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How to Clean a House Humidifier Filter — All the Nuances Explained

I love my house humidifier. This is a great product that allows me to control the amount of moisture in the air. This provides a range of health benefits. For example, moist air will open airways helping you breathe easier. This will make it easier for you to get over a cold. It also stops my skin from drying out, which can lead to cracking. However, it’s important to change the filters regularly. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Why do you need to Change the Filters?

Let’s start by talking about why you need to change the filters at all. A humidifier sends a stream of moist air into the environment. Because of this, it will often be an attractive place for mold spores to land and germinate. This has the potential to cause serious health concerns, including breathing problems for people with asthma. Secondly, mineral deposits might build-up inside the device. This can impact the functioning of the machine. Thankfully, as long as you can change the filters regularly, you won’t run into any of these issues.

How often you’ll need to change the filter will depend on the type of machine that you have purchased. In most cases, you’ll need to change it every three months. You might be able to prevent build-ups by using purified water. These don’t contain the same minerals as tap water. Now that we know why it’s so important, let’s look at how you can change the filters.

Cleaning a Re-Usable Filter

Some humidifiers might come with a filter that you will be able to re-use. This is often very easy to change and clean. First, you’ll need to turn off the humidifier. Then, you’ll need to remove it from the machine. If you haven’t used it for a while you might notice dust or limescale has built-up on the filter. You can use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove some of this. There are a few ways that you can clean the type of filter.

First, you can put it under the cold water tap. Hold it gently, being careful not to put too much pressure onto the filter. You don’t want it to get torn or damaged. Then, use a soft-bristled brush to clean the filter. This will remove most of the dust and bacteria. After this, leave it on the bench to dry. It will often take one to two hours. After it’s dried out, you’ll be able to put it back into the machine.

The other option that you might want to explore is using vinegar. Mix one cup of vinegar into a gallon of water. Then, put the filter into the solution. Leave it to soak. This will remove the bacteria and mold from the filter. It will often take around 20 minutes. For more stuck-on grime, you can use a soft-bristled brush. Then put the filter onto the bench and allow it to dry. Then, you’ll be able to put it back into the machine. This video explains more about this method.

Finally, you might want to clean the filter using bleach. In this case, you’ll need to get a bucket of water. Don’t use hot water, as this will release steamed bleach. This can impact your health. Once you’ve got your bucket of water put in the bleach. You won’t need much. Often, just a teaspoon will do. Place the filter into the water. Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. This will be plenty of time to remove all the mold. Again, if there is any tough residue, you’ll be able to clean it with a soft-bristled brush. Take out the filter and leave it to dry on the bench for a few hours.

Cleaning A Whole-House Humidifier

While this method will work well for smaller humidifiers, sometimes you might have a larger one that services the entire house. In this case, you might need to adjust the cleaning approach slightly. Thankfully, it’s also fairly simple.

First, you’ll need to turn off the power. This ensures that you don’t receive any electric shock. Then, you’ll need to remove the water reservoir. Empty it. Then fill it 2/3 of the way. Put in some chlorine bleach and leave it to sit for a while. This will get rid of any bacteria that has been growing in the reservoir.

Now, you’ll be able to turn your attention to the filters. In most cases, you’ll need to change the filters once a year. However, in some models, you might be able to clean and re-use them. If this is the case, take out the filter and allow it to sit in cold water for half-an-hour. Then, return and rinse it off. You can use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of any stuck-on bacteria or mold. Finally, put the filter back into the machine.

The last step is to clean the outside of the humidifier unit. This can also attract mold and might contain mineral build-up. Often, a cloth that’s been dipped in a water and vinegar solution will be able to cut through this grime. If any components can’t be cleaned properly, sit them in a solution made from half water and half vinegar. This video goes into more depth about how to remove and change the humidifier pad.

Changing a Paper Filter

While there are plenty of ways to clean a reusable filter, you won’t have as many options when it comes to disposable paper filters. Often, you’ll just need to remove it and throw it away, and put in a new one. While this might be more convenient, it’s also the most wasteful approach. You should consider getting a reusable filter. This will allow you to save money over the long-term.


I love my home humidifier unit. It maintains the perfect conditions to keep me comfortable and safe. By following these few simple steps, I know that there’s no chance of mold spreading through the humidifier. Also, I’ll be able to keep my machine going for a long time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use these strategies to keep your device clean.


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