How To Clean Vicks Humidifier - Tips & Tricks by Jim

How To Clean Vicks Humidifier

I love my humidifier. It keeps the right amount of moisture in the air, stopping my skin from getting too dry. While my humidifier takes care of me, I wanted to make sure that I was taking care of it. But this posed a big question. What’s the right way to clean a Vick’s humidifier?


Why Is Cleaning A Humidifier Important?

Before we take a closer look at how you can clean your Vicks humidifier, let’s take a closer look at why it’s important to do this regularly. One of the most important reasons is to make sure that you don’t accidentally get sick. Humidifiers create a moist environment, which is perfect for mold. The humidifier can then spread this through your house. Thankfully, frequent cleaning will allow you to get rid of any mold, so there’s little chance that you’ll get an illness.

Another important reason to keep your humidifier clean is to stop mineral build-up. This can build up on heating elements and mist chimneys, which can make it harder for the humidifier to work. Again, with regular cleaning, this won’t be a serious problem.

Cleaning A Warm Mist Humidifier

Let’s start by talking about how to clean a warm mist humidifier. These work by releasing steam. Because they are hotter, they will be more hygienic and have a lower chance of spreading disease around the house. However, it’s still important to keep these models clean.

Thankfully, this is fairly easy. Before you do any cleaning check that the device has been unplugged. If you were recently using it, give it some time to cool down. Fill up the base of the reservoir with about two cups of straight white vinegar. In most cases, you’ll want to leave it to soak for around 20 to 30 minutes. Then, remove the mist chimney by pushing the blue tab. You’ll then need to remove the heating element; this is the blue plug at the base of the mist chimney.

In most cases, soaking the metal element will remove the debris build-up. In this case, you’ll be able to rinse out the reservoir tray and start using the humidifier again. However, if there is still some build-up on the element, you’ll need to do a more thorough clean. In this case, you might want to try scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. I found that something like a cotton bud is a good choice. If the debris still isn’t coming off, leave the vinegar in the reservoir and leave it to soak overnight. Alternatively, you might want to use a diluted bleach solution. By the morning, you should be able to scrub away all the build-up. If you still have some questions, this excellent video does a good job of explaining the process.

Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier VWM845 - How to Clean

Cleaning A Cool Mist Humidifier

In other cases, you might have a cool-mist humidifier. These models don’t produce steam and don’t have any heating elements at all. Though this means that you’ll need to clean them more frequently, it also makes it safer to use around pets and children. The cleaning process for these humidifiers is very similar to the warm mist models.

In this case, you’ll need to fill up the tray with some vinegar. You won’t need much, just enough to cover the nebulizer. This is the part of the device that creates the mist. Leave it to soak for around 20 minutes. Then scrub it with a soft-bristled brush. This should remove all the build-up. However, if there is still some tougher build-up, leave it to soak in vinegar for longer. Finally, rinse out the tray thoroughly. Keep rinsing until the smell of vinegar has been washed away completely. This video does a great job of summarizing the cleaning process.

Vicks Filter-Free Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier V4600 - How to Clean

What Are Some Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Humidifier?

Know that we have a better idea of how to clean the humidifier, let’s look at some of the biggest mistakes that you might want to avoid. First, you want to make sure that the humidifier is unplugged and that you don’t run the vinegar through the machine. This will often produce an unpleasant smell.

Also, it’s important to wait until the machine is cold before you start cleaning it out. If you had recently been running it, you’ll need to leave a few minutes for it to cool down. This will ensure that the cleaning process is as efficient as possible. It will also stop you from burning your fingers when it comes time to remove the heating element.

How Do I Know It’s Time To Clean A Humidifier?

As we mentioned earlier, you must be regularly cleaning your humidifier. This will make sure that no bacteria can gather on the machine and will help check that everything is still working properly. But how do you know when it’s time to clean the machine?

One of the biggest warning signs is that you’ll notice mold or other gunk in the tray when filling it up with water. Once you spot mold inside the chimney or water, you need to stop using the device immediately, to make sure that you don’t get sick.

In most cases, it won’t get this far. You’ll want to clean the machine out once every few days. However, if you use it every day, you might want to clean it out more frequently. It’s important to remember to change out the water each day. Also, you never want to leave water sitting in the bowl. This invites bacterial growth. If you’re planning on storing it for a long time, make sure that it’s dry before you put it away.


My Vicks humidifier has been doing a great job, stopping my skin from drying out and helping me recover from colds during the winter months. However, it’s important to take care of these devices. This will help ensure that they keep working for a long time. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of some of the ways that I keep my humidifier clean.


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