A humidifier is a simple device that is used to increase the amount of moisture in a given area. Humidifiers draw moisture from an interior repository and release the it into the air as vapour, mist or steam. Over time, the damp conditions can lead to the development of mould, mildew and off-putting aromas. A variety of humidifier solutions can be used to resolve these situations and keep the appliance running smoothly.
Disinfect the humidifier every two weeks by rinsing the reservoir with a solution made from equal portions of distilled white vinegar and water. Then refill the tank, adding 1 tsp of chlorine bleach to each 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water. This dilute bleach solution will discourage the growth of mould and bacteria. Mask any unpleasant aroma by pouring 10 drops of essential oil into the reservoir.
Eliminate funky, musty smells from the humidifier by using a bicarbonate of soda solution. Each time the humidifier is filled, stir in 2 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda for each gallon of water. Bicarbonate of soda is a natural deodoriser, and it will keep the humidifier smelling fresh. In addition, the chemical composition of bicarbonate of soda softens hard water, preventing the build-up of limescale and boosting the antibacterial action of bleach or other additives.
Unclog stuffy noses with medicated mist. Pour ½ tsp of eucalyptus oil, ½ tsp camphor oil and ¼ tsp of cedar oil into 1 litre (1 quart) of water, then transfer this solution to the reservoir of a warm mist humidifier. Lean into the steam as it begins to emerge and inhale deeply, drawing the medicated vapour into the lungs. The essential oils will loosen stubborn mucus, easing chest congestion and sinus pain.
Use the humidifier to freshen the room. Once a week, pour ¼ cup of lemon juice into the reservoir and wait just a moment for a crisp, clean citrus scent to fill the air. In addition, the acid in the lemon juice will help to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. Alternatively, large stockpots or saucepans can be filled with water, lemon peels, orange peels and cinnamon sticks, and placed over a low flame to add a pleasant fragrance and additional moisture to dry winter air.
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- "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things"; Marylin Bader, et al; 2005
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