air purifier in yoga room

Humidifiers offer many benefits from cleaner air to enhanced comfort, but without proper maintenance they can begin to harm you and your family. If humidifiers are not cleaned regularly, mold, bacteria and minerals can build up and be sprayed into the air you breathe. To avoid this health hazard, read this guide how to clean humidifier filter and the best ways to fight bacteria in your unit.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Humidifier Filter

If you use your humidifier regularly, there are serious consequences of neglecting its cleaning schedule. The results of a dirty humidifier go beyond just not offering comfortable air. A dirty humidifier becomes contaminated with unhealthy bacteria and can harm the well-being of you and your family

Mineral Deposits

Mineral deposits develop in humidifiers when they have been run with undistilled water. The minerals found in tap water that has not been distilled get stuck in the mister of the humidifier. Much of the minerals will be dispersed into the air along with the cool mist, but what isn’t pushed out will sit in the mister and build up.

Minerals sprayed into the air aren’t good for your air quality but are especially harmful to your humidifier. If the mineral deposits are allowed to build up, they can clog the mister and defeat the entire purpose of your humidifier. If it can’t produce cool mist, it can’t improve the moisture in your space and is ineffective.


Most people have an understanding of the dangers of mold, but many don’t realize mold could be actively growing in your humidifier. If mold develops in your humidifier, it can result in mold spores dispersing in the air and then being breathed in by you and your family. Inhaling mold can lead to serious health problems, especially in your lungs.

The most common mold found in humidifiers is called pink mold, even though it isn’t actually a fungus. Pink mold is a bacteria that grows in wet areas like your bathroom or kitchen sink. Pink mold is very easy to get rid of and the best way to combat it is to regularly clean damp areas.

How to Clean Humidifier Filter

How to Clean Humidifier Filter with Water

Using clean water to clean your humidifier filter is the simplest method, but not the most effective. All you need to do is remove the filter from the unit and rinse it under warm water until you can’t see any more debris or dirt.

After rinsing it thoroughly, leave it out to dry for a few hours. It shouldn’t take more than 2 or 3 hours to dry fully, but do not put it back into the humidifier until it is completely dry.

If you run your humidifier constantly and haven’t cleaned your filter in a while, this is not a good method. Rinsing it with clean water will only be effective for people that regularly rinse the filter and keep up with the build-up of minerals or dirt.

If the humidifier has any mold or mineral deposits, it needs a more thorough cleaning than water will provide.

How to Clean Humidifier Filter with Vinegar

Vinegar is great for cleaning humidifiers because it kills bacteria and keeps things fresh. To clean your filter with vinegar, fill your sink or large tub with warm to hot water. Next, pour in distilled white vinegar, one cup of vinegar for every two cups of water roughly.

Place the dirty filter in the vinegar and water and let soak for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. After it has soaked for a while, rinse it under cool water until it doesn’t smell like vinegar anymore. Let it sit out to dry for 2-3 hours.

How to Clean Humidifier Filter with Bleach

If you’ve been neglecting your humidifier filter and it’s become gross, cleaning it with bleach is your best option for killing mold, mildew, and bacteria. Use room temperature water so steam can’t carry bleach fumes into the air.

how to clean humidifier filter

Remember, bleach is a powerful and dangerous chemical so it should only ever be mixed with water. You only need a teaspoon or two of bleach for a few gallons of water. Submerge the filter and let it soak for 10 minutes. If it still has mold or dirt on it after, repeat this process with a fresh batch of bleach solution.

Rinse the clean filter under cold water thoroughly, and then let it dry for about 2 hours before returning it to the humidifier.

Easiest Humidifiers to Clean

Some humidifiers are easier to clean than others. If you really dread taking out that filter and washing it every week, check out these humidifiers that could make your life easier while still recycling your air.

Honeywell Humidifier

The Honeywell Easy To Care Removable Top Fill Ultrasonic Humidifier is probably the easiest one to clean on the market right now. The water basin is located on the top of the humidifier making it super simple to fill with a water pitcher or straight from your sink.

The filter is also on the top of the unit, so it is easy to pull out, clean, and pop back in.

Luma Touch Premium Cool Mist Humidifier

The Luma Touch Humidifier isn’t the easiest to clean, but the design allows you to clean it completely, giving many comfort in knowing it is fully sanitized.

Every piece of this humidifier comes apart so it can be scrubbed and disinfected. Parents love this humidifier because they don’t have to worry about mold or bacteria hiding in the nooks and crannies of the humidifier unit.

Mistmate Cool Mist Humidifier

This Honeywell humidifier is interesting because it doesn’t use filters. Instead, the whole unit can be cleaned and submerged in clean water. The manufacturer recommends soaking it in vinegar to fully sanitize it.

Many users state this model is significantly easier to clean than the filters they used to deal with.

Bottom Line

The key to keeping your air healthy and your family happy is to clean your humidifier on a regular basis to avoid exposure to bacteria and other harmful substances that can grow. If a weekly cleaning sounds like a nightmare to you, there are paper filter options that are disposable as well as easy-to-maintain humidifier options.

Whatever your method is for recycling the air in your home, make sure you are keeping it pure and healthy.


Should I clean the filter after every use?

Some manufacturers will recommend this, and it certainly can’t do any harm. If you are willing to clean the filter everyday it will improve your air quality, but isn’t totally necessary.