Humidifier White Dust: Why It Happens and How to Remove White Dust?

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There’s no denying that humidifiers are a great addition to any home to maintain the humidity and moisture level and improve the air interior air quality. It helps you get rid of drier air, skin irritation, sinusitis, and enjoy better living.

However, humidifiers also come with a few setbacks. One of them is the humidifier white dust that you might often see on furniture and wall around the humidifying device. Truly, when you see white dust or mist coming out from the humidifier, it can be shocking.

So, you would want to know the reasons for white dust releasing from the humidifier and how to prevent and remove it to maintain your wall, surface, and furniture appropriately in good shape.

The main culprit of white dust and mist coming from the humidifier is the water you use for the device. If the tap water you use to fill the humidifier tank contains more minerals, the device will release the white dust. It’s nothing except the mineral particles. It is a common problem in many humidifiers, especially if you live in a hard water zone.

You may prevent the white dust build-up by filling the dehumidifier tank with distilled water or by refilling the water daily. And to remove the white dust build-up, you should clean the tank regularly.

We will take this discussion deep down to understand the reasons for white dust in your dehumidifier and find the best ways to remove and prevent the annoying presence of the dusty particles with ease. So, don’t go away.

What Is Humidifier White Dust and Why It Happens?

We often use a humidifier to get rid of drier air and stop skin irritation and sinus problems during winter days. Unfortunately, these benefits come with a few minor drawbacks. Among these drawbacks of the humidifier, the white dusty particles they leave on the surrounding surfaces are leading reasons.

Humidifier White Dust

So, what are these dusty particles?

It is associated with the water you will use to refill the humidifier tank. When the humidifier gives back the humidified air in the environment, the mist contains different particles. The air gets these particles from the refilled water that the humidifier uses to increase the air’s humidity level. Once the air cools down, these mists and vapors start setting down on the surrounding surfaces. As a result, the particles in the humidified air also settle down on the surfaces and form white dust.

But, from where does the white dust come?

The secret lies in the water you use to fill the tank. Yes, the water is the main culprit in leaving white dust on the wall, floor, and furniture around the humidifier. It happens mostly in the hard water zones. Sadly, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 85% of America contains hard water. The level varies from one reason to another, though.

Hard water often contains chalk, limestone, calcium carbonate, dolomite, and even a minimal amount of magnesium. When you use the tap water containing hard water, these elements also get inside the humidifier’s tank. After that, it gets mixed with the air and slowly settles on the surfaces around the humidifying device. So, you will see the white dust.

Apart from the dusty white particles, pink mold is another common problem in humidifiers. Pink mold in the humidifier is also often caused by mineral build-ups and not cleaning the device for a long period. You can, however, get rid of the pink mold by cleaning the device with bleach and water mixture.

Tips on How to Prevent Humidifier White Dust

White dust is an annoying problem in humidifiers. Although it won’t hurt your health, it is seriously harmful to the health of your indoor wall, floor, and, more importantly, furniture. When your interior space has white dust particles, it quickly ruins the look. So, your impression is lost when someone sees these p-particles all over the room.

Tips on How to Prevent Humidifier White Dust

So, naturally, you would look for ways to prevent the white dust. Thankfully, you can do it with a few easy and quick steps.

Solution 1: Remove the Tank Water Regularly

When you don’t remove the water from the humidifier tank regularly, the hard water and its elements get a great chance to settle inside the tank. Thus, it will increase the chance of leaving white dust in the humidifier and the environment.

Ideally, you must not keep the water inside the tank reservoir for more than 24 hours. When you keep the water for more than one day in the reservoir, it will sit happily, and slowly the lime, chalk, and dolomite will get mixed with the humidified air. Consequently, you will see more white dust particles in the surrounding.

That’s why it is critical to empty the humidifier tank daily before it gets 24 hours old. So, how do you empty the tank reservoir of the humidifier?

  1. Please turn off your humidifier and disconnect it from the electrical outlet to avoid inconvenience. If it is a battery-operated humidifier, you can switch off the device.
  2. Now, go to the bottom and back part of the humidifier to find the device’s tank. Lift it only slightly to access the cap at its bottom.
  3. The cap will be connected using a screw. Use a Philip or flathead screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw to remove the cap from the tank’s bottom.
  4. Now, carefully remove the humidifier reservoir and empty it in the nearby sink. Or else, you can keep a bucket close by and empty the tank in it. It will relieve you from carrying the tank to the sink.
  5. Finally, refill the tank and assemble it properly. Then, turn on the humidifier. You need to repeat the tank emptying process daily before the water gets older than 24 hours in the reservoir.

Many humidifiers come with dual tanks. The secondary tank acts as an emptying ground for the primary tank. You need to empty both tanks if you have these models at home. You may even use the emptied water to water your indoor and outdoor plants. It is safe, and in fact, the dolomite and lime of hard water are good for the plant’s health.

