American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology says mold spores are dangerous for people with mold allergies. People buy humidifiers to maintain the proper humidity of their homes. A 30 to 50% humidity is ideal for households to prevent night nose bleeding, skin dryness, respiratory problem, etc.
However, uncleaned humidifiers could be harmful instead of conveying a healthy environment in the room. Molds grow faster in warm and moist environments. As the humidifier has a closed dish with heat and water, the molds get suitable ambient temperatures for growing faster.
But, you should learn how to prevent mold in humidifiers, Right? Regular cleaning and using additives can prevent mold growth in the humidifiers. Along with these two techniques, there has several steps that you can take to retard the multiplication of molds inside the humidifiers. And, in this article, you will get all of the information that you need to know.
- What Are Humidifiers And Mold?
- How And Why Mold Grows In Humidifiers?
- How Do You Know Mold Has Grown In Your Humidifier?
- How To Prevent Mold In Humidifiers?
- What To Put In Humidifiers To Prevent Mold?
- Can A Humidifier Cause Mold In A Room?
- How To Clean Humidifiers
- How To Use Humidifiers
What Are Humidifiers And Mold?
Humidifiers are devices that increase the environment’s humidity level by releasing water vapor or mist.
Mold is a fungus that grows in a warm, wet, damp, and humid environment. It is both unicellular and multicellular. A multicellular mold is called hyphae, and a unicellular mold is called yeasts.
Moisture and temperature are the main factors for growing molds in your house and humidifier. It would be better to discuss how and why they grow in humidifiers. Right? Let’s go –
How And Why Mold Grows In Humidifiers?
The cause of mold growing in humidifiers is a lack of maintenance. First of all, ask yourself, have you cleaned your humidifier daily? Then ask yourself what type of water you are using right now for your humidifier. Finally, observe your surrounding’s environment. Is its temperature fluctuating?
If you use regular tap water, then you will find mold colonies inside your humidifier because tap water contains thousands of millions of fungal spores, bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms.
When fungal spores get convenient temperatures, they start transferring to their vegetative forms. Inside the humidifiers, a damp, warm, and moist environment remain all around the time, which is an ideal environment for mold growth.
Mold will appear inside your humidifiers if you even use filtered water but do not clean it regularly. The mold may be either black or pink or whatsoever in colors.
If the outside temperature fluctuates rapidly, there has a high chance of growing mold inside the house and humidifier. Don’t worry; you will get a well-written heck on how to prevent mold in humidifiers.
If you are not interested in learning the developmental stages of mold, you can skip the next para. Go direct to the next question, how do you asexually. In unfavorable conditions, they remain as spores.
When they get a humid environment, spores go through maturation, dormancy, activation, and germination stages. After germination, they develop into hyphae. Eventually, the collection of hyphae becomes mycelium.
How Do You Know Mold Has Grown In Your Humidifier?
To know whether your humidifier is clean or mold has grown inside it, you should first check out the water chamber. Then you should check the area from where water is released. You should also have a keen eye on any leaks of the humidifier.
After looking thoroughly, you may have noticed black, pink, or green colonies of molds. However, you can also find white, orange colony colors. This is the first indication that mold has grown inside your humidifier.
Another method you can follow for identifying the mold growing inside your humidifier. Smells the air while the humidifier is running. If you get a musty air smell, you should take proper measures to prevent mold in your humidifier. But what are the steps? Let’s move forth –
How To Prevent Mold In Humidifiers?
I have already mentioned above the causes of mold growing inside the humidifiers. If you can solve these cases, mold will not grow ultimately. Likewise, all manufacturing companies worldwide recommend that users clean their humidifiers weekly. You can prevent black and pink mold in humidifiers by following the steps below. Let’s deep dive into all steps –
Remove water daily
We had to deposit water in a humidifier, which converts into a water vapor or steam. But unwisely, we do not remove extra unused water from our humidifier. Right? This water is one of the sources of mold. So you should remove the remaining water regularly to prevent mold growth.
Clean humidifiers regularly
You should clean your humidifiers weekly. Even manufacturers are saying you should at least clean it once a month to prevent excessive growth of mold and other micro-organisms. Clean the humidifiers carefully, especially the bottom. You can use boil water to clean humidifiers, especially cool-mist humidifiers. We will talk about how to clean humidifiers at the end of this article.
Rinse with anti-fungal component
After cleaning, you have to rinse your humidifiers with vinegar (an antifungal agent). Cleaning and rinsing wipe away all of the deposits of mold colonies in a humidifier.
Exposure to dry air
Dry air or direct sunlight can kill the microbes, so you should air dry all of the components of your humidifier. Be careful while you are disassembling humidifiers. After air dry, reassemble all parts again carefully. Dry air or sunlight dry the water drops. Or, you can put some soda inside the humidifier. It will absorb the residual water.
Use distilled water
Can I use tap water for my humidifier? I would like to say a big no because tap water contains many fungal and bacterial spores. When these spores get a favorable environment in the humidifier, they will rapidly form germ and vegetative forms. So, you should use distilled water rather than using regular tap water.
Store in a proper dry environment
Do not store your humidifier in a damp place. You may be wondering, hey, I am using a humidifier to add moisture to the air; why should I store it in a dry area?
Well, you are not going to use the humidifier 24 hours. After reaching your desired humidity level, you have to stop it. So, keep it in a dry environment to prevent mold in the humidifier.
