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Is it harmful to add bleach to the water in your humidifier?
By Kim from Leominster, MA
Bleach is an irritant. The fumes are unpleasant and can pose a health hazard. Undiluted, bleach is corrosive and will damage many surfaces such as skin and fabrics. So I would not do it.
Don't run the humidifier with any bleach in it (it's VERY bad for your lungs to breath it!) but do clean your humidifier once a week with bleach-water (to kill mold spores)! Vinegar can also be used to clean it.
* If you'd like to add something to your humidifier, you can add one drop of tea-tree oil (only occasionally) or if you have a cold or flu you can add a drop or 2 of eucalyptus or mint oil or a teaspoon of the old fashioned Amber colored Listerine (it has eucalyptus and menthol in it), but don't use the blue mint or citrus Listerine because they have a sweetener added which can encourage mold growth.
It's harmful to breathe in bleach under any circumstance!
The Wal-mart in our area sells an additive to keep the water in a humidifier clean from mold and bacteria. It is fairly inexpensive. One bottle usually lasts awhile. I believe the manufacturer is Holmes. A humidifier should be disinfected every 4-6 weeks or when needed. I use a mix of bleach and water, rinsing thoroughly before using.
Bleach will attack rubber parts of your humidifier, like seals and gaskets. It's OK to use a mild bleach solution for disinfecting while you clean, but you don't want to expose the parts to it long-term.