Mold is a tenacious household hazard that can grow pretty much anywhere it has access to sufficient humidity. It may be found on walls, floors, ceilings, kitchen cabinets, windowpanes, carpets, and even books. Mold also causes a host of physical discomforts for people and animals living nearby, including allergies, respiratory distress, and headaches. Using a dehumidifier in your affected spaces can keep mold from gaining a foothold and spreading, or from coming back once it has been removed. In this article, we discuss the best dehumidifier for mold. If this is a problem in your house, you can’t afford to stop reading now!
- How Much Humidity is Dangerous?
- Understanding Relative Humidity
- Features in Top Dehumidifiers
- Choosing the Right Size
- Product Comparison
- Product Reviews
- 1 TOSOT 70 Pint Dehumidifier spaces up to 4500 sq. ft, Perfect Basements, Energy Star Certified, Portable Wheels, Reduce Mold Moisture
- 2 hOmeLabs 4000 Sq Ft Dehumidifier 70 Pint Energy Star Safe Mid Size Portable Dehumidifiers for Basements & Large Rooms with Fan Wheels and Continuous Drain Hose Outlet to Remove Odor
- 3 Ivation 50-Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier - Compressor Dehumidifier for Spaces Up to 3,000 Sq Ft - Includes Programmable Humidistat, Hose Connector, Auto Shutoff/Restart & Washable Filter (50 Pint)
- 4 Frigidaire 30-Pint Dehumidifier with Effortless Humidity Control, White
- 5 PerfectAire PAD50 50 Pints/Day Dehumidifier, Adjustable Humidistat, Timer, Washable Filter, 3000 Sq Ft Coverage
- Common Locations for Mold
- Sneaky Hiding Places for Mold
- How to Remove Mold
- Keeping Your Dehumidifier Clean
How Much Humidity is Dangerous?
Most people feel comfortable with humidity levels between 30% and 50%. At 60%, however, conditions are right for mold to grow and spread. Reducing the humidity to 50% or lower will stop the spread of mold, but not necessarily kill existing dormant spores. In times when the humidity creeps above that critical mark, the mold will begin to proliferate again.
Now, if you are able to keep humidity levels below 60% for at least a week straight, most spores will die and your air will be quite a bit cleaner. However, it doesn’t take much residual mold to trigger a recurrence. There are also several common varieties of mold, some of which are better able to “weather” periods of low humidity and begin to grow again the moment conditions are right. It’s best to have mold thoroughly (perhaps even professionally) removed as early as possible and then run your dehumidifier consistently to prevent it from coming back.
Understanding Relative Humidity
Relative humidity is simply a measure of how much moisture is in the air at any given time, compared to how much it could hold at the current temperature. You have probably noticed that conditions are much more humid during summer months – that’s because warm air can hold more water than cold air. Numerous health organizations recommend keeping relative humidity in your home below 50%.
On the other end of the scale, humidity levels below 30% can cause health issues as well. Beyond the potential for receiving a painful shock every time you touch something, really dry air tends to suck moisture out of skin. This can lead to chapped and cracked lips, dry and itchy skin, and frequent nosebleeds. Air that is too dry will also cause your wooden products to and shrink and warp, cracking paint in the process.
Your new dehumidifier will likely allow you to set your desired relative humidity level precisely. Some models also have a built-in humidistat, which shows what the moisture level is at the moment. Read on for other potential features to consider.
Features in Top Dehumidifiers
Following are some common features found in top rated dehumidifiers. If you shop carefully, you won’t have to make many (or any) compromises when purchasing a dehumidifier for mold removal.
If your dehumidifier has lots of features, you’ll need a control panel that makes it easy to manage them. Many come with an LED display screen through which you can turn the unit on and off, see the current relative humidity, set a timer, be alerted to a full tank, and more. You want a dehumidifier with an interface that’s easy to navigate or else you may struggle to take advantage of the available features.
