How to Clean a Humidifier with Vinegar

air humidifier

Humidifiers are useful for combating dry air, but only when they’re properly cleaned and maintained. 

If you don’t regularly clean your humidifier, it could end up circulating bacteria throughout your home. It can also make your home smell unpleasant and cause the unit to malfunction.

But don’t worry! Cleaning a humidifier with vinegar is quick and relatively mess-free.

In this article, I’ll show you how to clean your humidifier naturally, with the help of vinegar.

Let’s get started.

What You’ll Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Clean dishcloth or sponge
  • Towel


  1. Make sure the humidifier is unplugged.
  2. Remove the water tank from your humidifier.
  3. Fill it with a mixture of 1 part vinegar mixed with 1 part water, then let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Drain the vinegar mixture and use a sponge or soft cloth to wipe the inside of the water tank. 
  5. Rinse with water and fill again with water; run for a few minutes to get rid of any remaining vinegar smell. If necessary, repeat until your device no longer smells like vinegar.
  6. Reinstall the water tank once finished cleaning.

Why Is It Important to Clean Your Humidifier?

There are a few reasons why it’s important to clean your humidifier with vinegar. Most importantly, cleaning will prevent mold and mildew from growing in the unit, which can spread germs in the air you breathe. 

You also want to avoid damage to your humidifier—if it breaks down because of buildup on its internal parts, that means expensive repairs! 

Finally, by keeping bacteria at bay and preventing buildup on the inner workings of your device, you’ll extend its lifespan (and keep yourself happy).

Why Use Vinegar?

The first reason to use vinegar is that it’s a natural disinfectant, deodorizer, and anti-microbial. Vinegar will kill 99% of the bacteria in your humidifier. 

If you can imagine the grossness that might have been living in there before you cleaned it out, then you’ll understand why vinegar is a great choice for cleaning.

Next up: vinegar makes things smell good too! It’s a natural odor neutralizer so, if you get a foul smell from the water in your humidifier cleaning the tank with vinegar can help make things smell better instantly.

Lastly: did you know vinegar kills mold? Yep! Vinegaring up your humidifier’s tank does not only clean it out but also disinfects any mold present on or inside of the unit. 

So, go ahead, and clean your humidifier with vinegar to keep everything clean and smelling fresh.

How Often Should You Clean Your Humidifier?

Cleaning your humidifier once a week is ideal if you use it daily, that’s what I recommend. 

If you don’t clean your humidifier often, bacteria can start to grow in the reservoir and filters. 

When this happens, it can cause mold to develop on surfaces around the room where the humidifier sits. Mold is not only unpleasant but also unhealthy for you to breathe in as well!

A Clean Humidifier Makes For a Warm and Healthy Home

A clean humidifier not only makes for a warmer, healthier home but also reduces the risk of bacterial and fungal growth. 

Unhealthy mold and mildew can cause respiratory problems and allergies, so keeping your humidifier clean is critical to maintaining good indoor air quality.

The problem is, that most people don’t know how to properly clean their humidifiers. In fact, many consumers are under the impression that all you need to do is wipe down the outside of your unit once in a while with some water and vinegar (or another gentle cleanser).

While this is definitely better than nothing one quick swipe will not remove hidden dirt or grime stuck deep inside your appliance’s internal workings.


Congratulations! You did it. Now you know how to clean your air humidifier naturally and make sure that it runs smoothly for years to come. 

If you ever need a reminder about any part of this method of cleaning, all you have to do is look back at this article. 

And if you’re looking for another way of cleaning your humidifier, check out my article on How to Clean an Air Humidifier with Hydrogen Peroxide. You can also give that method of cleaning a try.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy  

Image by Anke Sundermeier from Pixabay