How To Clean Vicks Humidifier?

Vicks humidifiers are an excellent way to increase moisture levels in the air around you. First, however, you must clean the unit regularly. That keeps the unit working longer, but it also prevents the unit from causing you breathing problems.

You can clean a Vicks humidifier using undiluted white vinegar. First, take out any removable parts of the humidifier. Then, fill the base with vinegar until it covers the heating element (for warm mist models) or nebulizer (for cool moisture models). Soak for 20 minutes before draining and rinsing the unit. Your Vicks humidifier must be turned off and unplugged during cleaning.

You should clean your Vicks humidifier at least once a week, and this guide will show you how. You’ll learn the step-by-step process for doing so, and you’ll also discover what happens if your humidifier gets too dirty.

How Often Should You Clean Your Vicks Humidifier?

You should clean your Vicks humidifier once a day (for light cleaning) and once a week (for deep cleaning.

There are 2 reasons why it’s crucial to clean your Vicks humidifier regularly.

Firstly, regular cleaning will ensure that the unit functions correctly for as long as possible. For example, your daily and weekly cleaning efforts will prevent scaling caused by hard water.

Secondly, never forget that the humidifier affects your indoor air quality. Regular cleaning also prevents the breeding of contaminants like bacteria, mold, and fungi. As a result, you won’t have to experience nasty odors coming from the unit or experience respiratory problems caused by your humidifier.

Read: 5 Reasons Causing Dehumidifier Not Working Properly

How To Clean Vicks Humidifiers?

Cleaning your Vicks humidifier is very straightforward.

Firstly, your daily cleaning will consist of emptying and cleaning the humidifier’s water basin after you’ve finished using it. Then, you can wipe the basin dry or leave it to air dry instead.

That daily cleaning task will only take a few minutes, but it has a significant impact. Washing the water basin prevents any buildup of minerals or contaminants like mold and bacteria. So, you’ll maximize your humidifier’s lifespan and maintain your indoor air quality.

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However, you should also perform a weekly cleaning routine for your Vicks humidifier. The exact steps to do that will depend on whether you’re using a Vicks warm mist humidifier or Vicks cool moisture model instead.

Weekly Cleaning Of Vicks Warm Mist Humidifiers

The most crucial component in Vicks warm mist humidifiers is the heating element. You can clean it with some undiluted white vinegar by following these steps:

  1. Turn off: Firstly, always start by turning off your Vicks humidifier before cleaning it. You should also remove its plug from the wall socket for safety reasons.
  2. Take apart: Next, take the humidifier apart. That means you should remove the water tank, cooling chamber, and removable tray from the unit.
  3. Fill with vinegar: Then, fill the humidifier’s base with undiluted white vinegar. You should only use enough vinegar to submerge the unit’s heating element. Remember: never submerge the whole humidifier, as you’ll damage the parts that don’t require cleaning.
  4. Soak heating element: After that, let the heating element soak in the undiluted white vinegar for at least 20 minutes. The vinegar will remove any buildup of minerals and other contaminants during this time.
  5. Extend soaking: In some cases, you might find that 20 minutes is not enough to clean the mineral buildup. For example, if the mineral or contaminant buildup is very bad, you can leave it to soak for a few hours or overnight.
  6. Brush heating element: As the heating element soaks in white vinegar, you can use a soft bristle brush to scrub off any buildup on it. If nothing comes off at first, you should wait and try again later after the vinegar has loosened some of the contaminants built up around the heating element.
  7. Drain and rinse: When you’re convinced that the heating element is clean, drain the undiluted white vinegar and rinse it with water once or twice. Remember: you’re only cleaning the base and heating element, so there’s no need to wash or submerge the whole humidifier unit.

Once the cleaning process is done, you can leave the humidifier to air dry. Then, put the water tank, cooling chamber, and removable tray back in the unit before you use it again.

