How to Deep Clean Your Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers can be a godsend during dry winter months. They keep your skin and hair from drying out when you crank up the heat, can prevent the onset of airborne viruses, and make indoor air just plain easier to breathe. But do you know how often they need to be cleaned?

Most manufacturers recommend you disinfect your humidifier at least once a week. Skip the cleaning and your humidifier’s dirty filter could be pumping mold and bacteria into the air instead! But don’t worry; the process is a lot easier than you think, especially if you keep a consistent schedule. Let’s walk you through it!

How to Deep Clean Your Humidifier

What You’ll Need

  • Your humidifier
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Tap water
  • A bottle brush or toothbrush
  • Tea tree essential oil (optional)

Step 1: Take it apart

First things first, pour out any remaining water in the reservoir, then take apart your humidifier and lay the pieces out in front of you (including the filter if your model has one). You’ll quickly see which parts need cleaning.

Tip: If you have your manual handy, get it out. It will likely have instructions as to how to properly break down the humidifier for cleaning.

Step 2: Disinfect with vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is an inexpensive natural disinfectant — no bleach required! Pour the vinegar into the water tank as well as the base. Let soak for 25-30 minutes. While soaking, rinse the filter (if your model has one) with cool water, then set it aside on a towel to air dry.

Tip: If you have removable interior pieces, soak them in a bowl of vinegar to break down mineral deposits and mold. 

Step 3: Brush clean

Use your bottle brush or toothbrush to clean off any visible deposits from the base, water tank and interior pieces. This should be quick work as the vinegar will have broken down the gunk already.

Tip: It’s possible your humidifier came with its own cleaning brush. Check to see if you have it somewhere.

Step 4: Rinse and air dry

Once you’re satisfied with their cleanliness, rinse all the vinegar away from your water tank, base and interior pieces with tap water (or a water and tea tree oil mixture) till the smell is gone. Shake gently to dislodge any leftover bits of debris. Once finished, lay all the pieces out on a towel to air dry fully.

Tip: You’ll know the vinegar is working if it’s fizzing. Not working? Change out the vinegar once or twice during the soaking period, and use a sharp object to scrape away tough spots.

General Guidelines

  • Empty and refill the water tank every day you use it
  • Always fill with clean, filtered water to avoid buildup of mineral deposits
  • Clean and disinfect your humidifier at least once per week

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Marie W
Marie W5 months ago


Cindy S
Cindy Smith10 months ago


Cindy S
Past Member 10 months ago


Lesa D
Past Member 11 months ago

thank you Lauren...

Sophie L
Past Member 11 months ago


Barbara M
Past Member 11 months ago

thanks for posting

iskrica k
iskrica knezevic11 months ago

Thank you!!

Maria P
Past Member 11 months ago

Thank you

RICKY SLOAN11 months ago


Carole R
Carole R11 months ago

Good advice.