How to Clean a Humidifier, According to Experts

Michael Rubino

December 22

Yes, you need to clean your humidifier regularly. Here's how.

Keeping a humidifier running—especially during the winter months—can be a game-changing health habit. Adding a little bit of moisture into your home’s dry air can help with everything from the prevention of bloody noses and cracked lips to dry skin and eczema. Yet according to an informal survey conducted by Consumer Reports, 59 percent of respondents who use a humidifier said they do not clean it every day, and one in four people clean theirs twice a month or less. Not shocking, considering many of us don’t want to bother learning how to clean a humidifier or commit the time to proper maintenance.

But experts warn that even the best humidifiers need to be cleaned—and not just at the end of winter. The reason has to do with how a humidifier works. “By its nature, there is water passing through a humidifier,” explains John McKeon, MD, CEO and founder of Allergy Standards. “The user fills the water tank, then the humidifier will disperse this water into the air in the room to increase the water content in the air.”

Disinfecting your humidifier involves the same tools, but the process is a bit more labor intensive, explains air quality expert and international mold expert Michael Rubino, president of HomeCleanse and author of The Mold Medic. You’ll accomplish this task in two steps: disassembling the machine and disinfecting with vinegar.

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