How to Clean a Humidifier: Easy-to-Follow Guide

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: September 04, 2023 is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

With their ability to pump out cool, fresh, and moist air to keep the air cool when it’s dry, a humidifier has become an indispensable tool in every home nowadays. However, to ensure that this is always the case, there is a need for the humidifier to be cleaned regularly. Therefore, if you are wondering how to clean a filterless humidifier or just how to clean a humidifier, then search no further for you will find all the answers you seek right here. Come along as we discover together how to keep our humidifiers in a top-notch condition.

Why you should clean your humidifier

How to Clean a Humidifier: Easy-to-Follow GuideHumidifiers should be cleaned for several reasons. First, it enables it work as it should without any problems. Just like any other appliance, if it’s not properly cared for, then you would expect that it will break down before long, and you wouldn’t want that, who wants to waste money on a device that isn’t durable? Certainly not me.

However, the most important reason why a humidifier should be cleaned is to prevent the spread of harmful mold and bacteria into the atmosphere. If the humidifier isn’t properly cleaned and disinfected, then it is certain that the water in the humidifier will remain at a place, turning into stagnant water. And when the humidifier is turned on, there is a risk that traces of these bad, stagnant water will be released into the atmosphere, and subsequently breathed in by you and your family.

This not only pollutes the air of your indoor space, but it also means you will be breathing in bacteria-laced vapor which can lead to health problems. Such health issues include anxiety, loss of appetite, asthma, inflammation of the lungs, fever, short breathe, and so on. If exposed to this bad air for a long time, you stand the risk of developing a respiratory infection, scarring of the lung and even lung diseases.

However, it doesn’t have to get to that stage as it can be avoided. All you need do is take a few minutes to clean up your humidifier before its being used. So, if you are wondering how to clean out a humidifier or how to clean a humidifier tank then keep on reading.

Items needed for cleaning

How to Clean a Humidifier: Easy-to-Follow GuideThe secret to an efficient humidifier free from bacteria and molds is in cleaning of the humidifier. The good news is that it doesn’t require a lot for you to make it happen; you only need some basic materials such as:

  • Hydrogen peroxide or bleach;
  • A soft-bristle brush;
  • Water;
  • Towels;
  • Protective Gloves;
  • Eye Goggles.

Humidifiers may be made by different brands and seem dissimilar, but they have some things in common, one of which is the operating base and the water tank. However, if yours come with some extra features or it seems complicated; do not bother your head as almost every plastic component of the humidifier can be cleaned in a similar pattern. However, it’s important to stay away from the electronic part and the control panel to avoid hazards and accidents.

Also, it’s important to adhere to instructions and warnings given by the manufacturers of humidifiers, yours included. Before proceeding with the dissembling of its part and the cleanup, ensure you take out time to read through the manual. It is also important that you are properly kitted. To this end, ensure you are wearing protective gloves as well as eye goggles before you begin more, especially when handling harsh chemicals such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

How to clean a humidifier

How to Clean a Humidifier: Easy-to-Follow GuideCleaning your humidifier isn’t such a difficult task even if you have to a humidifier with mold: you only need to follow a set of instructions. To make it easy for you, we have outlined the steps to follow. These steps when followed are guaranteed to improve your indoor air and overall health of your family. This is especially important if you are using a cool-mist humidifier, hence, if you are wondering how to clean a cool-mist humidifier or even how to clean a warm mist humidifier, then follow the steps outlined below:

Disassemble the device

The first step to take is to unplug your humidifier from the electrical source. After this, disassemble all parts of the humidifier. While doing this, ensure that the water tank is removed and emptied. Thereafter either unlock or unlatch any other detachable part from the base (the mode of detachment depends on the model of the humidifier). Once this is done, lay everything down properly for ease of identification.

Wash water tank

The next step in the clean-up process is to wash the water tank. For this, remove the tank from the humidifier, then pour out the old water.

Thereafter, pour in three cups of vinegar into the water tank and then swirl it around such that it touches the sides and bottom of the tank. Allow it to sit for one hour. It’s always ideal to clean a humidifier with vinegar as it functions as a natural cleanser by loosening buildups from the base of the water tank. After one hour, rinse the tank thoroughly and set aside.

How to Clean a Humidifier: Easy-to-Follow GuideDisinfect water tank

You will also be required to wait for about half an hour while disinfecting a water tank. To do this, pour in a teaspoon of bleach into a gallon of water, then fill the water tank to half the tank. Swirl the bleach solution around so that the entire part of the water tank is coated by the solution. If bleach is not available, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide as a substitute.

Rinse filter

If you are wondering how to clean a humidifier filter, the process to take is to remove the air filter of the humidifier. If it looks dirty, wash it under running water after which it should be kept on a clean dry towel to drain the water.

Clean the base

The base of the humidifier also needs to be cleaned. To do this, pour some white vinegar into the base of your humidifier, ensure it touches all part that water usually comes in contact with, thereafter place in smaller parts of the humidifier that are washable and allow it to soak for about thirty minutes; this gives enough time for the buildup to breakdown. This should be followed by gently scrubbing all parts with a soft brush to remove any stuck dirt.

Smaller parts should be cleaned with a brush

There are smaller parts of the humidifiers that also need to be cleaned. For this purpose, soak a cloth in a mixture of water and vinegar and then use the rag to clean those small parts. Also, wipe down the exterior and other parts of the humidifier. This action also helps to minimize dust, bacteria, and mold.

The above steps can also be applied to clean a Vicks humidifier or any similar models of other popular brands.

How often should a humidifier be cleaned?

Daily maintenance of your humidifier is an effective way to ensure it kept clean at all times. One of the things to do is to empty the water tank and refill with fresh water daily. This should be done before it is turned on.

It’s also important to consider the type of water being put in the humidifier. Hard water is not recommended as this leads to the deposit of minerals on the humidifier’s filter or the heating compartment. Hence, to avoid this, it’s best to add a demineralization cartridge solely designed for your machine, you can also choose to use only distilled water for your humidifier.


During times when the air is unbearably dry, you need a humidifier to moisten the air and keep it cool. But like every other product, there is a need for proper maintenance to be done if it’s to last long. Therefore, it’s necessary to know How to Clean a Humidifier. We believe that with the tips shared in this article, your humidifier will be kept in good shape while constantly producing fresh, clean and safe air.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *