How to Clean a Humidifier

Improve your home's air quality by disinfecting one of the most important small appliances you’re probably forgetting to clean.

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What you need to do to clean a humidifier at home

How to Clean a Humidifier

Empty, clean and disinfect your humidifier to remove the stagnant water that leads to mold and bacteria.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Empty, clean and disinfect your humidifier to remove the stagnant water that leads to mold and bacteria.

Replacing the moisture in your home is important when you’re battling respiratory colds, but don’t forget to clean and sanitize that humidifier. After all, what good is a humidifier to your health if it’s blasting moldy moisture into your home?

1. Unplug and Empty Humidifier

Begin by unplugging your humidifier and emptying all remaining water. Stagnant water is what leads to mold and bacteria, and you’ll need to empty it in order to disinfect the unit. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when you pour water out of the appliance in order to avoid moisture entering the motor and electrical components in the base. Allowing water to enter is an easy way to break your humidifier.

How to clean a humidifier

How to Clean a Humidifier

Follow the humidifer manufacturer's instructions while cleaning the humidifer to avoid allowing water to enter the motor and electrical components, which could break your humidifier.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Follow the humidifer manufacturer's instructions while cleaning the humidifer to avoid allowing water to enter the motor and electrical components, which could break your humidifier.

If you reach into the reservoir or touch the base of the machine that was filled with water and it feels a little greasy or grimy, that’s a sure sign you’ve waited too long to clean it. But never fear, that’s the grime we’re here to conquer.

2. Fill Base with Vinegar Solution

With the dehumidifier unplugged, fill the base of the humidifier with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white vinegar and leave it to sit for an hour. The vinegar is a natural cleanser and it’ll help loosen any residue and disinfect the small unit.

$14.99

Be sure to buy vinegar with six-percent acidity instead of five. One percent may not seem like much, but it can actually make the product up to 20 percent more effective. Be sure not to cook with this vinegar, though. It's strictly for cleaning.

3. Clean Inside of Reservoir

While the base of the humidifier is being treated with the water/vinegar solution, take the time to clean the inside of the water reservoir. Because the water sits stagnant in that container, the interior of the reservoir will also develop a greasy film. The best way to clean it naturally is to fill it with 2 cups of pure white vinegar, seal it shut, and then shake-shake-shake to effectively agitate any grime. Do this for several minutes — or as long as your arm muscles will tolerate the workout.

What you need to do to clean a humidifier at home.

How to Clean a Humidifier

Unsettle any grime in the reservoir by shaking it while its filled with vinegar.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Unsettle any grime in the reservoir by shaking it while its filled with vinegar.

Hold the reservoir upside down and manually allow the vinegar solution to filter through the nozzle of the reservoir. This is often done by pressing on the nozzle to loosen the seal.

What you need to do to clean a humidifier at home.

How to Clean a Humidifier

How to clean a humidifier.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

4. Refill Reservoir with Plain Water

Once emptied, refill the reservoir with plain water, and repeat to rinse any loosened debris from the reservoir and the nozzle.

5. Pour Solution Out & Clean Exterior

Once the base has soaked, pour the solution out (again, making sure you empty properly so that the liquid doesn’t enter the motor). Use a vinegar-soaked cloth to wipe down the interior of the base and then allow it to air dry.

Use the same cloth to clean the exterior components of the small appliance, such as the funnel that air travels through.

Cleaning the humidifier routinely will help to keep mold and bacteria at bay, which in turn keeps the mist produced by the humidifier clean when being used in your room. Think clean and be healthy!

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