One of the biggest struggles of using humidifiers is the risk of harboring molds. This is why many users wonder if running a humidifier with vinegar is safe as a method of preventing this from happening. But before you pour the kitchen’s ‘liquid gold’ into your humidifier, you should read on first.
It’s important to know that humidifiers can’t be used for months on end without proper cleaning. Running a humidifier for months without even washing the tank is a recipe for mold growth, respiratory problems, and a slew of other problems.
When it comes to humidifier cleaning, the safest solution to use is diluted vinegar. Unlike soaps and detergents, vinegar won’t leave any residue in your humidifier. Also, vinegar is a champ in neutralizing bad odors and germs without leaving any scent – all thanks to its antiseptic properties.
Below, I discussed the benefits of using vinegar on your humidifier, how to use it, and what you should avoid.
Is running humidifier with vinegar safe?
You should NEVER run a humidifier with vinegar. This is due to the acidity of the vinegar. Doing so will cause eye, nose, lung, and skin irritation.
While other users run diluted vinegar in their humidifiers, it’s best not to. Remember that the acidity of vinegar can cause a chemical reaction on surfaces, including furniture stains, your pets, and food items.
Take note that you should only use vinegar as a cleaning agent. While it has antiseptic properties, it’s not good to use vinegar to clean your indoor air. In the end, it will do more harm than help.
If your goal is to prevent mold growth in your humidifier, running vinegar on it isn’t the only solution. You can try water additives, which will not cause irritations as vinegar does.
Also, nothing beats regular cleaning, no matter what water additive you’re using. This is the only way to ensure that there will be no room for mold growth inside your humidifier.
How to use vinegar when cleaning a humidifier
Using vinegar to clean a humidifier is quite easy. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Unplug the humidifier. First, make sure that your humidifier isn’t connected to a power source.
- Fill it with diluted vinegar. Next, you need to fill the humidifier tank with equal parts of vinegar and water. We don’t recommend using pure vinegar unless you’re dealing with deep-seated dirt.
- Let it soak. Leave the tank soaked in diluted vinegar for at least an hour. This will let the solution loosen up any gunk and dirt inside the tank.
- Scrub it a little. It will also help to use an old toothbrush to scrape off the dirt inside the humidifier’s tank. Be gentle since you wouldn’t want to create deep scratches on the tank where bacteria may grow. You can also shake the diluted vinegar inside the tank to ensure that it gets up to the nozzle.
- Drain the solution. You can now drain the vinegar solution once you’re happy with the results. You’re free to rinse the tank with water. But for added antiseptic benefit, you can simply finish the cleaning process by wiping the exterior components with a vinegar-soaked towel.
- Let it dry. After cleaning, you should let the humidifier dry first. This will allow the scent of vinegar to dissipate.
- Do it routinely. Cleaning your humidifier with vinegar routinely will help prevent mold growth. It’s also a cheap and safe solution instead of using detergents that can damage the humidifier components.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I clean my humidifier?
A: It’s important to clean your humidifier every week. This will prevent molds and odor from forming inside the tank. You should rinse the tank and let it dry before putting it back. And once a month, you should disassemble the unit for deep cleaning. This is to ensure that no molds are forming on other parts of the humidifier.
Q: Can I use cooking vinegar to clean my humidifier?
A: Take note that there are two types of vinegar: cooking and cleaning. Cooking vinegar is safe and can be used to clean a humidifier. The same goes for the specialized cleaning type. Just make sure that you rinse it well and that you don’t run the humidifier without the vinegar.
Q: Can I mix vinegar and baking soda in my humidifier?
A: You can mix baking soda with vinegar to dissolve stubborn gunk. However, you should be careful as this solution will create a fizzy reaction. Make sure that you wear gloves and eye protection to avoid irritations. Also, you should avoid shaking vinegar and baking soda in a closed container as it may explode.
Q: Can I run bleach into my humidifier?
A: You should never run a humidifier with bleach. This will cause massive irritation since bleach is a strong cleaning agent. If your intention is for the bleach to get into all the crevices of the humidifier, you should only run it outdoors. This way, the bleach particles won’t circulate in your indoor air.
Q: Can you run hydrogen peroxide in my humidifier?
A: Just like bleach, you should never run hydrogen peroxide into your humidifier. This can cause irritation, and the peroxide solution may cause discoloration on wood finishes, including varnishes and stains. You should only soak the tank with hydrogen peroxide and rinse it off before rerunning the humidifier.
Q: What does vinegar do to the humidifier?
A: Vinegar helps neutralize mold spores, bacteria, and viruses inside your humidifier tank. It has powerful antiseptic properties, not to mention that it’s safe as long as you don’t run it in your unit. Even though vinegar is acidic, it will not damage your humidifier’s components.
Running humidifier with vinegar is a no-no because it can cause irritations. Still, you can use vinegar as a cleaning agent to combat mold growth and bacteria. Just make sure that you do it regularly for the best results.
Do you have other humidifier cleaning hacks? Please share it with us below!
Home Air Quality is founded by Bernard K to provide information on Indoor Air Quality in Homes and enlighten people about what they need to know about creating and maintaining a comfortable and healthy home environment.
We believe that “Quality air brings a healthy life.”