How To Clean An Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re looking to make your home a little more clean, sanitary, and comfortable for your sinuses, you’re probably looking into an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers provide a wealth of benefits to your home. They’re easy to use and easy to maintain, as long as you understand the way the unit works. With proper maintenance and care, your cool mist dehumidifier can make your space comfortable for many years to come.

What Is An Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier?

An ultrasonic humidifier is a device that you place in a room to introduce moisture into the air. It processes water into a fine mist that completely fills the space, and this mist comes with some incredible benefits. People with issues like dry sinuses or seasonal allergies often resort to nasal spray to ease their discomfort. Since an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier introduces sufficient moisture to the air, simply being around one can reduce the discomfort associated with dry sinuses. All you have to do is breathe. 

Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers also work to combat dry skin and hair. If you often get cracked elbows or heels, experience ashy skin, or have very dry hair that requires leave-in products to treat, try putting an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier in your bedroom. 

Your skin and hair will constantly be exposed to the gentle flow of moisture in the air, making it easier to keep your skin and hair moist throughout the day. The effect won’t be as noticeable as something like a deep moisture treatment, but it will definitely offset the environmental factors that contribute to dry textures. 

There is some anecdotal evidence that airborne germs prefer drier climates to multiply. Your cool mist humidifier will keep the air just a little too damp for airborne germs to easily travel. Higher humidity levels reduce the amount of time that germs can spend outside of the body before dying, expediting their natural death without the use of any chemicals. When you use a cool mist humidifier, the air around you is working to the benefit of your health. 

When you’re already sick, dry air is uncomfortable to breathe. Think about the way dry sinuses and sore throats feel when you don’t drink any water. Every dry breath you take is causing just a little bit of irritation, and as the days go by, you may feel worse instead of better. Adding some humidity to the air makes it a little more comfortable to breathe. It may not cure your cold or flu, but it will certainly keep you comfortable while medicine and bedrest help your body recover.

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What Is The Difference Between A Cool Mist Humidifier And A Warm Mist Humidifier?

If you’re trying to decide between a cool mist humidifier and a warm mist humidifier, the cool mist is likely the best humidifier for you. They both do the exact same thing. The only difference is that a warm mist humidifier is less safe and harder to clean.  

Warm mist humidifiers create steam by boiling water, the same way a pot on your stove creates steam. If you want to use your warm mist humidifier around pets or children, there’s a constant worry that the humidifier can be knocked over or spilled, pouring boiling water all over children and animals. This is a risk you don’t have with cool mist humidifiers that introduce vapor to the air through gentler methods. 

Since warm mist humidifiers introduce hot steam into a room, they also raise the temperature. The last thing in the world you want to do in the summer is kick up your temperature a few degrees in the place you’re trying to relax. 

Warm mist humidifiers also create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria growth and mold. They can begin to breed toxins, rather than mitigating their spread. This buildup is the exact opposite of the purpose of a humidifier. A warm mist humidifier will require constant maintenance to be kept clean and free of germs. Not only is this a hassle, but it’s a completely unnecessary hassle. Using a cool mist humidifier instead will provide you with all the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers work by using small, harmless sonic vibrations to break water up into very tiny particles and release them into the air. There’s no heating, and they won’t raise the temperature of the room. In some cases, they may make a room feel cooler. 

Some of the biggest benefits are the dangers mitigated by using a cool mist humidifier instead of a warm mist humidifier. If you bump into a cool mist humidifier or knock it over, there’s no risk of anyone being scalded by boiling hot water. The worst that can happen is that you break the device by sending it tumbling to the floor.

Since cool mist humidifiers don’t provide an environment that’s friendly to germs, they’re also easier to clean. If you keep your device constantly running and lightly maintain it once a week, there’s no chance you’ll ever find mold or bacteria inside. That being said, even though you're at lower risk of bacterial growth, if you have hard water, you're at risk of mineral buildup in the base of the humidifier.

How To Use An Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier?

It’s easy to use an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. Each size of humidifier is rated for a specific amount of square feet. Larger models with 6 liter tanks will work for up to 500 square feet of space. You can humidify your entire home with only three to four devices or your entire apartment with one or two. 

Simply fill the tank with tap water according to the manufacturer’s instructions, plug it in, and turn the dial to your desired level of humidity. It helps to start with a lower setting to see what the air feels like. You can always incrementally turn it up until you find the perfect balance. 

You can keep the humidifier running as long as the water tank is full. If the device is left turned on and plugged in with an empty tank, it may cause damage. A 6 liter tank can run consistently for about 50 hours without needing to be refilled, so you’ll want to check your tank every other day to top off the water. 

If you’re busy or forgetful and you’re worried you may not remember to refill it on time, simply put the outlet on a timer, and turn on the humidifier’s LED light. The timer will automatically stop power to the device after a few hours, and you’ll know it’s off when the light turns off. After you refill it, set the outlet timer to 40 hours. 

How To Clean An Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifiers should always be cleaned on a regular basis according to the owner’s manual. The process for all filterless models will be just about the same. It’s quicker and easier than washing your dishes, but here are some cleaning tips to help you along. 

The water tank should be cleaned every two or three weeks so you don't have a dirty humidifier. Start by turning off the humidifier and then unplugging it. Disassemble and remove the water tank according to the instructions. It’s usually as simple as lifting the tank from the base and turning it counterclockwise to unscrew it. 

Once you’ve removed the tank from the base, dump out any remaining water. A gentle soap and warm water scrub of the tank, just like washing a drinking cup, should do the trick. You also can use undiluted white vinegar to help get rid of mineral deposits and white dust. Make sure to rinse out any soap residue once the water tank has been thoroughly cleaned. If there are any really stubborn patches, you can try scrubbing them with a toothbrush or other soft brush. Wipe it down with a clean cloth. Then, just reassemble it onto the base and refill it with clean water. 

The base should be cleaned once a week. Turn off the unit and unplug it. Carefully pour the water out. Then, using mild soap and a warm wet cloth, wipe down the whole base. The visible interior components, like the floater and the atomizer, can be gently cleaned with a soft scrubbing brush with the same mild soap. 

Do not pour any cleaning solutions inside of the ultrasonic cool mist humidifier or use any harsh cleaning agents on the base. The humidifier is designed to introduce water into the environment, but it won’t know the difference between water and the chemicals you’ve put in it. Mild soap is perfectly safe, but there’s never any reason to clean the unit with anything like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or ammonia. Any remnants left behind when you turn the unit on will make the air unsafe.

Before you use a soap or detergent for deep cleaning your ultrasonic mist humidifier, ask yourself this question: Would I be comfortable drinking out of a cup if I knew a tiny bit of this cleaner got left behind? If the answer is no, don’t use it. Mild dish soap is always your safest bet.


Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers are a wonderful addition to any home, for both your comfort and your health. They’re easy to clean and maintain, and you’ll get many years of use out of them if they’re properly cared for. Breathe better, sleep better, and relax better with an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier.

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