Finally, A Clean Dehumidifier!

The Problem

If you live where there’s a humid season, running a dehumidifier in your home will reduce the risk of mold growth and make the air more comfortable.

But you might find, as I did, that the dehumidifier catchment bucket is nearly impossible to clean. There are so many hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in these buckets that even using a bottle brush leaves many areas untouched.

This is a real problem, because that slimy film in a dehumidifier often harbors mildew and bacteria. The air blowing out of the dehumidifier is likely to carry contaminants from these organisms. Certainly not an ideal situation for someone who has sensitivities and needs good indoor air quality!

In this article you can follow along to learn how I shopped for, prepared, and tested a dehumidifier. And near the end, there’s a bonus air purification hack for you!

Shopping for a Dehumidifier

I went online to shop for a new dehumidifier, intending to choose much more carefully this time. Soon it became clear that sellers and manufacturers are not interested in revealing the bucket structure. There was no way to know what the inside of the bucket looked like unless I went to a store, removed a machine from its box, and looked inside.

This surprised me. I couldn’t believe nobody else was bothered by being unable to properly clean an appliance that blows air throughout their home. And I couldn’t believe that no company was selling a dehumidifier with a cleanable bucket.

Dehumidifier Reviews

My next stop was (my library has a subscription to it). But I found that CR does not assess ease of cleaning! Oh, right… I’d run into this before when shopping for an immersion blender. I wrote to Consumer Reports, recommending that they include “Ease of Cleaning” in their assessments.

My next step was to read other online reviews. In some cases it was possible to search for the keyword “clean” or “cleaning”, and eventually I found my way to an unusually-shaped dehumidifier from Midea that seemed promising.

What I Ordered

I ordered from because they offer a good warranty that even includes power surge damage. This is what I got:

Cube 20-Pint 2-Speed Wi-Fi Connected Dehumidifier ENERGY STAR
Lowes Item #5019974
Midea Model #MAD20S1QWT
I did not plan to use the wifi, but there was no Cube model without wifi.
This is the lowest capacity model. At the time of publication, it was out of stock at Lowe’s, but the 50 pint model was in stock.

The First Test: Cleanability

When my new Midea CUBE Dehumidifier arrived, I opened the box on my porch and inspected the bucket. Wonderful! A large, unobstructed vessel with some small ridges at the edges. And one little mechanical device on the side, which was easy enough to pop off and clean. First test passed!

The Second Test: Tolerability

As always, I must point out that that everyone’s different, and you might not be able to tolerate something that is fine for me. But I’m pretty high up on the sensitivity scale!

I placed the Cube Dehumidifier in the sun for a couple of days to speed the offgassing of any plastics or electronics that might cause air quality issues. Then I moved it into my cellar and left it to continue airing for a few weeks. After that I was thrilled to find that it did not smell much at all compared to most of today’s electronic products.

The Third Test: In Action

I moved the Cube Dehumidifier to my bathroom for a first run. If it despoiled my air, I’d be able run my bathroom exhaust fan and clear out the fumes. I turned it on, and…. it was awesome! Nothing offensive. I adjusted some settings, verified that the wifi signal was turned off, and it’s been merrily chugging along ever since.


Even though the bucket is easy to clean, I like to take preventive measures. After emptying the bucket, I toss in a spoonful of Borax or baking soda before putting it back in service. This maintains a pH that discourages stuff from growing in there. You could use something acidic instead (citric acid powder, perhaps?) to keep the pH at the other end of the spectrum.

I’m Now a Happy Camper

So happy, indeed, that I ordered a second Midea Cube (I need one for each floor of my house). I sent one of the old dirty machines down to work in the cellar. Eventually I’ll replace that with a Cube also.

BONUS: Air Purification Hack

I’m always looking for opportunities to run air through activated charcoal filters. They remove VOCs and, to a lesser degree, remove smoke. New research shows charcoal may also be able to trap mold and mildew spores!

The Midea Cube is easy to retrofit for air filtering. All you need to do is attach a piece of flexible low density charcoal air filter material to the outside of the unit, covering all intake holes. I recommend using only the low fan speed when you have filters on. Low speed will reduce strain on the fan motor and make the filtering more effective as the air moves slower.

I did not have a filter panel large enough to cover the whole area, so I used two smaller panels that I tend to keep in stock: the MD1-0005 from, which come in a 4-pack. You can also get air filter material from (I’ve had routinely excellent experiences ordering filters from both of these sources. The machines from Vornado sometimes have too much electronic stink for me though; it’s hit or miss. Charcoal House always provides good answers when I have questions, they definitely understand sensitivities.)

I stapled two MD1-0005 filter panels together to make one long piece, then trimmed it to fit. I might try sewing them next time. To secure the filter in place, on one machine I used old suspenders; on the other machine I used yarn. Both are working fine. The only issue is, the filter covers up an arrow that shows how to align the bucket after emptying it. You can peek under the edge of the filter to find the arrow, but I just remember this: the aLignment arrow is on the Left side.

More Air Purification Hacks

Check back soon, because I’m going to write an article about using this type of filter material in various creative ways.

More Midea

Because of this good experience, I looked to Midea first when shopping for a new air conditioner. You can read about that here.

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