Can A Clean Humidifier Make You Sick?

You finished your evening tasks, and it's time to wind down after a long day. You notice how dry the air feels in your bedroom and how stuffy your nose is becoming, making it a little difficult to breathe, so you decide to use your humidifier. You recently gave it a deep clean, and you just refilled it with clean water last night. It's still somewhat full, it's recently been cleaned, so it must be okay to use, right? Not necessarily.

Humidifiers can be a helpful addition to your home to enhance the air in your living space, but only when maintained properly. According to Sylvane, regardless of the type of humidifier it is, all humidifiers carry a risk of bacteria and mold growth. If you're not properly cleaning and maintaining your humidifier regularly, it can quickly become a health hazard, and the chances of you getting sick become higher. So if you're someone who regularly cleans your humidifier, you lower your chances of getting sick, but with any type of humidifier, the possibility of getting sick is always there. However, the cleaner it is, the better the air quality in your home will be and the healthier you'll feel!

The purpose of a humidifier

Humidifiers come in many different shapes, sizes, and forms, but they all have one primary component for your health: releasing moisture into the dry atmosphere to enhance air quality. Of course, there are pros and cons to everything, even using a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture, otherwise known as water vapor, to the air to relieve any dryness we feel internally for our throat, air passages, and sinuses and externally for our skins, lips, or even hair. This benefits our health, physical appearance, and overall well-being.

Humidifiers are used to treat a variety of health conditions such as asthma, allergies, nosebleeds, and dry cough, but they can pretty much be used by anybody. Even though humidifiers are a simple way to elevate the air quality around you, they have to be cared for properly, or there would be no point because you'd ultimately be making yourself sick. According to Yahoo!, studies that have been done have revealed that 75% of swab samples from humidifiers show fungal growth, and bacterial growth was revealed to be 85%.

What happens when your humidifier goes uncleaned

Humidifiers develop bacteria and mold over time when not cleaned consistently, especially when used water is left to settle in it. Cleaning your humidifier is essential because the hygiene of the internal unit personally affects the air it distributes into your home. Basically, you'd inhale dirty air. If you're someone who uses a humidifier to treat your asthma or allergies, a germ-filled mist can heavily trigger flu-like symptoms or even the development of a lung infection. 

Just as important is to have clean water for each usage, it's important not to let water sit in the humidifier if it's not being used. It's not the end of the world if you forget on a given day, but it's best to stay in the habit of emptying the water from your humidifier after each time it's used. The leading contributor to humidifiers becoming filthy is the use of tap or unpurified water, according to Everlasting Comfort. Tap water holds minerals that can leave residue in your humidifier, which will cause any buildup no matter how small to release into the air. You should only use either purified, distilled, or demineralized water for your humidifier.

Humidifier care is self care

When it comes to humidifiers, one of the most common mistakes people make is assuming that the water running through it is cleaning it and that the water doesn't need to be changed regularly because it was recently changed. Changing your humidifier's water regularly is very important; you should be changing the water in your humidifier every time you use it. Not doing so actually puts your overall health at risk, according to How Stuff Works.

According to Everlasting Comfort, the concentration of some pollutants are generally two to five times higher indoors than outdoor concentrations. If you're someone who likes to spend a lot of time inside, evaluating the quality of the air in your home has never been more critical, and that starts with cleaning your humidifier regularly. You should also never allow dirty water to sit in your humidifier. The cleaner your humidifier is, the less likely you are to become sick.