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When used correctly, a humidifier can moisten the indoor air, making it easier to breathe. However, if the filter or water reservoir of the humidifier becomes dirty, it can introduce harmful bacteria into the air. Fortunately, you can clean the humidifier at home using a readily available natural cleaning agent, vinegar.
Basic Procedure To Clean Humidifier
Clean the filter
Turn on the humidifier and remove the filter. Rinse the filter under cold running water to remove any impurities. Then, place the filter on a clean cloth to air dry while you clean the other parts.
- Do not use cleaning solutions to clean the filter. Chemicals can damage the filter and render it ineffective.
- Some humidifier models require periodic filter replacement. In such cases, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the filter as recommended.
Clean the water reservoir
Remove the water reservoir from the humidifier and empty out the old water. Add three cups of vinegar to it, swish the solution around, ensuring the bottom and sides of the reservoir are covered, and leave it to soak for at least 1 hour. Vinegar acts as a natural cleaner, effectively removing deposits from the bottom of the water reservoir. Afterward, empty the vinegar and rinse the water reservoir clean.
- If necessary, you can use a brush to scrub off stubborn deposits that have accumulated at the bottom.
- Using other cleaning agents is not advisable for health reasons, as the residue from the cleaning solution may be dispersed into the air. Using vinegar ensures a safe living environment for your family.
- If you cannot use a brush to clean the reservoir, add a few spoonfuls of rice, vinegar, and cold water to help soften the stubborn deposits. Seal the reservoir, shake it vigorously for a minute or more, and let it sit for a while. Repeat this process until the deposits are no longer adhering to the reservoir. Then, you can pour the mixture out and rinse away any remaining dirt.
Wipe the machine frame
Dip a sponge or cloth into a solution of vinegar and water, then wipe the remaining parts of the humidifier. This helps prevent dust and dirt from getting into the water reservoir, as well as inhibits the growth of bacteria or mold.
Disinfect the Humidifier
Use a water and bleach solution
Dissolve a teaspoon of bleach in approximately 3.8 liters of water and pour it into the water reservoir. Allow the solution to sit in the reservoir for about an hour to clean the surfaces. Then, discard the bleach solution and rinse the water reservoir with clean cold water.
- Make sure the water reservoir is thoroughly rinsed before reassembling it in the machine.
- Do not leave the bleach solution in the reservoir for more than an hour, as it can damage the equipment.
- Do not mix bleach and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, as these combinations can produce harmful byproducts.
Use a hydrogen peroxide solution
Pour a few cups of hydrogen peroxide into the water reservoir. Swish the solution around on the bottom and sides of the reservoir and let it soak for an hour. Afterward, pour out the hydrogen peroxide and rinse the water reservoir with clean cold water.
Deep clean with vinegar
Pour a cup of vinegar and approximately 3.8 liters of water into the water reservoir. Plug in the humidifier and run it outdoors for 1 hour. After 1 hour, discard the remaining solution in the reservoir, rinse it, and let the humidifier run outdoors for an additional hour with clean water. Finally, rinse the water reservoir once more before use.
- Do not operate the humidifier indoors with vinegar in the water reservoir; your home will smell of vinegar.
- Add a few drops of essential oil to the humidifier if the water reservoir still retains the vinegar odor after the deep cleaning process.
- Avoid using cleaning or any other chemicals to deep clean the working parts of the humidifier. Running the device and using chemicals throughout the system can lead to complete equipment damage.
Preventing Bacterial Growth
Change water regularly
Water left in the humidifier for an extended period can lead to mineral deposits accumulating on the interior walls and bottom of the water reservoir. The longer water sits in the machine, the more buildup occurs, making it harder to clean. Change the water daily or every other day to limit bacterial growth.
Clean humidifier every three days
During dry seasons when the humidifier is running frequently or when someone in the household is suffering from a cold, clean the machine every three days using a vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solution. Additionally, deep clean the humidifier every two weeks or as needed.
Replace the humidifier when necessary
Humidifiers will deteriorate over time, and worn components can create ideal conditions for bacterial growth.
- If the humidifier has been in use for over 5 years, consider purchasing a new one.
- If you are not ready to replace the humidifier, make an effort to deep clean the equipment using a humidifier cleaner or hydrogen peroxide every few weeks.
Keep the area around the humidifier dry
If the humidifier makes the surrounding environment excessively humid, discontinue use. Excessive humidity around the humidifier can create conditions for bacterial and mold growth.
Store the humidifier correctly
At the end of the dry season or after use, thoroughly clean the entire machine and let it air dry before storing. The next time you take the humidifier out of storage, clean it again before use.
Useful Tips To Clean Humidifier
- If you prefer not to use strong cleaning chemicals, vinegar is your top choice for removing water deposits.
- Depending on your water quality, you might use alternative cleaning solutions.
- Using distilled water can help prevent deposits from hard water and limit bacterial growth.
In conclusion, maintaining a clean humidifier is crucial for a healthy living space. These three effective cleaning methods ensure that your humidifier functions optimally, providing you with clean, moisturized air. By following these steps, you can breathe easy and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained humidifier.