How to Clean a Holmes Humidifier

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Things You'll Need

  • Mask

  • Gloves

  • White vinegar

  • Holmes Cleanse Clean (optional)

  • Water

  • Concentrated dish detergent

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Soft-bristle brush (optional)

  • Bleach


Always rinse your humidifier daily and clean weekly to inhibit bacteria growth. If your home has hard water, clean more often. Always wear a mask while cleaning as chemical cleaners can produce vapors harmful to humans. In addition always wear gloves to protect your hands. Never brush, scrub or wring the filter to dislodge scale and particles/debris or remove excess water as you can permanently damage it and reduce its ability to filter efficiently.

Since 1982, the Holmes brand product line has provided residential and commercial customers with a wide selection of useful home appliances including cool and warm mist humidifiers. Cleaning Holmes humidifiers on a regular basis, like other humidifier brands, is extremely important, as humidifiers can quickly become a home for bacteria. Thankfully Holmes humidifiers easily disassemble to clean the areas most prone to bacteria growth—the water tank, base, tray and filter.

Water Tank and Base

Step 1

Turn off and unplug your Holmes humidifier.

Step 2

Disassemble your humidifier. Remove the water tank. If your humidifier has a removable tray with filter, remove and set aside for later cleaning.

Step 3

Remove water from the water tank and/or unit base. Uncap the water tank, set the cap aside and pour any water down your sink drain. Carry the base to your sink, and carefully pour out the water.

Step 4

Put on your mask and gloves, and clean the tank/base. Fill the pieces with undiluted white vinegar or with Holmes Cleanse Clean. Soak 20 to 30 minutes, and wipe all interior surfaces with a microfiber cloth or soft-bristle brush to remove any mineral scale or other particles/debris.

Step 5

Rinse the pieces. To rinse the tank, pour out the cleaner, refill with clean water, re-cap and shake. Uncap the tank, pour out the water, and rinse again under running tap water. To rinse the base, wipe the interior of the base including the heating element (warm mist models) with a dry microfiber cloth, and wipe with a warm, wet microfiber cloth. Set the base aside to air dry, and go to step 6 to disinfect the water tank.

Step 6

Pour 1 gallon of water in the tank, and add 1 tsp. of bleach. Soak for 20 minutes. To rinse, follow the instructions in step 5 until you can't smell any bleach. Set the tank aside to air dry. When finished, go to the next section to clean the tray and filter and reassemble the unit.

Tray and Filter

Step 1

Fill your sink with 1 gallon of cool tap water and add 1 tsp. concentrated dish detergent.

Step 2

Wash the tray and filter. Place the pieces in the water. Gently swish the filter around in the soapy water, and allow it and the tray to soak in the water for 15 to 20 minutes. Wipe the tray with a microfiber cloth and/or soft-bristle brush to dislodge any mineral scale or other particles/debris. Dislodge scale and particle/debris on the filter by swishing and dunking it in the water two to three times.

Step 3

Rinse the pieces thoroughly under cold running tap water to remove soapy residue.

Step 4

Remove excess water from the filter by pressing its surface gently and shaking it in an up and down motion over your sink.

Step 5

Return the filter to the unit/removable tray, and reassemble the unit.

Step 6

Wipe any dirt or dust from the exterior of the reassembled unit with a wet microfiber cloth.


Irene A. Blake

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.