Importance of Cleaning Your Humidifier & Consequences of Neglect

Even if your humidifier doesn’t look dirty, it doesn’t mean mold or bacteria isn’t there: “Mold … is 25 to 50 times smaller than what the eye can see … Bacteria is even smaller than mold,” Rubino told HuffPost. If you can see mold in your humidifier, “that means it’s already colonized and there’s already hundreds of thousands if not millions of it present.” 

So, what do mold and bacteria look like when you can see it? Rubino said it could come in different colors, such as green, pink, white, grey, blue, red, black, brown or a combination of these. They can be powdery, velvety, fuzzy or slimy in texture. “Pink stuff” is commonly reported in humidifiers when they’re not properly cleaned. This could be a mold (Aureobasidium pullulans) or bacteria (Serratia Marcescens). “Microbial growth can also create a musty, earthy, damp, cigar-like smell when present, so pay attention to this as well,” Rubino advised. 

You don’t want to wait until you can see a problem to start regularly cleaning your humidifier. 

“There’s a pretty wide breadth of what [mold and bacteria] can actually do to us,” Rubino said. “That’s why it’s so important … to clean appliances like humidifiers that have water or moisture accumulation inside of them.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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