How To Clean A Small Humidifier In Simple Ways

Ever watched an aesthetic home organising video with a humidifier evaporating mist in the background? It looks so satisfying, doesn’t it? Well, it feels quite relaxing too. A humidifier is an essential home appliance in areas with a drier climate. By evaporating fine mist in the air, it creates a healthier and more relaxing atmosphere at home. However, these advantages can easily become disadvantages if your evaporator is dirty.

a humidifier on a table next to a potted plant in a living room

A humidifier can be an ideal breeding ground for microorganisms if not cleaned properly. Even the best humidifiers in the market are susceptible to fungal and bacterial growth. This way, they will be more harmful than beneficial for you and your family. It requires regular maintenance and deep cleaning once a week. Not only will it save your family from the adverse effects of a dirty evaporator, but it will also elongate the life of your device. If you want to know how to clean a small humidifier, then keep on reading!

What is a home humidifier?

A humidifier is an electrical appliance that evaporates water into the environment. It is more common in climates with dry air, making the atmosphere more moist and breathable. There are two kinds of humidifiers available for different types of buildings. One is small and suitable for homes, and the other is a large-sized fixture for humidifying large spaces like museums, malls, or halls. The mist spread by this device in the room allows people to breathe easily in low humidity areas. 

This device uses ultrasonic vibrations, electricity, or heat to disperse water vapours in the air. The ideal humidity in your house is around 30 to 40% to keep your skin in a healthy state. Anything below 30% can cause dry skin, cough, and an irritated nose. The body of a vaporiser is based on a water tank (water tank is the biggest part), a fan or a steamer, filter, and control buttons. They are fairly user-friendly and easy to clean. However, overusing or using a dirty humidifier can cause severe skin and lung issues. 

Types Of humidifiers:

There are five different kinds of humidifiers that are available in the market. Here is how to tell them apart:

a humidifier in a child's bedroom

Evaporation humidifier

An evaporative humidifier usually works like a cold mist evaporator as it doesn’t require heating water to create humidity. Instead, it uses a fan to circulate the moisture. The fact that it doesn’t produce heat for humidification makes them perfect for homes with kids or pets.

Central humidifiers:

Central humidifiers are installed on a larger scale. These machines are hard-wired in a house’s inner control system to keep the house’s occupants comfortable. As they are preinstalled, there is no need to worry about affected children and pets. Not only that, but they also provide an equal humidity level throughout the space.

Ultrasonic humidifier:

Ultrasonic humidifiers are usually small-sized humidifying machines based on a diaphragm or a vibrating mechanism. This mechanism helps vibrate the water in the tiny reservoir; the vibrating water then creates humidity. The best part about them is that they make less noise than the other kinds and are pretty handy.

Cool mist humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers work by emitting cool vapours into the air to add moisture. They also have a filtering system to keep the impurities at bay. Therefore, they are most ideally used to create a cooler environment in the summer season. They are also the most commonly used type among the others.

Steam vaporisers:

A steam vaporiser is a warm mist humidifier that creates mist by using electricity to power its heating system. That heating element then gets hot and turns into steam. It is usually used to fix nasal problems as they are best at clearing out the way by its warm mist. 

Things you’ll need

All home appliances need cleaning, from the iron and stove vent fan filter to the dishwasher and the washing machine. To thoroughly clean your humidifier, you will need a few cleaning supplies that you can easily find at your home. Here is what you need to gather:

white vinegar, baking soda, a toothbrush, a sponge and a microfibre cloth on a wooden surface

  1. White Vinegar 
  2. Distilled Water 
  3. Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide 
  4. Soft Bristled Brush
  5. Microfiber cloth 

How to clean and disinfect your humidifier

Follow our step-by-step guide to clean and sanitise your humidifier at home:

Step 1: Unplug and disassemble

The first and most important step of cleaning your humidifier is unplugging it from the power socket. Cleaning it with the plug on can be pretty dangerous. Once you have unplugged the device, disassemble the humidifier parts and lay them out separately. Go through the manufacturer’s instructions while taking your device apart. Check if there are any screws you need to open. Don’t try to force open the machine to break and cause leakage. 

Step 2: Make the cleaning solution

You can clean the parts with dish soap and tap water most of the time. However, if you have stains and mould infestation in your device, you need stronger, disinfecting cleaners. Make a mixture of 4 cups of warm water with a teaspoon of bleach or peroxide. This cleaner will stop the bacteria growth and kill fungus from its roots. 

The wick filter of your device is one of the most delicate parts of the humidifier. Don’t wash it with bleach or any other harsh chemical. Instead, soak your filter in distilled water and let the dirt come off on its own. If there are any prominent stains, use a soft toothbrush to remove them. Changing your humidifier filter frequently is better to have the most purified mist possible to improve your indoor air quality

Step 3: Empty the tank

Empty the water already filled in your tank, fill it up with the cleaning solution you have just made, and swish it around the container. You can also use distilled white vinegar instead if you don’t want to use any harsh chemicals. Let the solution travel to the reservoir to disinfect it thoroughly. If you have an open tank, you can submerge it into the bleach solution. It will allow any hard water stains, fungal or bacterial buildup, and dirt to dissolve, leaving you with clean and disinfected parts of your device.

a man disassembling a humidifier to clean it

Step 4: Clean all the nooks and crannies

For any stubborn mineral buildup, use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub away the mineral deposits from every nook and corner. This mineral deposit can cause white dust on your furniture because mineral particles travel with the water vapours. Next, sanitise each part with the hydrogen peroxide or bleach solution and let them air dry. Use a microfiber cloth soaked in white vinegar to wipe down the surface for the smaller parts and the fan. You can also use clean water to wipe the body of your humidifier.

Step 5: Reassemble the humidifier

Once all the parts are air-dried, reassemble your humidifier and disperse about 4l of water through it in the open air. This will help get rid of any chemical residue left behind during the cleaning process. If you have used undiluted vinegar to clean your device, use a few drops of essential oils in your humidifier to eliminate any harsh smell. And there you have it, a clean humidifier ready to be used again. 

With this easy, step-by-step tutorial and practical cleaning tips, you can always keep your humidifier bacteria and mould free. 


How often should you clean your humidifier

It is essential to thoroughly clean your humidifier weekly to avoid inhaling mould spores and other allergens.

a hand turning on a humidifier on a table at home

Can you run a cleaning agent through a humidifier

Running a cleaning agent through a humidifier can be quite harmful to your and your family’s health. Therefore, evaporating chemicals into the air are not recommended. 

Can a humidifier spread mould spores? 

Yes, if your humidifier is infested with mould, it can spread mould spores in the air around you. In addition, it can cause serious skin and lung diseases if not cleaned properly. 

How to clean a mould infested vaporiser? 

Using chlorine bleach or vinegar is the best way to eliminate any bacterial and fungal infestation. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to remove mould. 

Can unclean humidifiers cause lung diseases? 

Dirty humidifiers can cause severe problems for lung patients. Constant exposure to unclean air can cause throat and nose irritation even in healthy people.

A young woman with a laptop near a humidifier at her living room

In a nutshell, a humidifier can be dangerous for your health if left unclean. Therefore, disinfecting your humidifying devices weekly is essential for their longevity and the health of your family. With just a few simple products and regular cleaning, you can keep your humidifier in optimal condition. Just make sure to go through the owner’s manual before you start your cleaning project. It will make your cleaning process a whole lot more manageable and effective for the specific device.

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