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How to Clean & Protect a Humidifier 

Woman In Office With Air Humidifier

Humidifiers are great devices for comfort and health conditions. The moisture they propel into the air adds a therapeutic value that is excellent for dry climates, dry skin, congestion, fevers, and other irritations of the body. However, if humidifiers are left untouched for too long, their benefits will start to fade and can become harmful to you.

Cleaning your humidifier is an essential step for both you and your home. Although we recommend cleaning your humidifier at least once a week, it’s quick and easy to do so that it won’t feel like a hassle. Below you can find the materials you’ll need and the five steps to keep your humidifier running smoothly and effectively.

Materials Needed

  • Vinegar
  • A rag/cloth
  • A small brush, such as a toothbrush
  • A bucket (or use your sink)
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide 

How to Clean a Humidifier in 5 Steps

1. Unplug and Dismantle

using a humidifier at home. a man disassembles a cleaning device

The first step in cleaning your humidifier is to unplug it and place it away from any outlets. Then you will want to dismantle the humidifier completely, especially any parts that have contact with water. After you empty the tank, make sure to rinse it out with fresh water before cleaning.

2. Clean the Humidifier Tank & Base

Woman changing water container in air dryer, dehumidifier, humidity indicator. Humid air at home. Fresh air at home. High quality photo

To clean the humidifier tank, begin by pouring a cup of vinegar and water into the tank. Next, you will put the cap back on and swish it around to reach every inch of the interior. After swishing it around, you can let the vinegar soak in the tank for about 30 minutes. After it has soaked, drain the tank, rinse it with hot water, and then dry the inside thoroughly with a cloth.

Next, you will grab the humidifier’s base and completely soak it in vinegar. Depending on the mineral buildup you can see, let it soak between 20-30 minutes. Once you’ve let it soak, empty it and scrub the base thoroughly with a toothbrush. Lastly, rinse out the base with hot water until you can no longer smell any vinegar.

3. Clean the Humidifier Filter

Before starting this step, it’s important to know that cleaning your humidifier filter may damage and render your filter unusable. In general, you’re better off just replacing the filter rather than cleaning it.

However, if you’d prefer to clean your filter and don’t want to buy a new one, grab 1 cup of vinegar and 1 gallon of water and mix it into a bucket. Then you will completely submerge the filter and wait around 20 minutes for it to soak in fully. After soaking, remove it and rinse it under running water several times. Finally, let it completely dry before putting it back.

4. Clean the Humidifier Nozzle 

Just like the other parts you’ve cleaned so far, you will be soaking the nozzle or spout in vinegar and water solution for about 30 minutes. After you’re done soaking the nozzle or spout, be sure to dry it off fully, and then it’ll be ready to go.

5. Disinfect the Humidifier 

Cleaning with vinegar is great on a weekly basis but isn’t enough to keep your humidifier safe in the long run. It’s important to disinfect it about once a month to prevent any bacteria buildup that could become harmful to you and possibly damage the humidifier. We recommend using 3% hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting, or you can check your user’s manual for other recommended products. For your safety, it’s best to avoid using bleach for this step as it can leave behind an unpleasant residue that can create chlorine gas when combined with white vinegar. It’s also important that you do not combine hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, as that will create an unsafe chemical reaction.

First, mix a solution with four parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Pour the solution into the tank and leave it in for at least 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes are up, empty the tank and rinse it several times until thoroughly cleaned. Lastly, let the tank sit to air dry. Once that is done, you are ready to reassemble.

Why Clean a Humidifier

Air Humidifier Modern Technology And Equipment In Living Room

If a humidifier is left uncleaned for too long, it can negatively affect you. Dirty humidifiers can emit particles that can be dangerous to your respiratory health. Making sure that you clean your humidifier will reduce the chance of breathing harmful particles into your lungs.

How Often Should You Clean a Humidifier

Maintaining your humidifier’s good condition means keeping up with its maintenance. There are several things to note when making sure your humidifier stays healthy. First, make sure to empty and refill the tank daily. Check your base regularly for mineral buildup if you need to clean it. If you ever turn off your humidifier, make sure to empty the tank to avoid bacteria from growing. Replace your filter every 30-60 days and flip the filter every time you refill your humidifier.


By cleaning and maintaining your humidifier, you ensure the safety of yourself and your home. Performing this simple and easy task will benefit any of your respiratory symptoms, dry skin, or some personal discomfort. It’s important to know how to dismantle, clean, and disinfect your humidifier, along with how often you should do it to avoid any risks and continue on with a healthy life.

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