How to (Safely) Disinfect a Humidifier

A small green humidifier on a wood table
Humidifiers are great appliances, but they require regular maintenance — they are not like television sets that go forever without the slightest effort on your part. One reason they’re high maintenance is because they use water, and the prospect of mold and mildew make it necessary to regularly disinfect a humidifier. And, also, to be vigilant about cleaning them according to their maintenance schedule, especially because everyone in the house is inhaling the mist they create when they’re on.

Unfortunately, there is no single best way to disinfect a humidifier. What works for one unit could damage or even destroy another. So, before you try any tips contained in this blog post, we encourage you to read the instructions that came with your unit. Most manuals are available online. Just Google it!

How to Disinfect a Humidifier

Most humidifiers have at least (1) a filter and (2) a water basin. To clean your humidifier, remove the filter and rinse it under cold water. Set the filter on a clean towel to air dry. Next, fill the water basin with a gallon of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach (or an equal ratio). Give the basin a good shake to coat the entire inside and let it sit for about 20 minutes. If there is visible buildup, simply scrub it away with a soft bristle brush. To finish the job, rinse the basin thoroughly to get rid of any lingering bleach. Again, rinse thoroughly — you don’t want any bleach running through the machine once it’s turned on!

How Often Should I Disinfect My Humidifier?

This is a tough one to answer because it all depends on how often you use your humidifier. We recommend cleaning it at least twice a season — once when you get it out and again when you put it away. If you use it for several months out of the year, it may be smart to clean it once a month. Similar to the cleaning method, you should really follow the instructions that come with your unit.

Humidifier Maintenance

The best way to keep your humidifier clean is to prevent stagnant water. At the end of use, empty your water basin and refill with distilled water. This will prevent still water from promoting mold and mildew growth. It also prevents the buildup of mineral deposits. If you do not plan on using the humidifier again soon, empty the water tank, clean the filter, clean the tank and let all parts of the unit dry separately.

Most humidifiers have a sticker on them that tells owners to disinfect the humidifier regularly. So, it’s important that you do, for the health of the air in your home. Just make sure you do it as prescribed by the manufacturer of your specific unit. And you and your kids will breathe easier.

And your humidifier will last longer, too.

Let Molly Maid Help

If you need some extra time during the winter months to tackle all the scheduled maintenance on your room humidifiers (cleaning, descaling, disinfecting), consider hiring Molly Maid. For decades, Molly Maid has been making homeowners’ lives easier and we can do the same for you.

Please contact your local Molly Maid or call to ask about home cleaning services that meet your schedule, budget and cleaning needs — including complete household dusting that will further improve your indoor air quality!