Care and Feeding of Fog Machines





Introduction: Care and Feeding of Fog Machines

Do you have a Fog machine? Do you use it infrequently? Have you noticed it's output decrease? Here's some simple cleaning tips you can use to keep your fog machine working well.

Step 1: Empty the Fluid Tank

Most fog machines that are cheap have a built in fluid tank so you will have to empty it. But wait, don't throw away the fluid. If the fluid is still clear (or it's original color) and doesn't have any debris in it, you can use it again. I recommend getting a small Nalgene container to store the fluid in. A 500ml container is usually about the right size and should only cost a couple of dollars at a camping / outdoors store. In Canada we have Mountain Equipment Co-op and Campers Village which are the best places to find a container like this. As a side note, if the fluid is clear but has debris in it, you can pour the fluid through a disposable coffee filter to remove the debris.

Step 2: Clean the Fogger Vaporizing Tube

Prep: Mix a solution of white vinegar and distilled water (this is the cleaning solution) the ratio is 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water, which is close enough to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a 1C of distilled water. This should be enough cleaner for 1 machine and still keep the pump happy.

Why distilled water? Well distilled water has it's minerals removed. Minerals are bad for fog machines as they tend to coat the inside of the tube, reducing it's diameter and therfore reducing the fogger's output.

Rinse the Fluid tank out with distilled water.
Pour the cleaning solution into the fluid tank.
Take the fogger outside.
Plug in the fogger and allow it to heat up.

When the fogger is ready, run it until it stops. Try and avoid inhaling the vapor, I'm sure it's bad for you. Repeat until you run out of solution or patience. I would estimate that 10 cycles should be enough.

The output should start off as thick white smoke and slowly become a very thin haze over the many cycles.

Unplug the fogger and rinse the fluid tank out with distilled water.
Refill the tank with distilled water. About a half cup if you're going to use the fogger for fogging soon or about a half tank if you plan on storing the unit.

Take the fogger outside again (If you're not already there).
Plug the fogger in and allow it to heat up.

When the fogger is ready, run it until it stops. Try and avoid inhaling the vapor , I'm sure it's bad for you. Repeat at least 5 times. You should do more cycles if it still smells like vinegar. You have to get all the vinegar out of the fogger.

Step 3: Use or Store, You Decide

If you are planning to store the fogger, leave the distilled water in the tank. This will help keep the pump from siezing and keep the gaskets from shrinking. Please note, you have to store the fogger in it's normal operating position or the fluid may leak out. Most machines have a small hole in the cap to allow air to enter during normal operation. When you are ready to use see below:

If you are planning to use it soon (in the next couple of weeks). Empty any remaining water from the fluid tank and refill with fog fluid.

Step 4: Other Tips and Tricks.

The best time to clean a fogger if you plan to store it is after you use it (it doesn't have to be immediatly after you use it, but within a day or so.)

If you use your fogger on a regular basis, I have found that monthly cleanings will greatly increase it's life. I maintain an attraction where 2 small foggers are used constantly and if I do regular maintenance I can get over a year out of a fogger, whereas if I don't we've replaced them in less than 8 months.

You can shoot fog through a hose to get fog into tight places you can't get the machine into. A Dryer vent hose works best, it is about 4" in diameter and cheap. You don't need the fancy metal ones, the basic white plastic ones work and you can spray paint them to match the surrounding area. The one big thing to remember is not to seal the hose to the machine. When Fog exits the machine it needs to mix with air otherwise it quickly becomes liquid again and will drip out of the hose. Leave at least a 1" air gap between the hose and machine. I have left up to a 4" gap and still managed to get the fog to all go through the tube.

Want low lying fog (like for a grave yard scene at Halloween?). It's pretty easy. Google "Fog Chiller" and you will find lots of projects on line. I will post an instructable when I get mine finished



    • Paper Contest 2018

      Paper Contest 2018
    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    The reservoir of my fog machine has mildew in it. How do I clean this?

    I don't know what's wrong with my fog machine cause when I press power I don't hear any humm sound and I've waited for like 20 mins and it didn't heat up. I don't know wether it's clogged or the thermo is broken or the pump. I'm really new to fog machines btw

    I bought a fog machine at Halloween Spirit store this past halloween. I used it quite frequently n everything is fine. However one at it just stopped working. It doesn't eat up which wand it won't work. I have plenty of Luis n the remote but it still doesn't work. Plez help because I really blot it n its great fur parties. Now it just its there lonely. Thank you, kat johnson

    About a month ago I picked up a 700+ watt Fog Machine from the local thrift store for 5 bucks without a remote. It even had a jug of fog juice. ifigured for 5 bcks can't beat that. Local department store had fog machines of the samemanufacturer(smaller ones), and they were half off so I picked one up for 15 bucks. So I used the remote on the big one and it works. Being a bit of an electronics guru I opened the remote, and it's so simple. Soon, I will be making an instructable on making your own remote. I have a different instructable I need to make first to make a piece of equipment needed to make the remote. Stay tuned and remember my name. I promise the equipment and a remote within 2 weeks.

    i have a cheap fogger that I bought from walmart and it has a remote. the machine works fine but ive dropped the remote twice and now the remote doesnt work. I cant seem to find a replacement remote anywhere. i took the remote apart and tested it with some of my test gear and it still doesnt work. any advice?

    Are you still planning the fogger instructable?

    One discovery I have made is that some foggers come with a metal screen filter on the end of the tank hose. Over time, this metal filter deteriorates and bits of metal get sucked into the pump killing it. Now, the first thing I do when I get a fogger is check for this metal screen filter. If it has one, I remove it and replace it with a paper fuel filter made for small engines (available at Home Depot and such).

    I have an American DJ F-500 fog machine. It is not working (again), and seems like it may/must be the pump this time (heat unit went bad last time, and was fixed under warranty). The machine is now considered old/obsolete, and parts are not available.

    Anyone have one of these machines, and/or know where to buy a (correct) pump for it? When this machine works, it seems to work better than MOST foggers I've seen (sounds like a jet engine when it goes off, and makes LOTS of fog!).

    I'm pretty sure stealing a pump from a smaller machine will not provide anywhere near enough juice to supply the machine properly...Any thoughts/help would be really appreciated.
    Thanks, Joe

    I know its a late response, sorry, just saw this post. is a great website for a lot of parts associated with American DJ equipment.

    Sadly, the part you need I couldn't find on that website, but on their sister page,, has the pump.

    If it uses the same pump as the F300A then this is what you need:

    Hope this helps!

    Ok what will it take to convert a smoke machine to a hazer? I have many smoke machines, some good quality and some cheap ones that I can fiddle with.