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How to Disinfect a Humidifier

If you live in a dry climate, it’s likely your humidifier is one of your favorite appliances, especially during winter months. However, a humidifier that isn’t cleaned properly could be spreading germs all around your home. Obviously, that’s not what you want your family to be inhaling all day and night.

Learn the best way to clean a humidifier, so you can breathe a little easier.

Note: Before you use the tips below, you’ll want to consult your manufacturer’s care instructions. The internal components of your humidifier may require specific cleaning products, and you don’t want to damage your device or void your warranty. Additionally, some models may have filters or other parts that require special cleaning.

How to Clean a Humidifier on a Daily Basis

That’s right; your humidifier needs a little TLC every day if you want it to keep working properly. Additionally, letting water sit when the humidifier isn’t in use or not changing the water on a daily basis could increase the chance of bacteria and mineral deposits forming.

You’ll need:
  1. Turn off your humidifier and unplug it from the electrical outlet.
  2. Empty the water tank and water basin.
  3. Wipe the inside of both the tank and basin down with a dry microfiber cloth.
  4. Wipe down the external body and air vents, too.
  5. Refill your humidifier.
  6. Use the cloth to clean up any spills or drips, then make certain your hands are dry before plugging the humidifier in again.

Weekly Humidifier Maintenance

If you don’t use distilled water in your humidifier, there’s a good chance hard water deposits will start to build up on the components. You’ll need to clean these weekly to keep your machine pumping out that misty air.

You’ll need:
  • 4 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar, separated
  • 1 gallon of warm water, separated
  • A microfiber cloth
  1. Turn off and unplug your humidifier.
  2. In the water tank, mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with ½ gallon of warm water.
  3. Shake the water tank vigorously. Let this sit for about 30 minutes.
  4. Mix the remaining warm water and vinegar in the water basin. Let this sit for 30 minutes, too.
  5. Once time is up, shake the tank again and then empty the water. Go ahead and empty the water from the basin as well.
  6. Rinse the tank and basin thoroughly before wiping them dry with a microfiber cloth.
  7. Wipe the exterior of the humidifier with a fresh microfiber cloth.
  8. Dry your hands and clean any spilled liquid before plugging the humidifier back in.

The Best Way to Clean a Humidifier Before Storing It

When the weather starts to get a little less arid, you may pack away your humidifier. Take some precautions to make sure you’re storing it the right way. Here’s what you’ll do:
  1. Follow the weekly humidifier maintenance instructions listed above.
  2. Remove the water cap and place it on a paper towel or clean microfiber cloth.
  3. Let the entire humidifier air dry.
  4. Pack it away in its original box if you still have it. If not, wrap the humidifier in a trash bag or place it in a storage container so that it doesn’t collect a lot of dust as it sits.
  5. Store your humidifier in a cool dry area of the house until you’re ready to use it again.

How to Disinfect a Humidifier

While vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning solution that is capable of killing some germs, it is not a registered disinfectant like bleach. It’s important to note that some models of humidifiers specifically call out bleach and other strong disinfectants as products that should never be used to clean these machines.

Before you attempt to disinfect your humidifier, you’ll need to review your model’s care instructions to make certain these heavy-duty chemicals are safe to use on your apparatus. Remember, this is very important, as you’ll eventually be breathing whatever you put into your humidifier.

Additionally, if you’ve been using vinegar to clean other parts of your humidifier, you should not follow up with bleach. Vinegar and bleach should never be mixed as they can cause dangerous chemical reactions.

Need more tips on maintaining your household appliances? Learn how to clean your vacuum and your microwave, too. And if you need a hand keeping your daily housekeeping routine intact, contact your local Merry Maids for some professional backup.