How Do I Prevent White Dust In My Humidifier: The Terrible Truth About Ultrasonic Humidifiers

You need to know how to stop humidifier white dust if you’ve been noticing pale dust on your surfaces whenever you run your mister.

Humidifier dust is usually gray or whitish. You will notice it after running an ultrasonic humidifier. It settles on furniture, floors, ceilings, and other surfaces.

What is humidifier white dust?

What is Humidifier White Dust

This whitish dust collects in your house after using mineral-laden water in your humidifier.

We will look at it in detail later.

You need to be wary of this dust. This is one of the side effects of running a humidifier 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 Geniani humidifier on such as the one below. It can help keep white dust from the ceiling, walls, paintings, and floors.

Image of how to stop humidifier white dust

Is the white dust from the humidifier harmful?

When dealing with humidifier dust, most people ask: Is My Unit Bad? They also ask this question when a Pure Enrichment humidifier fails to work.

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 along with the mist.

When the mist dries up on any surface, the whitish or grey dust settles on these surfaces.

Humidifiers that form whitish dust: Ultrasonic

how to get rid of humidifier white dust

What is the white stuff floating in the air?

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 to 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 around the appliance surfaces after it runs out of water.

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

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

Effects of humidifiers white dust in your house

Image of humidifier white dust dangerous

The pale dust from humidifiers is not harmful to your health. It is not going to cause humidifier sickness symptoms.

However, it still has bad effects on your life. Here are a few of them:

1. Effect on household items

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

It does not in any way cause deterioration of the quality of your items. Just as with 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. This will 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 for infants. It can also be problematic for 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 be dangerous to your health. In fact, they cause serious lung problems. Therefore, if you have respiratory issues, get a dust-free humidifier.

A 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 to stop humidifier white dust

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.

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:

1. 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 for your unit since it will minimize the frequency of cleaning it.

In addition, it can help increase the life of your appliance filter if 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.

2. Do not use an ultrasonic humidifier

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

When these minerals and other impurities are released into the air and inhaled right into the lungs in high quantity, 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 soap, water and vinegar
  • Leave the door open when the humidifier is running
  • Do not add any essential oils in the distilled water

3. Use a demineralization cartridge

A demineralization cartridge is designed in such a way that it can demineralize the water in the humidifier tank.

Some appliance models come already equipped with a demineralization cartridge, while others come without. Use one when using tap water in a 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. Just drop it in the humidifier tank.

Using this cartridge ensures the dust problem is completely eliminated from your home. It is a good treatment for hard water in humidifiers.

4. 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 with the mist.

Therefore, changing the filters regularly will ensure the reduction of impurity buildup, including whitish dust.

5. Change your unit’s water more often

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

Empty the reservoir every day 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.

6. Clean your humidifier regularly

If you do not clean your unit regularly, chances are that any mineral deposits in its reservoir will be dispersed along with the moisture. Always ensure that you thoroughly clean your unit every three days.

Disassemble your unit and follow your manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Some manufacturers 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.

7. 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 them until their next use.

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

Dispose of 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.

8. 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 of can develop on your unit.

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

How to remove white dust on your humidifier

How to remove white dust on your humidifier

If you notice mineral deposits on your humidifiers, get rid of them. If you fail to clean it off your unit, it will be dispensed with 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. 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.

Just follow the following steps:

Step 1: Unplug the unit

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 that remains from the unit’s reservoir and wipe all the surfaces with 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. If your unit requires disassembly and a change of filters, you will do that at this step.

If the white dust deposits prove stubborn to remove, add some vinegar to 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 again. Repeat this process every two to three days to minimize the mineral buildup in the humidifier tank.

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 the water more frequently. If you allow the water to sit in the tank for too long, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew.

Image of humidifier clean water

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 the form of white dust.

FAQs for Stopping Humidifier White Dust

Here are the questions that most people ask regarding this appliance dust:

What types of humidifiers do not produce white dust?

Not every humidifier causes white dust. The main culprit here is the ultrasonic humidifier. It is very effective but it leaves a whitish dust over your surfaces if you use it with hard water or with soft water that has minerals.

Warm mist and cool mist humidifiers do not cause humidifier dust. You could also use an ultrasonic or impeller cool mist humidifier. But use it with a demineralization cartridge to prevent the production of this dust.

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.

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 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.  Ultrasonic and impeller humidifiers are the notorious culprits.

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.


By now, you have seen everything there is to know about how to stop 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.