Humidifiers are a wonderfully helpful device in making a home more comfortable and temperate for those that inhabit it. When humidifiers are dirty, their performance suffers and as such, the health of the home's residents can suffer too.
It’s important to keep your humidifier in top condition and well cleaned, though this can seem a daunting task for some.
This article will look at what humidifiers do, how often they should be cleaned, and with what, as well as provide a handy 5-Step Guide to ensuring your humidifier is spick and span.
What Does A Humidifier Do?
Humidifiers are used to add moisture to the air in a room or household by increasing the humidity. They are designed to help prevent dryness that can cause discomfort and irritation.
As well as increasing the humidity of a room for general comfort, they are also used to combat some medical conditions. They can reduce the dryness and irritation of the skin, as well as help clear blocked sinuses around the eyes and nose.
Humidifiers can also aid in combating cold and flu symptoms, as well as helping those with other respiratory issues such as asthma or allergies to feel more comfortable in their home.
How Often Should You Clean Your Humidifier?
Much like other devices for improving or changing air quality, such as air conditioners, humidifiers require regular cleaning and care to ensure their continued effectiveness.
As air passes through the system over time, the moisture and residue can lead to mold and other harmful toxins polluting the air. As such, a dirty humidifier can lead to unfortunate but avoidable health problems.
It's imperative that you clean your humidifier once a week, and even more regularly in times of extended use or especially polluted air.
For those households that are home to sufferers of respiratory issues, then a clean humidifier becomes even more important, as those individuals are susceptible to getting sick from pollutants and irritants in the air.
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How Often Should You Change A Humidifiers Filter?
Humidifiers come with either a reusable or replaceable filter. If yours features a reusable filter, you can clean this each time you clean your humidifier, or if yours is replaceable you can simply switch it out as required.
The frequency with which the humidifier’s air filter is replaced depends on how often and how long the humidifier is used. If your humidifier is used every day, then it's sensible to replace the filter every 4 to 6 weeks to ensure optimum filtration.
If you only use it a few times a week, then replacing it every three months will usually suffice. Always be sure to carefully consult the manufacturer's instructions regarding your specific model.
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How Can I Combat Limescale?
Cleaning the water tank can be the most challenging aspect of maintaining your humidifier. This is due to mineral build-up that over time can lead to limescale forming in the tank and pipes.
Limescale can considerably restrict the water's flow in the humidifier due to blockages, and thus can substantially reduce the performance of the humidifier.
It is also potentially damaging to human health as it can play host to dangerous and invasive bacteria that you would not want to breathe into your lungs, so it's necessary to remove it.
To remove this limescale and other built-up gunk, you will need to use a weak acidic solution that can suitably break down the tough and resilient buildup. The best thing lying around the house for this task is the classic cleaner’s friend, white vinegar.
This can be used either undiluted for potent cleaning power or mixed in equal parts with tap water. Be sure to consult your manufacturer’s user manual, as some may specify that a diluted vinegar solution is more suitable for that model.
How Can I Disinfect My Humidifier?
Although cleaning your humidifier with a vinegar solution is incredibly effective, it does not kill off all the undesired mold, bacteria, or germs that can build up over time.
To ensure that your humidifier is suitably disinfected and to reduce the chance of getting sick, always make sure you regularly and thoroughly disinfect your humidifier.
Bleach works terrifically as a disinfectant and is commonly used for a whole range of cleaning and sterilization tasks.
Using bleach is a cheaper alternative to more expensive specialized cleaning aids, and this method is simple to ensure a clean and hygienic humidifier.
Simply pour a teaspoon of bleach into a gallon of water to create the cleaning solution. This should then be poured into the humidifiers' water tank and allowed to soak for up to 30 minutes.
Next, drain all the bleach solution out of the water tank and then rinse it thoroughly with clean water before allowing it to air dry.
5-Step Instructions For Cleaning Your Humidifier
- The first step is to unplug the humidifier and ensure that all the water has been removed from the humidifier's water tank.
- Take the removable pieces from the humidifier and wash them thoroughly, carefully wiping away any built-up residue, scum, or dirt. Use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar for powerful and effective cleaning power.
- As with many other electronic devices with removable parts, many humidifiers will come with dishwasher-friendly parts for easy and convenient cleaning. Once they are wiped clean, rinse them thoroughly and set them aside to air dry.
- Pour a white vinegar solution (undiluted or diluted, depending on the manufacturers' advice) into the humidifier's water tank, ensuring it coats all the tank's surface area. Allow this solution to soak in the tank for up to 30 minutes for especially tough buildup.
- Empty the water tank of the vinegar solution and take a closer look at the results. If there is still some residue or build-up of limescale and other dirt, carefully use a cloth, brush, or sponge soaked in undiluted white vinegar to scrub and wipe it away.
- Ensure that the water tank and the removable parts are all wiped clean and allowed to air dry, though this can be sped up with the use of paper towels. Once dry, you can reassemble the humidifier as required to start using it again.
- Turn it on and allow it to run for a while, this will clear out any remnants of vinegar odor that may remain after the soaking process.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're seeing pink slimy stuff in the tank or in other parts of your humidifier, you are likely dealing with A. pullulans. This type of mold is relatively harmless, but can cause some negative side effects when exposure occurs over a long period of time (like extended use of a dirty humidifier)
If you notice a bad smell, like a musty basement- you may have mold in your humidifier. If you notice any bad smells or discoloration you should disinfect your humidifier.
It is not recommended to use vinegar in your humidifier as the acid may harm the device.
Additionally, if you notice mold or scale in your humidifier and can't remove it with a heavy cleaning, it may be time to dispose of it and get a new one.
Humidifiers can improve the air quality and comfort of your home. Combating dryness and irritation, aiding in the fight against respiratory difficulties, and filtering irritants and bacteria out of the air you breathe.
Hopefully, this helpful guide will help you keep a clean humidifier and enjoy the benefits of clean and comfortable airflow in your home.