Humidifiers moisten indoor air and are useful for treating cold and flu symptoms, healing dry skin and helping babies sleep more peacefully. Humidifies that are not cleaned properly may pump bacteria into the air, so it’s important to use the right technique and clean your machine out often. Learn how to perform a basic cleaning, disinfect the humidifier and prevent bacterial growth.
Performing a Basic Cleaning
1.Rinse the filter. Unplug the humidifier first, then remove the filter. Hold it under the faucet and rinse it with cold water to wash away any impurities. Let it on a clean towel to dry while you clean the remaining parts.
- Don’t use cleaning solution to clean the filter. Chemicals can permanently damage the filter so that it will no longer work properly.
- You may have a model of humidifier that requires you to change the filter every now and then. If this is the case, check the manufacturer’s instructions and change the filter as often as is recommended.\
2. Wash the water tank. Remove the tank from the humidifier and pour out the old water. Fill the tank with 3 cups of vinegar, swish it around so that it covers the bottom and sides of the tank, and let it sit for at least 1 hour. The vinegar acts as a natural cleanser that loosens buildup from the bottom of the water tank. Rinse the tank thoroughly when you’re finished.
- If necessary, use a scrub brush to scrub away some of the grime at the bottom of the water tank.
- Using another type of cleaner could have negative consequences, since the liquid from the water tank gets pumped into the air. Stick with vinegar to make sure you’re creating a safe environment for your family.
3.Wipe down the frame. Use a sponge dampened with vinegar and water to wipe the remaining parts of the humidifier. This prevents dust and other debris from entering the water tank, and inhibits the growth of mold or bacteria.
Disinfecting the Humidifier
1.Use a bleach and water solution. Pour a gallon of water and a teaspoon of bleach into the water tank. Let the solution sit in the tank for an hour to completely sanitize the inside of the tank. Pour out the solution and rinse with clean, cold water.
- Be sure the tank has been thoroughly rinsed before you replace it on the humidifier frame.
- Don’t let the bleach sit in the humidifier for more than an hour, or it could damage the machine.
2.Use peroxide. Pour a few cups of peroxide into the water tank. Swish it around so that it covers the bottom and sides of the tank. Allow the peroxide to sit in the tank for an hour, then pour it out and rinse the tank with cold water.
3.Do a deep clean with vinegar. Fill the water tank with a cup of vinegar and a gallon of water. Plug it in outside and let the humidifier run for an hour. After an hour, pour out the remaining liquid from the tank, rinse it with clean water, then fill it with clean water and run the humidifier for another hour. Rinse out the tank one more time before using.
- Don’t run the humidifier run indoors when you’re using vinegar in the water tank. It will make your home smell like vinegar.
- Don’t use bleach or any other chemical to do a deep clean through the working part of the humidifier. Turning the humidifier on and running chemicals through the system could cause permanent damage.
Preventing Bacterial Growth
1.Change the water often. Leaving water to sit in the water tank for long periods of time causes mineral deposits to collect on the bottom and sides. The longer you leave the water sitting there, the more deposits will collect and the harder they’ll be to remove.
2.Clean the humidifier every three days. When the humidifier is in heavy use during the winter or when a family member has a cold, clean it every three days with a simple vinegar or hydrogen peroxide rinse. Do a deep clean every two weeks or so.
3.Replace the humidifier when necessary. Old humidifiers that have gotten a lot of use may start to break down over time. The worn-out parts will be more prone to hosting bacterial growth.
- If you’ve had your humidifier for more than a five years or so, you might want to consider replacing it.
- If you aren’t ready to replace your older humidifier, make sure to clean it with bleach or peroxide every few weeks.
4.the area around the humidifier dry. If the humidifier is causing the area around it to become damp, turn it down. Surrounding the humidifier with dampness can lead to the growth of bacteria and mold.
5.Store the humidifier properly. When it’s time to put the machine away after the winter, clean it thoroughly and make sure it is completely dry before putting it away. When you take it out again next year, clean it again before using.