How to Prevent Mold in a Humidifier

“Mold” likely evokes mental images of green spots on bread, black crust on bathroom tile, or a fuzzy grey patch on a long gone avocado skin. 

Whatever comes to mind when you think of the word “mold,” it’s certainly not an image that makes you feel warm and cozy. Mold is gross… plain and simple. Mold is a fungus that thrives in the presence of water and oxygen. Since humidifiers operate with a water tank, there is a high chance for humidifier mold growth if you do not regularly  clean your humidifier. 

Mold is present wherever there is water and oxygen.

Good news, though! You can completely avoid humidifier mold if you follow a few, very simple best practices. Bonus: we include a guide to cleaning your humidifier so you can keep your device in tip-top shape.

Do Humidifiers Create Mold?

A common concern when contemplating a humidifier purchase is: does a humidifier create and disperse mold? 

The short answer: a humidifier will not create and disperse mold if you follow basic maintenance and usage guidelines. However, humidifier mold will be a problem if your device is not properly cleaned on a regular basis. 

What Causes Mold in Your Humidifier?

There are a few cases in which humidifier mold can create a potentially hazardous environment for you and your family or loved ones. 

Here are the most common causes of mold in your humidifier:

  • Poor maintenance. Daily wipe down, weekly cleaning, and monthly deep cleaning are recommended to ensure a healthy, clean humidifier device. 
  • Excess humidity above the optimal range of 40% - 60% relative humidity (RH). Humidity levels above 50% create an environment perfect for mold and unwanted vermin. The RH in your home should range from 40% to 60% to ensure maximum health and safety. 
  • Water leakage from the device. Water leakage from your device’s water tank may cause humidifier mold either on the device or on the spaces surrounding your humidifier. 
  • Excessive output with limited space. Using a humidifier with an output of 500 square feet in a 200 square foot room may contribute to humidifier mold. If the output exceeds the space, the walls, curtains, bedding, or any other sitting object in the space can become drenched in excess vapor. 
  • What to Put in Your Humidifier to Prevent Mold

    Preventing humidifier mold in the water tank is avoidable if you follow your device’s operational requirements including keeping a clean humidifier at all times. 

    Generally speaking, using distilled water in your water tank is recommended to avoid mold and white dust. In addition, regular use of white vinegar for weekly cleaning and bleach for a monthly deep cleaning is the best way to keep your device in tip-top shape. 

    For the Water Tank: Distilled Water

    As a brand new owner of a super cool humidifier, you may be wondering what type of water you need to put in the water tank: tap water? Filtered water? Bottled water? The options are endless, and of course you want to make the right decision.

    Most humidifiers require the use of distilled water for the water tank. Tap water, especially “hard” tap water (tap water with a high mineral count) can create a breeding ground for humidifier mold. Check your humidifier user manual to verify the water requirements before operating your device.

    Are filtered water and distilled water the same?

    Are filtered water and distilled water the same?

    No. Distilled water is the purest form of water containing no minerals, metals, nor other various inorganic compounds. Distilled water is achieved through boiling water to create vapor. The vapor is pushed into coiled metal tubes, condensing into water droplets. The water droplets are then diverted into a container and the result is distilled water.

    Filtered water is another form of purified drinking water that is achieved through reverse osmosis. While filtered water is perfectly healthy to drink, it does contain mineral content. Due to the size of the filter pores, a water filter can remove larger minerals, metals, and other inorganic compounds, but may leave smaller contaminants in the water. As a result, distilled water is the best type of water for your humidifier device. 

    What about Canopy humidifiers?

    Canopy humidifiers do not require the use of distilled water. Our innovative UV light technology kills 99.9% of bacteria, humidifier mold, and contaminants found in the water tank. For additional safety measures, our disposable paper filter traps the remaining .1% to ensure pure, healthy, and hydrated air regardless of your preferred water type.

    To Clean: White Vinegar

    Chances are, you have a moderately-sized bottle of white vinegar sitting in the back of your pantry. This magical ingredient is your key to a super clean humidifier.  

    Proper humidifier maintenance will require a weekly cleaning schedule. For more information on how and how often you need to clean your humidifier, you can visit our blog How to Clean a Traditional Humidifier or reference our shorter list, below

    To Deep Clean: Hydrogen Peroxide

    Deep cleaning your humidifier is a necessary, though infrequent requirement. While a white vinegar soak is a great way to clean your device weekly, sometimes you just need a little more *oomph* in the form of a deep clean. 

    Deep cleaning your device with hydrogen peroxide (or bleach, if you prefer) is simple. Add 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle, and spray down the sides of your device. Let the solution soak for 15 minutes. Rise clean and air dry.

    How to Clean a Traditional Humidifier

    Regularly cleaning your humidifier is a critical step to ensure humidifier safety. Without a regular cleaning schedule, your humidifier is prone to develop harmful humidifier mold and bacteria that could ultimately be released into your living environment. In addition, maintaining a clean humidifier will increase the longevity of your device providing healthy, hydrated air to you and your family for years to come.

    Effectively cleaning your humidifier requires 5 basic steps. Depending on the type and model of humidifier you own, you may require a different series of steps to get an effectively clean humidifier. Make sure to reference your user manual for exact directions and guidelines.

    Here are the 5 general steps required to clean your humidifier:

    1. Disassemble your humidifier. Make sure to unplug your device and dump any remaining water from the water tank. Place on a towel to dry.
    2. White vinegar soak. Pour the vinegar into the base of your humidifier up to the brim. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Fill your humidifier water tank halfway with vinegar and shake for 1-2 minutes. Let the solution soak for 30 minutes. Fill a medium-sized bowl with vinegar and place any smaller parts from your device into the bowl to soak for 30 minutes.
    3. Scrub. Dump the vinegar from each of your humidifier components. Grab a small scrub brush and carefully scrub your humidifier components to loosen any built-up dirt or bacteria that has crusted to the sides of your device. 
    4. Carefully wipe down the exterior. Grab a small sponge and soak it in vinegar. Wipe down any non-electrical part of your device. 
    5. Rinse and dry your device. Run your humidifier components under fresh tap water avoiding any electrical parts of your device. Place the components on a dry towel and let them air dry.  

    Cleaning Your Canopy Humidifier

    You can clean your Canopy humidifier in the dishwasher.

    Traditional humidifiers breed humidifier mold and bacteria in the water tank. Canopy Humidifiers have unique, anti-mold technology that actually stops humidifier mold from growing. No humidifier mold, no worries. 

    We also understand just how busy life can get, so we designed our humidifier to fit your lifestyle. Cleaning your Canopy Humidifier could not be any easier. Just disassemble your Canopy Humidifier and place the tray, the water tank, and the cap in the dishwasher and you’re done. It’s seriously that easy!