Up Close Image of electric Vicks humidifier

Vicks is a trusted brand known for relieving symptoms of sinus congestion, colds, coughs, throat congestion, and more common symptoms of cold viruses. From menthol rubs to humidifiers, Vicks wants to provide you with everything you need to be well again. Their humidifiers are useful even when you aren’t sick, as they work to keep your home comfortable and cool. But if you want your humidifier to work for you, you need to do a little work for it and know how to clean Vicks humidifier.

Cleaning is a crucial part of owning a humidifier, and it’s probably easier than you think. Check out our complete guide to cleaning and maintaining your beloved Vicks humidifier to keep your air clean and breathable.

How to Clean Vicks Humidifier

1. Unplug

Before you begin cleaning your Vicks humidifier, it needs to be unplugged first for safety measures.

2. Empty

Empty the water that is currently in your humidifier, so the water tank is completely empty.

3. Make Cleaning Solution

Make a cleaning solution using one of the following antibacterial agents:

  • Citric Acid (50/50 mixture)
  • Bleach (1 tablespoon)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3 tablespoons)
  • Distilled White Vinegar (1 cup)

            Mix one of these substances with about a gallon of lukewarm water.

4. Let Soak

Fill your water tank to the top with the cleaning solution you made. Set the tank aside and let it soak for 20-30 minutes so the cleaning agent can kill any bacteria and sanitize the tank.

5. Wipe Exterior

Dip a cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and use it to wipe down the exterior of the humidifier. Try to reach all the nooks and crannies to kill any bacteria hiding in the dark spaces.

6. Rinse Tank

When the water tank finishes soaking, dump out the cleaning solution. Rinse the tank under lukewarm water, filling it and dumping it several times until the cleaning solution is gone.

7. Air Dry

Layout a towel and place the water tank upside down on it. Place all the other [arts of the humidifier you cleaned on the towel. Let them air dry for 1-3 hours. Do not use a towel to dry the unit. This can leave bacteria on the surface.

8. Fill

Fill your water tank back up with pure water and any additives you want to use.

9. Reassemble

Once everything is completely dry, you may reassemble the humidifier, replacing the water tank and plugging it back in. And then you are all set to start running the humidifier again.

Maintenance Tips

1. Fill Daily

An easy way to keep your Vicks humidifier clean between weekly scrubbings is to change the water at least once a day. Emptying the water tank and refilling at least once a day will prevent bacteria from setting up camp inside the water tank and also make your home air more comfortable and clean.

2. Water Additives

There are things you can add to your Vicks humidifier that will help keep it sanitized and spray pure water. When you fill up the water tank, you can add a few teaspoons of bleach to the water. Antibacterial additives will prevent any bacteria or mold from growing inside the water tank in the time between cleanings or water changes.

Adding a few drops of Teatree oil can reduce the risk of mold while also adding a pleasant aroma to the air in your home. When the humidifier sprays water, it will spray a tiny bit of essential oil too and the air will smell lovely.

A few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide will prevent mold from growing in the water tank and keep the humidifier cleaner for longer.

3. Humidifier Tablets

There are also humidifier tablets, specifically designed to keep minerals from building up in the water tank. The tablets prevent mold from growing too. All you have to do is plop one into the humidifier water tank every time you fill it with new water.

4. Pure Water

Using water straight from the tap means you are putting impure water into your humidifier. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but the ideal water to fill your humidifier with is distilled water or filtered water.

When you use pure water, it is less harsh on your humidifier and sprayer. Pure water won’t deteriorate the humidifier parts as much over time.

how to clean vicks humidifier
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Consequences of a Neglected Humidifier


Mold loves to live in damp, dark places, just like your humidifier. If you don’t sanitize your humidifier regularly, it will result in a disgusting build-up of bacteria and mold that is bad for you and your family to breathe.

Pink mold, black mold, and brown mold can all grow inside your humidifier and is probably the number one reason you should clean your Vicks humidifier often.

Mineral Deposits

If you’ve ever heard the term ‘hard water’, it means there are many impurities and minerals present in the water. When you put hard water in your humidifier, it results in small particles of these minerals left behind in your water tank.

If you ever notice a thin layer of white dust, inside your tank or even in the room around the humidifier, these are small minerals that were left behind when the water evaporated.

Mineral deposits don’t pose a threat to your health but are a nuisance when the dust covers your window sills and furniture.

Dirt and Dust

Dust and debris float around your home; it’s a fact of life. And dirt, debris, or dust make their way into your humidifier, making the water dirty and clogging the sprayer and other mechanisms in the humidifier.

These particles can deteriorate your humidifier, so it’s best to regularly change the water and do weekly cleanings to ensure they don’t linger in your unit.

Bottom Line

Now that you know how to clean and care for your Vicks humidifier, you should never have to worry about mold or bacteria.

Cleaning your humidifier is easier than it seems, so don’t neglect your unit, or you’ll have a dirty humidifier that isn’t doing your air any good.


How often should I clean my humidifier?

Your Vicks humidifier should receive a thorough cleaning at least once a week to keep the bacteria away and the unit in the best possible shape.

Are Vicks humidifiers expensive?

No, Vicks humidifiers are mostly affordable, ranging from $25 up to $115 depending on the size and various features.