How To Clean Cool Mist Humidifiers

If you’re searching for tips on how to clean cool mist humidifiers so that you can enjoy a clean and healthy mist coming out of your humidifier when the air is dry and uncomfortable, then this guide is exactly what you need.

It’s fair to say that the home improvement craze which has swept the world over the past couple of decades has made a huge impact on the way we view even the most seemingly mundane aspects of our homes. When you think that you have to simply take something as a given, you are less apt to try to change it, let alone actually succeed in doing so. Far too often, homeowners have been made to feel as though there’s nothing to they can do about a problem besides throw up their hands, shrug their shoulders, and simply settle for what’s “good enough.” With the home improvement craze continuing to make its effects felt, however, there is a rising sentiment that simply “good enough” is no longer “good enough.” As such, you can now alter more details of your home than ever before, including the very coolness and moisture content of the air.

Enter cool mist humidifiers. People have felt that their homes were too hot or too arid for as long as homes and sensitivity to those different conditions have existed. That being said, before the advent of humidifiers, there was only so much people could do. Sure, you could turn to fans or air conditioners to cool down a space, but those may not cut it, and even if they do, neither of those can, on their own, moisturize the air and deal with the overall aridity of a space. Cool mist humidifiers thus fit that niche nicely. Millions of Americans each year use cool mist humidifiers in a home or business capacity – and sometimes both.

These humidifiers work by emitting a cool vapor which disseminates into your home’s air, leaving it cooler and more comfortable. It can even make the air in your home or business easier to breathe. This is especially true if you already have respiratory conditions or allergies. For example, if you have a cat or are visiting the home of a cat-loving friend, you can imagine that cat dander will likely find its way into the air supply. Coughing up hairballs is unpleasant enough when it’s cats doing it – you as an allergy sufferer don’t want to be made to emulate them, and cool mist humidifiers can help in that regard.

All of these good qualities can be undercut to a huge extent, however, if your cool mist humidifier is itself an unsanitary mess. The last thing you want is for filth and polluted air to be disseminated throughout your home, let alone released into its air supply.

Here, then, are a few basic, common tips and tricks to help ensure that your cool mist humidifier and the vapor it produces is as clean as possible.

How to Clean Cool Mist Humidifiers

First, it’s worth asking – just how often should you clean your cool mist humidifier, anyway? That’s going to depend, in part, on the nature of the humidifier as well as how stringently you’re cleaning it. If you are just rinsing your humidifier, or the unit is small to begin with, you likely only need to give it a good once over every few days to a week. On the other hand, larger models naturally require more upkeep. What is more, while you should ideally wash any humidifier of size at least once a week, they’ll probably need to be dusted off or cleaned up a bit at least once a day for the best results. The frequency will also vary according to additional factors, not the least of which being the amount of “work” that that humidifier has to do to keep your home clean. If your home is particularly dusty or dander-ridden, you may need to clean it more often than if it’s already relatively clean.

A Step-by-Step Approach

Now that we understand what a cool mist humidifier is, does, and how often the cleaning should take place, it’s time to set about laying out how to clean it in the first place. You won’t need too much of anything in terms of special cleaning supplies, but the one somewhat unique cleaning supply you will need is vinegar. That’s because soap can sometimes interact poorly with the misting part of your humidifier, or can be absorbed and dispersed throughout your home when you use it next. Either way, vinegar is the way to go.

So, when cleaning your cool mist humidifier, follow these steps:

  • Begin by carefully unplugging it and taking apart the different components. This includes separating the water tank from the main module. Take care to read the directions for your particular model to see how your unit is
  • Next, you’ll want to empty the water tank itself. This should be a process that’s as obvious as it is straightforward – you don’t want filthy water sitting there for days on end, after all.
  • Once you have dumped out any remaining polluted water, you’re going to want to want to refill it with lukewarm water so as to begin rinsing it out. Again, the water shouldn’t be too hot or too cold at this stage, but just warm enough to allow you to effectively rinse the tank clean.
  • While you are rinsing the water tank, you’ll want to take the time to let the wicker unit itself sit for a while. After that, you’ll want to dry any excess moisture that may still be clinging to this part of your cool mist humidifier.
  • Remove the wicker filter, as that’s going to require its own cleaning process, as described below. Your filter may be located close to the water tray. If this is the case, take care to separate the two.
  • Now it’s time to get started with the While some of these other parts are drying after you have detached and rinsed them, take the time to begin mixing a vinegar solution. This should be made from approximately two cups of vinegar to start with. Pour some water as well as the vinegar into the water tank/tray area. Once you have poured the combination, you are going to want to let it sit for some time, typically around twenty to thirty minutes.
  • Next, you’ll want to pour some undiluted vinegar into the base of the unit and begin gently scrubbing with a sponge, rag, soft bristle brush, or something similar. Take care not to scrub too vigorously, as that could cause damage to the filter.
  • Once you have scrubbed these critical parts, take the time to rinse them all again with water, including the tank and the water tray.
  • Now it’s time to start disinfecting everything, which will require a bit of bleach. As a rule, you’ll typically want to use about one teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water. Once you have poured the bleach into the tank, you’ll want to let it sit for another thirty minutes. After that time has elapsed, dump out the bleach and fill the unit with fresh water. Repeat this step until the tank is fully clean.
  • Next, take the time to wipe down the water tray by hand. Here again, you’ll probably want to make use of a sponge, rag, paper towel, or something similar, wetting your choice of cleaning agent and then using it to clean the inside of the tank. Once this step has been completed, you’ll want to once more wipe down and dry the tank.
  • Wipe the exterior parts of the cool mist humidifier.
  • Take the time to look over the many parts of your cool mist humidifier and spot clean any areas which might still have bits of dirt here and there, or which still need to be rinsed clean of vinegar or bleach.
  • Reassemble everything.

Congratulations! You have now successfully given your cool mist humidifier the thorough cleaning it needs.

A Few Additional Tidbits

In addition to all of that, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, if you are planning on storing your cool mist humidifier for any length of time, you are going to want to perform this process before storing it. You don’t want it to simply sit there and let whatever filth has built up within it sit for a protracted period of time. At best, it will make it that much harder to get all that filthy foulness out when you do go back to clean it later on. At worst, you could be creating the perfect petri dish for germs and bacteria to grow. You’ll also want to be sure that your unit is completely clean and dry before you store it. You don’t want moisture clinging to it and allowing mold or something else to grow and fester there while it is out of commission. Finally, it’s worth noting that different cool mist humidifiers have different shapes, sizes, and constructions, and so you’ll want to take care to follow any specific requirements the manufacturer might suggest when it comes to cleaning and storing your model.

All of this can help ensure that your cool mist humidifier is kept in the best, cleanest shape possible.