Cleaning your humidifiers and air purifiers to help ease dry winter air

To keep your humidifier fresh, always follow the manufacturer instructions, which typically include daily and weekly maintenance.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Dry and dirty indoor air is an issue every winter, but you might be even more concerned due to COVID. Consumer Reports says adding humidifiers and air purifiers can help, but they require some care.

Winter air can be especially dry and unfriendly.

"A humidifier can help keep the air inside of your home at a comfortable level. However, a humidifier that isn't cleaned properly can produce mold spores," said Tanya Christian, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

To keep your humidifier fresh, always follow the manufacturer's instructions, which typically include daily and weekly maintenance.

Here are some general guidelines from CR: Every day, rinse, then towel dry the tank and fill it with clean water.

Every week, give your humidifier a deep cleaning with vinegar. Remove the tank and add one cup of vinegar to the well in the base. Use a cleaning tool or toothbrush to get into the crevices and scrub off any built up scale. Then, rinse well.

To clean the tank, fill it with one cup of vinegar and one cup of water and let it soak for about 20 minutes giving it a few good swooshes along the way. Then, rinse well and towel dry and be sure to replace the filter or wick according to your owner's manual.

If your current humidifier is tough to clean, maybe it's time for a change.

CR recommends a Honeywell, which has no wick, cartridge or filter that needs to be replaced.

"In addition to humidifiers, people also use air purifiers to reduce allergens and indoor air pollutants so it's a good idea to keep these well maintained," said Tanya.

Replace the filters regularly.

If you have an air purifier with a permanent filter, vacuum it gently with the brush attachment about once a month. Some permanent filters can also be washed, but check your manual first.

The recommended Honeywell is very easy to use and is hundreds of dollars less than many of the other air purifiers that CR recommends.

For more information:
Honeywell HUL430 / $76
Honeywell InSight HPA5300B / $290
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