Weekly Cleaning Of Vicks Cool Moisture Humidifiers

Let’s suppose you have a Vicks cool moisture humidifier instead. The cleaning process is mostly the same as the one you saw above, though the unit will have a different main component to clean.

In this case, your focus is on cleaning the nebulizer as there’s no heating element. 

Perform these steps at least once a week:

  1. Turn off: Firstly, turn the Vicks humidifier off and unplug it from the wall socket. That should always be your first step when cleaning the humidifier as it prevents electrocution and other injuries.
  2. Remove parts: Then, take out any removable parts from your humidifier. That includes the water tank, removable tray, and anything else that requires cleaning.
  3. Soak nebulizer: Next, fill the base with enough undiluted white vinegar to soak the nebulizer for at least 20 minutes. Again, if the mineral or contaminant buildup is strong, you can leave it soaking for longer. Remember: you must never soak the whole humidifier, but only the nebulizer.
  4. Wipe with cotton swab: In this step, you’ll want to use a cotton swab (instead of a soft brush like with warm mist humidifiers). Take the cotton swab and use it to clean the nebulizer of any scaling (mineral buildup), mold, or other contaminants.
  5. Drain and rinse: Finally, drain the undiluted white vinegar and rinse the nebulizer with water once or twice. Then, leave the unit to air dry before putting it back together and using it again.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Out Your Humidifier?

It’s crucial that you clean your Vicks humidifier regularly. At a minimum, you should perform a weekly deep-clean (following the instructions above), though it’s better to clean it daily after each use.

Here’s what will happen if you don’t clean your humidifier:

  • Mineral buildup (Scaling): Without regular cleaning, your Vicks humidifier will suffer from ongoing scaling. That’s when the minerals from the water attach to internal components like the heating element.
  • Bad Performance: When scaling gets too bad, it’ll lead to poor performance in your humidifier. You’ll eventually find that the unit doesn’t work as well as it’s supposed to.
  • Bacteria and Mold Growth: Unfortunately, an unclean Vicks humidifier can also lead to some nasty contamination. The inside of your humidifier is dark with lots of moisture, making it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
  • Breathing Problems: Your dirty humidifier will release everything into the air you breathe, and not just the extra humidity. You’ll also inhale the bacteria and mold mentioned above, leading to respiratory problems.
  • Bad odors: Even if you’re not affected by breathing problems, your dirty Vicks humidifier will also release bad odors, making your indoor air unpleasant to breathe.

Thankfully, you can prevent all of the above by cleaning your Vicks humidifier regularly, with light cleaning done daily and deep cleaning done weekly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some additional questions and answers to help you manage your Vicks humidifier better:

Can I Run Vinegar Through My Vicks Humidifier?

Yes, you can use undiluted white vinegar to clean the heating element or nebulizer inside your Vicks humidifier. However, you should only do so when the humidifier is unplugged. You should not fill the humidifier with vinegar to use regularly.

Can You Leave A Vicks Humidifier On All Night?

Yes, you can leave a vicks humidifier on all night. However, you should only do so if you’re going to be at home. That way, you can turn the humidifier off when the air is humid enough, or if the unit stops functioning correctly.

How Often Should I Change The Filter In My Vicks Humidifier?

Some Vicks humidifiers have filters inside, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t. If it does have one, you should change it once every 30-60 days, depending on how much you use the unit. 

Why Is There No Mist Or Steam Coming From My Vicks Humidifier?

When you don’t see mist or steam coming from your Vicks humidifier, start by ensuring the unit is plugged in and turned on. Once you’re sure it’s receiving power, check that it has enough water in the tank and that the unit is perfectly level. Placing it on an uneven surface will prevent it from working correctly.

How Do You Get Mold Out Of A Vicks Humidifier?

You can remove mold by filling the base with undiluted white vinegar and wiping the mold away. Use a soft-bristled brush for cleaning a heating element or a cotton swab when cleaning a nebulizer.

Read: How To Clean Vicks Humidifier? Protection Status