How to Clean a Humidifier

I have had multiple people ask me how to clean a humidifier, so I think it’s time for me to post about it!

Spring is here, the “sick season” is almost gone and it’s time to clean out those nasty humidifiers.  I have to admit I used to be good about cleaning ours out but then I got tired of it because every time I’d clean it Malea would end up needing it again!  Grrr.  So ours hasn’t been cleaned in about 2 months and it is gross.

I know every humidifier is different but here’s how I clean mine:

Step 1: Empty out all of the remaining water.

Step 2: Pour 3 cups of White Vinegar into the water basin.  (3 cups is a guesstimate.  Use however much you need for your model so that it’s a few inches full).

Step 3: Plug the humidifier in outside (otherwise your house will stink like white vinegar) and turn it on.  Set a kitchen timer to 45 minutes and let the humidifier run with the white vinegar for that amount of time.

Step 4: When the timer goes off bring the humidifier inside and empty out the white vinegar.  Next wipe out, with a sponge or wash cloth, all the areas of the humidifier that you can reach.  Mine comes with a little brush for all of the hard to reach areas.

Step 5: Fill the humidifier up with water.

Step 6: Plug it in outside and set the kitchen timer to 45 minutes again.  When the timer goes off for the second time bring it inside, empty the water out, and wipe it dry.  Mine has a lot of hard to dry areas so I usually set it out on the counter overnight to let it dry.

Once it is dry you can put it back together and place it back in storage.  Pretty easy right!?  Cleaning your humidifier means we are one step closer to summer!!!


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Great idea! I like this method of cleaning much more than others I’ve read about. I’m about to try it. It seems like it’ll require much less scrubbing and junk will come off more all by itself. At least I hope so!

  2. Do you leave the filter in while you run the vinegar through? If so, if your filter needs replacing would you run the vinegar through before or after putting a clean filter in?

  3. Thanks for this post, I was wondering if you have any suggestions for if the humidifier has hard water build up, I went to clean ours little bit ago and it has white build-up from hard water and I couldn’t get it all off.

  4. How often should I clean the humidifier? How I know that it’s time to clean?

  5. I have new dehumidifier with a small bucket we drain to the drain but the bucket has reddish scum in it . What is good to use to clean this. Thank you for your time

  6. What if it has a filter do you leave it in. And if you live in apartment and can’t Leave it out side any other ideas please let me know

    • I would change out the filter as often as the directions say. If you live in an apartment and can’t let it run with the vinegar then I suggest just giving it a really thorough cleaning in the sink. Scrub all the nooks and crannies with a toothbrush, or something else that can get in all the grooves and corners.