Your humidifier is an amazing ally for comfort and relaxation at home, but it takes regular maintenance to keep things running as they should.

Since these machines process a lot of water each day, they may also invite bacteria and mold, which you don’t want circulating throughout your home under any circumstances.

You know you need to clean your humidifier frequently - at least a few times a week in most scenarios - but you may still be unsure how to do it the right way. Here are a few easy techniques you can rely on to give your humidifier that deep clean it needs.

Pat Dry and Let Stand

The quickest and easiest way to clean your humidifier is to simply empty it out completely so that not a single drop of water remains in the basin or the base of the unit.

If any droplets remain, use a paper towel or dry cloth to pat it down and remove every last bit. Simply by drying out your humidifier, you will keep it relatively clean overnight and prevent bacteria from building up in stagnant water.

This method isn’t going to do much for a dirty humidifier, but it’s a smart way to perform quick maintenance during the week in between deeper cleans.

Low-Key Vinegar Cleanse

Everyone has some basic white vinegar somewhere in the pantry, so put it to good use by giving your humidifier a solid cleanse every week or so.

It’s an easy process. After your unit is unplugged and disassembled, pour one or two cups of vinegar into the tank and add a bit of water to dilute. Swish the solution around and piece the machine back together so that the vinegar makes its way throughout every square inch.

After 15 to 20 minutes of sitting still, you can go back in with a small brush and gently remove any mineral deposits you can find in the tank or the reservoir. When your work is done, give everything a final rinse with fresh water and let it air-dry before reassembly.

High-Powered Bleach Scrub

Disinfecting is important when working with cool-mist humidifiers in particular. While steam vaporizer machines tend to kill bacteria on sight by boiling water, ultrasonic units need some extra maintenance for a complete clean.

Every few weeks your humidifier will need more of an intense clean with harsher chemicals. Find some mild bleach or detergent and follow the same steps we discussed above - just be careful when working with these materials.

You can wear gloves if you want, and avoid wearing your favorite clothes when performing a deeper clean. Chlorine bleach is the stuff you want to buy, so make a trip to the store and stock up. Only one teaspoon of bleach should go into a gallon of water, so don’t overdo it!

Remember to be very careful when wiping down your machine and scrub every square inch to remove unwanted buildup.

Don’t fire the machine back up until the scent of bleach is 100% removed.

Other Tips and Tricks

No two humidifiers are the same, and each one has unique mechanisms and materials that require specific maintenance. Don’t make any assumptions when cleaning your humidifier. Follow our guidelines as a starting point, but always refer to the manual to get the full picture.

Also, keep in mind that if you use essential oils regularly, daily cleaning sessions may necessary to get the most from your scents and aromatherapy products. You don’t want different oils blending together, and a thorough clean between uses can help.

Ultimately, you need to learn the nuances of your own humidifier and determine the best maintenance protocol for your usage patterns. Try out some different methods and stick with what works best!