Tips to Better Clean a Cool Mist Humidifier or Pediatric Nebulizer

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It only takes a couple of minutes of cleaning your child’s cool mist humidifier or pediatric nebulizer to avoid inhalation of harmful bacteria and mold. Keeping the equipment sanitized is just as important as properly delivering medication to our child. A unit that is not disinfected can cause illness such as asthma attacks, high-grade fevers, lung inflammation, severe coughs and more.

All you need are a few household essentials and some effort to clean a humidifier or nebulizer:

  • White vinegar
  • Bleach or hydrogen peroxide
  • A soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Water
  • Clean cloth and paper towels
  • Gloves and goggles

A cool mist humidifier includes a water tank and operating base. Heed any warnings and instructions that came with the unit before disassembling or cleaning. It is recommended that you wear gloves and goggles due to handling bleach or other chemicals. Use the following steps to clean your unit once a week:

  1. Completely disassemble the humidifier after unplugging it. Remove and empty out the water tank. If your unit includes an air filter, remove it as well. You may clean the filter using cool running water and leaving it to air dry.
  2. Pour enough white vinegar into the base to fill it up to the usual water level. Place any smaller washable parts into a large container of vinegar to soak. Let everything sit for at least 30 minutes to break down the limescale. Follow up by gently scrubbing with a brush or sponge.
  3. Disinfecting your water tank and any additional parts requires about 30 minutes of wait time. Do not mix vinegar and bleach because doing so can cause harmful chemical reactions. Use a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water, fill the tank again at least halfway and swirl the solution around to coat the entire inside. You can also substitute hydrogen peroxide for bleach. Note that some models of humidifiers do not call for the use bleach and other strong disinfectants.
  4. Rinse the base, tank and all other components, and shake them to remove any trapped moisture. Lay all parts out to air dry on towels or paper towels.
  5. Once all parts have dried completely, reassemble and resume use of your machine. Don’t forget to replace the unit’s air filter if it is time to do.

Cleaning a pediatric nebulizer is similar to the steps you perform when cleaning a cool mist humidifier. Always refer back to the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your nebulizer, parts, and accessories. You may sanitize it once a week or daily after each treatment time using the directions below.

After each treatment time:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and disassemble the nebulizer.
  2. Rinse the mask or mouthpiece with warm water for at least 30 seconds. Do not wash the nebulizer tubing or compressor.
  3. Shake off excess water and place parts on a clean towel or paper towels to air dry.
  4. Reassemble the pieces and turn on the compressor for a few seconds of drying.

Once a week:

  1. Clean the unit according to the directions in your owner’s manual.
  2. Rinse, shake off excess water, and allow to air-dry on a clean towel.

Keep extra tubing, mouthpieces, and masks on-hand. Masks, and mouthpieces and tubing will degrade over time and should not be used longer than recommended. Replace them as suggested by the manufacturer’s instructions and when any part appears cracked or worn.

Compressor filters eventually become dirty, and channels get clogged. The nebulizer system has to work less when the filter is clean and as a result, has a longer life span. Filters need to be changed on a regular basis, so consult your owner’s manual for the recommended changing. Always keep extra filters on-hand to ensure the safest treatments possible and pack an extra filter when traveling.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when cleaning a cool mist humidifier or pediatric nebulizer to reduce the risk of illness and worsening already present medical conditions. When shopping for products that allow you to clean your equipment quickly, purchase recommended items listed in your device’s user instruction manual.

Carmichael’s locations in Crowley, Lafayette and Lake Charles, Louisiana offer a wide variety of cool mist humidifiers, pediatric nebulizers and accessories.  Contact a Carmichael’s representative to discuss any respiratory therapy equipment products and supplies needs or to request additional information.

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