What Happens When You Don’t Clean Your Humidifier?

You love the benefits of your humidifier – softer skin, relief from coughs, and no new gaps forming in your hardwood flooring, woot! But chances are, you don’t always remember to clean your humidifier. And that’s a no-no. Cleaning your humidifier is actually really important (and really easy, too).

What happens when you don’t clean your humidifier?

1. Mineral buildup, leading to poor performance

  • The water that you add to the tank leaves hard mineral deposits (“scale”) throughout the humidifier. Scale can clog up your humidifier and hamper its performance.
  • In visible mist humidifiers, scale can prevent the heating element or nebulizer from functioning – that means no mist and no humidification.
    In invisible moisture humidifiers, scale can clog the filter and prevent moisture from getting into the room – resulting, again, in no humidification.

2. Mold/bacteria growth, leading to unclean moisture or odors

Without regular cleaning, the parts of your humidifier that come into contact with water can develop mold and bacteria growth.

  • In visible mist humidifiers, mold spores and bacteria can potentially be released in the mist. Of course, bacteria and mold spores are always in the air we breathe – it’s just best not to add more with an unclean humidifier.
  • In invisible moisture humidifiers, mold and bacteria can grow on the filter, creating an odor and preventing the filter from working properly.

Since nobody wants a humidifier that (1) doesn’t work well or (2) becomes a mold hang-out spot, you absolutely need to clean your humidifier regularly.

The 3 Steps to Effective Cleaning

The good news is, cleaning your humidifier is really easy, especially if you clean it regularly.

1. Daily rinse and refill: A daily rinse and refill goes a long way towards preventing scale and mold/bacteria growth in the first place.

  • On days when you’re using your humidifier, just rinse out the humidifier and refill it with clean water.
  • For a filtered humidifier, also be sure to flip over your filter (top to bottom) when you refill the tank.

2. Weekly descale and disinfect: During periods of time when you’re using your humidifier, descale and disinfect it once a week.

  • Clean the humidifier with white vinegar to remove mineral deposits.
  • Then clean the humidifier with a bleach solution to disinfect it.
  • See your owner’s manual for the specifics of this two-part process.

If your humidifier has a filter, the filter should be replaced every 30-60 days.

  • Never clean the filter with chemicals or soaps.
  • You can loosen scale on a hardened filter by soaking the filter in cool water – but know that a replacement filter will be needed soon.
  • If the filter has mold growth on it or smells “off,” replace the filter promptly.

3. Seasonal shut-down and start-up:

  • Before you store your humidifier, descale and disinfect it one last time.
  • When you bring the humidifier out of storage again, descale and disinfect it again to ensure good working condition for the season.

The benefits of humidifying outweigh the small amount of cleaning that keeps your humidifier working well.

Find the right humidifier for you – or visit our YouTube channel for cleaning videos on your product.

Cleaning Videos