Humidifiers are notorious for being high maintenance machines because of the nature of their design and that they require a basin of water to work.
3 different types of HumidifierS that qualify as “self cleaning”:
2. Germ resistant plastic
3. Germ and Bacteria Resistant Water Additives
Why does that make Humidifiers high maintenance?
Because of the easy formation and growth of mold that happens inside of a humidifier when it is not maintained properly
And the fact that the mold growth inside of the machine becomes part of the humidity being expelled into the room when the unit is in operation.
Breathing mold spores can trigger asthma and exasperate allergies. That’s not good.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a thing as a “self cleaning humidifier”?
Technically a vaporizer is a type of Humidifier that is considered a self cleaning humidifier because is boils water as a means of creating steam. The boiling process kills any mold or bacteria in the operation.
But vaporizers are not for everyone and most people considered them to unsafe to keep in the babies room or children regardless.
So where does that leave the idea of a self cleaning humidifier?
There is not yet such a thing as a completely self cleaning humidifier that requires no maintenance.
But there are multiple ways that the issue the mold growth in humidifiers is being addressed,
and different technologies that are being invented and used to make humidifiers safer.
1. Antimicrobial plastic
One of the most exciting innovations in humidifiers is the use of germ and bacteria resistant materials in the construction of the humidifier.
Antimicrobial plastic contains biocide polymers that combat the production of mold and mildew on the surface of the plastic. It has a ton of applications and seems to be perfectly suited for humidifiers.
Not only can humidifiers be completely built out of antimicrobial plastic, the filter inside of the humidifier can also be coated with the same type of product to keep the filter from becoming a moldy mess too.
Which, as you probably have already realized, is an amazing leap for appliances like humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as air conditioners and water-based air purifiers.
Since the one thing all of these appliances have in common is that they are subject to mold and bacteria growth,
If the materials that the humidifier is constructed of are resistant to mold growth, and the filters within them are also resistant to mold, then the search for a self cleaning humidifier is nearly half over.
Yes, nearly half. The reason is, that humidifiers not only grow mold on the plastic and construction itself, they also have a tendency to get mold on the surface of the water inside of the basin when it is not changed often.
And keep in mind, the whole point of the humidifier is to use the water in the basin to emit into the air to increase the humidity in a room.
If the water in the humidifier basin has mold and mildew when the machine is running, then the humidity droplets in your air will also be full of mold spores and bacteria.
Keeping mold and mildew from growing on the surface of the humidifier, regardless of it being inside or out, is a mind-blowing advancement in humidifier innovations, but it is yet only half the battle.
Keeping mold and germs from growing in stagnant water is the other side of the equation that would make a humidifier actually “self cleaning”.
2. Ultraviolet sterilization
Fortunately there is already people who are making products to remedy the situation of mold growing on the surface of the water inside of a humidifier.
UV lamps are used in multiple industries to help reduce the spread of mold, bacteria, and viruses.
You have probably seen aquariums with a blue light inside of them. The blue light is a ultraviolet lamp that is targeted on the inside of the aquarium to help reduce the amount of algae and mildew that tends to take over an aquarium pretty fast.
Another place might have seen this same procedure in action is in a barber shop. Barber shops oftentimes have a cylinder that they put their Combs and scissors in that employees a UV lamp to clean and disinfect their utensils while they are not in use.
This is exactly the same way that ultraviolet light can be used in a humidifier.
Positioning a ultraviolet light inside of a humidifier to continuously Target the water inside of the basin is a proven method of reducing the amount of contaminants that may be emitted into your airstream in the humidifying process.
Combining ultraviolet light in a humidifier that is constructed out of antimicrobial plastic seems to cover all the bases in the search for a self cleaning humidifier.
3. Germ and Bacteria Resistant Water Additives
Another technology that is used to combat the production of mold in the water of a humidifier is anti mold and germ pods that you purchase to place inside of the basin with the water.
This is more of a back road country recipe that has become more mainstream.
The ideal is to put an additive in the water that keeps mold from taking hold.
Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic that also has antimicrobial properties.
Although you can purchase colloidal silver and just add it to the water in your humidifier, you can also purchase pods and sticks that contains silver in them that will do the same thing as adding colloidal silver.
“There is a problem with these additives though, they are only useful in ultrasonic humidifiers“.
Another do-it-yourself home recipe for keeping the water in your humidifier fresher longer is to add a little bit of vinegar to the water in your humidifier.
Vinegar is actually one of the best all natural mold cleaners there is. Even edging out bleach because of its ability to get down under the surface better.
Some people even advocate breathing vinegar steam to get rid of chest and head congestion. But if that is something you want to try, you should do your own research and probably stick with apple cider vinegar which is loaded with enzymes and vitamins.
There is no humidifier that it is 100% self cleaning. But there are newer technologies available that make it nearly a reality.
Technologies like antimicrobial plastic that resists mold growth can be used in the construction of the humidifier making the materials the humidifier is made out of already mold resisting.
The filters inside of humidifiers can be coded with the same type of polymers that are contained in the antimicrobial plastic, which we’ll also help the filter for becoming a mold farm.
As for the water in the basin, there is a couple of technologies that can help keep the water fresher, longer.
One one is the use of ultraviolet light targeting the surface of the water so that mold and algae cannot take root.
Another is to add anti mold pods that contains silver. Silver is a natural antimicrobial that can help the water in the basin of your ultrasonic humidifier stay safer.
After all the point is to add clean humidity to your air so that you can breathe better.
Adding humidity that is laced with mold and germs is a quick way to trigger allergies and asthma.