How Do I Stop Humidifier White Dust?

image of humidifier white dust

How To Prevent White Dust from Humidifier

Do you live in an area with dry air where you use a humidifier often? If yes, you may have experienced humidifier white dust.

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Humidifier dust is usually gray or whitish in color. It forms when the mist released by the appliance dries up and leaves this fine looking gray dust settled on the chairs, tables and other surfaces.

This is the whitish dust humidifier that we are talking about and no, it is not cool at all. Is white dust from humidifier harmful? It may provoke an allergic attack. It is dust after all.

We will look at it in detail later.

You need to be wary about humidifier dust. This is one of the side effects of running a unit at home. Of course, every item has its benefits and downsides.

Humidifiers will keep your indoor air humidified, but you may have to contend with white film on furniture. You can look for a dust-free humidifier on Amazon.com such as the one below. It can help keep white dust from ceiling, walls, paintings and floors.

Image of how to stop humidifier white dust

Is white dust from humidifier harmful?

When dealing with humidifier dust, most people ask: is My Unit Bad?

It is not. However, you need to do something about the water that you use. I guess here is where you may ask: Can you use hard water in a humidifier?

It is not recommended!

Even the innocent looking tap water usually contains natural minerals. Such minerals include magnesium and calcium among other deposits.

When you use the regular tap water in your unit, these minerals will be released together with the mist.

Once the mist settles on surfaces such as walls or furniture, it leaves behind the dried mineral deposits. You also start to notice white dust falling from ceiling. This is humidifier dust.

The white dust forms when water with mineral deposits is pulverized into a fine mist by the appliance.

In the process, the minerals also split into small molecules. These are then released into the air together with the mist.

When the mist dries up on any surface it lands on, the traces of those minerals in the form of whitish or grey dust settle on these surfaces.

What is the white stuff floating in the air? Humidifiers that form whitish dust

This is mainly common with the ultrasonic humidifiers. I think the reason for this is that they vaporize water into fine particles using high frequency vibrations.

In the case of a warm mist ultrasonic humidifier, it adds moisture into the air via a steaming process.

The water goes through a heating mechanism before being sprayed into the air in the form of a fine mist. The white dust not only appears on different surfaces around your house but also around the appliance surfaces after it runs out of water.

The amount of the white dust residue left on the surfaces varies depending with the mineral content level in your water.

Therefore, this dust is one of the  ultrasonic humidifier dangers. If you want a humidifier no white dust, you will have try another type.

It is possible to find the best humidifier without white dust although it largely depends on the type of water in your area.

Effects of humidifier dust

Does the Dyson humidifier leave white dust? It depends on which type you buy. If it is ultrasonic, it will. This applies to any other brand name. Always ask that question before buying.

We agree that this dust is not cool at all. That is why you are reading this article, to know all about it. However, it is harmful? We will look at that. We will see whether it has any negative effects on your things, or on your person.

1. Effect on household items

The white film produced by humidifier is not harmful to any of your household items. Actually, it is nothing to be alarmed about.

It does not in any way cause deterioration of your items’ quality. Just as with the normal dust, you can easily remove it from the surfaces using a damp piece of cloth. It doesn’t require any special treatment to get rid of it.

If you have mineral-laden water in your home, you would do better to find the best humidifier for hard water, to prevent the formation of too much white film on your things.

2. Effects of the dust on your health

Generally, the humidifier dust is harmless to most items at home. It is nothing to really be concerned about.

However, inhaling white dust can cause serious health problems to infants. It can also be problematic to people who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma and allergies.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, tap water usually contains minerals, mostly rock dust.

These minerals are harmless when they are simply suspended in the water. However, they become toxic once they are aerosolized into small particles that freely float in the air.

Once you inhale these fine particles right into your lungs, they can turn out to be dangerous to your health. In fact, they cause serious lung problems. Therefore, if you have respiratory issues, get a dust free humidifier.

One research conducted by the University of Utah found out that a baby developed serious lung problems after inhaling humidifier white dust.

With that said, it means that as much as the pale dust might not pose a threat to your health, you need to be cautious about it.

The same appliance that makes your house more comfortable can turn to be a big threat to the health of your family. However, you can use the following tips to avoid it, or to get rid of the dust in your home.

Tips for eliminating the white film

It is perfectly possible to use a humidifier without experiencing the whitish dust on your items at home. However, you have to take deliberate steps towards that. At the same time, just know that white dust can develop from any unit, cool mist or warm mist.

It usually comes from the minerals in the water. Thus, if you have hard water at home and you use it in your appliance, you had better keep reading to know how to avoid white dust.

