You're Probably Not Cleaning Your Baby's Humidifier Enough

It might sound like overkill, but every winter I buy a new humidifier for my kids. It's usually because I'm unsure about how often to clean the one they had, or I usually forget to clean it before storing it, and I end up freaking myself out about the scary germs, mold, or bacteria that might be growing inside. If you have been using a humidifier and are as clueless about it as I am, you might wonder, "how often should I clean my baby’s humidifier?" As it turns out, more often than you, or I, might think.

According to Allergy and Air, you should deep clean your baby’s humidifier at least once a week, and rinse and refill the water basin every time you use it, preferably with distilled water, because tap water can contain minerals that make it easier for bacteria to grow. You should also clean and dry the humidifier before storing (I’m taking notes), so that mold doesn’t grow on any leftover moist surfaces.

How do you clean it anyway? Descale your humidifier with vinegar and disinfect it with bleach often, explained Consumer Reports, and make sure to rinse the parts well after bleaching so your baby isn’t inhaling any harmful chemicals. Even though bleach sounds like a harsh cleaning method, Dr. Jessica Krant told CNN that bleach is the best option to kill any mold or mildew growing inside the humidifier that can cause allergic reactions like itchy eyes or a skin rash.

What happens when you don’t clean a humidifier often enough? (I’m already freaking out a little.) According to the March of Dimes, when not cleaned often, humidifiers present mold an ideal environment to grow, and this mold can come in contact with your baby’s skin causing irritation, allergic reactions, or a rash, and can cause headaches, asthma, a sore throat, coughing, or wheezing when breathed in by your baby.

So if you do run a humidifier in your baby’s room, make sure to change the water with each use, and clean it at least once a week. Properly and efficiently cleaning and storing your humidifier will ensure your baby’s health and safety, and keep you (and me) from having to buy a new humidifier every year.