How to Clean Humidifier? – Step By Step Guide


Would you like to know how to clean a humidifier? If you live in dry places such as Denver in Colorado, Las Vegas in Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona to name but just a few of them, you need a humidifier. This appliance is going to help inject some humidity into the dry air in your home. However, because of the constant presence of moisture, your humidifier can become a good breeding ground for mold, bacteria, viruses, and other indoor allergens. Your appliance needs constant care and maintenance. Besides, if it has a filter, that also needs to be cleaned. In this article, we bring you step-by-step instructions on how to clean your humidifier.

What Do I Need to Clean Humidifier?

  • Warm water
  • White vinegar
  • Brush with soft bristles
  • A spray bottle
  • Gloves
  • Cleaning towels
  • Household bleach or hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish soap

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Humidifier Clean?

Not only is it important to know how to clean humidifiers, but it is also vital to clean them often. To reiterate what we have already mentioned, a humidifier has a water tank that you refill all the time. Therefore, the water tank attracts all manner of nasty things, as we will discuss here.

The first reason why you ought to clean your humidifier is to keep mold, bacteria, and viruses from the air that you breathe. Remember, a humidifier injects humidity into your air. Therefore, if there are bacteria in the tank, it will spray them with the mist into your home. Some of the tiniest bacteria and viruses cannot be filtered out. Therefore, the only way to make sure you do not inhale such is to keep this appliance clean all the time.

The intricacies involved in the working of a humidifier demand that you keep it clean. Clean humidifiers work better and keep your indoor humidity at the required level easily. A well cared for humidifier also lasts a long time. You do not want to be buying a humidifier every other year. Just take good care of the one that you have currently and you will be rewarded with a long time of use.

The water in your humidifier tank is stagnant. When it stays too long without changing it, it starts to harbor bacteria, viruses, and mold. When you switch on the humidifier and it starts releasing mist, it will release it together with the bacteria. You could always use a warm mist humidifier, which is safer because it boils water. However, also note that some allergens and viruses cannot be destroyed by the heat generated. The best bet for inhaling healthy air is to keep your humidifier as clean as possible.

You can clean your humidifier and you can disinfect it. The latter is for killing bacteria, mold, and viruses.

How to Clean Your Humidifier?

Step 1: Prepare your cleaning station

Prepare the place where you are going to clean the humidifier. This can be on the kitchen sink. Just make sure there is enough space. You can also clean it on the kitchen counter, but ensure that you will clean the counter afterward as germs from the tank could be left on the counter. The good thing is that a humidifier does not have that many small parts that can get lost.

Step 2: Unplug the humidifier and remove the water tank

Unplug the humidifier from power. Take it to the workstation that you have prepared. Remove the water tank from the humidifier. Check whether the humidifier has a filter so that you can remove it too. These two are the dirtiest parts of your appliance and you clean them thoroughly. Also, ensure to check the user manual that it came with so that you can remove the water tank the right way. The last thing that you want is to damage your water tank.

Disassemble all the parts that can come apart. You will need to clean all of them. That way, you can even clean some of them in the dishwasher and save yourself a lot of time.

Step 3: Clean the filter

Clean the filter/s. This is easy. You can just run it through cold water and then dab the excess water with a towel. After that, keep them in a place where they can air-dry. Be careful to keep them where they cannot collect dust or other contaminants since that would defeat the whole purpose of cleaning them.

If the filter is not in good condition, you can replace it with a similar one.

Step 4: Add water and white vinegar to the tank

Under the tank, there is a fill cap. Unscrew it and add warm water and vinegar solution into the tank. The mixture should be 50/50. Pour in the solution to about half of the tank’s capacity. Shake the tank thoroughly and keep it away to soak in for about 30 minutes if you clean regularly. If it has been some time since you cleaned the humidifier, let it soak for about 60 minutes.

Step 5: Soak the small parts in a bowl of water and vinegar

In a medium-sized bowl, pour water and white vinegar into 50/50 portions. This could be 2 cups of white vinegar and two cups of water. In the bowl, dip all the small parts and let them soak.

Step 6: Treat the base with vinegar

Treat the base of the humidifier with vinegar. First, pour the water out if it has some. You can then fill it with white vinegar alone and not a water-vinegar solution. Having been in contact with water for too long, you should use undiluted vinegar to kill all germs. Let it stay for some time.

Step 7: Rinsing the components

After the expiry of 30 minutes, it is time to start following up on your work. First, pour out the vinegar into the base. However, do not rinse it yet. You can do that later to remove all traces of vinegar.

