empty it.
  • Clean out the filters or get them replaced if needed.

These simple and easy tips will prevent the brown stuff from developing and enhance your appliance’s performance.

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