Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Humidifier Cleaning, Simplified

Every winter, we set up a humidifier to combat dry indoor air.  And every week during the winter, I empty the humidifier tank, fill it with a bleach solution, let it soak, dump it out, let it dry, and start over.  It's not hard work, but it's kind of a pain.

We use additives in the tank, but the water still gets slimy over time.  I'm not a biologist, but I think that's from bacteria growth, and I don't even want to think about those germs getting spewed into the air.

This week I had a lightbulb moment.  I was using Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Sanitizing Spray to clean a kitchen counter, and I thought, "Hmmm ... Can I use this to clean the humidifier tank?"

I emptied the tank, wiped out the excess water, and sprayed the inside with the Clorox spray.  While I waited for it to dry, I dashed off an email message to the Clorox company to ask whether this would work.  They replied quickly:  "Our Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Sanitizing Spray will only kill the bacteria that is listed on the label. You may use it on your humidifier, however, this product will not kill mold or viruses."

Since I think that bacteria are the biggest problem, I'm okay with that.  As I said, I'm not a biologist and this is all based on my own experience and gut feeling.

Disclosure:  I am not affiliated with Clorox, nor am I an expert in this field.  No endorsement of this company, product, use, or application is given or implied.


  1. I need to clean mine. Thanks for the tip. I hope we both get our numbers back.

  2. I get tired of cleaning the humidifier too, but I have to wonder what is in that spray. If you are spraying it into the tank and not wiping it off, then all the chemicals in the cleaner are going into your air--either by evaporating soon after use or by mixing with the water and getting into the humidifier mist. I guess if you are willing to use this stuff on your kitchen counter, you trust it to be safe for you. I wouldn't without knowing what it is. I use full-strength white vinegar for both my counters and my humidifier. It kills most bacteria and molds--not sure about viruses.


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