How To Clean a Humidifier Filter

Not all humidifier comes with filter and for those that do, schedule cleaning is a must. This is to prevent the device from turning into a breeding ground for mold and germs. But how do we clean a humidifier filter without damaging it? How often should we do it? If is made of a thin paper sheet material, can it be clean? In this post, we are going to guide you step by step on how to clean a humidifier filter. With good cleaning habits, say goodbye to mold nuisance forever.
Short answer
Vacuum, rinse, dry, and repeat.


What You Will Need

  • White diluted vinegar
  • Dusting brush/ vacuum cleaner with brush attachment
  • Pail (optional)
  • Towels/ rags
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Mask (optional)

How To Clean a Humidifier Filter (With Vinegar)

Before we began, there are 2 things you need to check on. First, does your humidifier comes with a filter? Most ultrasonic and impeller models do not come with a filter. Second, check the product’s manual if the filter washable? If the filter is not reusable and requires replacing on a prompt basis, you can skip the entire steps below.

  1. Unplug your humidifier – First thing first, stop the operation and unplug from the wall socket before disassembling the humidifier. This is to safeguard yourself from any short circuit as you are dealing with wet parts.
  2. Empty the bucket – Before you take out the water tank, make sure to place the humidifier on a flat, water-resistant surface. This will prevent any water spillage from soaking up the floor. Carefully remove the bucket and empty the remaining water into a sink or drain.
  3. Remove the humidifier filter – Once the water is all clear, slowly remove the filter as there will be water dripping down. Either by popping out from the back panel or slide it out from the top cover.
  4. Clean out surface dust – Your filter might be covered with dirt, soil, and grime that can be easily removed. Use a dust brush or microfiber duster to clear the initial dust. For filters that are made of tougher materials, you could use a vacuum with a brush attachment and lightly sweep out the contaminants.
  5. [OPTION A] Rinse the filter with cool tap water – While rinsing, rotate the filter and look for mold patches or dirt to focus on. Repeat the cycle a couple of times until all traces of mineral deposits have been ousted. If there is soil that cannot be dislodged, use a soft-bristled brush and lightly brush away the stubborn stain. Applying too much pressure may end up tearing the filter. This method will on 90% of the mineral buildup on the filter.
  6. [OPTION B] Remove the filter in water mixed with vinegar – Consider this if the above solution does not work. Fill the sink or a pail with around one gallon of water and one cup of undiluted/ pure white vinegar. Submerge the filter completely for 20-40 minutes or until the residues like mold, mildew started to dissolve. As vinegar is natural acidic solution, take out the filter from the water and gently scrub away the impurities before rinsing it with warm water.
  7. Leave the filter to dry – Once you are happy with the result, shake off the excess water and leave it dry by itself. At room temperature, it will normally take about 1-3 hours until the filter completely dry. Avoid using a hair dryer to speed up the drying process as the heat may damage the filter. Place a towel underneath the filter to absorb all the dripping water.
  8. Restart the humidifier – Reassemble back the dry filter in the exact order and facing alignment. Refill the reservoir with only demineralized or distilled water. Reinsert back the water-filled reservoir and plug back to a power socket before turning it on.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Bleach To Clean A Humidifier Filter

Bleach is a common chemical product that is effective in removing stain and mold. Most guides would recommend you to use it to get rid of stubborn smudges but we beg to differ. Over concentration of bleach may discolor your humidifier and eat through the plastic filter. Inappropriate handling of bleach may cause skin and eye irritation. When mix with hot water, the fume released by bleach is harmful to our health. If any of the above cleaning methods fail to clean a filter, chances are bleach will have the same outcome.

How Often Should You Clean Humidifier Filter?

Depending on the usage frequencies, you should clean the humidifier filter every 1-2 weeks. If you are experiencing allergies symptoms or there are signs of mold growing, stop the machine and perform a deep-cleaning right away. A dirty filter can be harmful to your health and will compromise nearby air quality with mold and bacteria.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Before we begin, you will definitely need a place to pour and refill water. You will also need to make sure all the right tools are ready. Most of these items can be purchased at a local hardware store or any department store. Finally, have a little bit of patience and time during the cleaning progress.


Max Fernandez

A humidifier distributor with more than 11 years of experience in the field, Max Fernandez is no stranger to the moisture-capturing machine. You can catch him here reviewing humidifiers and preaching on the importance of perfect humidity.