Do Humidifiers Cause Mold: Truths Behind Your Mold & Humidifier

Do Humidifiers Cause Mold: Truths Behind Your Mold & Humidifier

5 min read

Do humidifiers cause mold?

The short and simple answer is: yes, they can. Yet, there is much more to this than just a simple answer. We should understand what causes mold and how humidifiers may contribute to their growth.  

Humidifiers have many benefits, so throwing them away does not make sense because they may cause mold.

We should also know how to prevent mold growth while using humidifiers.

The word mold strikes fear in most minds because it can harm our health and home. Most of us would even go to great lengths to prevent these microorganisms from developing in our homes. So it is only natural to wonder what causes molds and would humidifiers contribute to it.

The best way to deal with your fear is to look at it in its eye. So, we will start by figuring out what mold is and what causes its growth. Then we will look at the reasons why humidifiers can cause mold growth. Finally, we will look at the ways to prevent molds while using your humidifiers.

What is mold?

Why do molds even exist? You might think that all molds cause damage to your home and your health. You should know that nothing in nature is without purpose; the same is true for molds.

Molds are an essential part of nature as they play an important role in breaking down dead plants, leaves, and trees. They belong to the fungi group of organisms and can be found everywhere on earth. There are different types of molds, all of which can be detrimental to your health. They may appear in various colors, including black, white, orange, green, and purple.

Indoor molds can grow in damp building materials. Their appearance on your wall can deceive you as they appear like a stain. If allowed to grow, molds can seriously damage the air quality of your home. Some molds are also destructive and can cause rotting in your building.

What causes the growth of mold in homes?

All conditions that cause the growth of fungi will cause mold to grow. Fungus growth requires the following conditions:

  • Moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Darkness
  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Mold spores

If you inspect your home, you will find that it can be a perfect place to provide these conditions. Moisture can come from leaking pipes or the overall increased humidity of the environment. Humidifiers can also provide additional moisture. Sometimes we hang our clothes to dry on wall hangers. These can provide the perfect grounds for the growth of molds. Any other condition that can cause your walls to dampen (such as flooding and a damp basement) will cause mold to grow. Lack of ventilation can give mold spores plenty of oxygen for their growth.

Mold spores are abundant in nature. They can easily make their way to your home, especially if you have green trees around your home.

Drywall acts as a food source for the growth of these molds. If your home does not have proper lighting, it can provide the perfect darkness for mold growth.

How can humidifiers cause mold growth at home?

If you have read this far, then you already know a little about how humidifiers can contribute to mold growth. Let's dig down in a little more detail.

When the weather has been humid and rained for a few days, you might have noticed mold starting to grow on benches and walls. The important thing to know here is that mold growth starts at humidity levels above 55%. So, if the moisture of your house is above this level, mold will grow.

If your house already has sufficient moisture and you still use humidifiers, it will cause the growth of molds. Most people who use humidifiers in their homes go above the required level. Sometimes this surpasses the 55% mark, and mold growth starts.

Lack of proper maintenance can also cause humidifiers to cause mold growth. Humidifiers can become breeding grounds for mold if you do not maintain them properly.

How to use humidifiers to prevent mold:

You can prevent the growth of molds by simply monitoring the humidity level at your home and maintaining your humidifier. However, you can take a few extra steps to ensure that you never see mold in your house.

Maintenance of humidifiers

A dirty humidifier wreaks havoc instead of bringing relief to you. Ensure that your filters are clean because they can act as a reservoir for the build-up of molds and bacteria. Ensure that you change the filters of your humidifiers regularly. You should also ensure you properly wash, rinse, and sanitize your humidifier tank.

Monitoring the humidity level of your house

We have already told you that molds can grow at any humidity level that is above 55%. So, it is common sense to monitor your home's humidity and ensure it never goes above that. The recommended humidity level for your home is anything between 30% to 50%. You can easily monitor the humidity level at your home using a digital hygrometer.

Extra steps to prevent molds:

Using hydrogen peroxide

One handy trick to prevent mold growth is to use hydrogen peroxide in your humidifier's tank. Hydrogen peroxide helps kill mold spores and helps you tackle the problem from its roots. Hydrogen peroxide is a natural disinfectant. So, it would yield no harm to your family and pets.

One of the best things about hydrogen peroxide is that it is inexpensive and easy to find at any drugstore. Ensure that you add hydrogen peroxide to the water the next time you fill up your humidifier.

Using white vinegar to wash the humidifier's tank

The tank of your humidifier acts as a breeding ground for mold growth. If this happens, your humidifier will disperse these microorganisms in the air, and it will wreak havoc on your health.

An easy fix to this is adding white vinegar to the water in your humidifier's tank. White vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps to kill molds and bacteria. As a result, your tank will no longer remain the breeding ground for them. In addition, it will also kill all the bacteria in the air in your home.

Using humidifier tablets

Humidifier tablets are made up of minerals that are released in the water. Adding these tablets to the water in your humidifier's tank will keep it clean and reduce the risk of contaminants being released into the air.

Using tea tree oil

Tea tree oil kills the pores of molds in the water. Any pores that do develop in your water will not be able to multiply if you add tea tree oil to it. The best thing about tea tree oil is its refreshing smell. This will help improve the overall ambiance of your home.

Next time you refill your humidifier's water tank, try adding three to five drops of tea tree oil, and you are good to go.

Final Remarks

Humidifiers do cause mold if you let them. If you are diligent about how you use your humidifiers, there is no need to throw them away. All you need to do is to maintain them properly and keep the humidity level in your house under 55%. You can also take some additional steps mentioned above to ensure that mold never grows in your house.

Thanks for reading!

Searching for a way to add moisture to the air when you travel? Check out our article on travel humidifiers! Get your questions answered and find the best fit for your travels.

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