How To Clean A Humidifier Filter – Secure Long Life for Your Humidifier

Carolina Evans
Carolina Evans
Research Writer
Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s ho read more
Reviewed By
Richard Powell
Richard Powell
Expert Consultant
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may read more
Last updated: August 10, 2023 is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

No matter its application, all air humidifiers work the same way. The air around a room is constantly passed through a filter medium that gets rid of particles, hair, debris, and dust. They act more like a sieve, separating solid particles from air.

Most humidifiers in our homes require extra assistance from a filter to function well. Like most electronic appliance, maintenance and disinfection are needed to ensure the device is functioning at its best. Even though filter-less humidifiers are considered cheap, maintenance has to be done manually, which isn’t convenient. A humidifier that comes with a filter allows you to employ a quick and easy cleaning process when in use. Just as every other filter, air humidifier filters have to be cleaned daily. Ensure particles from the filters are constantly dislodged. The same applies to the water tank. And in this article you will find all the essential tips about how to clean a humidifier filter.

Couple words about filters and importance of cleaning

How To Clean A Humidifier Filter - Secure Long Life for Your Humidifier

Ensuring your humidifier is clean is important for several reasons. First, it’s tasked with ensuring your unit works like brand new. Secondly, not doing this prevents you from using it for a very long time. Taking a look at hygiene, most humidifiers harbor germs and having a filter ensures you don’t accidentally spread harmful bacteria and germs.

Without a proper cleaning strategy, bacteria are lying there in waiting until the humidifier is turned on. Not only does this action contaminate your indoor environment, but breathing this bacteria infects the respiratory tract. Fortunately, you don’t have to contend with this when you have a humidifier with a filter. As filters are used more frequently, more particles are trapped in. At first, these changes have no effect. However, this eventually clogs the surface, making it impossible to filter airflow. Hence if there’s limited airflow passing through the filter, it’s impossible to trap the particles inside the filter.

If you’re looking to get a filter for your humidifier, you will be glad to know that they actually come cheap. However, you have to choose from the available options in the market.

Most importantly, you will have to know all the available filters types in the market. The list includes air, grille, custom air, whole house, and humidifier pads.

Air filters protect the vital part of your HVCA system from accumulated germs and debris. In contrast, whole air filters aim to remove particles from the air, thereby improving the condition of your indoor environment.

Custom air filters have an irregular design which allows you to choose the exact design for your indoor space. Grille Filters, on the other hand, are installed on ceilings, walls as well as air vents. However, humidifier pads are used to add moisture to your indoor environment.

What you will need

To keep your humidifier clean, you will need certain tools to do so. Luckily, these tools are readily available in our homes and can be gotten from a local store. Before learning how to clean a Honeywell humidifier or other brands, here is the list of items to assemble.

  • Soft brush
  • Bleach
  • A bucket of water
  • Clean towel
  • Gloves and goggles.
  • Vinegar.

Before cleaning, you should know that every humidifier is constructed differently. They all come with a water tank as well as an operating base. Whichever components accompanies your humidifier be assured, they’re all easy to clean.

Stages of cleaning a humidifier filter

If you’ve learned how to clean a humidifier without a filter in the past, you should know that the cleaning step doesn’t apply when cleaning one with a filter. To get the most out of your humidifier, here are steps to consider.

How To Clean A Humidifier Filter - Secure Long Life for Your Humidifier

  • Unplug your humidifier from the wall and disassemble all its components. Start by removing the water tank before proceeding to unlock other parts. Depending on the model you have, it’s possible to remove other components before the water tank. However, study the design before making such conclusions.
  • Next, remove your filters and set aside.
  • Pour water into the base of the humidifier. Soak small removable parts into vinegar for approximately 30 minutes. This is to breakdown the residues.
  • Run your bristle brush on all corners of the humidifier and be sure to get rid of stuck residues in your water tank. Add 1 tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water to fill the tank. Swirl the tank around to ensure the mixture touches every corner of the tank.
  • Run enough water through the base of the tank to wash off the soap and dislodge scales. Dry all wet components with a towel and lay outdoor to air dry. This will reduce the scents of the chemicals used.
  • Once all components are dried, you can re-couple and don’t skip the part of attaching the filter where applicable.

How to clean mist humidifier filter

When cleaning this humidifier type, extra care must be taken to ensure no moisture reaches the heating element. Follow these steps to clean your mist humidifier filter.

