Get Rid of Germs and Stagnant Water: 4 Easy Steps to Clean a Humidifier

If you ever bought a humidifier recently, you might wonder how to clean a humidifier. After all, the humidifier is meant to maintain a certain level of humidity in the air, making it susceptible to germs, bacteria, and mold spores. I like the convenience of having a humidifier in my home. It’s so nice to breathe in some moist air during the colder months finally, but as much as I love my little machine, let’s face it, humidifiers are a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, as mentioned.

Gross, right? But don’t worry; it’s not all doom and gloom. With just a little bit of elbow grease, you can easily clean your cool mist humidifier and keep it running smoothly all season long! So, if you’re ready to learn how to clean a humidifier, let’s jump in!

The Many Benefits of Using a Humidifier

Humidifiers are simple devices that add moisture to the air in your home, making it more comfortable and healthy to breathe. Here are some of the many benefits of using a humidifier and how it can improve your quality of life.

✔️Reduce Illness and Allergies

Did you know that keeping your home between 30 and 50% humidity can reduce the risk of catching the flu and other airborne illnesses? It’s true! Health experts also suggest that humid air helps fight off viruses and bacteria in the air, reducing the risk of getting sick. Humidifiers also help relieve symptoms of allergies by reducing the amount of dust and pollutants in the air. If you suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems, a good humidifier can help improve your breathing and your overall health.

✔️Better Skin and Hair

Dry air can be harsh on your skin and hair. It can dry out your skin, causing irritation and itchiness. It can also cause dandruff and dry scalp. Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can help relieve some of these symptoms and relieve dryness. The extra moisture can also help reduce wrinkles on your skin and keep it looking healthy and glowing. A humidifier can be your best ally if you want to maintain your youthful appearance and keep your skin and hair healthy and supple.

✔️Less Static Electricity

One sign that the air in your house is too dry is when you get zapped by static electricity. This uncomfortable and sometimes painful shock can be caused by the low humidity levels in your home, causing electric charges to build up on surfaces like carpets and fabrics. A humidifier can help reduce these electric charges by adding moisture to the air, leading to fewer zaps and a more comfortable living experience.

✔️Quieter and Better Sleep

Did you know that low humidity can cause snoring? That’s because dry air dries out your throat and nasal passages, making breathing harder. Using a humidifier can help add moisture to the air, reducing snoring and promoting better breathing while you sleep. The extra humidity can also help reduce dry skin and throat, making for a peaceful slumber without discomfort.

Using a humidifier can help to make your home a more comfortable and healthy place to live.

Types of Humidifier

Here are the four types of humidifiers – vaporizers, central humidifiers, evaporative humidifiers, and ultrasonic.

1: Vaporizers

Vaporizers utilize electricity to boil water and produce steam, adding moisture to your room’s air. They are great for small rooms. However, they are not advisable for children or pets because they run hot and pose a burn hazard. Also, you’ll need to clean your vaporizer regularly to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits.

2: Central Humidifiers

Central humidifiers are installed directly into your home’s heating and cooling system. They supply moisture uniformly throughout your home and are perfect if you want to maintain a certain humidity level in multiple rooms. They can be costly but are energy-efficient and require less maintenance.

3: Evaporative Humidifiers

Evaporative humidifiers work by sucking dry air into the system and passing it through a humidifier filter that adds moisture through evaporation. They are incredibly affordable and energy-efficient. These humidifiers are best suited for large rooms and require regular cleaning to avoid mineral buildup.

4: Ultrasonic Humidifiers

This humidifiers use high-frequency vibrations to create ultrasonic waves that break up water into a fine mist. They are incredibly quiet, making them ideal for use in bedrooms. They are also energy-efficient and don’t produce hot steam, making them a safer choice if you have young children or pets. However, they require constant cleaning to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Now that you know about the different types of humidifiers, you can decide which one to buy. So let’s proceed on why you should clean your humidifier.

Why Is It Important to Clean a Humidifier?

how to clean a humidifier

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your humidifier is crucial for several reasons. Let’s explore why it is essential to clean your humidifier regularly.

1: Prevents Bacterial Growth

One of the most crucial reasons to clean your humidifier is to prevent the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. When you use your humidifier regularly, mineral buildup and debris accumulate in its tank, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don’t clean your humidifier regularly, bacteria can spread into the air and cause respiratory problems for you and your family. Also, your humidifier can produce mold spores without proper cleaning, leading to health issues.

