A moist-air humidifier can do wonders for your health and indoor air quality. When you're sick, it can aid in soothing sore throats and noses; in the winter, it can add much-needed moisture to the harsh, dry air. However, if you're only cleaning your humidifier once a month or even less frequently, it might be doing more damage than good. As with any appliance that involves water, a humidifier can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold that worsen ailments and trigger allergy symptoms.

To explain how to clean humidifier parts correctly, we've laid out every step you need to follow. We recommend doing this once a week if you use your humidifier every single day. The best part? You probably already have all the materials at home.


  • Water
  • Undiluted white vinegar
  • Large bowl
  • Toothbrush or another gentle cleaning tool
Ultrasonic Humidifier
Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Humidifier
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$40 at Amazon
Deep Clean Brush Set
OXO Deep Clean Brush Set
5-Quart Mixing Bowl
Vollrath 5-Quart Mixing Bowl
Cleaning Vinegar
Heinz Cleaning Vinegar
Credit: heinz

How to Clean a Humidifier

Follow this three-step routine to keep your humidifier free of mold and bacteria.

Step One: Disassemble and Dump

Unplug the device and disassemble the humidifier completely. Remove the water tank and pour out any remaining liquid.

Step Two: Clean the Tank and Parts

Pour one to two cups of the vinegar into the tank. Note: Some humidifier brands recommend diluting vinegar with water; follow the instructions in your device's user manual. Be sure to move the liquid around (slosh and splash it a bit) to ensure every side and corner gets wet.

Place the tank back on the humidifier base and let the vinegar solution drain into the reservoir. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you drain the solution from the tank and base. Using a toothbrush, scrub any residue or visible debris away.

Meanwhile, place any small humidifier parts in a bowl of undiluted vinegar and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step Three: Rinse It Clean

Rinse all of the parts thoroughly with water, then lay them out to air dry. Once everything is completely dry, reassemble the humidifier.

Replace and clean the filter as needed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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    Kelly Allen
    Associate Editor

    Kelly Allen is the current Associate Editor at House Beautiful, where she covers design, pop culture, and travel for digital and the print magazine. She’s been with the team for nearly three years, attending industry events and covering a range of topics. When she’s not watching every new TV show and movie, she’s browsing vintage home stores, admiring hotel interiors, and wandering around New York City. She previously worked for Delish and Cosmopolitan. Follow her on Instagram.