How to Clean your Humidifier with Vinegar

How to Clean your Humidifier

How to clean your humidifier

In this post we talk about how to clean your humidifier and keep it running efficiently. Based on feedback we received, we added a Fast Cleaning Method section. These instructions will help you get the job done sooner but do require a little more effort. Keep scrolling past it to find the Easy Cleaning Method.

A humidifier is one of the most useful pieces of equipment you can have in your home or workspace, particularly if you live in cool, dry conditions. Humidifiers add moisture back into the air, which is clean and helps to provide you with a number of health benefits, such as reducing cough and cold symptoms and helping you to sleep more easily.

However, there comes a time when your humidifier needs a clean to keep it working to its maximum potential. So, here are a few tips and tricks when you are cleaning your humidifier to make sure you have done it right, without damaging it.


Fastest Cleaning Method

If you are short on time, use the instructions in this paragraph to clean your humidifier.

Required Materials

  • Dirty humidifier
  • Toothbrush (don’t use this on your teeth anymore)
  • Small cup of white vinegar
  • Towel
  1. Disassemble and inspect your humidifier
  2. Dip the toothbrush in the vinegar and scrub any deposits until they disappear
  3. Rinse off the vinegar scrub
  4. Dry and reassemble your humidifier

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Easy Cleaning Method

The instructions below take more time, but much less work. The difference is that we let the vinegar do most of the work by dissolving away the deposits instead of using a brush to speed up the process.

Dismantle the Humidifier

The first thing you are going to want to do is dismantle your humidifier. Take a look at the manual that it came with this should show you exactly how to dismantle it correctly without breaking or damaging any components. Usually the first step you need to do is remove the water tank. Make sure you empty all the water before moving on.

Place All Components in a Bowl of Vinegar

Put all the pieces in a bowl (or tub). Add some vinegar so that the parts completely covered. We recommend starting with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. This means for every cup of water, add a cup of vinegar. The ratio is not especially important since you could use pure vinegar to clean off the deposits. The 1:1 ratio is the minimum strength that we have successfully used.

If the container is too big, soak a cloth in vinegar and apply a generous amount to all deposits. Some deposits will take a long time to dissolve. In this case you can leave the vinegar soaked cloth in contact with the deposits. Check in to monitor progress once in a while.

The vinegar will help to clean the components and remove any build up of deposits. Then add vinegar to the water tank and the base to ensure that these are both clean as well. If you find that the vinegar is not getting rid of all the deposits, add some more vinegar. This is much better than trying to use a sharp object to try and scratch it out. However, only do this if the vinegar is not fizzing. If it is fizzing it is a sign that it is working and removing the deposits from your humidifier.

Brush Away Any Deposits

The vinegar soak will remove most of the deposits but some stubborn ones may linger. At this point you are going to want to get a small brush, your humidifier may have come with one, and if not then you will just have to find one. Then once you have your brush use it to simply dislodge any deposits that are stuck in any cracks or corners within any parts of the humidifier. This should ensure that your humidifier is completely clean and free of any deposits.

Rinse off All the Parts

The next step in cleaning your humidifier is rinsing off all the parts you just scrubbed. Make sure any lose minerals and deposits come off at this point. This is a good time to inspect for any deposits you might have missed. Having to take your humidifier apart a second time is probably not how you envisioned spending your afternoon.

Add water to all components and give them all a good shake to try and dislodge any last bits of deposits within the water tank or any other part of the humidifier. Rinse all the parts thoroughly to make sure that all the vinegar is gone, including the parts that you removed and put in the bowl earlier. Leftover vinegar is harmless but adds a distinct smell to your room.

Dry Humidifier and Put it Back Together

Once all the components have dried you can begin to put back the humidifier to how it was originally. You should find that your humidifier will now work much better. It will add more water back into the air over a longer period of time. Keeping your humidifier clean and in optimal condition will give it a long life.


I would recommend repeating the vinegar cleaning method every 1-2 months in order to keep it thoroughly clean. This should prevent large deposits built up within the humidifier that take longer to dissolve. The manufacturer may have other things to say about their specific models. This is a general guide to follow.

If you want to keep it super clean you could wipe out the water tank on a weekly basis. If you have hard water with a lot of minerals you may need to clean more often. Your humidifier may last longer between cleanings if you have a water softener in your home.

This is a good method to use. It is a very cheap option to keep your humidifier running for a long time.

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