2: Protects Your Investment

Humidifiers can be costly, and regular cleaning can help protect your investment. Over time, mineral buildup in the tank can clog the system, reducing its efficiency and shortening its lifespan. Proper cleaning, including descaling and disinfecting, can help keep your humidifier in excellent working condition and last many years.

3: Improves Air Quality

Proper cleaning of your humidifier can help improve the air quality in your home. A humidifier that is dirty can release harmful particles into the air and exacerbate respiratory conditions, such as asthma or allergies. Regular cleaning helps keep the air healthy and reduces the chances of any aerosolized pollutants affecting your family’s health.

4: Reduces Unpleasant Odors

Have you noticed unpleasant odors when using your humidifier? A humidifier that is dirty can produce moldy or musty smells, which can be unpleasant and even permeate your furniture and upholstery. Regular cleaning can help prevent odors and leave your home smelling fresh.

Regular cleaning only requires a few minutes of your time, and paying for its benefits is a small price.

How to Clean a Humidifier

how to clean a humidifier

Now that you know the importance of regularly cleaning your humidifier, let’s look at how to do it properly.


Prepare the following materials:


The first thing you’ll need is water. It might seem obvious, but it’s important to emphasize the kind of water you should use to deep clean your humidifier. Using tap water can cause mineral buildup and promote the growth of bacteria. Instead, use distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled. This will ensure that the water used to clean your humidifier doesn’t cause additional problems.

Citric Acid Powder or Distilled White Vinegar

These substances are great for breaking down mineral buildup in your humidifier, and they’re also effective at killing off mold and bacteria. Mix your chosen acid with water in a 50/50 solution and let it sit in the humidifier for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it out.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Bleach

Hydrogen peroxide or bleach is an optional addition to your cleaning solution, but it’s highly recommended. These substances are great at killing off bacteria and mold spores that may be lurking in your humidifier, helping to prevent future growth. Be careful, though- always follow the instructions and rinse your humidifier thoroughly after using any chemicals.

Scrubbing Sponge or Brush

A scrubbing sponge or brush is the last thing you’ll need to get started with cleaning your humidifier. This utensil will help remove any debris or mineral buildup left behind in your humidifier after you’ve soaked it with your acid and water solution. Make sure to choose a brush that won’t scratch your humidifier’s surface and can get into any hard-to-reach areas.


Unplugging your humidifier is a crucial step in cleaning your machine because it prevents any electrical accidents from happening. You do not want to risk electric shock or other accidents that may harm you or your humidifier. Turning off the machine before cleaning will ensure the water and other cleaning agents do not mix with the electricity. It is essential for safety purposes.


Once your humidifier is unplugged, it is time to start cleaning it. The first step in cleaning a humidifier is to remove any excess water or debris left in the machine. Use a towel or cloth to wipe down the humidifier, getting rid of any dust or dirt that may have accumulated over time.

The next step in the cleaning process is using a cleaning agent to eliminate any bacteria or mold in the humidifier. One effective solution is a weak acid like citric acid powder or distilled white vinegar. These acidic agents break apart and kill any bacteria in the humidifier. Additionally, you may want to consider adding hydrogen peroxide or bleach to the solution to give it an extra boost.

Using a scrubbing sponge or brush, gently clean the inside and outside of the humidifier. Work in circular motions to ensure all surfaces are covered in the cleaning solution. Use a Q-tip or cotton swab to get the best results if there are any hard-to-reach areas. Once finished, rinse the humidifier with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution.


Once you have finished cleaning your humidifier, it is important to let the machine air-dry before plugging it back in. This will help ensure that no moisture or cleaning agents are left behind in the humidifier and could potentially cause damage. If you’re in a hurry, you can use an old towel to absorb excess water.

You may consider using a fan or dehumidifier to speed up drying. Just be sure to keep your humidifier away from direct heat sources, as this can cause damage to the machine.

These 4 easy steps will help ensure your humidifier is clean and well-maintained. However, it’s important to remember that humidity levels should be monitored during the cleaning process to ensure that water and other maintenance chemicals do not damage the electronics of your machine. Be sure to check in with a professional if you have any questions or doubts about properly cleaning your humidifier.

