How to Clean and Disinfect Your Humidifier: Top Cleaning Tips

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One of the most significant factors in determining your indoor air quality is the amount of moisture in the air. The relative humidity inside your house becomes especially important as winter sets in.

This is because as the temperature begins to fall and you begin to crank up the heat, the warm air circulating your house will dry out the air that you breathe.

After the air in your home is too dry, you might begin to experience a whole group of issues, all of which might vary from minor annoyances to significant health issues, like the flu.

Now that the seasons have started to change and the germ is beginning to fall, we made the below guide to help homeowners understand how to wash their humidifier and have it ready on these long, cold nights.

What Happens if I Don't Clean My Cool Mist Humidifier?

If you do not clean your cool mist humidifier frequently or do not clean it properly, you can cause this useful home appliance to be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and germs.

Dirty humidifiers can be especially problematic for those who have asthma and allergies. But a dirty humidifier may also result in lung infections and flu-like symptoms in healthy people who don’t suffer from respiratory issues.

It is essential to get the time to completely clean your humidifier so that it won’t make you ill!

How Frequently Do I Need to Clean My Humidifier?

Every 24-36 hours. If water has been standing within your humidifier for more than that time, you should not use it within your dwelling. While inconvenient, it’s strongly advised that you clean your humidifier before each use.

Why Do I Have to Clean My Humidifier?

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Cleaning the humidifier will prevent any bacterial growth or mold from growing within the device. If you have this kind of contamination within your humidifier and you don’t clean it until you turn it on, you might inadvertently disperse harmful particulates into the atmosphere.

Not only is this hazardous to your indoor air quality, but it could immediately affect the health of anyone in your house. This isn’t only detrimental to your indoor air quality, it also puts everyone in your home at risk for developing respiratory troubles.

This is particularly true for young children, the elderly, and anyone who is exposed to it for an extended period.

Check the Cleaning Instructions in Manual

Before you consider using some of the cleaning methods given below, it’s sensible to have a peek at the user manual that came with your furnace states and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

These guidelines are the ideal way to maintain your humidifier in excellent working order and avoid any unforeseen damage that voids the guarantee or leads to you having to replace it.

Why it's Essential to Maintain Your Humidifier Clean

Keeping your humidifier clean is essential for a few reasons. First off, it is an essential task to make sure that your unit works correctly. Like any appliance, if you do not adequately care for it, it won’t last as long as possible. You are not getting the most for the money you invested.

The most important reason you need to keep your humidifier clean is that you risk spreading possibly harmful mold and bacteria into the atmosphere if you do not. Without appropriate disinfection and cleaning, the water in your humidifier will sit and stagnate.

If you turn your humidifier on without making it thoroughly clean, you then risk traces of the contaminated water being discharged into the air. And finally, being breathed in by you and your loved ones.

Not only does this pollute your indoor air quality however, breathing this bacteria-filled vapor can result in a multitude of adverse health traits. These could include severe coughs, asthma attacks, lung inflammation, loss of appetite, high-grade fevers, shortness of breath, and anxiety. 

In the most severe cases, it can be caused by long-term exposure to polluted air. You might begin to develop lung scarring, respiratory infections, as well as lung disorder.

5 Steps to Deep Cleaning Your Humidifier

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Here are step-by-step instructions on the best way best to clean your humidifier. By following these five easy steps, you’ll have the ability to get the most out of your humidifier and enhance your indoor air quality. 

Step 1:

With your humidifier disconnected from the wall, you have to disassemble it completely. Remove and empty the water tank as part of the procedure.

Then depending upon your specific version, unlatch or unlock some other removable components from the bottom and set them all apart for simple identification. 

If your unit contains an air filter, make sure to remove it also. Filters can be cleaned with cool running water and then left to air dry.

Step 2:

Pour sufficient white vinegar into the base that fills all the areas that water frequently comes into contact with. Put some smaller washable parts into a huge container of vinegar to soak.

