How to Clean a Humidifier Filter

How Do You Clean a Humidifier Filter?

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Everyone needs water to live, but did you know that your house can also benefit from the right level of moisture?

Moisture in the air is needed to maintain a proper balance of moisture or humidity in the atmosphere of your home.

This balance is just enough humidity to dampen the air you breathe, allowing for smoother skin, a healthier throat, and mucous membranes that are properly moistened.

The number of water droplets in the air should not be too high to cause respiratory issues or irritate you by creating a wet layer on the skin.

Structural damage can also be a problem throughout the home when the moisture levels are out of whack. So it’s important to have a humidifier only if you need it and to make sure to keep the humidifier filter clean.

How it Works

A humidifier is a marvelous invention that controls the amount of humidity in your home by adding microscopic water droplets when needed and can be put out of operation when they are not. Almost any style of humidifier comes complete with a filter, whether it is a portable (single-room) device or a complex device installed directly into your home’s central air system.


This filter removes all sorts of things from the water droplets before they are released into the air; from bacteria to allergens to common household germs.

If the filter of your humidifier is not properly maintained, not only are you sending all of these into the air you breathe but other bacteria can develop and be added to the mix; such as mold.


So how exactly do you clean your humidifier filter to ensure clean and healthy air? And can you clean one efficiently? Let’s take a step-by-step look together.

What You Will Need


You’re probably asking yourself, “How do I clean my filter and what do I need?”. Unless your humidifier comes equipped during purchase with all the accessories or required tools for at-home maintenance and filter cleaning, the following items listed below are definitely recommended to ensure the quality of the cleaning. These items can be bought at your local hardware store, department store, or even the closest dollar store.

Cleaning solution

Cleaning solution (can be homemade* or store-bought) or extra-strength soap

The cleaning solution is one of your own preference as long as the warranty doesn’t require a special one

Make sure whatever cleaning solution you choose has an ingredient that removes stains, kills germs and bacteria, and isn’t strongly scented which can cause headaches

Close-up of a stack of scouring pads

A scouring pad (think S.O.S pads or scrubbing sponges)


Hot Water


A sink, basin, or container for the hot water and cleaning solution

Homemade cleaning solutions typically contain equal parts water and vinegar with the addition of bleach and/or baking soda if you choose. These homemade solutions will feature ingredients generally found in the home, for a deep clean that removes mold from any surface while killing the majority of germs and bacteria typically found in the household. To find a recipe for all strength cleaning solutions made right at home click here.

Step-by-Step Cleaning a Humidifier Filter

Step by Step Magnifying Glass One Instruction at Time 3d Illustration

When you take it upon yourself to bypass a professional routine cleaning and decide to instead clean your humidifier filter at home, it is important to mention how not only important it is but how essential it is to check the instruction manual that would have been provided with your device for any specific instructions. This could be instructions from the length of the soaking time of the filter or what sort of solutions you should or should not introduce to your machine.

There may also be steps to follow to ensure the warranty of your device is intact.

Step 1

Fill up your sink with hot water and add some sort of cleaning solution or extra-strength soap; either homemade or store-bought.

Step 2

beautiful icon design

Remove the filter from the humidifier and put it directly into the hot water with the preferred cleaning compound and allow the filter to fully submerge and soak for at least 15 minutes.

Step 3

Clean all the internal components that surround the filter, using a homemade cleaning solution or a store-bought solution made especially for humidifiers. These internal components are everything from the reservoir of water to the fan blades that break up the water into microscopic droplets.

Step 4

Refill the reservoir with distilled water and add a teaspoon of baking soda to remove stains from the inside. This tip also has the added benefit of the humidifier releasing clean-smelling water droplets into the air.

Check to see if your humidifier has the option for an essential oils diffuser or check with the manufacturer to determine if adding essential oils will damage the device.

Step 5

blonde handywoman cleaning fixing ventilation system

Clean the entire base beneath the filter using a homemade solution or extra-strength soap and a scouring pad. Dampen the pad and add a dollop of cleaning solution that will remove the bacteria, germs, and mold that can live on this base and are unseen to the naked eye.

Step 6

After both the internal parts and the filter’s base are sanitized; it is time to clean the filter itself. Take the submerged filter out of the soapy water to determine if elbow grease and scrubbing are needed.

– If there are mineral deposits visible throughout the filter, a solution of vinegar, bleach, and water would be the easiest and most efficient way to remove these.

– If there is mold on the filter, you can try to clean it but it is highly recommended that you replace the entire filter due to health-related reasons.

Step 7

cleaning solution

Once the filter is scrubbed clean and is free from visible spots or debris, rinse the filter in the pure cleaning solution for a final germ check and to remove any additional particles that have been dislodged from the filter.

Step 8

Rinse the filter under pure hot water and allow it to completely dry; either on a clean dish towel or placed on a drying rack normally used for household dishes.

Step 9


Check the base components to make sure that they are completely dry before replacing the filter inside the humidifier as damp or dark conditions can be breeding grounds for harmful germs or bacteria.

Step 10

Replace the humidifier covering and remove it from near the water source before re-plugging the power cord into the electrical socket.

Step 11

Proceed to use your humidifier as normal!

3d small people - dont do it!

If the manufacturer of your humidifier requests that a replacement filter is used at certain intervals, then it is recommended that you do not attempt to clean your filter on your own as this can void any manufacturer warranty that exists on your device.

Check the humidifier filter on a regular basis, such as bi-weekly or even weekly depending on the amount of time the device is in use.


Now that you not only know why it is important to clean your humidifier filter, you know how easy it can be to clean your humidifier filter right at home. Unless it is directly specified by your appliance’s warranty, you shouldn’t need to bring your humidifier to a local retailer for maintenance.

Central humidifiers that are installed directly into your home’s central air system are slightly more complex and unless the filter is easily accessible, a technician may be required to come into your home and remove the filter for cleaning.

Humidifiers are wonderful inventions that dampen the air of your home, allowing for all ages to breathe deeply and normally. It prevents fire hazards and the cracking or splitting of the wooden support beams found within your walls.

But how good is this device if the filter isn’t clean and all you are doing is breathing bacteria or germs? Not very good! So with a little bit of time and elbow grease; you and your family could be breathing cleaner!

Remember to have the following:

Close-up of a stack of scouring pads

Scouring pads

Hot water

Hot water

Round heavy duty black plastic basin

Basin or container for hot water (sink)

Cleaning solution

Cleaning solution or extra-strength soap

How to Clean a Humidifier Filter

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