How To Clean A Cool Mist Humidifier In 9 Steps

Do you want to know how to clean a cool mist humidifier? Of course, that is why you are reading this article.

If you experience dry air in your region during winter or any other month, you know that your humidifier is a godsend.

You could buy many humidifiers in the market. We have warm mist ones, ultrasonic ones, evaporative ones and even steamers. However, you chose a cool mist one for a reason. I will show you just why.

What is a cool mist humidifier?

Without referring you to my older articles on these babies, well, just know that a cool mist humidifier is an appliance that is designed to dispense cool mist into the room to increase humidity.

Further, we can also say that compared to its warm mist counterparts, the cool mist one is much safer. You can use it in baby’s room, or in rooms where there are pets and so on.

It is very safe. The worst that can happen if it topples over is to spill cold water on the floor.

As compared to a warm mist humidifier, which boils water and thus poses a serious hazard of scalding, well, the cool mist one wins hands down.

Image of cool mist humidifier

This is not to say that a warm mist humidifier is not any good. It has its unique benefits too.

Cool mist humidifiers are also more popular than other types. They are readily available on different online marketplaces.

Warm mist humidifiers have a heating element installed in the base. When the water boils, it is dispersed in the form of steam.

Cool mist ones have a fan that whips water inside the tank into a fine mist, which is dispersed into the room.

Process for how to clean a cool mist humidifier

If you want to get the best out of your cool mist humidifier, well, you have to know how to clean it. While these appliances are angels when it comes to humidifying the air at home, well, they do need regular maintenance.

Some humidifiers come with filters; others come without. Nonetheless, both types require you to maintain them keenly so that they do not disperse germs into your air with the mist.

Cleaning your humidifier is recommended because it also enhances the life of the appliance. Just imagine using a humidifier for several years. That is what we call getting more than enough value for money.

At the same time, when you make a habit of cleaning your humidifier, you will be able to note any defects. This can help you know when it is time to hang up the humidifier and order for a new one.

When you clean the humidifier, you also help it to work more efficiently and effectively. Check everything including the power cable. If it has filters, ensure they are replaced on time.

Here is a step-by-step process for cleaning a humidifier:

Step 1: Unplug and remove the water tank and base

First, let the humidifier run out of water, or you can pour the water out. Unplug the appliance from power. This is as simple as pulling the plug out of the socket.

Now, you have to disconnect the tank from the base. It is not hard. You just need to twist the tank in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

This is usually indicated in the user manual, so be sure to check it. If you do not have the user manual, you can always check the website of the manufacturer.

After unplugging the humidifier you should take it to your kitchen counter near the water. You will need a lot of water anyway. Make sure not to lose anything.

Step 2: Dry the filter

Cool mist humidifiers, unless they are ultrasonic in design, come with a wicking filter You should get it out but first, you have to dry it.

To do that, just unplug the humidifier and empty the tank. You can then plug it back and let it run for a short time, so that the filter can dry out completely.

Remember, you do not even need to return the tank back to dry the filter. Just run it like that, without the tank.

Step 3: Remove the wicking filter

Once the filter is dry, remove it. To access the filter, you have to dismantle the housing of the humidifier. This should not be too hard, but do check the user manual.

The filter can be a cylindrical piece with a hollow part in the middle or it can be one flat piece. Be gentle with the filter lest you disfigure it.

Step 4: Removing the water tray

The water tray is between the base of the humidifier and the water tank. You cannot say you know how to clean a cool mist humidifier if you do not clean the tray.

To get it out, you have to remove the tank first. You may find that it slides out in some models. Just check what the manufacturer says in the user manual. If it is clipped to the base, just unclip it.

image of cleaning a humidifier


Step 5: Clean the water tray

Fill the water tray with white vinegar to about half and then let it stay for about 20 minutes. You should also use a sponge or a small piece of cloth dipped in the vinegar to wipe the parts of the tray that have not been in contact with the white vinegar.

Do not use soaps or detergent, even the dish washing ones to clean the humidifier tray. It is also vital that you do not submerge the tray in water. You may dry the tray with a towel or place it on a rack to air-dry it.

Step 6: Cleaning the tank

Fill the tank with about 1.5 gallons of water. This could be cold or warm water. You can then add a spoonful or two of bleach (chlorine is best) into the water.

Let the solution sit in the tank for about 25 minutes. OK, some people say 20 minutes, others say 30 minutes. It does not matter that much, as long as it is at least 20 minutes.

I usually cap the tank and shake it after about 5 minutes. The reason for shaking the tank is so that the solution can reach all corners. That way, you can be sure that every area of the tank has come into contact with the bleach.

After 25 minutes, you can empty the tank, rinse it two times with clean water and then insert it into the base. But wait, is the base itself clean?

In the next section about how to clean a cool mist humidifier, we shall look at how to clean the base.

Step 7: Cleaning the base of the humidifier

Cleaning the humidifier base is very important. It is also important to disinfect it to get rid of any germs that might be harbored there. To do that, you are going to use white vinegar.

Just fill it in the base, in its undiluted form and then let it stay for about 20 minutes or more. Dip the tube of the humidifier, that is, if it comes with one because not all of them come with one.

You should also check the base for any scale or deposits. If you see such, wipe them with a clean piece of cloth.

Step 8: Rinse the base with clean water

After 20 minutes, empty the base and remove the pickup tube from the basin where you had placed and empty that too.

You should then commence to rinse the two of them thoroughly with clean cold water. You should then wipe the base with a clean towel to dry it.

You can then fill the tank with water and replace it on the base. Add the top housing and the appliance is ready to run again.

Step 9: Clean/wipe the exterior of the humidifier

To complete the process for how to clean a cool mist humidifier, you should clean the exterior. This is simple, and you can do it by wiping it.

Use a dry towel or a dry piece of cloth. At the same time, check for any stains or stuck dirt on the exterior. If there are stains, just dip a piece of sponge or cloth in white vinegar and wipe it clean.

Image of how to clean your humidifier

Recommended for your cool mist humidifier

Warm mist humidifiers kill germs because they boil water. However, cool mist humidifiers do not. When you know that you will not be using it in the next few days, empty the tank.

Do not leave it with water because water makes a good environment for bacteria. This also applies when you are taking the humidifier to storage. With good maintenance, the humidifier should last a long time.


That is how easy it is for how to clean a cool mist humidifier. Make an effort to clean yours at least once a week if you do not run it full-time.

However, if you run it daily, you need to clean it more often, perhaps three times a week. The more you clean it, the less the work you will have to do because scale will not have an opportunity to form.

Leave a Comment