Make everything sit for a minimum of 30 minutes to break down the buildup, and then follow up with your soft brush to clean away any stuck-on residue.

Some humidifiers come furnished for this purpose, and however if not, any soft-bristled brush should do just fine. Small brushes can be perfect for thorough cleaning of hard-to-reach places.

Step 3:

Disinfecting your water tank also needs about a half-hour of time, so you may want to carry out this together with the second step.

Adding a mixture of 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water, fill the tank till halfway, and swirl the solution around so that the whole inside is coated. You can even substitute 3% hydrogen peroxide for bleach if you would like.

Step 4:

Use water from the tap to wash the base, tank, and other elements, shaking everything nicely to remove any captured moisture.

It may take several passes before the scents of your cleansers start to dissipate. Rest assured as it will happen. Plan all parts to air dry beneath your new towels; this may also help clear any residual aromas.

Step 5:

Once all components have dried completely, you are ready to reassemble and resume use of your appliance. Do not forget to change the device’s air filter where applicable. Fill your tank with fresh mineral-free water, plug it in and start enjoying the effects of clean, soothing humidity in your house once again.

Humidifiers that are Super-Easy to Wash

Honeywell HCM350W Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier

best way to clean a humidifier

With UV technology, this humidifier challenges killing 99.9 percent of germs in the water. Cool mist technology and runs for up to 24 hours. Additionally, it’s quiet.

Homech Quiet Ultrasonic Humidifier

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Big tank capacity allows for up to 50 hours of continuous run time. A dust-proof sponge within the device helps contain any sounds. The rotating nozzle swivels 360-degrees for optimum exposure.

Levoit Humidifier & Essential Oil Diffuser

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This humidifier includes a top-fill tank along with the bonus of being an essential oil diffuser. Oils move in the bottom and cool mist technologies are silent. Even though it doesn’t release as much moisture as others on this listing.

Things to Remember

The procedure you’ve just read is the simplest and most efficient of disinfecting and cleaning your humidifier. If you follow those steps, you’ll eliminate all germs and bacteria which are combined with dirt and dust, or the one which happens to be on your humidifier. 

This greatly decreases the probability of your air becoming full of nasty contaminants; which may easily cause illness.

Here are three things to remember about cleaning a humidifier.

In Times of Heavy Use, Sterilize Every 3 Days

Do a small wash every three days and a deep clean every two-to-three weeks. This keeps the air quality great.

Keep the Space Around the Humidifier Dry

Bacteria and mold can easily grow around those moist spots, which wouldn’t help the humidifier or your air quality.

Change the Water Often

Mineral deposits form when the water has not been changed in some time, and these mineral deposits can be quite tricky to remove if left there.

Regular Maintenance & Usage Tips

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For best results, you can take several additional measures to make certain you get the most out of your humidifier.

Deep Clean Once a Week

It’s recommended that you perform the deep-cleaning measures listed above at least once every week when using your humidifier regularly. This will ensure that mold spores or bacteria don’t compromise the air you and your family breathe.

Rinse Out Water Basin Before Each Use

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Before you turn your humidifier on for the day, be sure to empty and wash out any standing water that’s left in there. This eliminates any bacteria that might have started to grow within the unit.

You don’t need to disinfect it every day, even though it would not hurt. However, it is sensible to add new water.

Use Distilled Water

Distilled water is the recommended water to use humidifiers. This is because tap water contains minerals added to it, and such minerals can also be dispersed into the air and the water vapor.

This may result in a small quantity of white dust covering all the surfaces of the space the humidifier is used in. Furthermore, these minerals also help bacteria grow on account of the deposits that are hard to clean.

Drain & Clean Before Storage

When you’re done using your humidifier for the season, it is incredibly important to provide it a deep clean and allow it to dry before you store it away. 

If there are any moist areas inside the appliance when you store it away, you will probably notice a whole lot of mold once you pull it out to use.

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