Auto restart turns the dehumidifier back on after a power outage. This is helpful just because it’s one less thing to think about. But sometimes a power outage can be brief, and if you weren’t at home at the time, you’ll never know it happened – until you discover your dehumidifier hasn’t been working, of course. Auto restart also typically saves your settings so that you don’t have to reprogram the unit.
Hose Drainage Connection
If you rely on the collection tank in your dehumidifier, you will need to empty the tank pretty frequently. Choosing a dehumidifier with a drainage hose connection allows you to direct the collected water elsewhere for continuous drainage instead. Most utilize gravity to drain the water, so your hose will need to slope downward from the unit to a floor drain or utility sink. For a little extra money, you can get a dehumidifier with pump included, so that water may be forced in any direction to the drain. You can also buy a pump separately to integrate with your drainage system.
A timer feature allows you to run the dehumidifier only when you want to. This is helpful if you find that the noise bothers you, or if there are off peak hours when electricity is less expensive. You may also want to set the timer to bump the fan up to a higher mode when you know it will be especially humid.
Most dehumidifiers don’t work very well in cold weather. The coils used to cause water to condense can freeze over, for starters. But the condensing process also doesn’t work very well when the air is extremely cold. To avoid wasting energy on a dehumidifier that runs but doesn’t pull water, look for a model with some sort of auto defrost function. Some will simply turn off the machine when the coils freeze, but others can stop just the compressor and leave a fan running to assist the thawing process. More expensive units have a hot-gas defrosting feature.
Washable Air Filter
Though it is not their primary function, dehumidifiers also help to purify the air. Moist air is pulled through an air filter that traps allergens and dust particulates. Over time, the air filter gets clogged. This limits circulation and causes the dehumidifier to work too hard to move air. Left alone, a clogged filter will burn out the dehumidifier’s motor. If your air filter is washable, you can simply remove, rinse, let dry, and replace. If not, you’ll need to order and install a replacement before you can keep using your machine.
Easy-to-Empty Bucket or Tank
A full water collection tank can be quite heavy, so you’ll want to think about how you are going to empty it. A larger machine with a huge capacity won’t do a ton of good if you struggle to empty the bucket. You may want to look for a dehumidifier with an easily accessed tank featuring ergonomic carrying handles.
If your dehumidifier is going to run in a space that you occupy frequently, you will probably want one that runs without a lot of noise. However, there is a trade-off when it comes to sound level. The quietest dehumidifier won’t have an internal compressor to chill the coils, relying instead on something called a peltier module. It also won’t be as powerful as a compressor-driven model. Most compressor dehumidifiers stay below 60 dB, but that might still aggravate you if you have trouble ignoring white noise.
Choosing the Right Size
All dehumidifiers, insofar as they reduce humidity, are effective in controlling mold. But it is important to choose one that’s big enough to handle the room or rooms where you use it. Dehumidifiers come in many different types and sizes, but where mold is an issue, we recommend sticking with an electric model over a desiccant version, which simply uses silica gel beads to absorb excess humidity.
All dehumidifiers should list the maximum square footage that they can handle, so measure your space to help choose the right size unit. The larger the dehumidifier, the higher its capacity. Capacity refers to the amount of water the device can pull from the air over a 24 hour period, not how much water the containment tank can hold. In general, we recommend getting a dehumidifier with the highest capacity that can fit comfortably in your space. If the unit is too small to manage the room’s relative humidity, it won’t be able to reduce it to levels that prevent mold growth.
For our list of top rated dehumidifiers we will offer a few different capacities, recognizing that everyone’s available space is different. In the end, the best dehumidifier for mold will hinge on how big your space is and how significant the mold growth.
4,500 sq ft
4,000 sq ft
3,000 sq ft
55 dB low/
1,000 sq ft
55 dB low/
3,000 sq ft
Now let’s dig deeper into each of these products with complete dehumidifier reviews.
