How to clean a humidifier and how often

by Dec 30, 2020Cleaning


humidifier

The ideal range for relative humidity indoors is around 30-50%, but did you know that most homes that are heated to 73 degrees have a relative humidity of only 15%? It is 10% lower than the typical humidity in the Sahara Desert!

When air is to dry, it can lead to problems like dry skin, chapped lips and prickly hair. Dry air can also dry up the natural moisture in your nasal passages, aggravate snoring and cause nosebleeds. Dry air creates even a more favorable environment for the transmission of viruses like the flu!

But dry air not only affects your body and your health – it can also damage your things! Dry air in your home can sap your cake plants from much needed moisture and cause wooden furniture to crack or chain over time.

So what is the answer to the problems of dry indoor air? A humidifier! Humidifiers produce water vapor that increases the humidity in the air and offsets the effects of dry air to keep you (and your belongings) more comfortable.

humidifier

Why it is important to keep your humidifier clean

As beneficial as using a humidifier can be, it can actually be harmful to your health if it is not cleaned often. Whether your humidifier produces a hot or cool mist, the humid conditions inside can make it a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, and it can end up spreading these bacteria and mold into the air around your home!

So in order for your humidifier to be a help rather than an obstacle, it is very important to keep it clean and disinfected! As I pull my own humidifier out of the closet this week, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips and tricks to help clean your humidifier and keep it safe and hygienic!

humidifier

General guidelines for the use of a humidifier

  • Read the user manual. If you do not have it anymore, you can probably look it up online. While most humidifiers can be cleaned in the same way, some parts may vary, so it’s good to know about the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Always empty the water tank and the water tank when not in use. Bacteria can grow as little as one to two days and you will not give it that chance!
  • Fill the tank with fresh water every day. Fill your humidifier’s water tank with fresh filtered water or distilled water daily. You can use unfiltered tap water, but hard water has minerals that can leave mineral deposits inside your machine. Minerals in the water can also cause your humidifier to leave a (harmless) white dust on surrounding surfaces. For that reason, I recommend filtered or distilled water.
  • Clean and disinfect your humidifier at least once a week. Use the steps below to deep clean and disinfect your humidifier (in that order) once a week.
humidifier

How to clean a humidifier

You will need:

  • Small scrub brush (or toothbrush)
  • Distilled white vinegar

Driving directions:

  1. Start by disconnecting the humidifier, then remove the filter (if your machine has one) and rinse it with cold water. Some chemicals can cause permanent damage to humidifier filters, so it is best to clean it with water only. Put the clean filter on a towel and let it air dry, then replace it.
  2. Then pour 1-2 cups of undiluted white vinegar into the water container and swirl it around to wet the entire interior of the tank. Then replace the tank in the humidifier base, let the vinegar flow into the reservoir, and let your humidifier sit undisturbed for 15-20 minutes to break down any mineral buildup inside the machine.
  3. When the wait is up, pour the vinegar into a separate container (but do not get rid of it yet.) Use a small scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush to scrub cracks, crevices and any attached mineral deposits.
  4. And finally, dip a cloth or sponge into the vinegar and use it to clean the small parts like the tank cap and spout where the water vapor comes out. Be sure to rinse the tank and reservoir thoroughly, then proceed with the disinfection process!
humidifier

How to disinfect a humidifier

You will need:

  • Bleach or hydrogen peroxide

Driving directions:

  1. You can disinfect your humidifier tank and reservoir using bleach or hydrogen peroxide. To use bleach, fill the humidifier tank with water and then add 1 teaspoon per. Gallons of water. To use hydrogen peroxide, pour 1-2 cups of standard 3% hydrogen peroxide into the tank.
  2. Rotate the bleach solution or peroxide around the tank to coat the inside evenly, then place the tank back in the bottom and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Be sure to rinse the tank thoroughly afterwards with clean water and it is ready for use again!

Related: 30 uses of hydrogen peroxide you want to know about

So take out the reliable humidifier, give it a good cleaning, and use it well in winter – your home and your health will thank you!

Do you use a humidifier in the winter?

humidifier

Clean and disinfect a humidifier

Jill Nystul

Humidifiers can be really useful in dry climates – especially in winter – but a humidifier can actually harm your health if not kept clean! Here are a few general tips to keep your humidifier in a healthy and functional condition.

Active time 10 minutes

Total time 10 minutes

ingredients

  • 2 cups White vinegar
  • 1 tsp Bleach
  • 2 cups Hydrogen peroxide

Instructions

Cleaning the tank

  • Take out your humidifier, then take out the filter (if your machine has one) and rinse it with cold water. Some chemicals can cause permanent damage to humidifier filters, so it is best to clean it with water only. Put the clean filter on a towel and let it air dry, then replace it.Pour 1-2 cups of undiluted white vinegar into the water tank and swirl it around to wet the entire interior of the tank. Then replace the tank in the humidifier base, let the vinegar flow into the reservoir, and let your humidifier sit undisturbed for 15-20 minutes to break down any mineral buildup inside the machine.Pour vinegar into a separate container (but do not get rid of it yet). Use a small scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush to scrub cracks, crevices and any attached mineral deposits.Dip a cloth or sponge into the vinegar and use it to clean the small parts such as the tank cap and spout where the water vapor comes out. Be sure to rinse the tank and reservoir thoroughly, then proceed with the disinfection process!

Disinfection of the humidifier

  • Fill your humidifier tank with water, then add 1 teaspoon of bleach per. Gallons of water. If you prefer not to use bleach, pour 1-2 cups of standard 3% hydrogen peroxide into the tank.Rotate the bleach solution or peroxide around the tank to coat the inside evenly, then place the tank back in the bottom and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.Be sure to rinse the tank thoroughly afterwards with clean water and it is ready for use again!



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