Humidifiers can be used in all seasons, but are particularly popular in the summer and winter months to clean the air in our apartments and business offices.
The con to humidifiers though, is because of all the water it takes to mist and clean, the appliance is prone for growing mold and microbes. If you don’t regularly deep clean your humidifier, it could start to pump out bacteria along with the mist or steam. And because bacteria loves the mist as much as we do, discover how to get the yuck out.
How often should I clean it?
Short answer: at least once a week you should turn off your humidifier and do a deep clean. Of course, if you have any respiratory concerns, do it more frequently.
Cool, but how do I clean it?
Our best suggestion is to clean it as the product suggests. If you happen to still have the owner’s manual, follow the specific maintenance instructions they’ve penned out. If you lost or tossed the booklet, you can always contact the manufacturer for another one. If that sounds too time-consuming, there is of course a DIY way below.
To clean at home, you’ll need: distilled white vinegar, liquid chlorine bleach, and a small, soft brush (like a toothbrush).
- Start by unplugging, disassembling and emptying the humidifier.
- For the base and tank, pour one to two cups of undiluted white vinegar into the water tank and swish it around.
- Place the vinegar-filled tank on the base and let it stand for 15-20 minutes to loosen any potential mineral build-up.
- Next, empty the vinegar tank and use the toothbrush to remove any persistent mineral deposits.
- Rinse all parts and then let it dry.
- Bonus tip: Don’t try to wash the wick filter as it can damage the antimicrobial coating.
Great, and for a deeper clean, what do I do?
Bleach will be your best friend for disinfecting and killing the lingering bacteria in humidifiers. To deep clean with bleach, disassemble and clean your humidifier. Then mix one gallon of water and one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach and swish it around in the water tank, wetting all sides. Let tank stand for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with clear water until the bleach scent is gone.
Additional tips for maintaining a pristine humidifier
Now that your humidifier is clean, take the necessary steps to make sure it runs smoothly. Always empty the tank and reservoir when the humidifier is not in use. This is paramount as bacteria can grow in as little as one to two days. Secondly, replace the filter every 30-60 days as it can get hard and crusty from water minerals and produce an icky odor.
If you want to further improve air quality in your home, invest in air purifiers too.
Photo via Jacob Fox