Change the filter periodically
The filter might inhabit micro-organisms if it serves years after years. You have to change your humidifier filter every month. There are a lot of filterless humidifiers, and you can check them out if you do not like to change filters monthly.
Follow the manual
Every household product comes with a manufacturing manual. In this manual, you will get how to use, clean, disassemble and reassemble, prevent mold, bacteria, viruses, etc., from it. That means every manual has the maintenance details, and I think everybody should check it out to get better service from his humidifier.
Check your water supply pipeline
This is mandatory because you have followed all maintenance measures, but the water supply line contains mold colonies. Then obviously, mold comes to the humidifier with water. So, you should check your water supply line like – any leakage or damage on it.
Now, you have to know what you should put in humidifiers to prevent mold. Go –
What To Put In Humidifiers To Prevent Mold?
You have to put the following items to prevent mold from your humidifier and make your breathing easier as well.
- TeaTree Oil: Around 5 to 6 drops of TeaTree Oil is enough for preventing mold, bacteria, and viruses as well from your humidifier. It prevents mold from humidifiers and acts as a breathing aid for people with asthma and other respiratory problems.
It is an extract of the Melaleuca plant that has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. However, you should not use it for personal medication without consultation from a doctor.
- White vinegar: Add one cup of white vinegar to the humidifier’s water reservoir
and see the result. It prevents mold growth in humidifiers and elsewhere because it also has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Hydrogen peroxide: It is a fungicidal and bactericidal chemical compound. Half of a teaspoon is enough to prevent mold from your humidifier. Besides, it is inexpensive.
- Humidifier tablet: It is available both online and offline. You must use a humidifier tablet correlating with the water amount to prevent mold growth and lime buildup inside the humidifier.
Again, your question might be what to put in the humidifiers to prevent mold? You can any of the following – TeaTree Oil, Hydrogen peroxide, white tablet, humidifier tablet. For a lower budget, I suggest you use white vinegar.
Can A Humidifier Cause Mold In A Room?
Yes, a humidifier can cause mold in the room when it adds too much moisture to the air than usual. A damp and moist environment is the inhabitant of mold, whatever your house or humidifier itself. So, you should maintain a 30 to 50% humidity level in your home. You can buy an automatic humidifier that automatically stops after reaching desired humidity level.
The Danger Of Having Mold In Humidifiers
The danger of having mold in humidifiers is not measurable. A moldy humidifier releases vapor with mold (as mold has a low molecular weight, it will float on the air for a long time); you will intake this vapor. So, you will be affected by mold.
The primary symptom of mold infection through inhalation is – nasal discomfort. You will also feel – sneezing, wheezing, coughing, irritation, skin irritation, etc. People with asthma and other lungs problems will suffer it severely.
Last but not least, prolonged respiratory infection with mold spore cause neurological pathology.
Mold can destroy your furniture, carpet, etc., apart from diseases because mold starts growing on that surface in favorable weather.
Cautions While Preventing Mold Of Humidifiers
Preventing humidifier mold means cleaning, rinsing, wiping, and other processes I have mentioned above. You should be careful not to get any water in the motor during cleaning. Do not use the same filter, cassettes again.
Suggested Germicides For Killing Mold
I would suggest two germicides for removing mold in humidifiers –
- The Honeywell HCM-350 germ-free cool mist humidifier.
- Dyson AM10 Hygienic mist humidifier.
These kill the fungus and bacteria in a humidifier.
Humidifier maintenance means cleaning it regularly or weekly, even at least once a month. Observe any leakage or cracks on the plastic parts. Placing it in a dry environment. While cleaning, be careful not to get any water into the motor. Changing filter once a month. Use of additives in the humidifiers.
How To Clean Humidifiers
I repeated saying in this article about cleaning. As I have promised above to tell on how to clean a humidifier, let’s go deep dive into it –
- Remove the tank from the base and add 1 cup of vinegar to the well of the base.
- Scale in the well should be scrubbed off with a brush. Then rinse the well to remove the vinegar. Finally, dry with a towel or tissue paper.
- Mix 1 cup of vinegar and water into the water tank. Then shake it to reach the solution elsewhere. Finally, pour out the solution and dry with a new towel or air dry it.
How To Use Humidifiers
To use a humidifier safely, you should know the risk and precautions of a humidifier first. Well, here is the brief of how to use humidifiers safely –
- You should maintain the proper humidity of a room. Do not add more than 50% moisture to the room’s air. A 30 to 50% humidity is enough for both winter and summer. You can use a hygrometer to determine the humidity level of the room. It depends whether you should run it all night or not.
- Fill the water reservoir with the manufacturer’s recommended water amount.
- Do not use tap water; use distilled water instead. This will help you get mold spore-free vapor.
- Clean your humidifier regularly, if possible, or weekly. If you do not do that, at least clean it monthly.
- Do not place it near your baby because of risk. You should keep it 3 meters away from you while you are sleeping.
- Keep your interior doors open to avoid over humidity.
- You should replace the filter once a month.
When you feel a little bit of irritation on the skin, respiratory distress, or a musty odor while running the humidifier, you should take action to prevent mold in the humidifier. I have already revealed all secret hacks to avoid black, pink, white, orange mold in the humidifier. Just follow them.
Have relaxed breathing and sound sleep at night.