Hate to be the bearer of bad news. 

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Do You Need To Clean Your Humidifier?

Let's start with an easy question: Do you need to clean your humidifier? Yes. If you don't clean your humidifier thoroughly and regularly, you could be introducing additional mold and mildew spores into the air. Furthermore, if you don't clean it often enough, your machine could also see decreased functionality and effectiveness due to mineral buildup, which could cause a blockage in your machine and result in a broken nebulizer or heating element. So, yes, it's best to clean your humidifier and do it often if it's getting regular or heavy use.

How Often To Clean a Humidifier

The water in your humidifier should be replaced daily. It's recommended to thoroughly clean your humidifier somewhere between every 3 to 7 days. If you skew on the latter side of that spectrum and start to see pink mold starting to appear by the time cleaning day arrives, go ahead and increase the cleaning frequency.

The Best Way To Clean a Humidifier

To start on your humidifier-cleaning journey, it's best to start at the source with your humidifier manufacturer's cleaning instructions. Whether you should use vinegar or even bleach will depend on your unique machine, though vinegar tends to be the more commonly used cleaning agent for this particular job. While instructions vary from machine to machine and manufacturer to manufacturer, we'll give you a rough idea of how to clean a basic system.

  1. Unplug the machine and pour out any remaining water from the tank and the base.
  2. Fill the base with a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar. Let it sit for a full hour or more depending how badly your humidifier is in need of a clean.  
  3. While the vinegar works away at the mold, slime, and buildup on the base, fill the reservoir with a couple cups of vinegar. Replace the knob to seal it, then shake and shake some more. This will help loosen any grime. To empty, press on the little spring lever on the knob. The vinegar should slowly seep out, flushing the nozzle while it empties. Once empty, fill with water, shake, and empty.
  4. Once your base has soaked for an hour or more, pour out the solution and wipe out the interior of the base with a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar. Any buildup or remaining residue should wipe off relatively easily at this point. Use the vinegar cloth to wipe down other exterior elements as well, allowing everything to air dry before storing.