Proper Procedure to Clean and Descale a Humidifier

Why Should I Clean and Descale My Humidifier

The main reason that you should clean and descale your humidifier on a regular basis is that it can get fairly dirty when in use on a regular basis. The water that is constantly used in a humidifier makes the machine a space where mold and microbes can grow. The longer you go using a humidifier without cleaning it, the dirtier it can get over time. If you use a dirty humidifier, it can send microbes into the air. In addition, those with hard water that contains large amounts of minerals will find the water can start to clog the machine, so it no longer works efficiently. This is why cleaning and descaling are so crucial.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean and Descale My Humidifier?

If you do not properly clean and descale your humidifier, it may stop working in a proper manner. Long periods without cleaning can cause wear and tear and cause the machine to stop working more quickly. Lack of cleaning can also risk putting mold and bacteria into the air that may be harmful to the health of those in the home. When a humidifier is not cleaned and disinfected, the water stagnates when it just sits there. The next time you turn on the humidifier, that old water can be passed into the air where you will breathe it in. This contaminates the air and can even lead to health problems like fever, cough, asthma attacks, or shortness of breath.

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Cleaning and Descaling Your Humidifier:


  • 1. Rinse out the humidifier filter.
    • Make sure to unplug your humidifier before removing the filter. You can easily clean the filter by running it under cold water to remove impurities. Avoid the use of a cleaning solution for the filter. Chemicals can damage the filter to the point where you need to purchase a new one. The filter can be placed on a clean towel to dry while the other components are being cleaned. Depending on your humidifier model, you may need to replace the filter on a certain basis.

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  • 2. Clean out the water reservoir.
    • Next, take the tank off the device and pour out the water in it. Add three cups of vinegar to the tank and swish it around a bit to cover the bottom and sides of the tank. After that, let the tank sit for no less than an hour. Those with very dirty humidifiers may want to use a brush to break down the dirt to clean the humidifier. If there is no room to scrub down the tank, adding a few tablespoons of rice to the liquid mixture can help break down the debris stuck to the tank. The vinegar naturally cleanses the tank and helps remove buildup. After cleaning, make sure to rinse the tank well.

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  • 3. Wipe off the frame.
    • Take a sponge and moisten it with water and vinegar for cleaning off the rest of the humidifier. Cleaning off the frame and outside of the machine helps prevent dust and other debris from getting inside of the water tank. This helps to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.

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  • 4. Disinfect using bleach and water.
    • For the disinfection phase of the cleaning, add a gallon of water and a teaspoon of bleach to the water tank. This needs to sit for at least an hour to fully sanitize the tank interior. Once that time has passed, dump out the solution and rinse using cold water. Always make sure that the tank is entirely rinsed before using it again. Bleach should also not be left in the tank much longer than an hour as it can result in damage.

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  • 5. Clean using peroxide
    • The next step to proper disinfection involves adding a few cups of water to the water tank of the humidifier. As before, swish it around a bit so it covers the sides and bottom of the tank. This will need to sit for at least an hour before the solution is poured out and the tank is rinsed with cold water. Make sure never to mix bleach and peroxide together as it can create harmful byproducts.

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  • 6. Deep clean using more vinegar.
    • A deep clean involves filling the tank with a cup of vinegar and a gallon of water. After you’ve added the liquids, plug in the humidifier outside and let it run for an hour. Once the time is up, turn off the humidifier and dump out the liquid. Rinse it out and then fill with clean water before running the humidifier for another hour. Do a final rinse to finish. If there are lingering scents of vinegar, adding a few drops of essential oil to the humidifier can help.

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  • 7. Keep the humidifier clean.
    • At this point, you can use the humidifier again as usual. However, remember to keep the water changed out on a regular basis to keep the device clean. It’s best to do a basic clean with vinegar of peroxide twice a week while a deep clean should be done every two weeks. Keeping the area near the humidifier dry can also help to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. When storing the humidifier, it’s also important to get it completely dry and clean it thoroughly first.

      That’s all it takes to ensure your humidifier is descaled and cleaned. It doesn’t take a lot of time, although there are waiting periods in the process. Once the humidifier is nice and clean, you can be sure it is safe in your household for yourself and everyone else in the family.

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