What Can Cause a Humidifier to Stop Working After Cleaning It?

Do you have a problem with the humidifier not working after cleaning? Relax; here, we are going to look at the possible causes of that.

In our article on Pure Enrichment humidifiers not working, we looked at many reasons why a humidifier may fail. These were:

  • Failing to produce mist
  • The humidifier light blinks red
  • The humidifier is running but not producing mist
  • Humidifier producing insufficient mist
  • The humidifier is not running at all

However, there is another problem: a humidifier failing to work after you clean it. Keep reading to see the possible causes of this issue.

Top Checks when humidifier fails

Humidifier Not Working After Cleaning

It is a good practice to clean your humidifier with vinegar to kill bacteria. However, when you clean it and set it up, and it fails to work, there could be a problem.

Or they couldn’t! Sometimes, some old humidifiers behave that way. They refuse to work, and then they “think” otherwise.

Here are some simple checks that you should make:

1. The humidistat needs time to acclimatize

Most times, the humidistat needs some time to acclimate after you clean it.

In another article on hygrometer vs humidistat, we saw that the latter monitors the humidity and sends the signal to the control board when there is a need to increase the humidity level.

However, after you clean the humidifier, the humidistat can “reset” itself. In that case, it will take some time to get it to read your humidity settings and compare them to the moisture levels in the air correctly.

Also check: Does a humidifier increase oxygen? 

Some humidifiers will behave like they would when they were brand new after cleaning every component of them.

If you suspect this could be the problem, please give the humidifier some time to acclimate. It should start working after a few hours.

2. Check for water in the humidifier circuitry

water in the humidifier circuitry

This is one of the first signs of a humidifier failing to work after you clean it. Water from the base can leak to the circuit board and make contact with the wires. This will cause the failure.

The best thing to do is to open up the base and check physically whether the wires have water. If they do, you will need to air-dry for a couple of days. This should remove all the water.

Do not try to blow the water out with a blower, because that will only push it deeper into the wires and cause more problems.

Before you put the base back, spray the wiring with a WD40 rust remover. If metal parts come into contact with water, they sustain corrosion, which can cause problems in the future.

After doing this, the humidifier should work just fine if the problem is water in the circuitry.

3. Do the other regular checks

Even before you get to check the circuitry for water, you need to do a few other checks. First, check whether the humidifier tank has water.

Start with the following:

Check whether there is enough water in the tank

Little or no water in the tank is going to prevent the humidifier from working. This appliance is designed to work with water. If it does not get enough, it will not work.

Depending on the model, some, like most Honeywell humidifiers just shut down when there is little or no water in the tank. Others can continue running for some time, in which case they can overheat and sustain damage.

Check whether the power cord is working

If the power cord is broken or has a loose wire, the humidifier is not going to work! Start by transferring the humidifier to another socket and seeing whether it works.

If it does, the power outlet is bad. If it does not, most likely, the power cord itself is broken. You can check the AC power plug by opening it up to find out whether the fuse is blown. If it is, replace it. If it is the power cables that have a problem, change them.

Ultrasonic humidifier not producing mist

Ultrasonic humidifier not producing mist

If you have cleaned the humidifier, and it is not producing mist, there are some checks to make. First, check whether you have entered the right humidity settings.

If the humidity settings are too low and the humidity level is okay, the humidifier is not going to produce mist, since the humidistat will read it as okay.

An ultrasonic humidifier produces mist by using a vibrating membrane, which vibrates and breaks the water into tiny droplets.

If there is a problem with the vibration mechanism, it is not going to produce mist, so it will not increase your indoor humidity.

Ultrasonic humidifiers will leave humidifier dust on your surfaces. However, this is going to happen when you use water that has minerals, or hard water.

Here are a few things to check when your ultrasonic humidifier won’t work:

4. The diaphragm is blocked

First, let’s say that for the ultrasonic humidifier diaphragm to be blocked, you would have to have neglected it for a long time without cleaning it.

Over time, bugs, dirt, grease, and other things can find their way to the diaphragm. They end up blocking the diaphragm, in which case it is not going to work properly.

