How to clean and maintain your cool mist humidifier: tips for everyone

Do you have a cool-mist humidifier? For what? To help breathe easier? Or just use it to make your home more comfortable? Anyway, you know that properly maintaining a humidifier is key to your health and happiness. Such humidifiers are a perfect choice for everyone who suffers from allergies and asthma.   However, like all humidifiers, they require regular cleaning to be effective. We put together extremely useful tips on how to clean your cool mist humidifier. Let’s go!

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. Alien 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 replace it.

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); a dry climate; you are using hard water to fill the humidifier.

What to Use to Clean a Humidifier

Best products to clean an ultrasonic cool mist 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.

How to Clean Cool Mist Humidifier Filter

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.

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 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 the 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. 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.

How to Clean Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits can build up in a humidifier over time. It happens because of the presence of calcium and other minerals in the water. As the water evaporates, minerals form in the tank, water tray, filter basket. But, of course, everything depends on the kind and model of the humidifier. Certain acids can effectively dissolve calcium and other minerals. White vinegar is the best choice if we are talking about cleaning a humidifier and removing mineral scale. Why white vinegar is your ‘must-have’ for cleaning a cool-mist humidifier? Because it is safe to handle and a great solution of acetic acid.

Best Way to Clean a Humidifier from Mineral Deposits

We will show you how to do it step by step. Let’s go, keep your ultrasonic cool mist humidifier clean with us!

  • Step 1. It is really important: turn the humidifier off. Unplug the unit from the wall socket.
  • Step 2.Remove the water tank from the humidifier base. Remove the motor housing, if your humidifier has one, from the base. Remove the filter from either the water tray or the filter basket and set it aside.
  • Step 3.Fill the humidifier base with undiluted vinegar. Leave it for 20 and 30 minutes.
  • Step 4.Clean the inside of these parts with a clean cloth and the vinegar.
  • Step 5. Rinse the vinegar from all humidifier parts that you have clean warm water. Then, dry the components.

How to clean a humidifier with hydrogen peroxide

Let’s make everything clear. A safe humidifier is a clean humidifier. When a humidifier causes health problems, it is almost always because it contains bacteria and molds. So, it is essential to keep your humidifier clean. So, first, disinfect its base using three-percent hydrogen peroxide or white distilled vinegar. This easy steps will help:
  1. Unplug the humidifier unit from the wall outlet.
  2. Remove the unit’s water tank and filter.
  3. Pour some of the hydrogen peroxide or white distilled vinegar into the base of the humidifier
  4. With a clean toothbrush scrub away film and mineral build-up.
  5. Keep the liquid in the humidifier’s base for at least 10 to 30 minutes, then pour the liquid out.
  6. Rinse it with fresh water.
  7.  Is the base clean? Great. Let it air dry.

How to Clean a Humidifier

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 tell you how you should do it.

Find all information about humidifiers and their  advantages in our article ‘Reasons to have a humidifier’

Rinse the Filter

After you unplug the humidifier, remove the filter. Hold it under the faucet and rinse it with cold water to wash away any impurities.   Set it on a clean towel to dry while you clean the remaining parts.Tip for you: don’t use any chemicals to clean the filter.

Wash the Water Tank

The water tank of a cool-mist humidifier

Remove the tank from the humidifier and pour out the old water. Fill the tank with 3 cups of vinegar, swish it around so that it covers the bottom and sides of the tank, and let it sit for at least 1 hour.  Or fill the tank with water and add the tablespoon of bleach.  Replace the lid on the water tank and let sit approximately 30 minutes.

Wipe Down the Frame

It is better to use a sponge dampened with vinegar and water to wipe the remaining parts of the humidifier.  Please, be sure you clean and dry the unit before storing it. It is very important in case you are going to store a humidifier for any length of time. If you are using a humidifier after storing it for any length of time, thoroughly clean it before use.

Maintenance and Usage Tips

We put together some useful tips to make everything easier for you. With them, you will get the most from the humidifier.

Deep clean your humidifier once a week

If you are using your humidifier regularly, you should follow every step of deep cleaning at least once per week (every week!). In such a case, you can be sure that your family is safe and their breathing is not compromised by mold spores or bacteria.

Rinse out water before every use

Make sure to empty and rinse out any water left in there before you turn a humidifier on. This eliminates any sort of bacteria that may have started to grow inside the unit. It is wiser to change and add the only freshwater regularly.

Use Distilled Water

Such water is recommended to use with humidifiers. Why shouldn’t you use just tap water? This is because of minerals such water has. All the surfaces of the room the humidifier is being used in will be covered with a small amount of white dust.

Clean and Drain Before Storage

When you are stopped using a cool-mist humidifier for some reason (vacation, end of the season, etc), it’s important to do a  deep clean and let it dry before you store it away.

яWhy it is important to clean your room humidifier at least twice a week? Mold, bacteria, and germs- and it’s not all problems that dirty humidifiers can cause! If you do not clean your cool mist humidifier regularly or don’t clean it properly, the life of people with asthma and allergies can be particularly problematic.  What is more, it can also cause lung-infections and flu-like symptoms in healthy people. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly clean your humidifier so it doesn’t make you sick!


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Can this unit be set on the floor in the bedroom?

Shari Witt November 17, 2021

I would also love to know how to clean the mist outlet – looks like it can be detached but no instructions on how to do so.

Russell November 17, 2021

How can I clean the mist outlet and the mist reinforcement? It looks like you can un attach it at the bottom, but appears to be difficult to do.

Wendy J Brown February 15, 2021

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