1 TOSOT 70 Pint Dehumidifier spaces up to 4500 sq. ft, Perfect Basements, Energy Star Certified, Portable Wheels, Reduce Mold Moisture
This 70 pint machine is the best dehumidifier for mold allergies if you have a larger or open concept room. You’ll find that many dehumidifiers work best in enclosed spaces, but more and more homes feature an open concept that requires a strong dehumidifier. Another good application for a higher capacity dehumidifier is in the most humid climates where a small compressor-free model will probably not suffice.
The TOSOT 70 pint dehumidifier is quiet enough to run right in the middle of everything. It runs at less than 52 decibels, so it shouldn’t disturb conversation or TV watching. You can also set a 2 or 4 hour sleep timer so that the unit will power off when you need it to. The display screen shows the room’s current humidity level and allows you to set your preferred target.
This model comes with a continuous drainage option, but the included containment bucket is on the smaller side. With an 8 pint capacity, you may need to empty it every 5 hours or so, depending on the humidity level in your space. However, this is easy to do with several features to spill-proof the task. An ergonomic carrying handle and spill-resistant baffles help keep your floors dry.
Though this dehumidifier is bigger and heavier than others on our list, the caster wheels on the bottom allow it to float effortlessly across the floor should you need to relocate it. TOSOT offers a one year warranty on this product.
- 14.8 x 11.4 x 24 inches
- 51 pounds
- One year warranty
- Quiet operation
- Drain hose option
- Built in humidistat
- Bucket needs to be emptied frequently
- On the larger side
- Humidistat not precisely calibrated
2 hOmeLabs 4000 Sq Ft Dehumidifier 70 Pint Energy Star Safe Mid Size Portable Dehumidifiers for Basements & Large Rooms with Fan Wheels and Continuous Drain Hose Outlet to Remove Odor
You can find a variety of capacities within the hOmeLabs dehumidifier line, but we chose to showcase this one for its 70 pint capacity. Competent in areas up to 4,000 feet, the hOmeLabs line is also ergonomically styled with rounded edges, caster wheels, and carrying handles.
The Energy Star rating means you can simply turn the unit on and trust it to cycle off as necessary 24 hours per day. It comes with a continuous drainage option, but the hose is not included with purchase. The manufacturer recommends using a standard 5/8” garden hose with female threaded end. If you stick with the drainage bucket, it holds up to 6 liters (1.9 gallons) before needing to be emptied.
This dehumidifier’s fan runs very quietly, but some users have mentioned that the compressor is a bit louder. Nice features included with this unit are a washable filter, auto defrost function, touch screen control panel, and timer. You can set your desired humidity anywhere in the range of 35% to 85%. hOmeLabs offers a two year warranty on this product, with an additional six months for people who register their dehumidifier online.
- Reduces humidity quickly
- Sleek styling
- Easy to use controls
- Compressor may be noisy
- Tank will need to be emptied frequently
- Drain hose sold separately
3 Ivation 50-Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier - Compressor Dehumidifier for Spaces Up to 3,000 Sq Ft - Includes Programmable Humidistat, Hose Connector, Auto Shutoff/Restart & Washable Filter (50 Pint)
Ivation is a reliable brand that offers compact but powerful machines with innovative filtration and evaporation systems. The LED display on this 50 pint model is easy to operate and lets you control the humidistat, fan speed, and timer. An alert lets you know when it’s time to wash and replace the reusable air filter. This unit also has auto shut-off and auto restart capabilities. The automatic defrost feature keeps your coils protected from freezing so that the dehumidifier doesn’t falter in cooler temperatures.
Weighing in at 31 pounds, this unit fits easily in tight spaces. The durable caster wheels ensure smooth-rolling portability, and the 6-foot power cord gives you some flexibility in where you install it. The 50-pints per day Ivation provides effective moisture removal for spaces up to 3,000 square feet and has a 10.4 pint collection tank capacity; the tank itself has easy carry handles. If you prefer, use the optional hose connection to direct water into a sink or drain.
