How to clean and fix a humidifier

Cleaning and fixing portables. Older room humidifiers have a belt or a padded drum to pick up water; a fan vaporizes the water. Ultrasonic humidifiers contain a device called a nebulizer, which vibrates at high speed to turn water into fine mist.

Clean the humidifier reservoir daily to curtail bacteria growth. Use a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine per pint of water; rinse with plain water.

Minerals in tap water may build up on the belt or rollers of old-style humidifiers, jamming the machine. Lift out the belt and its rollers, or if your humidifier has a padded drum, lift out the drum and remove the pad from it. Scrub the parts with detergent and hot water. If this doesn’t suffice, scrub with a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar added to 1 quart hot water.

In an ultrasonic, depending on your water’s hardness, clean mineral deposits from the nebulizer daily to weekly. Wipe it with white vinegar and a soft brush or cloth, being careful not to scratch it; rinse afterward.

If an old-style humidifier is clean but doesn’t run or humidify, a drive belt maybe undone or broken. Adjust or replace the belt as required. If an ultrasonic isn’t generating air, try cleaning the air filter with cool water. Let it dry completely in a cool place before reinstalling it.