  • Switch the humidifier off and unplug the power cord from the socket. Next, move your device to a well worked out space. An area close to water tap will be ideal.
  • Wipe off the exterior with a clean towel and wash your hands before proceeding to the cleaning phase.
  • Remove the water tank from the device base. Pour away the content of the tank and fill with a gallon of water. Add a tablespoon of bleach to the water in the tank and allow the solution to stay in for 30 minutes.
  • With your hand covering the opening, shake the tank thoroughly for a minute or two. Swirling the mixture round to achieve the desired contact. This movement is meant to disinfect the interior.
  • Pour out the content of the tank for the second time and rinse with cool water. Repeat this cleaning process on the humidifier water basin.
  • Moving to the base, fill the humidifier base with vinegar. The vinegar shouldn’t be diluted and should sit in the base for 20 minutes or even less. If your humidifier comes with an additional pickup tube, also soak the tube in a bucket of undiluted vinegar and also allow to sit in for some minutes.
  • Wipe off the base with a brush to get rid of residues stuck in the base.
  • Pour the content of the base out and rinse the pickup basin as well. Use a towel to wipe moisture and refill the water tank.
  • Return all components to their original position but only do so after exposing the content to dry air.

For those interested in learning how to clean a furnace humidifier with filter, its always advised you soak the components in the vinegar mixture for few minutes rather than dipping a brush in the mixture and running over.

How to clean a Vicks humidifier filter

How To Clean A Humidifier Filter - Secure Long Life for Your Humidifier

  • Switch the humidifier off
  • Disassemble the water tank if you’re using models whose containers are removable. However, if the water tank is attached to the base, you will have to remove the tray in one piece. When doing so, avoid tampering with the wick filter.
  • Remove the cap of the water tank and empty it.
  • Rinse the container with clean warm water. Going for hot one will damage the container. However, if you’re using a model whose base is used as a reservoir, also empty the content and flush with warm water.
  • Turn on the humidifier to dry and turn it off once it does.
  • Lift the filter from the interior and avoid tearing it while doing so.
  • Also, bring out the tray and pour a cup of undiluted vinegar over it. This loosens any deposit left behind.
  • Next, remove the pickup tube and drop into a bowl of diluted vinegar for a few minutes. While allowing the pickup tube to soak in the content of the bowl, rub the interior with a clean towel and dampen a sponge with vinegar to get rid of deposits on hidden corners.
  • Fill the water reservoir with bleach water. Carefully avoid vulnerable areas.
  • Get rid of the bleach water and dry immediately.
  • Allow the humidifier to dry before you attach all the components.

Maintenance and usage tips

It is vital to clean and maintain your filter humidifier regularly. When the humidifier becomes clogged from mineral deposits, it’s impossible tinier. Hence, ensure you drain the water frequently to prevent mold from developing.

Secondly, ensure you don’t store water in the water tank if you do not intend to use the humidifier for some time. Whenever you’re cleaning ensure you never skip the process of disinfecting with alcohol or peroxide.

You will also want the components to get dry before reassembling after a cleaning period — asides learning how to clean specific models of humidifier filter. You should also have knowledge of the different filter types as well as their components. Not all filter types can be removed or cleaned.

Filters made from plastic mostly have to be replaced when they run out of their best. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a replacement. To ensure your humidifier filter lasts for a long time, here are few things to consider:

  • Clean your humidifier daily. Also, empty the tank daily before going to bed.
  • Humidifiers can quickly accumulate first and solid particles. Always wipe down your humidifier with undiluted vinegar to get rid of scales.
  • Sanitize your humidifier by soaking the base in vinegar for at least 20 minutes.
  • Always disassemble all your humidifier component before cleaning.
  • Use distilled water rather than ordinary water in your tank.



Humidifiers without filters come cheap, and we will recommend you steer clear of this option if you want to get the most of your device. Filters are required to purify your device airflow. Trapping hair, debris, as well as specks of dirt. This way you’re able to purify the air in your home.

In the light of all the tips listed above about how to clean a humidifier filter, we will like to recommend you turn off your humidifier all the time before cleaning. Here, we do not mean switching it off alone but unplugging the power cord from the electrical outlet. Before unplugging, pat your hands clean.

Also, avoid allowing the heater to reach the top humidifier housing. However, when this happens, power off the device and allow to dry before using it again. Some humidifiers might not come with a filter, but they’re bound to have a filter space for you to install your preferred choice. With the varieties of options out there, finding the ideal option for your device won’t be an issue.

However, you should consider weighing your options before purchasing any. Consider the ease of use, maintenance, and flexibility before going for one. The cost will also be a determinant, but they do come cheap, hence price should never be a barrier.

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