How to descale a humidifier

Written by brad chacos
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How to descale a humidifier
Humidifers help loosen mucus in sick infants who can't take medication. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Any object that holds water for an extended time can fall victim to lime scale build-up. Humidifiers hold water in a reservoir and convert it to a mist, adding moisture to the air in a room. While the devices are pretty straightforward and often only need to be refilled with water, periodic descaling removes excessive minerals and any accumulated mould spores. The wet walls of a humidifier reservoir provide a haven for mould spores, and mould in a humidifier can lead to itchy eyes and breathing problems, according to Consumer Reports. The acid in vinegar cuts through mould and lime scale.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 clean cloths
  • White vinegar

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  1. 1

    Unplug the humidifier. Pour out any remaining water, then dry the inside of the reservoir using a clean cloth.

  2. 2

    Fill the humidifier with white vinegar. Do not dilute the vinegar with water. Replace the cap on the reservoir tank.

  3. 3

    Allow the vinegar to sit in the humidifier for at least 30 minutes; for better results, leave it overnight.

  4. 4

    Pour the vinegar out of the humidifier. Dump it down a sink, or pour it into a container to reuse for future descaling.

  5. 5

    Dampen a clean cloth. Wash the inside of the humidifier thoroughly to remove any remaining vinegar.

Tips and warnings

  • Descale a humidifier often, whenever signs of lime scale or mould appear. The exact frequency of cleaning will depend on how often you use the humidifier.
  • Descale a humidifier before storing it away.
  • To use less vinegar, you can dampen paper towels and stick them to the walls over the limescale. The downside is that paper towels dry out quickly and the vinegar only affects the areas to which towels are applied.

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