Any Tips for Cleaning Humidifiers??

Updated on March 12, 2010
M.W. asks from Fort Collins, CO
8 answers

Hello moms!
Anyone have any advice on how to clean out humidifiers safely? I was thinking of putting the water tanks in the dishwasher, and then letting the base dry out and then scrubbing it with an antibacterial cleaner or maybe a bleach based cleaner like clorox clean-up? But I'm worried this will effect the way the machine works, but we use them every night and they are getting really gross on the inside of the base and I'm worried it could be putting bacteria into the air. My daughter and I have bad allergies and I am wondering if a dirty humidifier could just agitate our allergies?
Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Featured Answers

S.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

The one we have said to use bleach-I go by the directions on the percentage of bleach-let it sit for 20 minutes then rinse it a million times till the smell is gone. We do rinse it out every day and refill it, as well as change the filter every 3 months.

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L.P.

answers from Albuquerque on

My husband lets it sit for a few hours every few days with vinegar. He takes it all apart and soaks it and pours it into places that hold any water. It eats away at stuff building up but does not have all the chemicals. The longer it sits the better. And then rinse. We have been doing that with mine that I have used for almost two years and it has worked very well.

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T.W.

answers from Denver on

My mother always told me that you MUST clean the humidifier every day. I do not remember the technological names and such (she is director of nursing for a big hospital) but there is some sort of harmful bacteria that can grow in humidifiers. She says it can be quite dangerous. As far as cleaning it, I use the vinegar and water technique and let it sit for an hour or so. I do not have a humidifier with a filter so I am not sure about filtered ones and how often you need to change them. As far as the dishwasher, I have no idea if you can do that or not. I would worry that it would ruin the humidifier.

Good luck!

S.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

The one we have said to use bleach-I go by the directions on the percentage of bleach-let it sit for 20 minutes then rinse it a million times till the smell is gone. We do rinse it out every day and refill it, as well as change the filter every 3 months.

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A.B.

answers from Colorado Springs on

I would look at the directions for your machine. My humidifier says to disinfect once a week with a descaling process that involves soaking it with a vinegar solution followed by a disinfecting process that involves soaking with a very diluted bleach solution. I also have to replace the hepa filter every two months. Each soaking is for a certain amount of time (I always have to look it up) but I think it's 20 for the the vinegar and 10 for the bleach. The bleach solution is really diluted - like a few drops to several gallons - but I would check your owners manual for directions for your machine - hope this helps!

K.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I would suggest looking at the instructions that came with the humidifier. I know mine has a bleach solution which you pour into the humidifier and swoosh around then dump and rinse with cold water. Then let air dry. As for the base, it states to put vinegar on a cotton ball and clean. So I would recommend doing what your booklet states because you could ruin it if you go by the booklet. Good luck.

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D.D.

answers from Denver on

I agree with the vinegar and water method for cleaning. No soaps, no bleach. Also, when the day is sunny, I put the parts outdoors to dry. I'm sure there will be those who disagree with that, and I'm not sure how I came up with it, other than when I had thrush on my breasts from nursing, I was told to sit out in the sunshine sans clothing. LOL.

A.V.

answers from Provo on

I would use vinegar or lemon juice. Vinegar and lemon juice help dissinfect as well as disolve hard water stains. Just make sure you rinse well as to avoid the vinegar smell being dispursed into the air.

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S.B.

answers from Savannah on

depending on the machine you can put parts in the dishwasher....you'd have to look at the instruction manual for that. Don't use bleach or chemical cleaners as it may leave a residue and then you'll be breathing that in when you use the humidifier.

With mine...I discovered the only sure fire way to keep it clean was to rinse it out every morning and let it air dry or pat it dry with a towel. A dirty humidifier will make matters worse...so you want to make sure it's clean. It's a pain to do every morning...but it makes it stay clean.