How to clean a humidifier with vinegar


A humidifier is a device that increases moisture in the atmosphere. Most people in places where the humidity level is 30% and below probably own a humidifier and love the benefits that come with it.

Humidifiers help you breathe better, give relief from coughs, make skin softer, and protect your wooden furniture. However, they can become dirty, moldy and murky, if not properly cleaned and maintained.

If you have ever wondered about the simplest and most effective method to clean your humidifier, this article will show the best way, using a simple and natural ingredient: vinegar.

Reasons to clean your humidifier regularly

  1. Tap water contains hard mineral deposits that clog the humidifier leading to its poor performance.
  2. Bacteria and mold growth leads to unclean odor and moisture.
  3. Bacteria loves moisture as much as you do. If you don’t regularly clean your humidifier, the water will come into contact with developing bacteria and mold growth.

Since no one wants a humidifier that doesn’t work well or contains mold and bacteria, cleaning your humidifier should be your regular habit.

Cleaning your humidifier with vinegar

Cleaning your humidifier with vinegar should be a routine. It should be done at least once a week because lime scale forms very fast.

Step 1: Prepare to clean your humidifier with vinegar.

To begin, before disassembling your humidifier, turn it off. Check your tank and empty any residual water inside it.

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Depending on your humidifier model, detach all the removable parts from its base. Doing this will enable you to reach the most hidden areas and corners. Make sure you remember where each piece goes to make putting it back together again easier.

Step 2: Clean your humidifier’s filter

If your model has a filter, clean it separately. Hold the filter under running water to rinse away the impurities. For this step, avoid using vinegar because vinegar’s strong smell stays inside the filter poles for a long time. Instead, consider using a toothbrush to scrub off any stubborn spots.

After you’re done, place the clean filter on a dry cloth and continue cleaning the other parts.

Step 3: Clean your humidifier’s tank

After filling the humidifier’s tank halfway with cool water, add white vinegar (2-3 tablespoons). If you can’t access the tank with a toothbrush, make the process more effective by adding 2-3 additional spoonfuls of vinegar.

Step 4: Clean your humidifier’s base

Put 2-3 spoonfuls of vinegar into the base after filling it with water, then allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes. With the help of a small toothbrush, scrub the confined parts.

Remove all the detachable components. Place them inside a sizable container, and then clean them with the same concoction for about 30 minutes.

Step 5: Rinse

Rinse and clean all your humidifier’s parts under running water. Ensure that you shake well after rinsing to get rid of any remaining vinegar.

Don’t be alarmed if some vinegar smell lingers after you’re done. It should be entirely gone after it dries up.

Step 6: Wipe it and let it dry

Dampen a clean piece of cloth with a vinegar and water mixture, and then clean the humidifiers outer parts. After you’re done, place all the humidifier components on a dry piece of cloth or towel and allow them to air dry.

Frequently asked questions

Can you run a humidifier with vinegar in it?

No, do not run a humidifier with vinegar in it. As much as vinegar comes highly recommended for cleaning your humidifier, running vinegar through a humidifier can irritate your nose, eyes, lungs, and throat.                                       

Can a humidifier make someone get sick?

Using a humidifier cannot make you sick on its own, but dirty humidifiers can harbor bacteria and allergens, leading to infections and long-term illnesses. So, it is best if you clean your humidifier regularly with vinegar to ensure that clean air fills your home.

 Which vinegar type is best to clean your humidifier?

Any type of vinegar would work fine to clean your humidifier because the main ingredient, acetic acid, is found in all vinegar types. But the most recommended is distilled white vinegar, which is safe and regularly used in the kitchen.

How do you clean a moldy humidifier with vinegar?

How to remove mold from a humidifier with vinegar may have varying steps a bit, depending on your humidifier’s make and model. Make sure you first read the instructions to understand how to clean your particular type of humidifier.

After unplugging and disabling the humidifier, clean it with a mixture of vinegar and lemon water. You can use a small brush to reach the most difficult-to-reach spots, and then finally rinse it.

 Benefits of using vinegar to clean a humidifier

There are so many alternatives for cleaning a humidifier. Still, vinegar is the best option, hands down. Here’s why:

  1. Vinegar helps dissolve lime scale. It contains about 5-20% acetic acid, which reacts with lime scale to produce soluble salts that are easily washable.
  2. It kills microorganisms. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is known to be effective against microorganisms. For example, applying 6% of vinegar for about 30 minutes can kill E. coli and S. aureus. Aureus infection is terrible for people with lung health issues.
  3. It might help you not get sick. The American Society of Biology published study that found using 10% malt vinegar for about 10 minutes does away with the flu virus.
  4. Mixing vinegar and lemon juice, and then applying it for 15 minutes, can significantly reduce Salmonella pathogens found in water. These pathogens are responsible for over 1.35 million infections in the US annually.

Versatile Vinegar

The best option for cleaning your humidifier is vinegar. While most people complain about vinegar’s strong smell, it’s only a small price that you have to pay for its powerful cleaning abilities.

Vinegar is a concoction of water and acetic acid (4-8% of the solution). This acid gives vinegar the smell, its cleaning abilities, and taste. Vinegar is so acidic that it can dissolve mineral components, kill bacteria, and remove grime, grease, dirt, and much more. Plus, this product is affordable and highly versatile.

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