Here are a few ways to avoid the dust:

Avoid using tap water

Think of using distilled water in your humidifying appliance. This is because tap water has a higher mineral count, which promotes the production of pale dust.

On the other hand, distilled water usually has minimal mineral content. Thus, it does not produce white dust.

Using distilled water is also an extra advantage to your unit since it will minimize the frequency of cleaning it.

In addition, it can help increase the life of your appliance filter in case your unit uses one. Check the manufacturer’s instructions.

If they state clearly that you should strictly use distilled water on your unit; do not go against the instructions.

 

Do not use an ultrasonic humidifiers

While ultrasonic humidifiers are great for their extremely quiet operation, they are the biggest culprits when it comes to whitish dust.

This is mostly because of their mode of operation. This appliance operates by breaking water molecules down to a very fine mist using ultra high frequency vibrations.

The problem is … these humidifiers not only aerosolize water, but also everything else that is in the water including minerals and bacteria.

When these minerals and the other impurities are released into the air and they are inhaled right into the lungs, they can cause serious health complications.

If you already have an ultrasonic humidifier, please make sure to do the following:

  • Avoid using tap water instead. Always use distilled water in the tank
  • Clean your unit frequently with soapy water without using other chemicals
  • Leave the door open when the humidifier is running
  • Do not add any essential oils in the distilled water

 

Buy a demineralization cartridge – Demineralizer for humidifier

A demineralization cartridge is designed in such a way that it can demineralize humidifier before dust is dispersed into the air. Some appliance models come already equipped with a demineralization cartridge while others come without. Use one when using tap water in humidifier.

You can try a product such as the Pure Guardian FLTDC Demineralization Filter. See the image below:

Image of dimineralization cartridge

The good news is that these cartridges can be purchased separately. They are easy to install in appliances that come without one. Installing this cartridge will ensure that the dust problem is completely eliminated from your home. It is a good humidifier hard water treatment.

Change the humidifier filters regularly

If your humidifying unit uses a filter, consider changing the filter more regularly or as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The work of the filter is essentially to trap the water impurities so that they are not dispersed together with the mist.

Therefore, changing the filters regularly will ensure the reduction of impurities build-up including whitish dust.

Change your unit’s water more often

In order to minimize the chances of white dust build up, always change the water in the tank frequently.

Empty the reservoir everyday and wipe its inner surfaces clean before refilling it with distilled water. This ensures that there are no mineral deposits in your unit, thus eliminating white dust.

 

Clean your humidifier regularly

If you do not clean your unit regularly, chances are that any mineral deposits on its reservoir will be dispersed together with the moisture. Therefore, always ensure that you thoroughly clean your unit after every three days.

Disassemble your unit and follow your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Some manufactures will recommend the use of hydrogen peroxide or other disinfectants while cleaning the parts.

However, avoid using harsh chemicals or soaps. If you fail to rinse the parts thoroughly, the chemicals may become airborne and cause problems when inhaled.

 

Store the unit properly when not in use

Since you will not be using your humidifiers throughout the year, always ensure that you properly store it until the next use.

Never store a unit while the tank contains water. Instead, drain all the water, give the tank a nice clean and wipe dry all the parts.

Dispose all the used filters or demineralization cartridges. When you take your unit out of storage to use it, clean all the parts again before refilling it with water.

Consider upgrading your appliance

If your humidifying unit has served you for a long time, consider replacing it with a new one. This is because over time, mineral deposits that prove hard to get rid off can develop on your unit.

The build up can increase the chance of generating dust and also encourage the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria.

How to get rid of mineral deposits on your humidifiers surfaces

If you notice mineral deposits on your humidifiers, take the following simple steps to get rid of it. Should you fail to clean it off from your unit, it will automatically be dispersed into the air alongside the mist.

When you use a warm mist humidifier for its obvious benefits, the minerals will be even easier to release with the mist. No matter how good the filters are, white dust will eventually form. Thus, before you can use the humidifiers in your house, clean the tank of any mineral deposits. Hard water usually leaves these deposits and they are easily noticeable.

Thus, when we talk about stopping white dust, we are just saying that you should clean the unit’s tank before every use, especially if you have hard water in your area.

Just follow the following steps:

Step 1: Unplug

The first thing that you should do is unplug your appliance from the power inlet. This is obvious, for safety.

Step 2: Drain water

Drain any water remains from the unit’s reservoir and wipe all the surfaces using a clean damp cloth.

