How to Keep a Humidifier Clean and Free From Bacteria

Humidifiers add moisture to dry air. Thus, these handy machines may relieve a variety of ills, from itchy skin to sinus congestion. They prove especially helpful during winter months when every vent in the house blasts dry air.
People who use humidifiers should not neglect them. Dirty humidifiers can cause more problems than they solve. Find out why it’s so important to keep humidifiers clean and how to handle this task with ease.

How Often Should You Clean a Humidifier?

Home humidifiers offer plenty of benefits. Besides making homes more comfortable by humidifying dry air, they may help relieve some health issues. Still, these devices run by utilizing a tank of water. If neglected, the machine could become a source of health issues instead of a remedy.
According to Good Housekeeping, standing water offers the perfect environment for growing bacteria and mold. If nobody cleans the humidifier, it will eventually pump those contaminants into the air right along with the steam.
To prevent this issue:
  • Clean the humidifier at least once a week during regular use.
  • If anybody in the household suffers from respiratory problems, clean the machine more often.
  • When it’s not in use, be sure to empty and dry the humidifier for storage.

How to Quickly Clean a Humidifier

Humidifiers come with a user booklet that should include cleaning instructions. Of course, many people lose or discard these little manuals, but they can still probably find a digital copy on the company’s website or ask the manufacturer to send them a new one.
However, you don’t need the manual or booklet to properly clean the humidifier. In most cases, you can follow a basic list of instructions that will ensure your humidifier is clean and bacteria-free. Here’s how to clean your humidifier.
  • Gather supplies: Suggested supplies include distilled white vinegar, chlorine bleach, and a small brush, like a toothbrush or a scrub brush.
  • Prepare the humidifier: Unplug the machine and disassemble the parts.
  • Use a white vinegar rinse: Pour one to two cups of white vinegar into the tank. Swish the vinegar around to ensure it coats all surfaces. Put the tank back on the base and let the vinegar drain into the base. Let this stand for about half an hour, and then empty it.
  • Scrub away remaining deposits: Use the brush to scrub deposits and crevices.
  • Wipe off other parts: For small pieces, like the lid, dip them in vinegar and wipe with a cloth.
Rinse all parts with clean water, dry them, and reassemble the humidifier. If the machine needs an even deeper cleaning, substitute a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach and one gallon of water for the vinegar.
When nobody’s using the humidifier, always empty the tank and let it dry out. Consumer Reports found that some types of humidifiers could grow bacteria within just a couple of days. With that in mind, they suggested rinsing these out daily and performing a more thorough cleaning at least weekly. In addition, Consumer Reports conducted tests on bacteria growth within home humidifiers and suggested purchasing an evaporative wick model to minimize this issue.

The Best Protection for Home Humidifiers

For large or small appliances, Upsie offers the best protection plan. This well-known warranty provider provides its customers with local or mail-in repairs, 24-7 live claims by phone, and comprehensive coverage for electric, mechanical, and electronic parts. Best of all, Upsie costs up to 70 percent less than warranties sold by retailers or manufacturers.
An Upsie extended warranty for humidifiers will ensure prompt access to certified services with no deductibles or hidden fees. Customers can also make unlimited claims up to the purchase price of the device, ensuring that customers get the most out of their warranties.
Upsie also offers protection plans for smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, and other devices.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.