Our Guide to Cleaning a Humidifier

Dry Canadian weather has probably caused a few health problems, making a humidifier necessary, especially in Edmonton. However, if the lack of humidity has forced your humidifier to work extra hard, you’ll need to make sure you deep clean it frequently. The water it accumulates can lead to health hazards like mould growth and microbes, which means your humidifier may be pumping these organisms out with the steam or mist it produces!

Luckily, humidifiers come with cleaning directions specific to the model, offering you clear instructions on the best ways to maintain it. However, if you’re looking for a safe and reliable way to clean humidifiers in general, here’s what you need to know:

The Equipment You Need

To get started, you’ll need to have the right equipment. Prepare distilled white vinegar, liquid chlorine bleach, and a small, soft brush to clean your humidifier. Stay away from detergents or harsh brushes, as they can destroy your device or cause it to malfunction.

Cleaning Your Humidifier

Humidifiers of various types, such as warm steam and cool mist ones, generally require the same cleaning procedure. However, it’s important to note that some parts may vary, and others will have parts that are dishwasher safe. As always, be sure to refer to the manual when in doubt.

The first thing you need to do is to unplug and empty the humidifier. Then, disassemble it so you can clean the entire device properly. Pour one to two cups of the white vinegar into the water tank and swirl it around to ensure that the whole interior is wet. Depending on your humidifier’s brand, you may have to dilute the vinegar with some water.

Put the tank on the humidifier’s base and let the vinegar drain into the reservoir, dislodging any mineral build-up. Allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. After, drain the vinegar from the tank and base, then use your small brush to scrub the nooks and crannies and get rid of any deposits. Use a clean cloth or a sponge dipped in white vinegar to clean small parts like the tank cap. After that, rinse all ports properly and allow them to air dry before reassembling. Make sure not to wash the wick filter, as doing so will potentially strip it of its antimicrobial coating and damage it. 

Disinfecting Your Humidifier

Giving your humidifier a good clean is often good enough, but if you want to take it a step further, follow the instructions above, then mix a gallon of water with one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach. Then, pour half to three-quarters of the solution into the water tank and swirl it around to coat the interior. If your humidifier has a second tank, repeat this step accordingly. 

Like what you did with the vinegar, put the tank in the base and let the bleach solution empty into the reservoir, allowing it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, empty the tank and base and rinse until the smell dissolves. Wipe everything dry before reassembling.

Maintaining Your Humidifier

Cleaning and disinfecting your humidifier is a great way to hit the reset button and help prolong its life. However, there are a few other things you can do to maintain your machine’s condition. For starters, empty the tank and reservoir when you aren’t using the humidifier, which will prevent bacteria from growing. Turn the wick filter over each time you fill the tank, allowing the filter to age more evenly. Be sure to replace the filter every one to two months, although it depends on its condition and how often you use it. Lastly, before putting the humidifier in storage, discard the filter and make sure all parts are clean and dry.


Humidifiers do wonders for making harsh, dry Canadian climate more bearable. However, they need proper care and maintenance to work properly, preventing them from breaking down when you need it the most. By following our guide, you won’t have a problem with your humidifier in Edmonton weather conditions!

Legacy Heating specializes in HVAC maintenance, furnace repair, and heating and air conditioning in Edmonton. We offer the most comprehensive and cost-effective HVAC products and services refined by our decades of experience. Contact us today to find out more about how we can resolve your HVAC problems!

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