Your home can definitely be more comfortable when a cool humidifier is used to bring in some extra moisture when the air inside your domestic dwelling becomes too dry. But this can only be the case if you handle the responsibility of cleaning your humidifier properly. Otherwise, if it is left to remain filthy, it can become harmful to you and your family members.
When humidifiers are not fully cleaned, they can produce mold spores and then spread out through the humidifier’s mist, which is quite bad for those with mold allergies. When your humidifier is cleansed and ready for use, it can help prevent itchy skin and decrease the chance.
There’s so much good a humidifier can do, though, that it’s worth taking the time to maintain it. For one, the moisture it pumps into the air can prevent dry, itchy skin. It also can reduce the likelihood that people in your household will suffer from dry sinuses, nosebleeds, and cracked lips, And a humidifier can mitigate the symptoms of colds and respiratory ailments.
Several models in our humidifier ratings come with claims that they resist microbial growth. CR hasn’t tested those claims. Instead, we recommend that, as a matter of course, you clean your tank regularly to reduce the risk of mold and other problems. We’ll lay out the steps below.
If you haven’t already purchased a cool humidifier, find one in our ratings that’s not only effective but also easy to clean. That’s reflected in our convenience score.
Preparing to Clean a Humidifier
Don’t… I repeat… don’t use detergents or brushes that are abrasive when you are in the process of cleaning a humidifier. Instead, you should use distilled white vinegar or liquid chlorine bleach. But it is one or the other. Don’t ever mix the two together. Also, get yourself a soft and small brush (toothbrush).
Once a week, at the very minimum, you should clean your humidifier. Make sure before you begin the humidifier has been turned off. You should clean it more than once a week if you or someone else in your household has respiratory issues.
To make sure that your humidifier is able to run well continuously, you should always empty out the water in the tank and reservoir if the machine is not being used. It only takes one or two days for bacteria to grow in water that has been sitting still for too long.
In order to stretch out the life of the humidifier’s wick filter, it should be turned over every time that you fill the tank to prevent the top from drying out and to let the filter age gracefully.
Keep in mind that filters need to be replaced every 30-60 days, particularly if the filter has gotten crusty and hard from its exposure to water minerals. It is time to get rid of the filter also if it gives off a nasty odor or you are noticing that the moisture output of the humidifier is decreasing.
Throw away the filter and make sure that all the parts are clean and dry before you return the humidifier to wherever you typically store it.
Cleaning Humidifiers with Bleach
If you have come to the conclusion that your humidifier needs to undergo a deeper clean, it is probably time that you use a bleach solution to rid it of any bacteria that is still lingering:
- Disassemble your humidifier and clean it.
- Merge one gallon of water with one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach.
- Place ½ to ¾ of that bleach mix into the water tank and swish it all around to wet the inside thoroughly.
- Put the tank back in the base and let the bleach drain into the water reservoir, and sit for about 15-20 minutes.
- Empty out all of the bleach solution from the tank(s) and base and rinse the tank(s) with clear water until you no longer smell any sign of bleach.
- Finally, you wipe the humidifier parts until they are totally dry and reassemble.
Be sure that you don’t use bleach to cleanse humidifier units while they are in use.
Cleaning Humidifiers with Vinegar
In order to clean a humidifier with vinegar properly, you should follow these basics steps:
- Unplug your humidifier, empty out any leftover water, and disassemble it.
- Put one to two cups of white vinegar that hasn’t been diluted into the water tank and stir it to ensure that the interior of the tank gets completely wet.
- Put the tank that has been filled with vinegar on the base and let the vinegar drain into the reservoir, and sit for 15-20 minutes to loosen up any excess minerals that may be lingering.
- Pour out the vinegar from the tank and base. Scrub off any leftover mineral deposits with a small brush.
- Wipe small parts with a clean cloth or sponge that has been dipped in full-strength white vinegar, rinse all the parts of the humidifier, let them dry, then reassemble again.
Now that you know exactly what a clean humidifier can do for you and how to keep it in tip-top shape, you can sleep better, feel better, and help push sickness away from you.