Solution 2: Use Distilled Water

Emptying and refilling the tank water of your humidifier daily can be an annoying, time-consuming, and frustrating task. So, many people won’t find it pretty inconvenient. Thus, there’s an alternative solution to this problem.

Yes, you can use distilled water to refill the humidifier tank. It will relieve you from the hassles of refilling and emptying the tank daily.

Distilled water is made by filtering the water to remove the hard particles and contaminants. So, you will get lime and dolomite-free water, and it won’t leave any white dust mark either. What’s more, you can buy distilled water from any grocery or supermarket. You won’t need to empty the tank daily with the distilled water. So, it is a great solution to humidifier leaving white dust.

Solution 3: Change the Filters of Cool-Mist Humidifiers Timely

If you have a cool-mist humidifier at home, it will come with one or multiple filters. Although most manufacturers will recommend you use the filters for 6 months to 1 year, it’s not the same in hard water zones. The filters of the cool-mist humidifier get dirty and unusable within 2 to 3 months. So, you need to remove, clean, and replace the filters once every 2 to 3 months to prevent the build-up of the white dust in a humidifier.

You should follow the user manual to locate and access the filter in your cool-mist humidifier. Usually, the filter is located at the base within a cylindrical chamber of the humidifier. Once you access the filter, you can remove and replace it.

However, there’re a few high-end cool-mist humidifiers that can still work with hard water for several months without any filters even. For instance, The Pure Enrichment® MistAire™ Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier works with ultrasonic rays for filtering the air. So, you don’t need to replace its filter to stop white dust development. Also, it delivers outstanding performance with 360—degree mist supply and 25 hours of continuous operation in a medium room.

Solution 4: Use a Demineralization Cartridge

Suppose you don’t want the hassle of emptying the tank daily or changing the filters almost once every two months. In that case, you can use a demineralization cartridge to eliminate white dust particles from the humidifier and its surrounding.

You can get the demineralization cartridge in pharmacies or supermarkets with ease. Once you have the cartridge, follow these steps:

  1. Take a small bowl. Pour in 240 ml (8oz) of clean water in the bowl.
  2. Drop the cartridge on the water. Allow it to soak at least 10 minutes.
  3. Now, pour in the water inside the humidifier’s tank. The demineralizing elements of the cartridge will stop the lime, dolomite, and chalk build-up inside the tank water.

Therefore, you will get rid of dust particles from humidifiers pretty easily. Also, use it with distilled water for the best results.

How to Remove White Dust from Humidifier

The above section has mentioned the possible ways to prevent white dust development in your humidifier. But what if your humidifier has already caught the annoying particles?

How to Remove White Dust from Humidifier

Fret not since you can quickly wash your humidifier to remove the white dust particles from it and help it function appropriately. The cleaning process of the humidifier follows as follows:

  1. It would help if you began by turning off your humidifier. Also, ensure that you have unplugged it from the electrical outlet to avoid any electrical hazards. If you use a stream or warm mist device, allow it to cool off before cleaning it.
  2. Remove the tank of the humidifier following the user manual. Now, scrub its interior with water and liquid dish soap. You can use an old brush for the scrubbing process. Also, empty the tank properly. Ensure that you rinse off the tank properly to eliminate any presence of bleach and disinfectants. Or else, it might get mixed with the humidified air and cause health issues.
  3. If your humidifier has any filter, also remove it. Then, clean it off in the sink with clean water. After rinsing off the filter, shake it slightly to remove the water. Finally, dry it in the open air under sunlight to help it regain its filtering capacity. It works particularly well for the HEPA and carbon-activated filters.

You can see the following YouTube tutorial to learn more about the humidifier cleaning process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is White Dust from Humidifiers Harmful?

No, white dust from the humidifier isn’t harmful. It won’t hurt your health. But, it doesn’t look reassuring on your home interior wall, floor, and furniture.

Do Humidifiers Cause More Dust?

Yes, if you run your humidifier at a higher setting, it will cause more dust. It is suggested that you keep the humidity level at 40% to 50% to avoid additional dust.

Is It Ok to Use Tap Water in My Humidifier?

Although tap water won’t hurt your humidifier performance, once it gets mixed with the air, it will leave white dust. So, you are better off using distilled water instead of tap water.

Can Pink Mold in A Humidifier Make You Sick?

If you are exposed to pink mold for too long, it can cause breathing and respiratory problems. So, you must be aware of it.

Final Words

Humidifier white dust is a highly disturbing and annoying incident at the home interior. Therefore, you must take steps to prevent white dust from coming from the humidifier. For this, empty the tank daily and also use distilled water. Finally, use high-quality humidifiers and wash them regularly to remove any clouds of white dust. It will make your interior look cleaner, sharper and better. Also, when the humidifier doesn’t leave any white dust, it will improve its performance and longevity.

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