Humidifiers are wonderful in the winter.... but they get quite disgusting pretty quick if you don't clean them. I didn't realize this when I ran mine all the time last winter. I now have some very yummy mineral deposits all over the heating plate and the bottom of the humidifier.
And I really need to use it considering it's 20 degrees outside and my heat is running all the time. And I keep shocking the cats when I pick them up and I think they're angry with me. And I have crazy electric hair...
Let the cleaning begin!
Disclaimer - I have a warm mist humidifier without a filter, so yours might be different. This is only a basic cleaning guide for those of us that never keep our instruction manuals. :D
Step 1: There are two things you'll want to watch for.
1 - The Water Tank
This can end up an awful mess if you're not careful. You should be emptying and rinsing this everyday. You can also clean this when the humidifier is off by removing the tank and adding 1 teaspoon of bleach to it when it's full of water. This will kill bacteria as well as keep mold from growing. Yuck!
2 - Mineral Deposits on the Heating Element or Water Resovoir
You can prevent this by using distilled water, but I find that wasteful (so many bottles!) and expensive.
Instead, you can help keep these areas clean using just a toothbrush and white vinegar. This will keep the humidifier in better shape and help reduce the risk of malfunction. :)