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The Complete Guide to Humidifier Hygiene

Do you want to maintain the best air quality in your home? Check out our complete guide to humidifier hygiene to protect your family’s health.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

The Complete Guide to Humidifier Hygiene

With the high humidity levels in the Philippines, some people think that using a humidifier is unnecessary in this country. However, if you have family members who are prone to suffering from chapped skin and respiratory problems, having a humidifier can do wonders. In certain months, the air in higher altitudes can get quite cold and dry. 

However, you must remember that, like any other appliance in your home, your humidifier also needs regular maintenance. If you neglect caring for it, you may create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. So, if you don’t want air pollutants in your home, our complete guide to humidifier hygiene is what you’ll need.

Why Should You Clean Your Humidifier?

Before we discuss the cleaning procedure, let’s talk about the importance of cleaning your humidifier regularly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), fungi and bacteria often grow in dirty tanks of portable humidifiers.[1] These harmful microorganisms are released into the atmosphere through the mist, causing respiratory problems like asthma and flu. So, aside from knowing how to clean an aircon, you should also learn how to maintain your humidifier.

While humidifiers can improve air comfort in your home, they can become disgusting when you don’t clean them. Fortunately, when you follow a complete guide to humidifier hygiene, you’re all set. Most manufacturers suggest cleaning the appliance once a week if you don’t want to end up removing mold from your walls. However, if you want to be technical about the process, the Environmental Protection Agency said that the ideal disinfection and sanitation frequency should be every three days.[2]

Image of a Humidifier

What Are the Types of Humidifiers?

There are various types of humidifiers, and they work differently. However, the most common varieties you’ll find in the Philippine market are:

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers – These contain ultrasonic nebulizers that emit cool mist by vibrating and breaking particles apart.

  • Evaporative humidifiers – These absorb miners using wicking filters to ensure that they emit clean mist. You may find models with an anti-microbial filter that prevents mold growth.

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What to Prepare When Cleaning a Humidifier

Of course, a complete guide to humidifier hygiene will include the cleaning supplies. Here are the items you must prepare:

  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Distilled water

  • White vinegar

How to Clean an Ultrasonic Humidifier

If you own an ultrasonic humidifier, follow the steps below:

  1. Empty the water from the humidifier tank and base. If yours has a demineralization cartridge, remove it.

  2. Pour distilled water into the tank, ensuring that it’s half-full. Then, add two tablespoons of white vinegar into the tank.

  3. Reattach the water cap, then shake the tank gently. Let the mixture sit in the tank for about 20 minutes.

  4. Without emptying the base, gently scrub the inside part with the toothbrush. Don’t forget to scrub the oscillator as well. Let the mixture sit for another 20 minutes.

  5. The next step is to empty the humidifier base and tank. Dampen your microfiber cloth with white vinegar, then use it to wipe the tank, base, nozzle, and cap. 

  6. Rinse all the parts thoroughly.

  7. Take a dry microfiber cloth and use it to wipe all the parts. If necessary, replace the demineralization cartridge.

How to Clean an Evaporative Humidifier

It’s also easy to clean an evaporative humidifier. However, because you’re also dealing with a wick, you’d have to go through a few more steps. Despite that, you’ll still use a DIY disinfectant solution for this procedure. Follow these instructions:

  1. Disassemble your evaporative humidifier by removing the top, bottles, fan assembly, and wick. If the wick is due for a replacement, throw it away. Otherwise, you can put it aside while you’re cleaning your unit.

  2. Empty the water from the tanks and cabinet.

  3. Pour distilled water into the cabinet until it is half-full. Add a cup of white vinegar, then let the solution sit for about 20 minutes.

  4. Take the water bottles and pour distilled water until they are half-full. Add a cup of white vinegar, put the caps back, then shake them gently. Let the solution sit for about 20 minutes.

  5. Once 20 minutes have passed, empty the bottles and the cabinet.

  6. Dampen your microfiber cloth with white vinegar, then use it to wipe down the inner parts of the bottles and cabinet.

  7. Rinse all the parts thoroughly.

  8. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe everything down. If necessary, replace the wick. Once you’ve done that, reassemble the humidifier parts.

Maintenance Tips for Humidifiers

  • Replacement parts – Identify which humidifier parts need regular replacing. Some of these components include UV bulbs, demineralization cartridges, evaporator wicks, and ionic silver cubes. We recommend reading the manual to understand how often you should replace these parts.

  • Water – Humidifiers should have fresh water every day. Ideally, you should use distilled water to prevent mineral deposits from forming around your unit. 

  • Storage – During summers, there’s enough moisture in the air. So you might not need to use your humidifier. Before storing the unit, clean and dry it thoroughly. Doing this procedure will ensure that your humidifier will continue running at its peak performance year after year.

Keep Your Indoor Air Clean and Fresh

There are many ways you can maintain good indoor air quality. For instance, you can learn how to make a homemade air freshener. Of course, cleaning your humidifiers, fans, and air conditioning unit is always the best way to keep your home smelling clean. Besides, this maintenance procedure can also ensure that your family is safe from respiratory and skin diseases.

For more home cleaning hacks, keep reading Cleanipedia’s blog posts!

FAQs About Humidifier Hygiene

Q: Is a humidifier good for daily use?

During the colder months, you can keep your humidifier running every night for a more comfortable sleep. Doing so will help prevent dryness of the nose, skin, throat, and lips.

Q: How do you clean and disinfect a humidifier?

Following the instructions we shared in this article can be a good start. Alternatively, you can use hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner and disinfectant for your humidifier.

Q: Do humidifiers need maintenance?

Like other appliances in your home, your humidifier will also need maintenance. Regular cleaning and replacement of parts should be enough to keep it running optimally.

Q: What type of evaporative humidifier requires minimal maintenance?

In general, evaporative humidifiers require some level of maintenance. However, if you want a humidifier that doesn’t collect as much mineral buildup, a steam humidifier would be a good alternative. After all, this model heats the water before dispersing it into the air.


1. Dirty Humidifiers May Cause Health Problems. (n.d.). U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/5046.pdf

2. Indoor Air Facts No. 8: Use and Care of Home Humidifiers. (1991). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2014-08/documents/humidifier_factsheet.pd

Originally published