Step 3: Clean tank, filters and other parts

Get clean, warm and soapy water and clean your humidifiers as per your manufacturer’s instructions. In case your unit requires disassembling and change of filters, you will do that at this step.

If the white dust deposits prove stubborn to remove, add some vinegar on the water and soak the parts for some time.

You can also consider adding a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the water to help disinfect the surfaces. However, avoid washing your unit with harsh chemicals or bleaching agents.

Rinse all the parts in clean water and wipe them dry with a clean cloth before assembling them back. Repeat this process after every two to three days minimizes the minerals build up on your humidifiers surfaces.

Step 4: Refill with demineralized or clean water

Refill your humidifier with distilled or demineralized water since it has a lower mineral content as compared to tap water.

Do not forget to change water more frequently. If you allow the water to sit in the tank for too long, it can become a good breeding ground for mold, mildew and other bacteria.

If your unit does not come with a demineralization filter, consider investing in a unit that does.

Alternatively, if your model can accommodate this filter, equipping it with one is a good idea. This will help to remove and trap any minerals in the water before they can be released into the air in form of white dust.

FAQs for Stopping Humidifier White Dust?

Here are the questions that most people ask regarding to this appliance dust. If you have been noticing some white fine dust on your furniture and surfaces after running your appliance, read this section for more information.

Do humidifiers create dust?

Yes and no. By this, we mean that when you use tap water, your humidifiers are going to leave residues of white dust on your furniture and surfaces. However, you can avoid this by using distilled water in your appliance. Since distilled water has no minerals like tap water, you can avoid white dust. You may also order demineralized water such as Bissell Spring Breeze Demineralized Water from Amazon.com. When you use this water, it will not produce the whitish dust.

Do warm mist humidifiers leave white dust?

No, they do not. Evaporative cool mist  and warm mist humidifiers do not leave white dust on your surfaces. What then are the humidifiers that cause white dust? You may ask. Ultrasonic humidifiers are notorious culprits and so are impeller varieties.

Impeller humidifiers fling water at a diffuser using a rotating disc. The diffuser will then break the water into minute droplets that can float in the air.

The appliances are portable and efficient but they also have their downsides. One of them as we have said is the whitish dust. The second one is that they require closer care and maintenance. The third one is that they can spread germs easily to the air that you inhale.

What is the white stuff on my humidifier filter?

That is without doubt white dust that is produced as a result of using water that has minerals. when the water evaporates from the air, then the white dust settles on every surface that came into contact with the mist.

Is it OK to breathe in humidifiers’ vapor?

Yes it is. However, there are a few things to note here. The water that you add to the humidifiers determines whether you should inhale the vapor that is coming from the appliance.

To remove guesswork from the picture, just use distilled water. Also clean the appliance regularly to ensure that it does not spread allergens like mold and mildew, germs and viruses in the mist that it produces.

How do I prevent white dust in my humidifiers?

To reiterate, you can do three things:

  • Buy a demineralization cartridge for your humidifier such as the HoMedics demineralization cartridge.
  • Use cool mist or warm mist humidifiers only as we have seen that the two are not notorious for leaving white dust.
  • Use distilled or demineralized water, or get a humidifier mineral filter.

Conclusion

By now, you have seen everything there is to know about humidifier white dust. You have also seen how best to prevent it. It is not too hard and besides, you do want to safeguard the health of your family.

Do humidifiers help with dust? They don’t. They are designed to inject mist into the air, not remove dust. If you have white film or other dust, you need to find out how to remove calcium deposits from humidifier.

Thankfully, the solution is just a couple of steps away as we have explained here. Just know the kind of water you have at home. If it is hard water, you should use distilled water in your humidifier.

Do you have an air purifier at home? If you have been experiencing white dust from air purifier, you should check the filters. This appliance is designed to remove dust from the air, not leave white film behind.

Comments

  1. sherry

    Does water run through a Brita water filter stop the white dust? I’m ready to trash my Vicks humidifier due to the dust.

  2. Shawn

    Our ultrasonic humidifier caused problems with our gas furnace. The repairman noticed that the furnace filter had been coated with the fine white dust from
    the humidifier. We use tap water but also have a whole house water softener and still have the problem.

  3. lops

    Can I use a humidifier in my son’s room everyday. He has trouble sleeping, but the last 3 days he has been sleeping fine with it in there, but he did get a bloody nose

  4. Crystal Bradford

    I have to change my furnace filter every few weeks and have softened well water. I only put a gallon and a half a day of soft water into the air using a Holmes ultrasonic cool mist and the dust is unreal. Thanks for the article. I will start using distilled and let you know how it goes.

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