The only solution here is to clean the humidifier in its entirety regularly, say, once a week. This will prevent the build-up of any sort of dirt on the diaphragm and will lower the humidifier downtimes.

5. The ultrasonic humidifier is not assembled properly

The ultrasonic humidifiers are a bit more complicated to set up than the regular cool mist and warm mist ones.

Therefore, when you take it apart for cleaning, it is possible to miss a step or two when you are putting it back together.

This is why the humidifier might fail to work properly. In that case, you would have to take it apart and follow the user manual to put it back together.

6. Improper tank positioning

Frida humidifier not working after cleaning

When you have taken the humidifier apart from cleaning, you have to put it back together correctly. There is no room for mistakes.

Most people get the tank positioning wrong. If this is the case, some units will just refuse to start completely.

If you have a Frida humidifier, it might run okay, but it will switch off soon after. It will also not produce mist when it is running.

7. The humidifier is broken down

Sometimes, you will have a humidifier not working after cleaning because it is just faulty. It is hard to fix factory defects.

If the humidifier is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer to see whether they can replace it or repair it. If it is missing a part, it will not work correctly.

Some parts wear out slowly. Taking the unit apart from cleaning might be the coup de grâce that it was waiting for.

If the ultrasonic humidifier is too old, perhaps it is time to replace it. The lifespan of most of these appliances is 5 to ten years.

Vicks humidifier keeps shutting down: Causes

Vicks humidifier not working after cleaning

If you have a Vicks humidifier, you can run it with or without VapoPads. However, it can fail to work properly after cleaning.

If this happens, just follow the procedure that we have outlined here. Check the circuitry for water, and if there is, air-dry the Vicks humidifier.

Otherwise, all cool mist humidifiers work the same way. Also, all warm mist humidifiers work the same way.

Even if you have the problem of your Homedics humidifier not working after cleaning it, well, it is the same thing all over. Do the same checks!

When you buy your Homedics humidifier, make sure you get the user manual with it. Look specifically for the Homedics ultrasonic humidifiers manual online.

User manuals for humidifiers show you how to change filters, clean, assemble, set the humidity, and do much more.

If you have been asking: What do the buttons on a HoMedics humidifier do? It is all in the user manual for your humidifier.

Remember, the user manual also warns you of things not to do. If you do something contrary to what the manufacturer intended, you will void the warranty on your new unit.

Can you get sick from not cleaning your humidifier?

Can you get sick from not cleaning your humidifier

If you think your humidifier might refuse to work after cleaning it, you might want to miss a few cleaning sessions.

However, this is not advisable at all.

Humidifiers run on water. This water stays stagnant inside the tank of your unit. Therefore, the tank is a good breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

You should also look for symptoms of mold in the humidifier. If there is black or pink slime in the tank, that’s an indication of mold.

If you do not clean the humidifier, you can get sick. What happens is that whatever pathogens find their way into the unit, will blow out with the mist. And you will inhale them.

The mold in the humidifier will find its way into the house. It will develop new colonies by spreading mold spores in the air.

If you inhale mold, it can cause respiratory illnesses. It can:

  • Cause asthma flare-ups
  • It can give you coughing fits
  • Can cause excessive mucus discharge
  • Skin issues, itching, and rashes
  • It can give you the humidifier lung illness

You can also inhale the viruses and bacteria that form in the humidifier. If this happens, you can sustain different types of illnesses. For people who ask whether a humidifier can cause chest tightness, it can!

If you use your humidifier often, clean it often. The least you can do is clean it once a week. If you use tap water in the humidifier, clean it more often to prevent the formation of scale.

Scale forms on the walls of the tank or on the heating element in warm mist humidifiers.

Final Thoughts

A humidifier not working after cleaning is very common. Mostly, it comes from water in the base dripping its way to the circuitry.

If this has become a common tendency with your unit, please ensure you air-dry it properly when you clean it.

Moisture in the circuitry is not the only culprit! Also, perform all the other checks we have suggested here.

The good thing is that most of these things are easy to fix. There are so many resources on this blog to help you.