How to Prolong Humidifier Lifespan

Like any home appliance, your humidifier needs regular maintenance to work properly and last as long as possible. I will share some tips and tricks for prolonging your humidifier’s lifespan and keeping it in top condition.

∎Regular Cleaning

The most important step in prolonging your humidifier’s lifespan is regular cleaning. A dirty humidifier will not only spread harmful bacteria and mold throughout your home but can also clog the device’s internal components and cause it to malfunction. The frequency of cleaning will depend on how often you use the humidifier. Clean it every three days for daily use, and if you use it less, clean once a week.

∎Use Distilled Water

Another critical tip for prolonging your humidifier’s lifespan is to use distilled water instead of tap water. Tap water contains minerals that can accumulate in the humidifier’s internal components, clogging them and forcing the device to work harder than necessary. When using distilled water, you avoid mineral deposits and add pure moisture to the air.

∎Change Filters Regularly

Some humidifiers have filters to help remove impurities and provide a clean mist. In order to maintain the quality of air and prolong the humidifier’s lifespan, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on replacing the filter at the recommended intervals. Replacing the filter ensures that the humidifier works as intended and prevents the release of minerals and impurities. A failed filter will overwork the unit, leading to its breakdown.

∎Store Humidifiers Properly

Seasonal usage can often lead to a humidifier being stored for long periods without usage. A humidifier needs proper storage to last. Always empty the humidifier of any remaining water and let it dry thoroughly before storing it. Storing a humidifier with water can lead to mold, bacteria growth, and rust development on the components.

∎Address Any Issues Immediately

When you observe an issue or malfunction of the unit, address it immediately. Continuing to use a faulty humidifier could lead to permanent damage. If you notice that the device is producing less mist or not working properly, shut it down and clean the components. Seek professional help if the problem persists.

Your humidifier is a long-term investment, and it’s worth ensuring it lasts as long as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I clean the humidifier’s filter?

Over time, the filter of your humidifier will accumulate dust, minerals, and other impurities that may affect its performance. Cleaning the filter regularly can help prolong the life of your appliance. You can use a soft-bristled brush or gentle soap and water to clean it. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly and let it dry completely before putting it back.

Q: Can I clean my humidifier in the dishwasher?

Generally, it is not recommended to put your humidifier in the dishwasher. The detergent used for dishwashers can be too harsh and might damage the appliance. Plus, there might be hard-to-reach areas that won’t be effectively cleaned using a dishwasher. The safest way to clean it is to stick to the manufacturer’s instructions or use a soft cloth and cleaning solution.

Q: Should I clean the humidifier if I’ve only used it a few times?

Absolutely! Regardless of how often you use your humidifier, it must be cleaned regularly. Bacteria and mold can develop even in the water tank and pose health risks. Make it a habit to clean your humidifier at least once a week to keep it functioning at an ideal level and avoid unwanted surprises.

Q: Can I clean my humidifier with soap and water?

Yes, you can. In fact, soap and water are the most natural and straightforward cleaning solutions available. Remember to use mild or unscented dish soap to avoid leaving residue and a strong odor. Use a soft sponge or cloth and pat dry the appliance to avoid leaving any water stains.

Q: How do I clean hard-to-reach areas of my humidifier?

Certain areas of a humidifier are harder to clean than others, such as the water tank and the small crevices on the base. One way to address this is to use a soft-bristled brush or sponge that can fit into tight spaces. You can also use vinegar to loosen up any mineral buildup that might be stuck. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly after.

Q: Is it necessary to disinfect the humidifier?

Yes, it is recommended to disinfect your humidifier regularly. Disinfecting helps prevent bacteria and mold buildup in the appliance. One way to disinfect it is by using 2-3% hydrogen peroxide solution and letting it soak for about 30 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry. You can also use white vinegar to help disinfect and remove mineral buildup.

Final Words

To clean a humidifier might seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it’s worth it. After all, who wants to breathe in contaminated air? I’ve learned from experience that a little regular maintenance goes a long way in ensuring my humidifier works efficiently and lasts longer. Plus, a clean humidifier means better health for me and my family – who doesn’t love that? So, grab some vinegar, water, and a scrub brush, and clean a humidifier today! Do you want to know if smart home technology worth it? Read it here!

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