How Often Do I Need to Clean My Portable Humidifier?

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Portable Humidifier?

Portable humidifiers should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Generally, a monthly cleaning with bleach is adequate. How often the humidifier needs cleaned typically depends on how frequently it is used and the quality of water you use with it.

Frequency for Cleaning a Portable Humidifier

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends cleaning your portable humidifier on a schedule based on the unit’s capacity.

  • Portable humidifiers with a capacity of five gallons or less should be cleaned daily and sanitized once per week.
  • Portable humidifiers with a capacity of five gallons or more should be cleaned per the manufacturer’s recommendations and sanitized once every two weeks.

Why Clean a Portable Humidifier?

Portable humidifiers require regular cleaning to function effectively. With regular use, bacteria, microorganisms, and mineral scale build up within the unit, restricting performance and diminishing indoor air quality. Microorganisms within your portable humidifier have the potential to affect the health of those in your home or office, causing respiratory issues. Exposure to these contaminants may increase symptoms in people with allergies or asthma, and cause flu-like symptoms or lung infections in otherwise healthy individuals.

How to Clean a Portable Humidifier

A portable humidifier should be thoroughly cleaned prior to its first use, and on a regular schedule thereafter per the manufacturer’s recommendation. Depending on your usage and the type of water used in the unit, you may find it necessary to clean your portable humidifier more frequently.

  • Before cleaning your humidifier, always unplug the unit for safety.
  • Remove the humidifier’s filter. Rinse it with cool water. Do not use cleaning solutions on the filter. Allow the filter to dry.
  • Remove the humidifier’s water tank. Fill the tank with distilled white vinegar, making sure the tank’s walls have been coated. Allow the vinegar to sit in the tank for at least 30 minutes.
  • Using a soft bristled brush, scrub the tank of your humidifier to remove deposits. Drain the vinegar. Rinse the tank.
  • Disinfect the base of your humidifier using bleach. Fill the base with water, and add one teaspoon of bleach for every gallon of water used. Allow the solution to soak for 30 minutes or more, agitating every so often to coat the sides of the interior with the solution.
  • Drain the bleach solution and rinse the base thoroughly to remove the bleach odor.

Monitor Your Portable Humidifier

Mineral scale can build up within a portable humidifier, preventing the unit from working effectively. Inspect your portable humidifier regularly to ensure scale and other buildup has not accumulated in the unit.

Portable Humidifier Maintenance

To keep your portable humidifier in good working order and improve its performance, maintain the unit regularly.

  • Always clean your portable humidifier thoroughly before using it for the first time each season.
  • Always unplug your portable humidifier before you clean it or fill it.
  • Before putting your portable humidifier away for the off season, sanitize the unit and make sure it is completely dry prior to storing.

What Type of Water Should Be Used in a Portable Humidifier?

Using distilled water in a portable humidifier is recommended to limit mineral buildup. If you use tap water, you may find your humidifier’s performance is affected by frequent mineral scale deposits, requiring more cleaning.

Portable Humidifier Use Tips

  • Only use clean water to fill or clean your portable humidifier.
  • When in use, place your portable humidifier in a location where air freely circulates. An ideal location for a portable humidifier is near your home or building’s return air register.
  • Be careful not to over-humidify your space. If moisture is visible on walls or windows, there is too much humidity in the air of your home or building.

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