How to Clean a Humidifier: A Practical and Simple Guide

How to Clean a Humidifier

People often forget how uncomfortable living in a dry environment is. Whether it’s year-long dryness or just associated with winter, a humidifier, and knowing how to clean a humidifier, will truly improve the quality of life in such conditions.

Anyone confronted with dryness will testify that it is a God-sent machine. A low-profile design and noiseless functionality make it an asset to everyone waking up with a mouthful of sand. However, learning how to clean a humidifier and proper maintenance is key to such devices, so let’s discuss how to do this, along with other useful tips on how to maintain and care for such a tool.

How to Clean a Humidifier: The Simple Methods

More often than not, humidifiers break down months after purchase since we have mostly forgotten that every tool needs to be maintained in order to last. There are a lot of ways to increase a humidifier’s lifespan, things that everyone can do. That being said, cleaning such a unit is a breeze, and it can be done with ordinary household items.

Cleaning the Filter

There are filterless humidifiers out there, so this section applies only to how to clean a humidifier that runs using water filters. Although filters are replaceable, you do not need to do it all the time for you to save money. Sometimes, gentle cleaning is all that is required. However, when there is visible wear on the filter, better replace it.

To clean a filter, unplug the humidifier and remove the filter. It requires a good rinse under cool tap water, not hot. While prepping the rest of the machine for cleaning, let the filter rest on a towel to dry.  Since the filter is delicate, do not use any type of detergents as they might damage it.

Cleaning the Tank

The first step as to how to clean a humidifier is that the tank must be detached. After which, the user should drain any stale water that might linger as it is the main cause of foul odor when dispersing mist. Then, a mixture of three cups of white vinegar and warm water should be used to fill up the tank. Leave the solution for an hour or two so that it can dissolve any residue that’s stuck in the tank slowly. After the said period, the solution must be drained out, and the tank must be rinsed with cool water. If there are any lingering impurities, the user can use either a soft sponge or brush to get rid of them.

If the tank can’t be accessed with a brush due to a small opening, the user can put in some rice and give it a vigorous shake. This will cause the rice to get rid of any stuck goop or mineral deposits. Rinse and repeat until the unit is squeaky clean. As similar to the filter, it is recommended to steer clear of cleaning agents during this process since they might contaminate the water with chemicals.

Best Tips Using Cleaning Solutions

If the tap water used in the humidifier has a high mineral content, this can clog up the nozzles and pipes, affecting the machine’s efficiency and even causing irreversible damage. Since such parts are too small to be cleaned manually, here are some tips for you.

Vinegar Technique

To get rid of such, vinegar is the user’s best friend. That is because vinegar “eats” up any sort of residue that lingers in the unit.
To give it a deep cleansing, fill the tank with water and add a cup of vinegar. Plug the humidifier, turn it on, and let it run for around two hours.

During such period, the vinegar will dissolve and eliminate any sort of hard water deposits. However, this procedure is best done in the bathroom since the smell is quite annoying and can make your upholstered furniture smelly.

Bleach Method

Vinegar is versatile but limited. It surely won’t do much good when there is a massive amount of deposit present. In these cases, bleach is the way to go. To do so, the tank must be filled with cool water and a tablespoon of bleach. Let it stay in the tank for one hour, which is the expected time for the bleach to dissolve everything. Give it a nice rinse, and it is good to go.

A note to remember is, do not forget to clean out the bleach mixture after one hour or less because prolonged exposure will do more harm than good to the tank. Bleach is quite a potent chemical and it can corrode or discolor the tank, making it virtually useless.

How to Clean a Humidifier: Things to Remember

Learning how to clean a humidifier is easy, but keeping it clean is harder. Let’s take a look at some tips on how to keep it clean and running for as long as possible.

Bacteria is Your Enemy

It is a fact that bacteria love water. As soon as the chemicals in tap water evaporate, the water becomes a breeding pool for bacteria and viruses. In addition to bad odor and a shady color, it makes people who will use the humidifier at risk of acquiring diseases.

Even though the most high-capacity units can run for days on a single tank, the user should do a quick swap every three days. This can prevent bacteria from growing and will also cut down on mineral deposit build up. Basically, change the water as much as possible, or at least twice each week.

Just Avoid Detergents

Soap and detergents are okay when cleaning humidifiers and tanks. A mild solution should be fine for the tank, provided that they are not in contact for more than a couple of minutes. However, one tip in learning how to clean a humidifier is that using them regularly and in stronger variants will certainly damage the appearance and functionality of the machine.

Change the Unit

When it’s time, it’s time. If a unit has been in use for several years, it will become a more likely home to bacteria and viruses. Once every four or five years, the old unit should be recycled, and a new one should be purchased. In addition to new technologies, this will also make the living quarters safer for everyone, especially infants.

Keep the Unit Accordingly

When the season’s over, or it’s just taking a break, the unit must be drained and dried completely before storing, much like with any other product. After being put back into use, the unit should be cleaned thoroughly to avoid dispersing anything other than fresh water.

Final Thoughts

Humidifiers are products that can keep the indoor environment healthier and suitable during the cold season. Nevertheless, you need to know how to clean a humidifier. This is becasue without proper cleaning and maintenance, they can become the cause of respiratory illnesses. Therefore, to enjoy the benefits given by the product, take some time to maintain it.

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