How to Clean a Humidifier (Step-By-Step Guide)

A clean humidifier is a lifesaver especially in cold and dry winter, as it helps keep the air moist and conducive to breathing and sleeping. It reduces your chances of having dry skin and throat as well as contracting different respiratory ailments.

A clean humidifier is, therefore, a necessity as it determines how effective the humidifier will operate, without giving you any issues or foul mist.

Moreover, a clean humidifier will keep the air quality fresh and clean by reducing and eliminating the air contaminants in your surrounding indoor environment.

How often should you clean a humidifier?

This often depends on how you use it and your surrounding environment. Besides, manufacturers often give out a recommended period to deep clean a humidifier.

Therefore, you can follow the user manual for specific models or do the weekly cleaning. It all depends on the type of humidifier you have as those that emit cool mist need constant cleans ups and maintenance than those that emit warm vapor.

Likewise, the more you clean it on a weekly basis the easier it becomes due to the build-up of less mold, bacteria, and other air contaminants in it.

Manufacturers also state some of the ingredients that you will need to get rid of any bacteria, mold or contaminants stuck in it.

Here is a list of the recommended materials needed to clean a humidifier:[su_list icon=”icon: arrow-right” icon_color=”#52BF60″]

  • White vinegar
  • Tap water
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Bottlebrush, depending on make and model and if it is required
  • Bleach/hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil, this is optional
  • Clean towels

The importance of a clean humidifier

  • A clean humidifier often operates and functions well. Besides, it can last for long and enable you to get the most out of your money
  • You should also clean a humidifier frequently to minimize and prevent the spread of mold and bacteria into the air. Otherwise, the water will only become stagnant and foul thus affecting the quality of air being breathed
  • Cleaning your humidifier every now and then can reduce your chances of contracting respiratory ailments like lung infection, asthma, severe coughs and even shortness of breath

Step-by-step process on how to clean a humidifier

Here is a guide on how to clean most humidifiers. However, you should always refer to the user manual as different models come with different features and designs.

These steps will help you improve your indoor air, breathability as well as the sleeping environment.

Step one: Unplug and disassemble

You will have to disconnect your humidifier from its power source. After which you can disassemble it, start by removing the water tank, and empty it. Depending on your make/design, remove any other part attached to it and its base and put them apart, for easier recognition.

Besides, if it has a filter, remove it too. Some filters can be cleaned using cool water and left to dry. Use the user manual for the filter part.

Step two: Soak in white vinegar

Pour some white vinegar in its base to the point it covers all the areas that always meet with water. For the rest of the small parts that are easily washable, put them all in a large container full of white vinegar and let them soak for a while.

Leave them to soak for about 30 minutes, before starting to scrub the remaining air contaminant residue with a brush. Use a soft- bristle brush, smaller brushes are the best for cleaning some hard to reach places.

Step three: Disinfect the water tank

This also requires about 30 minutes of soaking. Mix one teaspoon of bleach with water and swirl before letting it sit in for some time. This ensures that all bases of the water tank are covered. Moreover, make sure that the solution is at least halfway through the water tank.

If you want, you can use 3% of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach.

Step Four: Rinse all parts

After soaking and washing all the units parts, rinse them thoroughly with tap water. It will take a while before all the trapped moisture is rinsed off. Nevertheless, shake them well to ensure that no residue is left behind.

It will take some time before all the cleansing detergents start to dissipate off. You can lay all the rinsed parts on a dry towel, for some time. This will help with clearing away any tang from the cleaning detergents.

Step five: Re-assemble every part

After every part has dried, reassemble them back carefully as they were. Replace the air filter where applicable and fill the water tank with mineral-free clean water. Place it in a secure place and plug it in to start enjoying fresh humidity in your surroundings.

Regular use and maintenance tips

You can rely on these tips to make sure your humidifier works properly, as a clean humidifier guarantees clean breathing air.

  • Clean it at least once in a week– Follow the above steps, once in a week to ensure you have a clean fresh air to breathe
  • Rinse out water before every use– You should also rinse out any standing water in the water tank before you use it. This will reduce the chances of any bacteria or mold from growing within
  • Use distilled water– This is the best water to use in any humidifier as tap water contains minerals that disperse into the air with the mist. These minerals are always the cause of white dust on furniture and décor and can easily lead to bacteria growth on these surfaces, as they are hard to clean
  • Clean and drain it before storing it– If you are not using the unit for the season, deep clean and dry it before storing. Avoid storing it in a damp place as it will be a recipe for mold and bacteria growth


Conclusively, a clean humidifier can go a long way into enhancing your health line. You just have to be acquainted with the basic steps, for having a clean humidifier.

Moreover, always incorporate the model’s user manual whenever you want to clean a humidifier. Otherwise, you might be lost or stuck in some cleaning steps.


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