Humidifiers: How to Use A Humidifier and Keep Them Clean


Parched air draws fluid from your sinuses, which can make you more likely to have nosebleeds or sinus infections. Along with helping prevent those things, a humidifier also may make it easier to breathe if you have a cold or another condition that affects your lungs. Many high-end ultrasonic units therefore have antibacterial features built in. For example, some units use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria.

Cleaning your humidifier regularly may keep out unwanted particles and mold growth, but you should consider replacing poorly maintained humidifiers or old machines. It’s not always possible to clean every part of a neglected or aging machine.

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Higher humidity also helps reduce static electricity, so you can avoid those annoying shocks you feel when crossing a carpet. And, without enough moisture in indoor air, wood floorboards can shrink and creak, and everything from a leather chair to a nice guitar can develop cracks. The CarePod One is simple and sleek, and it’s absolutely the easiest humidifier to clean of any we’ve ever tested. There were some manufacturing issues with the oscillation wand, which prevented us from making this a pick in the past, however. And even though the company has addressed the problem, we still think this one is too expensive. If you want low-maintenance humidification, get the Venta LW25. At that point, your humidifier might be doing more harm than good.

We’ve reviewed this guide, and still stand by all of our advice. We’ve updated a few links to make sure they reflect our current humidifier picks. Not only is Vitrivi’s Cloud humidifier aesthetically pleasing, its water canister also happens to be removable. And as a cherry on top, the devices is also dishwasher-safe, which ensures it gets a proper clean between sessions. We consider Dreo’s popular device a steal at under $50, since it holds up to four liters of water, and nicely includes an aroma diffuser. It also uses ultra-fine particles to evenly disperse mist throughout your room without leaving wetness behind. For a three-in-one option that humidifies and purifies air, while also working as an essential oil diffuser, look no further than this option from Bo & Bo.

The Wi-Fi–connected Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier offers the best combination of powerful humidification and quiet, consistent performance, yet it’s still easy enough to clean. It’s about as low-maintenance as a humidifier can get, too, with user-friendly controls and a sleek, attractive design that will blend into almost any room. We’ve been recommending the non-smart version of this Levoit since 2018, and this new model addresses every minor gripe we had with the old one and more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not issue health warnings about minerals in the air, but does recommend using low-mineral water (such as distilled water) in your humidifier. Many ultrasonic models feature a demineralization cartridge that filters minerals out of the water to prevent the dust.

Finally, plug in the humidifier and adjust the settings according to your preferences. For more advice, including how to clean your humidifier, keep reading. Once you have a humidifier in place, it’s still important to keep an eye on the humidity levels. Anything above 50% can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and other germs. Higher than 60% can lead to condensation on windows and other surfaces, which also invites microorganisms into your home. As the air passes through the filter, it evaporates some of the water there.

Reservoir/Drum-Style Humidifiers

Maintenance and Safety Regular cleaning is essential to prevent mold and bacteria buildup in humidifiers. Users should also be cautious of over-humidifying their space to avoid condensation and mold growth. Choosing the Right Humidifier Selecting the right humidifier involves considering room size, features, and maintenance requirements. For Florida homes, it’s crucial to find a model that’s easy to clean and efficient in energy use. When the air is dry indoors, many of us rely on humidifiers to relieve run-of the-mill respiratory symptoms. These go-to gadgets — which increase moisture levels — can do wonders for woes like dry sinuses and frequent nosebleeds (not to mention soothing parched skin and chapped lips). Portable humidifiers are intended to change humidity levels in just one room or single space.

Bell+Howell Top Fill Humidifier

Read more about best humidifier for singers here.

It uses the HVAC system’s blower to push air through the unit and only operates when the furnace is running. Bypass humidifiers require extra ductwork, known as the bypass duct, and air must be recirculated back through the furnace before being distributed into the home. Bypass humidifiers have quiet operation, making them ideal for small to medium homes. Humidifiers can help reduce allergy symptoms and improve the health of the mucous membranes of the airway.

The Dreo HM311S has four onboard controls—auto, night-light, power, and mist level—plus an LCD screen to show the current relative humidity level. The smart app offers a little more control, if you need it, and the setup process is remarkably easy. Tap water has different amounts of minerals, depending on where you live. They can gum up your humidifier and breed bacteria that get spewed into the air along with water vapor. The minerals also can form a fine white powder that can lead to crusty deposits in the machine — another breeding ground for bacteria. These issues are more common with ultrasonic and impeller humidifiers.

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