If the air in your home is too dry it could be exacerbating allergies and respiratory problems, encouraging bacteria, increasing dust and static electricity as well as causing paint to peel and furniture to deteriorate. Modern, centrally heated, homes are likely to be lacking in humidity if you do not have a working humidifier. Unfortunately, particularly if your water is hard, humidifier wicks, or filters, can need replacing so often that it becomes expensive to keep your humidifier functional. Cleaning the wicks can increase the lifespan, but an even cheaper option is to make your own.
Take two smaller stacks of five coffee filters from the large stack of 28, leaving 18 filters behind. Place one of the small stacks to the side of your work surface facing upright and one turned upside down. Leave them there, ready to use later.
Flatten out the 18 filters that you have left in your large stack.
Turn every other filter in the stack the opposite way around. When all the filters are alternating in different directions it will help prevent them from sticking together when they are wet as the waves in the paper won't fit together as they do when initially flattened. If they were allowed to stick together it would decrease the overall surface area and make them less efficient.
Split the pack of 18 filters into three smaller packs of six.
Make eight slits into these small filter stacks at regular intervals around the circumference. Make the cuts in toward the middle of the circle. The slits need to extend in to where the bottom of the filter starts and the wavy side parts end. An easy way to judge where to make the cuts is to count the waves around your filters and, dividing the number by eight, give yourself a rough guide as to how many waves apart each cut should be. Alternatively, use a ruler to mark lines quartering the circle and then lines dividing the circle further into eighths.
Cut each "fin" cluster off squarely at the base, leaving an octagon shape behind at the bottom of the filters.
Staple your 24 fin clusters to the upright stack of five filters. Place the narrower base of each cluster of fins into the base of one of the waves around the outside of the filter stack and put a staple through each side of the wave and through the fin cluster in between. If there are 24 waves, or indentations, around the outside of your filter, put one cluster of fins in each indentation. Otherwise, miss out the occasional indentation so that the fin clusters are positioned regularly around the filter stack. If you have one or two extra fin clusters, discard them.
Place the upside down stack of filters in the base of your humidifier. Putting some water into the base will help hold the stack in place when it soaks into it.
Position the finned filter you have made on top of the upside down stack. Keep it in place by putting an inverted plastic cap holding some coins into the center of the top.