How to Clean a Humidifier

Michael Rubino

February 16

Humidifiers can be used as tools to help maintain the ideal humidity level in a home. However, a dirty machine is an air quality and health hazard.

Humidifiers can restore a dry home to ideal moisture levels even in the middle of winter. But that’s only if you know how to clean a humidifier and keep it in top operating condition. “Stagnant water can promote the growth of bacteria and mold, so if the water is not refreshed, you risk introducing contaminated water into your indoor environment,” warns Dr. John McKeon, CEO of Allergy Standards. He explains that mold and germs can grow on the various parts of the device that come into contact with water. If the humidifier isn’t cleaned on a regular basis to prevent buildup, mold spores and germs can be dispersed into the air as you continue to use the dirty humidifier.

To get the best out of your humidifier, read on to find out for experts advice on how—and how often–your humidifier should be cleaned.


According to Tim David, CEO at Airlucent, those who constantly run a humidifier should be cleaning it at least once a week to prevent a build-up of mold and bacterial growth. Many of the humidifiers AD tested also include recommendations from the manufacturers to clean the appliances at least once a week.

However, Steve Leasure, vice president of operations at Rainbow Restoration, recommends that you clean your humidifier daily. “At the end of each day, pour out the water, wipe down all surfaces, and refill the tank with distilled water,” he says. Leasure suggests a more thorough cleaning every three days. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises cleaning humidifiers every three days to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

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