Whatever you use, it's important to maintain it and take proper care to make it last longer. The humidifier can start smelling musty if you don't clean it regularly. The growing mold inside the humidifier causes a musty smell. Its interior is wet, and there's no ventilation.

That's the main reason for bacteria and fungi build-up. When you run a dirty humidifier, it generates a musty smell which can cause many health problems for you and can result in mold production in your house.

If you're wondering why your humidifier smells musty, then don't worry. This article will help you to find it out and guide you on what to do next.

What's A Humidifier?

A humidifier is an electric appliance used to add moisture to the air. Humidifiers are used for

  • Relieving dry skin/lips
  • Nose irritation
  • Treating dry throat etc


Central Humidifier

  • Most popular
  • Very expensive
  • Don't emit steam
Cost to Install Central Air with No Existing Ductwork
Air conditioning systems are considered important gadgets during the summer season to fight against the harshness of hot atmospheric conditions. An air conditioner can give us a cooler space to do our chores with great comfort and ease.

Impeller Humidifier

  • It works with the help of a disk
  • Not so expensive
  • Child friendly
  • Over usage causes asthma

Ultrasonic Humidifier

  • A cool mist is produced with the help of ultrasonic vibration
  • Expensive
  • Cool mist/warm mist versions are available
  • Child friendly

Steam Vaporizer/Evaporator

  • Blows air from the moistened filter
  • Inexpensive
  • Not very kids friendly
Steam VaporizerEvaporator

Reasons For A Musty Smell

There can be many reasons for the unpleasant smell coming from the humidifiers, the most common are

Bacteria Build-up

This is one of the most common causes of musty smell. This is due to bad cleaning. You have to be very careful while cleaning your humidifier. Read the instructions in the manual before cleaning so that you don't damage your humidifier. If your humidifier is not good for cleaning, you should change the filters. It won't cost you much and will save you the effort of cleaning.

Mold Production

Humidity and dampness are the food of mold. That's why it's important to clean your humidifier with soap and dry it properly if you want to avoid mold production. Otherwise, it can cause a bad smell.

Water Deposit

Hard water can cause mineral deposits in the humidifier, resulting in a musty smell. To remove the water deposits, it's recommended to use vinegar.

Cleaning Humidifier Properly

You have to clean and dry the humidifier after every use. To do that properly, you have to:

Read The Manual

Every electric appliance comes with a manual that contains all the information required for the maintenance of the product. So before deep cleaning, the humidifier read the instructions first.

Use The Right Products For Cleaning

Water and vinegar are recommended to clean the humidifier properly. Hydrogen peroxide is most suggested. You can use a soft brush to reach the small areas of humidifiers.

See Our Blog: How Long Does Humidifier Lung Last? - Treatment & Recovery

Wash After Each Use

The water basins are where the risk of fungus is maximum. Empty it after every use, clean it and dry it properly for healthy humidification.

Replace The Filters

Some humidifiers' filters are supposed to be replaced after a specific period. So keep it in mind, and don't skip that part.

Use Distilled Water

Distilled water is mineral and deposits free. Purchase some distilled water from a nearby store and use it in humidifiers.

Place The Humidifier In A Dry Place

Keep the surroundings of humidifiers as dry as possible. It will make the humidifier perform better and clean.

How To Make A Humidifier Smell Good?

To survive in dry weather, we need a humidifier in our houses. Here are some tips to make the humidifier smell good

Clean The Humidifier Regularly

It's really important to clean the humidifier. If you show negligence in cleaning, your humidifier will eventually become dangerous instead of healthy. To clean it

  • Disassemble the humidifier
  • Put some soap or other safe cleaning product in the water tank
  • Let the water tank get empty through the reservoir
  • Use a brush to clean it properly
  • Clean and dry it with a soft cloth

Change The Water After Each Use

Don't use the same water again. After each use, empty the water tank and refill it with new water for better results and a clean environment. Because the old water might have some deposits in it. Replacing the water is a safe option.

Be Careful With The Filters

Try to replace them after every month if you use them daily. If the humidifier is used occasionally, then changing the filters after 2-3 months is alright. A dirty filter cannot clean or filter the air.

Tea Tree Oil, Vinegar, And Hydrogen Peroxide Do Wonders With Cleaning Humidifier

To clean the filters, add these things to the water tank

  • 1 cup of vinegar (white)
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
  • Almost half tsp of hydrogen peroxide

If You Want A Good Fragrance, You Can Add Your Favorite Essential Oils To Its Water Tank.

You can add essential oils to the water tank to make the environment fragrant. Essential oils are natural and healthy. But don't put too much oil in the tank. It will result in difficulty in breathing.

You Can Add Your Favorite Essential Oils To Its Water Tank

A humidifier makes the environment comfortable and easy to breathe in. It can prevent your skin from drying in the winter, especially. Some popular humidifiers are

  • Levoit Classic 300S Ultrasonic Smart Humidifier
  • Levoit LV600HH Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
  • Venta LW25
  • Canopy Humidifier
  • Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Humidifier


Humidifiers are supposed to add to the room's moisture and make it more comfortable. But sometimes, they generate an unpleasant musty odor, making it hard to stay in the same room.

The reason is uncleanliness. Using deodorizing agents instead of chemical cleaners is better. Lemon juice and water are also used to clean the humidifier deeply. It's important to never leave your humidifier uncleaned after using it.

Otherwise, it'll start smelling bad. We hope the information was helpful and guided you properly.

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