You spend countless hours on the Internet researching the best humidifiers on the market. You read about a thousand customer reviews, watch as many YouTube videos as you can stomach, and make a detailed pros and cons list of your top two humidifier choices.
Then, your friend Becky tells you that a humidifier can cause mold in your home. Wait, what?
Do humidifiers actually cause mold?
Sorry, Becky. Humidifiers do not cause mold, but they can develop mold if not used properly and regularly maintained.
Let’s dive into the grimy, moldy details (including how to clean humidifiers the proper way).
But First, What is Mold?
Mold is one of those things that we all know exists but we like to ignore until it (literally or figuratively) slaps us in the face on a piece of bread or an old, lumpy apple.
Mold is a completely natural, albeit gross, environmental contributor that can be found in nearly every place there is moisture and oxygen. Mold are members of the kingdom fungi and play an important role in nature by disintegrating decayed, organic matter like dead trees and leaves.
Indoor mold, including humidifier mold, is mold that has gone rogue, if you will. Indoor mold does not contribute to the beautiful circle of life we admire and appreciate. In fact, indoor mold, which flourishes on paper and wood products, can destroy surfaces of your home by digesting the material in order to survive.
Mold is not a static fungi. Mold reproduces by creating microscopic spores that enter the air and attach to various surfaces. Spores can survive for long periods of time and produce allergens for years after they attach to a surface, whether they are alive or not.
The Health Risks Associated with Mold
Most healthy adults exposed to surface mold can go unscathed (aside from a case of the heebie-jeebies). However, individuals with allergies and asthma as well as children, the elderly, or people with pre-existing respiratory disease can show heightened sensitivity to mold spores in the air.
A 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine established sufficient evidence to prove a correlation between mold exposure indoors with a trigger of asthma symptoms in asthmatics and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals who suffer from immune conditions.
Common symptoms associated with mold exposure include:
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy skin
- Red, itchy eyes
Severe reactions to mold exposure include shortness of breath and fever. If you are having trouble breathing, call your doctor immediately.
Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?
Do humidifiers actually cause mold?
This is a tricky question: humidifiers do not cause mold, but they can develop mold if not properly maintained or if home humidity levels regularly exceed 60%.
You can prevent the development of mold in your humidifier by maintaining a regular cleaning schedule and monitoring humidity levels in your home.
Unlike traditional models, Canopy Humidifier is anti-mold. Meaning we built our Humidifier with special technology to mitigate mold growth for the healthiest, cleanest moisture. Canopy Humidifier uses SPA technology and features an anti-microbial filter that catches all dust, dirt, and particles that would otherwise end up in your air, or in your lungs. Traditional models often have sitting water, which is a breeding ground for mold. Canopy on the other hand, runs until the unit is completely dry. No sitting water = no room for mold growth.
How to Prevent Mold in Your Humidifier
While mold is inevitable wherever moisture is present, there are measures you can take to ensure your humidifier remains mold-free.
Maintain a Regular Cleaning Schedule
We now know that mold can be found anywhere moisture and oxygen are present, which includes the water tank of your humidifier device. Without a regular maintenance schedule, your humidifier can serve as a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Mold present in your humidifier water tank can enter your home air through the mist released from your device triggering allergies, asthma symptoms, and more. No, thank you!
A surefire way to prevent mold growth on and in your humidifier is to adhere to a regular cleaning schedule. We recommend cleaning your humidifier once per week to keep your device in tip-top shape.
Monitor Relative Humidity Levels in Your Home
The optimal humidity level in your home is between 40% and 60%. According to the World Health Organization, high home humidity levels and inadequate ventilation are closely associated with the development and multiplication of microorganisms including mold and bacteria.
Monitoring your home humidity levels with a hygrometer (a portable device that measures relative humidity levels) or a smart thermostat is an important aspect of humidifier ownership. If relative humidity levels exceed 60% in your home, you should take appropriate measures to reduce your indoor humidity including:
- Turn on the air conditioner
- Open windows and doors to the outdoors if outside humidity levels are adequate
- Run a dehumidifier
How to Clean Traditional Humidifier Models
As we discussed, a regular device maintenance schedule is incredibly important to prevent humidifier mold so that you can breathe easy.
Routinely cleaning your humidifier sounds great in theory, but, how do you actually clean a humidifier? There are so many parts with challenging nooks and crannies! The problem? Cleaning of traditional models can take HOURS on end. And, let’s be honest, who has time for that?
We recommend flipping through your owner’s manual for explicit directions on how to clean your humidifier model, however, most humidifiers can be effectively sanitized by following the below steps:
Step 1: Disassemble your humidifier
Step 2: Soak all non-electrical parts in distilled white vinegar
Step 3: Scrub the internal surfaces of your humidifier water tank and base
Step 4: Wipe the exterior of your device with a vinegar soaked cloth
Step 5: Rinse all non-electrical parts in fresh water and let them air dry
How to Clean Your Canopy Humidifier
At Canopy, we like to keep things simple. Our humidifier is equipped with dishwasher safe components, which allows you to spend less time cleaning your humidifier and more time enjoying the perks of pure, hydrated air.
Cleaning your Canopy Humidifier is really that simple. Place Canopy’s components in the dishwasher and run your wash on a normal cycle. Make sure all of your humidifier components are completely dry before assembling your device.
Give the body of your humidifier an occasional wipe down with a warm cloth, and you’re good to go. That’s really it! So easy, so simple.