Humidifier Cleaning 101

Dear Home-Ec 101,
I would like to know the best way to clean a humidifier. I live in Colorado and it is for my son who is 1 years old. He has croup, RSV, and bronchiolitis at different times so we are always running his humidifier. Thus far I have run vinegar and water to clean it. Any other suggestions?
Dry in Colorado

humidifier cleaning

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Humidifiers can quickly become bacteria factories if they are not cleaned thoroughly. The problem is, minerals can quickly build up on your humidifier which becomes breeding grounds for bacteria. Ewww!

To prevent mineral deposits, consider using distilled water. This will help keep mineral deposits at bay.  But it is also important to change your water each day, so using distilled water could get expensive. If you use regular tap water in your humidifier, you will have to clean it more often.

how to clean appliances

Click the picture for more tips!

If you are using distilled water, you can get away with cleaning your humidifier once a week or so. If you’re using tap water, clean it every three days. You can either use hydrogen peroxide or bleach to clean your humidifier I personally prefer bleach. Then you can rinse it until the bleach smell goes away.

You could also purchase a different type of humidifier, like this Vicks UV 99.999% Germ Free Humidifier.


  1. Patia on February 22, 2008 at 5:19 am

    What about filtered water (i.e., Brita) instead of distilled water? I’ve been using it for a few weeks and so far so good.

  2. JimK on February 21, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    I have a humidifier attached to my CPAP machine. I use distilled water only, but I still have to clean it every three days and once a week it gets hit with some Control III. Really great stuff, and you only need the tiniest bit. One capful in half a sink full of water is all I use. A good wash with hot soapy water, then a ten minute soak in CIII.

    • Sue on March 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Where do you find Control III ?

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