Old Humidifier Filters Contain Bacteria, Replace Yours Regularly A humidifier works by pulling in air from the room and returning it either a cool or warm mist, depending on your type of humidifier. Humidifier filters remove common air pollutants like dust, dander and pollen to keep your air cleaner, which is especially important for homes with allergy sufferers. Using a humidifier filter can also help keep that white dust which plagues many homes and caused by minerals deposits from forming on your furniture, TV and computer screens. Once the humidifier pulls air through its system, dust, dander, pollen and other air particles become trapped in the humidifier filter. Over time, these air particles tend to collect and clog the filter, meaning your humidifier has to work that much harder to pull in air. A humidifier that is constantly working harder than it is supposed to might burn out its fan and you will end up giving to replace the whole unit. Since proper filtration is impossible when the filer is clogged, it could also be returning dirty air and mold spores into your house. Overtime, breathing dirty air may aggravate allergies and asthma (especially in children) and could contribute to lung infections Most cool moisture humidifiers use replaceable wick filters and they need to be changed (on average) every two months. Most wick filters are coated with a special antimicrobial coating designed to keep mold from growing on the damp filter, but without regular maintenance mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria can thrive in a humidifier, especially in standing water. It’s important to empty your humidifier on a daily basis to keep bacteria from growing in any standing water. You could also keep your humidifier running throughout the day, which means the water is constantly moving, giving bacteria no time to settle and grow. As a rule of thumb, if you are using your humidifier on a daily basis you should clean it at least once a week to keep it clean and functional. Here a few humidifier cleaning tips, in addition to replacing the filter, to help keep bacteria and mold at bay: Fill the water reservoir 2/3 full of water and add a tablespoon of chlorine bleach. Let it sit for 20 minutes to kill any bacteria that may be lurking in your reservoir (make sure you get into the corners!). Empty and rinse several times to remove all chlorine residues from the tank. Add undiluted clear vinegar to the base of the humidifier, again letting it stand for about 20 minutes to remove bacteria. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry. Wipe the outside of your unit with a warm water/vinegar cloth. If you are not using your humidifier for a few days or putting it away for the season, be sure drain off any water, clean it and dry completely before storing. Even a little moisture left in the humidifier can become a breeding ground for mold. About the Author TotalVac (http://www.totalvac.com) is a leading online retailer of vacuum cleaner parts and supplies. TotalVac also carries a large selection of humidifier filters, electric shaver parts, small appliances and appliance parts. Choose vacuum cleaners from top brands such as Miele vacuum, Dyson vacuum, Roomba vacuum and others. If you are shopping for vacuum bags, TotalVac offers a wide selection of vacuum bags, including Kirby vacuum bags and Oreck vacuum bags.