How to Clean Humidifier Filters with Vinegar

Humidifier filters are subject to mineral deposit buildup over time, especially if you use hard water in the humidifier. These deposits can make the humidifier run less efficiently. This can cause a problem for those who need to avoid dry air because of illness or allergies. Routine cleaning helps to keep your humidifier working properly.

Humidifier filters are subject to mineral deposit buildup over time. Credit: Oleksiy Maksymenko/imageBROKER/Getty Images

Step 1

Unplug the humidifier and empty out the water tray.

Step 2

Remove the filter according to the humidifier's instruction manual. Note that sometimes the filters might be called filter wicks.

Step 3

Pour equal parts of white vinegar and water into a large container and place the filter in the solution. Ensure it becomes completely soaked.

Step 4

Let the filter sit in the solution for at least one hour. Jeff Campbell, author of the book "Speed Cleaning," writes that you can use a vinegar-only bath for faster results.

Step 5

Inspect the filter for remaining deposits and dirt. Place it back in the vinegar if need be.

Step 6

Remove the filter and rinse it with clean water. Let dry before placing it back in the humidifier.

Step 7

Repeat every week or every month, depending on the rate of buildup and on any recommendations from the humidifier's manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar and water, 50-50 mix

  • Large container that is bigger than the filter


The University of Kentucky offers another weekly cleaning suggestion for cool mist humidifiers: Place the solution in the humidifier and run the humidifier for one hour. Empty out the remaining vinegar solution, clean the tray with hot, soapy water, and repeat the process with plain water. After one hour, empty that out and allow the humidifier to air-dry before you use it again.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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