Humidifiers are good for our surrounding but can also pose health hazards if we do not take care of them properly. We need to constantly maintain them if we want to avoid frequent breakdowns and health risks from breathing in unhealthy air. The most important part we can take care of is the filter. Humidifier filters are made from different materials and maintaining the filter will depend on the material. Some are made using paper, some plastic and some other water resistant material. Here are some tips to help you in maintaining your filter.
Find out what your filter is made of
This is the first step before you start the maintenance process. If the filter is made of paper then you might be compelled to discard it and buy a new one. If it is made of plastic or another material, you can look into ways and products that you can use to clean and maintain it.
Clean it regularly
Frequent cleaning is the best way to maintain your humidifier filter. It is recommended that you clean it at least once a week but you have to make it a thorough cleaning. You have to be very careful while cleaning if you do not want to end up destroying your filter. How you clean it and what you use to clean it matter a lot. The steps listed below could be helpful.
Use distilled water
After cleaning your filter, fill the humidifier with distilled water only. Do not use direct tap water, as this will lead to fungi and/or bacteria forming in the humidifier. Tap water already has some minerals that promote fungi and bacteria growth. Although some humidifiers have features that give them the ability to sanitize the water before releasing it, it is best that take precaution and use distilled water. The last thing you need is to breath in air that is filled with bacteria and/or fungi pathogens.
Avoid using harsh products while cleaning
Try as much as possible to clean your filter using mild products. As stated before, if it is made of paper, you will have to replace it. You can use vinegar or bleach to clean other types of filters like plastic ones. However, do not use both vinegar and bleach on the plastic same filter. The mixture will be extremely harsh on the material. Vinegar is always the most preferred option as it also works as a disinfectant. Other water resistant materials that are not plastic might require clean water instead of vinegar.
Follow the guidelines on the manual
Every humidifier has a manual when you buy it. When cleaning your filter, follow the exact steps written on the manual. This will help you avoid any complications that might arise from wrongful handling of the filter and the humidifier as a whole.
Here are the steps to follow when cleaning the filter.
Turn off the power supply to the humidifier
Make sure that the humidifier is unplugged before you do any other thing. You do not want electricity shock when you start taking it apart.
Remove the tank and pour out the water
After emptying the water tray, set in it the sink or on a clean towel to allow all the water to drip out as you do other things. You can also place it in a bucket or any other vessel that will be able to hold the water. The aim here is avoid creating a mess with the dripping water from the tray.
Remove the filter
Carefully lift the filter according to the instructions listed on the manual. This is very important if you want to avoid damaging the filter.
Soak the filter
Mix vinegar and water in equal ratio in a clean bucket. You can do this before removing the filter to make it easier for you. Place the filter in the mixture and let it soak for about an hour. If you decide to use bleach, it cannot be in equal ratio. Make the amount of bleach half that of water. If you are just rinsing the filter, you can use clean water without bleach or vinegar; let the filter soak in the water for about ten to fifteen minutes. If you still have minerals on the filter after soaking it, you will have to use vinegar.
Inspect the filter
It is very important that you check for any mineral residue that is still on the filter. If you find any, return the filter to the vinegar mixture and let it soak for another 30 minutes. If the filter is clean, rinse it with cold water.
Leave it to dry
Some manuals advice that you place the filter back when it is still damp, others advice that you should let it dry completely. Depending on your manual, you can either let the filter dry off or place it back before drying. Make sure that you wipe the holder before placing the filter back there. If you find any mold on the holder, use vinegar to wipe it off until you remove all of it.
Most filters are meant to be replaced after a certain period. If yours has served its purpose, feel free to replace it. They are easily available and affordable. You just have to find the right type for your humidifier, which means that you have to find out the type your humidifier uses before you go shopping for one. If you take good care of your filter, it will last longer before you feel the need to buy another. When you are cleaning the filter, check out other parts of the humidifier and clean them as well, especially the reservoir. Pour some vinegar on the reservoir and let it settle for about half an hour before rinsing it off. If there is still residue after rinsing, use a very soft brush to rub it gently before rinsing again. Ensure every part of the humidifier is clean and dry before placing it back together.