Humidifier smells bad? Why & odor elimination techniques

Humidifiers are heaven-sent, especially if you live in a high altitude area. The dry air found in such places can be very uncomfortable. This is also true during winter. On the other hand, humidifiers also help a great deal in combating allergies, asthma, or the annoying smell left by your pets.

However, owning a humidifier is not as rosy as you’d imagine. They can develop an odor if not well maintained. If your humidifier smells like mildew and you’re wondering what to do or what caused it, you’ll find all the answers you need in this article.

Why your humidifier smells bad

Different reasons can cause different odors in humidifiers. You might need to find out the causative agent for yours to prevent it from recurring. Here are a few of the probable reasons that can make a humidifier to stink:

1. Water mineral deposits

The water you use in a humidifier should either be distilled or treated. Hard water leaves behind a mineral residue, which in turn smells like urine due to the chlorine, lead, and Sulphur builds up.

2. Bacterial growth

The water reservoir in a humidifier is mostly neglected after cleaning. Most people assume since the water is clean, then everything is fine.

This is sadly not the case as with time, dust and water residue accumulate, leading to a foul smell filling your whole house.

According to health experts, that smell may cause bacterial infections to anyone present in the room hence should not be taken lightly.

3. Mold and fungus.

If water stays stagnant for the whole period it’s in the humidifier, it can easily be a breeding ground for fungus and molds.

The fungi and mold will eventually infiltrate water vapor which can lead to lung infections or asthmatic attacks when breathed in, especially in infants and the elderly.

How to get rid of the smell from a humidifier

Since the inevitable has happened and your humidifier smells bad, the next step is dealing with it and hoping it doesn’t happen again. I have outlined the most common remedies below. All of them are natural as the addition of chemicals can cause you more harm than good.

1. Use demineralized water

Empty the water in your humidifier and make sure everything is clean. You should then purchase some demineralized or distilled water and replace it. This will prevent mineral deposits from accumulating hence spreading foul urine smells ever again.

If you don’t want to spend money on distilled water every time, you can opt for a water distiller. The benefit of owning a distiller is that you can get distilled water anytime you want and for any purpose.

But that’s not the only option. You can also use an ultrasonic demineralization cartridge to prevent mineral build-up. This method is cost-effective and works instantly. While it isn’t as effective as a water distiller, it still gets the job done at a fraction of the cost.

2. Change the water frequently

Since stagnant water leads to the buildup of mold and fungus, ensure you change the water in a humidifier every three days. You should also wash the humidifier filter during every change as it can promote fungi growth without you knowing it.

3. Deodorize the humidifier

Discard the water in the humidifier then. Refill it to the brim like you usually would. Pour in a cupful of white vinegar or lemon juice then run it as usual.

Keep it on for about two hours, then pour out the water and wipe the surface with a clean rug to remove the residue.

4. Consider bacteriostatic treatment

Bacteriostatic treatment prevents odor-causing bacteria and algae from growing in your humidifier. It entails mixing a powerful formula with water in a humidifier water tank in a specified ratio. The mixture keeps water smelling fresh and clean even if it stays in the tank overnight.

Bacteriostatic treatment is inexpensive, safe, and easy to use. The best part is that it improves the lifespan of your humidifier and reduces the need for maintenance since you don’t have to wash it every other time.

If you choose this method, I recommend using either BestAir 246-PDQ-6 Golden Solutions or Essick Air 1970 bacteriostatic treatment for the best results.

Keep your humidifier smelling fresh

Humidifiers are only as good as you maintain them. Improper maintenance leads to health complications and pungent smells. Follow the above pointers if your humidifier smells bad and you’ll be able to eliminate the terrible odor leaving it smelling fresh.

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