You're Probably Not Cleaning Your Humidifier Enough — Here's How Often To Do It

People with dry living spaces and those living in arid climates rely on humidifiers to improve their home's air quality. This has a wide range of benefits, from allergy relief to reduced snoring. If you are among the many people who own one of these machines, you should know that it is important to keep up with routine maintenance to ensure it works properly and lasts throughout its expected lifespan. This includes cleaning your humidifier frequently, and you might be curious about exactly how often you need to do this. Well, according to experts, humidifiers should be cleaned about once per week. The Environmental Protection Agency also recommends cleaning portable machines every three days. 

This may seem excessive, but it is important to clean your humidifier often to maintain the quality of both your machine and the air around you. "Routinely cleaning your humidifier has many benefits," Saya Hazel, the director of digital marketing for the humidifier company Pure Enrichment, told Today. "It will keep it running smoothly, remove buildup that may have accumulated over time, and keep it running at optimal performance." However, before cleaning your humidifier, be sure to read the care instructions on your device for additional guidance that may be specific to your machine.

How to clean your humidifier

Now that you know how often you should be cleaning your humidifier, you will need to master your cleaning regimen. One of the hidden downsides to humidifiers is that they can encourage mold growth if cleaned improperly. Luckily, you can follow this routine to prevent mold from entering your home. Start by taking your humidifier apart and rinsing off all plastic parts that aren't electronic. Next, identify any limescale spots or other stubborn grime. You can target those areas with a solution made of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and ½ a gallon of water. Dip a gentle scrubbing brush into the liquid and use it to remove those stubborn spots. You may need to soak certain stains with the solution for 20 minutes if they will not come off with the brush right away. Once cleaned, rinse everything again and allow the pieces to air dry.

If you identified mold in your humidifier, you will need to take a different approach to ensure any harmful bacteria is removed properly. This regimen is also a great way to deep clean your machine a few times a year. You will need to start out by creating a cleaning solution using 1 teaspoon of bleach and 1 gallon of water. Pour this liquid into your humidifier, ensuring it does not come into contact with any electrical components. After the solution has worked its magic for about 20 minutes, pour it out and rinse and dry the pieces thoroughly.