Take your soft-bristled brush and get to remove all stuck dirt on the soaked parts. Check the base. If there is any stuck dirt, remove it with the brush. Usually, the base will have caked on mold, especially if it has been a long since you cleaned it. In addition, brush the small parts that you had soaked in a vinegar-water solution.

This is also the time to rinse the tank. First, shake it again thoroughly and pour out the vinegar and water solution. You can then pour in warm water and shake it again. You want to remove all traces of the vinegar. You can also rinse the tank with clean cold water. It will work just fine.

Rinse the base in clean cold water. For all the rinsed parts, dab them with a towel. That way, you can get rid of the excess water. You can then air-dry them for some time before assembling your humidifier.

Step 8: Put everything back together

Put all the parts together the same way that you took them apart. If it is challenging, check the user manual again, or hunt for a video on YouTube. It should be easy though and the more you clean the more you get used to the job. With everything put together, fill the tank with mineral-free or distilled water and plug it back in. It is a good idea to watch it for a few minutes to ensure that it is running alright. You can then relax knowing that your appliance will be ready to raise your indoor humidity whenever you need it to.

How to Disinfect Your Humidifier?

It is a good idea to disinfect the humidifier after every so long. with time, your appliance will collect mold, germs, fungi, bacteria, dust, dust mites, and other nasties that you do not want to expose your family to. Because water stays stagnated in the tank for some time, there will inevitably be a need to disinfect. Follow the following steps:

Step 1: Check the care instructions

To disinfect the humidifier, you are going to use special products such as bleach. However, ensure that you read the care instructions for yours because some manufacturers say you should not use bleach or related products.

Step 2: Unplug the humidifier

Unplug the humidifier and disassemble the parts. Here, follow the process that we discussed for cleaning the humidifier. However, in this instance, you need to add bleach because the vinegar is not going to disinfect the tank and the base. However, in this instance, you should not add vinegar because it should not be used together with bleach. Mixing the two can cause a chemical reaction. At the same time, do not use too much bleach. Just one tablespoonful will be enough.

Step 3: Wipe everything with a microfiber cloth

After you are done cleaning with a brush, bleach, and warm water, go ahead and wipe everything dry with a microfiber cloth or towel. The fine fibers will ensure that you do not leave any abrasions on the tank.

How to Prevent Bacterial Growth?

There are many ways to prevent the growth of bacteria in your humidifier. Here they are:

Clean the humidifier regularly – If you clean your humidifier only when you notice some dirt and dried mold, then you are doing it too late. You should clean it not because it is dirty, but because you want to enhance the quality of the mist.

Do not use mineral water – If you live in an area that has hard water, do not use it in the humidifier. The minerals will encourage the growth of bacteria and even mold. You can use distilled or demineralized water.

Change the water from time to time – This is important especially when you do not use the humidifier often. If you use it a couple of times per week, change the water before switching it on. If you use it daily or nightly, it will probably use all the water before you can get round to changing it.

Change the filter – If your humidifier has a filter, check its condition from time to time. You can clean it in running cold water. If it needs to be replaced, get a similar model online and replace it.

Humidifier Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance of the humidifier is very important. Here are a few things that you can do to ensure yours stays in top condition all the time:

Keep the humidifier in a safe place – Humidifiers should be kept in places where pets and small children cannot reach them, especially the warm mist ones.

Clean and dry the humidifier before storage – If winter is over and you do not need the humidifier anymore, don’t just empty it and store it. Clean it up and dry it thoroughly, then pack it in a box and store it.

Read the maintenance instructions – To ensure that you do not void the warranty, ensure that you read the maintenance instructions in the user manual. If the manufacturer says do not use bleach, don’t.

How Often Should I Clean My Humidifier?

If used regularly – If you use your humidifier daily during winter, clean it daily, or at least every time that you have to refill the tank. The more you use a humidifier, the more it needs cleaning.

If not used regularly – If you only use the humidifier a time or two per week, you can clean it two times a week.

Before storage – Never store the humidifier before you clean and dry it completely. Again, when you take it out of storage, clean it before using it.

Final Verdict

A humidifier is a wonderful appliance for stabilizing the level of humidity in your home. However, like any other appliance, even this one requires regular care and maintenance. Therefore, you should learn how to clean a humidifier. You have seen how to clean and disinfect one. You have also seen how often you should clean it. With good care and maintenance, the humidifier can last a long time and at the same time, it will spray a fine mist into the room every time that you should switch it on.