The built-in relative humidity meter displays the room’s current humidity level and lets you set your ideal level. Use the 24-hour timer feature to program running times that work for your lifestyle – this can also help manage energy costs. This dehumidifier comes with a one year warranty.
- 14.2 x 9.9 x 20.1 inches
- 31 pounds
- One year warranty
- Reduces humidity quickly
- Easy to unpack and set up
- Tons of features, including auto defrost
- Compressor may be noisy
- Drain hose attachment requires two screws not provided
- Smaller containment bucket
4 Frigidaire 30-Pint Dehumidifier with Effortless Humidity Control, White
This Frigidaire dehumidifier is a smaller unit that features efficient performance with lots of extras. The Ready-Select electronic controls include a digital humidistat and precise humidity control. The 24-hour on/off timer offers the ultimate convenience, and the control lock means your settings will stay in place even after a power outage. The Frigidaire can work in rooms as cold as 41° F without freezing the coils, so it’s a handy unit for use in cooler spaces like garages or basements.
This model features a drain hose for use when placed near a suitable drain. It is a gravity model, so the hose will need to slope downward to the drain point. The dehumidifier fits nicely into tight spaces with its SpaceWise portable design, yet is still easily moveable via the top handle, integrated side handles, and caster wheels. This until has warning alerts for things like a full container, power outage, and more.
Intuitive controls make setting this unit a snap. It is energy efficient, quiet, and powerful, and comes with a full one year parts and labor warranty. The sealed system (compressor, condenser, evaporator, and tubing) are covered for a further four years.
- 10.5 x 13.8 x 20.5 inches
- 34 pounds
- One year warranty
- Well built and dehumidifies efficiently
- Attractive and compact styling
- Control lock system keeps your settings just as you want them
- Alert beeps are loud
- Drain hose is tricky to orient
- May heat up the room it is in
5 PerfectAire PAD50 50 Pints/Day Dehumidifier, Adjustable Humidistat, Timer, Washable Filter, 3000 Sq Ft Coverage
The PerfectAire dehumidifier is a reliable workhorse with all the features you need. It has an automatic shut-off and restart function, so that you need not worry about water overflowing or the unit sitting in the off position after a power outage.
The adjustable humidistat lets you read the room’s relative humidity level and set a humidity target that you prefer. A timer function allows precise control over when the unit runs. It also has a continuous operation mode that forces the unit to stay on all the time, rather than cycling off and on as humidity levels change. There is a removable air filter to help you take advantage of the unit’s air freshening capability.
There is a full-bucket indicator, but the PerfectAire dehumidifier also has a continuous drainage option. Hose is not included but any standard garden hose should work. This unit covers up to 3,000 square feet and operates in temperatures as low as 41° F. It comes with a one year warranty.
- 11 x 15.2 x 23 inches
- 36 pounds
- One year warranty
- Reduces humidity quickly
- Works in relatively low temperatures
- Easy to use controls
- Collection tank can be challenging to reseat
- Hose coupling may require an auxiliary fitting
- Drain hose sold separately
Common Locations for Mold
Mold is very difficult to contain when it has a steady source of moisture. When airborne mold spores land on a spot that is damp enough to support its growth, it begins to grow in that spot. The mold damages the surface it lives on as well as creates an unhealthy internal environment.
Two common places for mold to grow are the kitchen and the bathroom. These rooms feature most of your home’s plumbing hubs, which can harbor condensation. But even more significantly, the steam produced by cooking and showering adds humidity to the space. Other common spots for mold are around windows and doors. The gaps and cracks that surround them allow moisture from inside into the home, especially after a heavy rain.
And finally, basements and roofs also tend to collect and hold moisture. Basements are surrounded by damp earth, and roofs take the brunt of precipitation. Snow may sit for a long time on your roof during winter months, slowly melting in a way that creates dampness under the eaves.
