Whether you own a humidifier or plan to get one, it’s absolutely important to clean it regularly. However, not all humidifiers are created equal. Some models are easier to clean, others require more frequent cleaning, and others need professional cleaning.
If you’re unsure whether your humidifier requires a professional to clean it, you should check your user manual. The same goes for if you’ve never cleaned a humidifier before.
That said, if you want to know how to clean your humidifier and filter, keep reading on.
Purpose of Cleaning a Humidifier and Filter
First and foremost, there are varying reasons why people buy humidifiers. For some, it’s to help relieve sinuses, nasal allergies, and respiratory issues. For others, it’s simply because they love how a humidifier makes their home feel.
Regardless of your reason for buying a humidifier, you’ll want to ensure it is cleaned regularly so as not to grow mold or bacteria.
Inhaling mold spores can cause coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and eye irritation. It can also affect indoor air quality and spread to other home areas.
Bacteria can release harmful particles into the air that can cause symptoms such as sore throats, sneezing, and congestion.
These can be a huge problem for those with allergies or asthma and those with weakened immune systems.
Besides the health risks of mold and bacteria, you’ll want to keep your humidifier clean because it will function more efficiently if it isn’t clogged with dirt, dust, and debris. And, of course, it goes without saying, a filthy humidifier is simply unsightly and gross.
Steps for Cleaning a Humidifier and Filter
If you’re unaware of it, there are actually two parts to any humidifier: the water tank (where the water sits) and the filter (which filters out impurities). This means that both parts need cleaning every so often.
Why? The water tank needs cleaning because it can get dirty with mineral deposits and debris. The filter needs cleaning so that it can continue to do its job of purifying the air from impurities like dust, dirt, mold, and germs.
Step 1: Disassemble the Humidifier
Unplug the humidifier, and separate the water tank from the base. If the base contains any water, make sure to pour it out. Then go ahead and remove all of the other parts, like the filter and any other attachments. The filter is typically located within the water tank or inside the base unit.
The manual should tell you which parts are removable and how to separate them.
Step 2: Clean the Water Tank and Base
The water tank and base need to be cleaned with warm water and vinegar. This will remove any mineral deposits or debris that build up over time. You can use hydrogen peroxide instead of vinegar; it’s up to you. Both will work well.
Place them in a warm water bucket with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Or simply add the solution to the tank and base and let it sit for the same time. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub off any tough stains or deposits.
Afterward, you should rinse them with clean water and let them air dry.
Step 3: Clean the Filter
First, inspect the filter to see how dirty it is and check if there are any holes or tears in it. If you notice even a small tear, replace the filter. They are usually inexpensive; therefore, you have the luxury of replacing your filter every so often.
If the filter is in good condition and is not that dirty, you can rinse it under cold running water until all the dirt and sediment are removed. Then allow it to air dry.
If the filter is extremely dirty, you can soak it in white vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water) for 30 minutes to an hour.
After soaking, rinse the filter thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear. Allow it to air-dry completely before putting it back into the humidifier.
Step 4: Clean the Removable Parts
Suppose your humidifier has other removable parts, such as a lid, grille/diffuser, and/or antimicrobial shield. In that case, you can soak them in warm water and vinegar or warm water and soap for about 20 minutes. Then rinse the components thoroughly with clean water and let them air dry.
Step 5. Reassemble the Humidifier
After cleaning the humidifier, it’s time to put it all back together. You should be able to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for reassembly. Still, you generally want to ensure that everything fits snugly together and that you have a tight seal around the base.
You also want to ensure all hoses and wires are properly reattached.
Step 6. Test Your Humidifier’s Performance
Now that you’ve cleaned and reassembled your humidifier, it’s time to see whether it works properly by testing its performance. You can perform a quick test by holding a dry towel over the output nozzle and turning on the humidifier.
If you see moisture collecting on the towel, your humidifier works properly. If not, you may need to perform more thorough troubleshooting steps before your humidifier can be used again.
Tip: When cleaning your humidifier, it’s important to do so in a way that won’t damage the machine. This means being careful not to use abrasive materials on any parts of the humidifier, which can lead to scratches and cracks. For example, don’t use steel wool or scouring pads on anything plastic (like tanks) because they’ll scratch them up.
How Often Should You Clean Your Humidifier?
You don’t want to clean your humidifier daily, as it doesn’t need to be cleaned often. However, you don’t want to wait until you notice signs of mold or mildew growing on the walls of your humidifier, as this can cause health problems.
You should clean your humidifier once or twice a week, but this depends on how often you use it.
You may also need to clean it more often if you have hard water or if there are a lot of minerals in the air where you live.
Cleaning your humidifier is crucial to maintaining its performance and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and mold.
Regular cleaning ensures a clean and healthy environment and extends the humidifier’s lifespan.
By following the manufacturer’s instructions and keeping the humidifier and its filter clean, you can enjoy the benefits of improved air quality and reduced health risks.
So, make sure to incorporate cleaning your humidifier into your household maintenance routine to enjoy its benefits for years.