Answers to the 10 Most Popular Questions about Humidifier Care

Humidifiers have become a health trend. There is so much information about humidifier care that it’s almost impossible to know what is true, and which ones are just myths.
At Geniani, we get a lot of questions about how to clean a humidifier. That’s why we decided to share the answers to the most popular ones. Are you ready? Let’s go!


Question #1 Can I get sick because of a dirty humidifier?


According to the staff of Mayo Clinic, dirty humidifiers can breed bacteria and mold. In fact, without proper care, your air diffuser can do you more harm than good. You could be putting yourself at risk of:

  • asthma attacks;
  • pneumonia;
  • Legionnaire’s disease.

Recent studies have shown that 75% of Americans don’t clean their humidifiers frequently enough. Every third humidifier has developed bacteria or fungal growth. Alieen M. Marty, MD from the International University of Florida says that it happens not only at home but at hospitals as well.

Inhaling the air produced by a dirty humidifier is especially dangerous for kids with breathing problems and asthma. There’s been a case detected in Utah when a kid developed a lung injury after inhaling metal deposits formed inside of a humidifier.

So, if you don’t take care of your humidifier, you will be causing damage to your body. Your air diffuser will eventually become a cozy home for microbes. If you don’t clean it regularly, the only choice will to replace it.


Question #2 How often should I clean a humidifier?

Our clients ask this question quite frequently. A standard approach to humidifier care goes as follows:

  • spend 20-30 minutes per day to take care of your humidifier;
  • once in a week, it’s time for a thorough cleaning: aside from using only water, you can clean a device with vinegar for a lasting effect.

You can also follow the advice given by the Environmental Protection Agency – to clean your humidifier.


Also, if you have any of the following factors, it would be better to clean your humidifier every day:

  • pets at home;
  • little kids (who are extremely sensitive);
  • dry climate;
  • you are using hard water to fill the humidifier.


Question #3 What to use to clean a humidifier?

The good news is that cleaning a humidifier is not expensive at all. You can use what you already have at home. Our clients usually use:

  • water;
  • white vinegar;
  • hydrogen peroxide or bleach;
  • a soft brush / a piece of cloth / a sponge/an old toothbrush;
  • goggles and gloves.

Before cleaning, read the manual carefully and make sure there are no warnings. Also, remember safety essentials, such as wearing protective gloves while handling bleach or other harsh chemicals.


Question #4 How to clean a humidifier?

1. Unplug your humidifier and start carefully taking it apart. Make sure to separate the tank from the base.

2. Take some undiluted white vinegar and pour it into the base of the humidifier. Leave it there for 30 minutes. Then gently scrub the base with the brush to remove all the buildup.

3. After all the parts of the humidifier are clean, put it back together according to the manual, fill the tank with water, and you are done. Now it’s clean and ready to use.



Question #5  How to clean the humidifier if you notice mold?


As a humidifier creates a moist environment, it’s highly possible that there’s mold inside of your air diffuser. Inhaling it is dangerous, so you should be extremely thorough when taking care of it.






Step 1.

Wash the water tank with soap and cool water. If you see mold forming, scrub it with a brush.

Step 2.

Use water to rinse the tank, then wipe the base of the humidifier with peroxide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution does a great job of cleaning and removing mold.

Step 3.

After you’ve cleaned the water tank, refill it with distilled water. Unlike tap water, it doesn’t produce mineral buildup, so you won’t inhale harmful substances.

Step 4.

Once a week, add 2 cups of white vinegar and the rest of the base with water. Run the unit for at least half of hour in outside area. Rinse the tank and allow unit to run several times to wash away vinegar.

Step 5.

To get rid of heavy mold, add a mixture of water and bleach in the tank and run the unit for approximately 30 minutes. Afterwards, rinse the tank with clean water, so no bleach remains. If there is any, keep your humidifier running outside of your living space until it is gone.

Step 6.

According to the specialists from Mayo Clinic, you should change filters and cartridges every once in a while. At Geniani, we recommend doing it at the start of each season.

Step 7.

If the mold is impossible to scrub out, the only thing left to do is to replace a humidifier with a newer model. Luckily, a new humidifier won’t cost you an arm and a leg.


Question #6 How to clean mineral deposits?

