Humidifiers are a great step toward making your home more comfortable. But what’s up the white dust that’s ended up everywhere in your room?
You may encounter “white dust” that’s being left on furniture, walls, or even plants with your humidifier use.
This white dust is the leftover dry minerals (calcium and magnesium) that are in your hard water.
White dust is not harmful, but for best practices, it’s recommended to use only treated water in your humidifier over tap water.
Find out below how to prevent white dust and which type of humidifier is best.
Let’s get started.
Where Does White Dust Come from Your Humidifier?
White dust that comes from your humidifier is dry minerals that are left behind from using untreated water.
The harder your water, the more “white dust” your humidifier will leave behind.
The white dust that’s left behind is a mixture of calcium and magnesium.
If you notice that when you wash dishes you sometimes have residue left behind on your glassware, that’s the same minerals that make up the white dust from your humidifier.
Is White Dust Harmful to Your Health?
White dust is not harmful to people or pets, but it can be harmful to plants.
What can be harmful is if you use tap water which is untreated and is then dispersed into the air.
While most tap water is safe to drink, you never know if there is mold growing in your pipes that would end up in your air supply.
The best way to prevent any harm from a humidifier is to use treated water.
This way, you avoid having any containments make their way into the air that you breathe.
While white dust hasn’t been known to harm anyone, there is always a risk when you’re not breathing in clean air.
How to Prevent White Dust From Your Humidifier
1. Use distilled water
Distilled water can be expensive to use constantly in a humidifier, but it will make for a cleaner and safer environment.
You won’t have to worry about white mineral buildup as your humidifier will no longer produce white dust and you won’t need to clean your humidifier often.
2. Filter your home’s water system
A Brita filter may not be enough to completely remove the minerals in hard water.
Treating the water in your entire home may be expensive, but it will provide for softer water that won’t leave any white dust (and it’ll taste better, too!)
3. Use warm mist humidifiers
Steam vaporizers (or warm mist humidifiers) rely on a heating element to disperse humidity in the air.
Ultrasonic humidifiers are known for leaving behind white dust, so look into replacing your humidifier if you cannot use distilled water.
Consider that warm mist humidifiers use a heating element to boil water, which can be dangerous.
If you have pets or kids that may knock over the humidifier, then it’s better to go with cool mist humidifiers or ultrasonic humidifiers.
4. Use a humidifier with a demineralization cartridge
Some humidifiers have a demineralization cartridge which will help reduce the potential for white dust.
One downside is the added cost will add up depending on how much you use your humidifier.
How to Clean Mineral Deposits from Your Humidifier?
If you have mineral deposits in your humidifier from mineral-rich water, the best way to dissolve the calcium and magnesium is by using white vinegar.
If you don’t want to use an undiluted concentration, you can make a 1:1 solution with water and vinegar.
Fill the areas affected in your humidifier with the vinegar and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
Rinse out the vinegar and ensure that all the vinegar is washed away before you use your dehumidifier again.
You can also opt to use mild dish soap if you don’t have vinegar on hand.
How Often To Clean Your Humidifier?
How often you should clean your humidifier will be determined by the hardness of your water and how often you use your humidifier.
In general, you should clean your humidifier every week no matter if you have warm moisture humidifiers or cool mist humidifiers.
If you’re finding that you have a lot of mineral buildup after a short amount of use, then consider distilling your water or buying distilled water.
It’s suggested to empty your humidifier if you aren’t using it so the water doesn’t get stagnate.
While it hasn’t been determined if white dust is necessarily harmful, for best practices it’s recommended to only use distilled water in your humidifier.
You’ll not only have less maintenance from less cleaning of your humidifier, but you also won’t have to clean off any white dust from your furniture, walls, or any stationary objects in your room.
If you have mineral build-up in your humidifier, then soak it with white vinegar and wash it out. You can opt to use a solution of water and vinegar as well.
Ensure that all the vinegar has been rinsed out and let it fully dry before using your humidifier again.