What to Put in Humidifier to Prevent Mold


What to Put in Humidifier to Prevent Mold

Winter’s almost here, and you know what to include in your shopping cart – a humidifier! Having it in your room will reduce the occurrence of chapped, itchy skin, and common allergies. But it can do the opposite if it is not cleaned and maintained well. Mold tends to grow inside and eventually impairing your health.

It’s like a silent killer. You will never realize its existence until you develop a serious health issue. Children and pets are more at risk. Thankfully, there are some ways to hamper mold growth and buildup in your device. And to make it even better – you don’t need expensive equipment. Just simple humidifier cleaning solutions and maintenance!

What to Put in Humidifier to Prevent Mold?

As annoying as it can be, mold is easy to destroy and prevent. The most recommended practices include regular cleaning, replacing the filter, and using distilled water. But to ensure the mold will no longer freak you out, consider using additives. Your options include white vinegar, bleach, and tea tree oil. And we will be discussing their benefits and proper application below.

Solution 1: White Vinegar

Not all cleaning solutions require an urgent visit to the store. Some of them are easily accessible in your kitchen. Take white vinegar as an example. It could transform a dirty, mold-packed humidifier into an entirely clean, sterile, and sparkly one. Well, thanks to its microbial and antibacterial properties. It is safe for your unit and your lungs.

White vinegar is perhaps the most common humidifier cleanser. Aside from getting rid of mold, it is also efficient in killing microbes. Pouring a small amount can kill Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). These are pretty bad for your lungs. And did you know that vinegar can also save you from the flu virus? Even the salmonella pathogens present in water are drastically condensed.

Steps to Clean Humidifier With White Vinegar

Step 1: Turn off the electrical power, remove any remaining water, and disassemble the components.

Step 2: Add two to three tablespoons of vinegar with water. You can either mix the two liquids in a separate container or directly in the tank.

Step 3: Shake briskly to reach all surfaces. Avoid running the vinegar through a humidifier as it can inflame your lungs, nose, and throat.

Step 4: Do not pour down the solution yet! Vinegar requires ample time to remove mold and bacteria, so allow it to sit for about thirty minutes.

Step 5: Do the same in cleaning the base. For constricted areas or to scrape resilient lime scale, use a small brush.

Step 6: As for the filter, soak it in equivalent portions of white vinegar and water for an hour. You don’t need to rinse and wash it under running water. Now, gouge the water out of the filter and then dry it out.

Step 7: Cleanse all the components. There should be no traces of vinegar. However, you may notice it’s quite pungent smell even after several washes. It is normal and usually flees up after completely drying.

Step 8: Wipe-out and allow to dry with a clean towel. It may be tempting to use the unit after, but it is best not to do so. Allow to air dry first to remove the vinegar smell residue.

Solution 2: Bleach

While I commend white vinegar for its antibacterial effect, it is not as strong as what you expect. Test the beneficial, potent use of bleach. It is made up of sodium hypochlorite, so mold, residues, and toxic elements will quickly dissipate even in small quantities. Bleach is generally useful more as a disinfectant – at least once a week.

However, not all manufacturers suggest the use of bleach in their humidifiers. If that’s your case, it is best not to take the risk. Go for other alternatives, such as white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. But if you are lucky and fully equipped to sanitize your unit using this powerful solution, follow these steps.

Steps to Use Bleach

Step 1: Unplug the device and detach components. Drain the water tank.

Step 2: Combine a teaspoon of bleach with a gallon of water. Pour out 1/2 to 3/4 of the solution inside the tank. Do a brisk yet gentle shake to reach easy-to-hard areas.

Step 3: Now, place the tank in the base until the mixture gets drain into the reservoir. Let the solution sit for up to twenty minutes before emptying.

Step 4: You can use a soft-bristle brush for scrubbing thin layers of deposits.

Step 5: Wash them with clear water. Ensure the scent of the bleach solution no longer irritates your nose before wiping up with clean towels.

Step 6: The components are now ready to reassemble for future use!

Some Important Things to Consider:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area as the strong smell of bleach can cause lung damage and respiratory inflammation.
  • Wear gloves to protect your delicate skin, as well as eye protection against chemical spew.
  • A drop of bleach has a slight chance of damaging your floor or upholstery. Still, you want to practice extra caution.
  •  Use bleach to sterilize your humidifier every ten days to two weeks.
  • Remember not to mix vinegar and bleach.

Solution 3: Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a quite useful yet highly beneficial essential oil known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antibacterial compounds. And yes, we can’t say no to its aromatic scent! It has been in use as a natural deodorizer, laundry freshener, and multipurpose cleaner. Though it also acts as a breathing aid and mold fighter.

When used in a humidifier, the oil’s soothing scent naturally supports and improves immunity and fights respiratory infections. Use it to achieve peaceful sleep every night and relieve stress due to work or personal issues. Its expectorant compounds are also deemed effective for alleviating congestion. In case you want to use tea tree oil for removing harsh mold, take the necessary steps below.

Steps to Use Tea Tree Oil

Step 1: Switch off the energy source, pour down water residue, and layout all pieces.

Step 2: Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil along with equal portions of white vinegar and water. Pour out the solution into the base and water tank.

Step 3: Soak for twenty to thirty minutes.

Step 4: Use a washcloth or small, soft brush (an old toothbrush will do) to scrub the areas. Make sure to get rid of all those visible deposits.

Step 5: Give it a good rinse with warm water. You may want to wash all parts quite a few times to remove any remaining odor.

Step 6: Put down the cleaned components on a towel and dry them out.

Step 7: Finally, it’s time to reassemble the pieces and give your humidifier a try.

Downsides of Tea Tree Oil Method

There are downsides to using tea tree oil for humidifiers, so consider these things:

  • Essential oils work best in cool mist humidifiers. If you are eager to use tea tree oil, consider investing in this type of machine. Otherwise, remain faithful to your old device and opt for other cleaning solutions we have mentioned above.
  • Settle on the right amount of oil to use. There’s no standard rule here. Thus, the amount depends on the size of your water tank. Some have an oil holding area typically situated near the machine’s top point.

What Type of Vinegar Can I Add to Humidifier Water?

If white vinegar always bothers you with its intense smell (well, most owners do!), use apple cider vinegar instead. What’s more, it provides a sweet, pleasing fragrance since it derives from fermenting apple juice. Others use balsamic vinegar. Although, it could be a not-so-ideal alternative as it tends to leave a stain in the unit.

Are There Other Additives I Can Use to Clean the Humidifier?

Certainly, yes. If you don’t worry about spending a couple of dollars, you can use hydrogen peroxide or humidifier tablets. Thus, drop one tablet along with water into the reservoir. As for hydrogen peroxide, add a few drops of it to destroy mold and bacteria. It is an antibacterial solution, plus the cheapest than humidifier tablets.

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