If you are experiencing negative health effects that you suspect come from mold, be sure to check all of these areas carefully. Mold may not be obvious when it is just beginning, but eventually it will look like a fuzzy black patch.
Sneaky Hiding Places for Mold
Sometimes mold is not very visible but you’ll know it’s there because of the health effects it causes for you and your family. Sneaky places that mold can hide include under carpets, in dark corners, and on the rubber seals around appliances (check your refrigerator). But one of the most under-recognized spots where mold likes to grow will probably shock you – it’s in the dehumidifier itself.
Mold, as you know, loves damp spaces. The water containment bucket in your dehumidifier is always wet! So while you are hard at work to keep humidity in the room to a safe level, mold may still be growing right under your nose. Mold inside a dehumidifier tends to become airborne as the machine pulls and exhausts air. Cleaning out the bucket every week or so should prevent this problem – more on cleaning a bit later.
When you are beginning your assault on mold in your home, don’t stop with only visible spores, as sneaky holdouts may be hiding under, behind, or between things you may not have thought of.
How to Remove Mold
A dehumidifier is a great tool to keep mold from appearing or spreading, but if you already have mold, it won’t make it go away completely. Mold that is deprived of enough moisture goes into a dormant state, but it will begin to grow again when humidity levels spike. That means that on a particularly rainy day, or when you forget to empty your dehumidifier’s collection tank, those spores will start reproducing again. A humidity level between 30% and 60% is considered adequate to keep mold from spreading.
Good ways to remove existing mold spores include bleach, peroxide, and vinegar. Dilute each product according to directions on the package before using it to scrub away mold. Wait for at least 20 minutes after cleaning and then wipe the area again with plain water. After that, make sure your dehumidifier is running nearby in order to dry the surface as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Surface cleaning does a great job of removing mold on surfaces, but there may yet be mold spores in the air. Your dehumidifier can help to purify the air if it has a filter (most do). If you are wondering whether to purchase an air purifier or dehumidifier for mold, the answer is to go with a dehumidifier first because it does double duty. But you may also want to invest in an air purifier to knock out airborne mold spores as quickly as possible. In general, you can trust that all airborne spores will be gone within a few weeks of consistent use of your dehumidifier; less time is needed if you also run a purifier.
You should additionally make sure that you repair any problematic water entry points. Check insulation around the home’s doors and pipes, replacing any that is cracked or missing. Patch leaky roofs and replace windows that show excess condensation. Your home’s heating and cooling system (HVAC) can also be the source of leaks. And even if you don’t notice a ton of moisture on an average day, be sure to check your entire home after a major storm or flood. These have a way of revealing small problems that will surely become big without attention.
Keeping Your Dehumidifier Clean
One of the more unexpected places that mold can live is inside your dehumidifier. Because it is designed to remove moisture from the air, it is always wet inside. Therefore, you’ll need to clean out the unit’s water collection tank and/or drainage hose on a regular basis to prevent mold spores in the dehumidifier from venting back into the air.
This maintenance should be done every couple of weeks, and no less than once a month. Most dehumidifier manuals will come with instructions for this, but you can do it the same way you cleaned mold from your home’s surfaces. Dump a half cup of bleach into a full tank, swish it around, dump it, and then follow up with a clean water rinse. You can also use regular dish soap and water, or a pre-moistened wipe to remove mold from the tank.
Mold in the home is a major health concern that should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Once you have removed existing mold spores, a dehumidifier is an invaluable tool in keeping it from ever coming back. Running a dehumidifier to keep your home’s relative humidity between 30% and 60% also offers lots of other benefits. You will be more comfortable, for starters – excess humidity causes people to feel sluggish, swollen, and hotter than it really is. Humidity control also helps to maintain your home’s structural integrity and protects your possessions from rust or decay. We hope we have given you the information you need to find your best dehumidifier for mold. If you have found mold in your home, don’t wait to buy one!