We get a lot of questions about whether it’s possible to get rid of mineral deposits in your humidifier. So, let’s take a look at how to do it by using only typical household materials.

What you will need:

  • water;
  • glass bowl or cup;
  • white vinegar;
  • dish soap;
  • old toothbrush;
  • dull knife or a spoon;
  • soft cloths.



Step 1.

Unplug the humidifier. Don’t start cleaning while the unit is running.

Step 2.

Use soft cloths to clean the exterior part.

Step 3.

If you see any “white powder” (which is, by the way, created by metals) – scrub it off with an old toothbrush.

Step 4.

Harder mineral deposits could be more difficult to get rid of. Take a cloth, pour some white vinegar on it, and rub the tank.

Step 5.

Leave some vinegar on the affected areas.

Step 6.

Afterwards, wipe the vinegar off with a soft cloth.

Step 7.

Rinse the humidifier with clean water.

Step 8.

Get as much of the deposits off as you can with a soft cloth or a brush. If you want to scrape the surface, do it with a dull(!) knife or a spoon.

Step 9.

For tougher mineral deposits, fill a bowl with a few inches of white vinegar.

Step 10.

Remember to use the vinegar only for the affected areas of the heating unit. Don’t submerge the entire unit in water, vinegar, or any other liquid.

Step 11.

After some time has passed, wipe off the vinegar with a soft cloth.

Step 12.

Rinse the areas you’ve cleaned with water

Step 13.

Allow your humidifier to fully dry.

Step 14.

Repeat the process every month.


Question #7 Is it safe to use white vinegar?

Yes. Vinegar is a natural product so it will harm neither your health nor your humidifier. It’s often used for cleaning purposes as a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to chemicals.

When looking for vinegar, choose the one that comes in a bottle at grocery stores. Pay attention to acidity – it shouldn’t be higher than 5 percent.

Household vinegar is a tried-and-true solution to get rid of mineral deposits (calcium and magnesium). Also, 1 cup is enough for effective cleaning.


Question #8 How to clean the filter of a humidifier?

If you want to be sure that you are not doing more harm than good while using the humidifier, consider cleaning the filter at least once every 10 days.






Step 1.

Mix vinegar and warm water. Let the filter soak for an hour.

Step 2.

If the filter is still dirty, you can leave it in the water until it looks clean.

Step 3.

Squeeze the water and vinegar out of the filter. Rinse with water.

Step 4.

Let it dry.

Step 5.

The filter is ready to use. Put it back in the humidifier. Geniani humidifiers don’t have a filter – it’s both cost- and time-efficient since you don’t have to clean it every once in a while.

Question #9 How to prevent mold formation in the humidifier?

Having mold growing inside of your humidifier can be dangerous. Also, it might get too hard to clean, so you might have to get a new humidifier.

That’s why there are some tips to follow for the sake of your humidifier:

  1. Use demineralized or distilled water. One of the reasons why your humidifier might have mold growing inside is because you are using tap water. If you want to protect yourself, fill the tank with distilled water – it has a much lower mineral content. Also, consider getting demineralization filters.
  2. Refill the humidifier frequently. If you don’t want your humidifier to become a cozy home for mold, change the water every day. It’s especially important for the owners of cool mist humidifiers. When you are about to change water, make sure the unit is unplugged.
  3. After cleaning, rinse the tank. That way you get rid of toxic substances that can be inhaled and do damage to your lungs and body.
  4. Clean the humidifier before storage. Make sure you clean out the mold and mineral deposits.
  5. If your humidifier is old, consider replacing it. As your machine ages, it’s harder to prevent mold from growing inside the unit. Don’t put your health at risk – buy a newer model.

Question #10 What not to use for cleaning the humidifier?

If you are going to clean your humidifier, it’s important that you do it right. Hence, there are some things that can’t be used for cleaning purposes.

  • detergent;
  • alcohol;
  • hard chemicals.



Wrapping things up:

  • It’s important to take good care of your humidifier. If you don’t, it will probably make you feel worse instead of helping your lungs. Mold and bacteria can cause pneumonia, asthma attacks, or lung conditions.
  • It’s for the best that you clean your humidifier every day.
  • You can use household materials to clean your humidifier – some bleach, water, an old toothbrush, and some household vinegar.