white and gray humidifier

How to Clean a Humidifier

Humidifiers can get gross fairly quickly because they’re always wet and often sit in warm rooms.

This can lead to bacteria and mould growth, which obviously isn’t great considering the humidifier is circulating air around your room!

Luckily, cleaning a humidifier isn’t too difficult. In this article, we’ll cover a step-by-step guide on how to clean humidifier.


How Often Should You Clean a Humidifier?

white humidifier

You should aim to clean your humidifier once a week to keep bacteria and mould growth under control. This is based on the assumption you’re using it daily.

If you use it less often, every 2-3 weeks should be fine, provided you empty it and allow it to dry out.

However, you’ll want to clean it more regularly if anyone in your home suffers from respiratory problems.

Unsurprisingly, the main issue here is water sitting in a warm environment. This is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mould, which the humidifier will then spit into the air while it’s running. Considering it’s easy to avoid this with a simple clean, it’s worth doing.


How to Clean Humidifier

preparing humidifier for cleaning

Cleaning a humidifier isn’t difficult. You’ll want to avoid using washing up liquid and abrasive powders or scrubbers. To clean your humidifier, you’ll need the following:

Don’t mix vinegar and bleach because it creates chlorine gas, which is dangerous. For general cleaning, white vinegar will be fine.

Every few cleans, though, you might want to replace it with bleach to ensure your humidifier is fully disinfected.

The steps are as follows:

1. Prep your humidifier

Start by unplugging your humidifier and taking it apart. Depending on the model, this might only involve removing the water tank. Others might have various other components you can take off.


2. Fill the tank

fill up humidifier water tank with vinegar or bleach

Pour enough undiluted vinegar into the water tank to fill it about three-quarters full. Place the tank back onto the base and allow the vinegar to drip down into it.

If you’re using bleach, you’d just replace the vinegar with a bleach and water solution. Mix 1 teaspoon of bleach with 500 ml of water.


3. Rinse the tank

Leave the vinegar to sit for around 20 minutes and then empty it from the dehumidifier. Take the tank back off and rinse it using cold water. At this point, you can rinse and clean any other removable parts.

For the base, scrub any crevices you can reach with a toothbrush. You can dip it in vinegar if you need to, but there should be enough residual moisture to remove any deposits or grime.


4. Rinse everything and dry 

Once you’ve done that, rinse everything thoroughly with cold water and leave to air dry. After that, put everything back together and start using it again.


How to Keep Your Humidifier Clean

home humidifier

While you’ll still want to clean it weekly, there are some things you can do to avoid it getting too dirty between cleanings. These include:

  • Replace the filter every 30-60 days depending on what the manual suggests. This helps prevent grime build-up inside the tank and base.
  • Empty the tank and base after every use and, ideally, allow it to dry fully before you use it again.
  • If your humidifier has parts that are dishwasher safe, use this for cleaning them more thoroughly. Just avoid anything too abrasive during the cleaning process.


Final Thoughts

Provided you clean your humidifier regularly, it shouldn’t be a difficult job. Generally, a quick rinse with some vinegar will be fine, but using bleach every few washes will help keep it as clean as possible.