So not too long ago, my family discovered the wonder of the humidifier. My kids have a certain…talent for getting sick whenever the pollen counts rise, the temperature changes, or there is ANY holiday coming/here. Also breathing air… I’ve been doing my damnedest to stop this trend in our household, and my humidifier allies are key players in my battle plan. Which I am pleased to say is working as of late. But apparently it is also necessary to clean them as well. So I searched the internet for THE BEST way to clean a humidifier. (which means takes the least amount of elbow grease, and time)
I found a variety of options, from running the machine with vinegar in it, to completely dissembling the machine, scrubbing with chemicals, and waiting for said machine to dry before putting it back together for use. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So I tried a few and here is what I came up with for you. The easiest (and yet still thorough) way to clean your trusty humidifier so your children can breathe at night.
- White distilled vinegar
- A bottle/ glass cleaner
- Tea tree oil (optional, but really helps to kill that vinegar smell, and is also antibacterial.)
- Large bowl or sink.
First, unplug the machine and make sure all parts are cool. Then, empty the tank and all other areas where water might be hiding (base etc). Take any small removable parts (including filters) out, rinse, and put in either your sink or a large bowl. Pour enough vinegar into the bowl to cover the parts (you may choose to dilute the vinegar a bit with some hot water to save you from using all of your handy dandy vinegar) and add 3-5 drops of your tea tree oil in. Let this soak, turning if necessary, while you tend to the rest of your machine.
Take your empty base and tank, and fill with vinegar and tea tree oil as well. I used about three cups of vinegar and the same amount of oil (3-5 drops) in my tank, and swished it around really well to make sure I got all the sides. I left them to sit for at least 30 mins, making sure to flip my tank every 10 minutes. (hey, I wanted to be sure)
Once that has set, take your brush and gently rub any residue away and voila! I recommend wearing gloves if you have them during this part, because vinegar stings horribly if you have cuts or sensitive skin anywhere on your hands. My hands are red and burning as I type this for you. Oh the hardship. Rinse all parts thoroughly and they’re ready to go! If you really want to, you can run the vinegar mix from the tank through the machine for 30 minutes or so, which I did just to feel like it really disinfected the whole humidifier. Just be sure to set it outside when you do so the house doesn’t smell like vinegar for days.
The best part of this method, it that once you know what to do, it’s extremely simple and the majority of the time it takes, you don’t have to actually be working on it. (yay multitasking!) As an added bonus, by using vinegar instead of bleach, your machine and the inside of your nose won’t smell like harmful chemicals. Or burn. It should only need to be cleaned every two weeks or so, but check your manual if you still have it. I usually lose mine so…
If you have serious buildup, and the initial soak doesn’t take care of it, pour in some fresh vinegar and soak for a longer period of time. When it finally softens you may need to take a scrubber or sharp object to the tough spots, but I promise it will come clean, and as long as you keep up with it afterwards it won’t be that hard ever again. Once again, yes I know this because I have had to do it. I used this opportunity to get my dashing and incredibly helpful husband involved. 🙂
So that’s it! Have you tried it? What would you like me to do next?! I’m dying to know! Leave the answers in the comments section!