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How to Clean a Humidifier

Everything You Need to Know About How (and How Often) to Clean Your Humidifier


Anyone who's ever suffered through a harsh Winter or an aridly hot Summer knows how the dry air can really wreak havoc on your body and your home. Dry, chapped skin, difficulty breathing, and a dry nose are all familiar feelings, as are those zaps of static whenever you reach for a sweater or blanket.

When you just can't deal with the dry air in your home anymore, investing in a humidifier is a smart choice and one that will consistently prove its value, day in and day out. (And they can look cute, too!) But it's important to think of your humidifier as an appliance, which means you'll need to clean it occasionally.

Why Should You Clean a Humidifier?

Your humidifier uses water, so it's susceptible to mold and residue buildup. Over time, the more that builds up, the more dangerous your humidifier becomes. Continuing to use your humidifier when it's moldy and dirty could mean that you're filling the air in your home with harmful bacteria that could make you and your family sick.

How Often Should You Clean a Humidifier?

Sticking to a regular humidifier maintenance schedule can help you get the most out of your humidifier and make your humidifier last. If you're using your humidifier regularly, you should also be cleaning it regularly — about once a week. This will prevent mold spores and bacteria from entering the air in your home.

Tip: be sure to always rinse out your humidifier after using, and use fresh, distilled water with each use to prevent too much buildup.

How to Clean a Humidifier — the Right Way

Cleaning your humidifier isn't hard, but it's not quite as simple as rinsing it with water. Follow these steps to do it the right way:

  1. Unplug your humidifier, then empty the water tank. Disassemble it as much as you can depending on the particular model, and remove the air filter.
  2. Fill the base with white vinegar, making sure to fill it high enough that the vinegar covers any areas that are touched by water. Put smaller, washable parts into a container or dish filled with vinegar and let them soak.
  3. After about 30 minutes, use a soft brush to scrub away any buildup, and make sure to get into the cracks and crevices where residue might be hiding.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the humidifier and its components with clean water. Leave all of the parts out to air dry on a fresh towel.
  5. Reassemble your humidifier, and replace the filter with a clean one if necessary.
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