How to Prevent Mold in Humidifiers

Humidifier filled with water

Humidifiers can do wonders to keep a space feeling comfortable and fresh. Too often, though, we forget how important it is to clean these powerful machines. Finding mold in a humidifier can be disturbing. After all, we constantly breathe in the output of humidifiers. Thankfully, this routine chore of cleaning a humidifier is relatively easy to take care of on your own. Keep reading for guidance on keeping your home’s humidifier clean and mold-free.

What is a Humidifier?

Home humidifiers are devices that put moisture into the air. When functioning properly, they provide serious relief from dry, itchy skin. Humidifiers also make the air feel warmer and easier to breathe. They’re popular with those who suffer from asthma and allergies. When there’s mold in the humidifier, though, these devices can do more harm than good.

How to Remove Mold in the Humidifier

Regular cleanings are a great place to start if you’re eager to learn how to prevent mold in the humidifier. Most manufacturers advise thorough cleanings each week or at least once a month. Thankfully, cleaning your humidifier is a quick and easy process. Start by emptying the unit of any water. Rinse it with hot water and white vinegar before scrubbing the inside of the unit with a soft-bristled brush. This can remove any scales or mold build-up. Rinse the unit with hot water and allow it to air dry before you reassemble it.

How to Prevent Humidifier Mold

Want to know how to prevent humidifier mold altogether? It can be more challenging than you might expect. Humidifiers are warm and wet – the ideal breeding ground for mold. However, there are a few things you can add to the water in your humidifier to minimize the risk of mold growth. For starters, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil. This can prevent mold growth and serve as a breathing aid for those with respiratory challenges. Tea tree oil is toxic to pets in high concentrations, though – if you have fur babies, you might want to skip this option.

Humidifier tablets are another great solution for avoiding mold in a humidifier. They’re designed to eliminate mold growth and lime build-up. Drop one into the reservoir with the appropriate amount of water and watch your mold issues disappear!

Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are also options worth considering. A few drops of hydrogen peroxide or one cup of vinegar can kill bacteria and mold and keep your humidifier running clean for months.

Can a Moldy Humidifier Make You Sick?

Believe it or not, mold in a humidifier can indeed make a person sick. Those with allergies and asthma may start suffering symptoms sooner than a healthy person, but even healthy individuals may start feeling sick after exposure to a moldy humidifier. If you begin noticing flu-like symptoms or develop a lung infection, look to your humidifier as a possible culprit. If you want to avoid the risk of moldy humidifiers altogether, try using an evaporator or steam vaporizer instead.

Tips for Maintaining a Mold-Free Humidifier

Beyond the additives we mentioned above, there are a few ways to practice humidifier mold prevention. Instead of tap water, try using distilled water in your device. It has a lower mineral count than tap water and is less likely to develop mold. Change your humidifier water often – at least daily, if possible. Clean your humidifier every three days, taking care to rinse the tank and change the filters. Keep the space around the humidifier dry when you’re using it. Curtains, carpeting, and tablecloths can grow moldy if they’re too close to a humidifier when it’s in operation.

Protect Your Indoor Air Quality with Help from Aire Serv

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your home, Aire Serv can help. Our teams are dedicated to solving common indoor air quality challenges, allowing you and your family to breathe much easier. Request an appointment online or call to learn more about humidifier mold prevention.

Winter isn't just the humidifier season; it's slush season, too! Keep your home slush-free with tips from our friends at Molly Maid®. Like Aire Serv, Molly Maid is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.