by | Sep 21, 2020 | Home Comfort, Reviews, Z

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2020 @ 4:16 pm.

What's the best humidifier cleaner? The struggle is real—humidifiers do wonders for your comfort in the winter, but it is a constant battle to keep them clean. We tried out several humidifiers cleaners to see what worked best. Which were easiest to use? Most effective? Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Budget-Friendly Cleaner

Super cute . . . and it works
This little fish swims in your humidifier tank and kills bacteria and mold. No harsh chemicals (silver is the active ingredient). Easy to use, lasts for 30 days. Caveat: may not fit in smaller tanks.
$4.97 ($14.20 / Ounce)

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Best Budget-Friendly Cleaner: KAZ PC1F Protec Humidifier Tank Cleaner

Can we talk?

Humidifiers are wonderful, but require regular cleaning to avoid all sorts of nasty buildup. Whether you have an ultrasonic or evaporative humidifier, you are supposed to clean it regularly.

But let’s be honest: even the most diligent humidifier user doesn’t clean the tank as often as recommended by the maker. And if you are like us, you may forget for a week (or two . . . or three) to clean it.

That’s where humidifier cleaners come in—just pop one into your humidifier tank and poof! The cleaner kills bacteria and mold growth, especially if you use tap water in your humidifier.

For the best budget-friendly humidifier cleaner, we liked KAX PC1F Protec humidifier cleaner. Yes, this is a super cute fish (kudos to the designer who thought of that idea) that kills nasty stuff. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to use.

• No harsh chemicals—this cleaner uses a small amount of silver as an antimicrobial to do the job.

• Super cute.

• Works for 30 days.

• Kills 99% of odor-causing bacteria, mold and algae growth.

What Needs Work

• Too big for smaller tank openings. Yes, the fish is cute, but some smaller humidifiers have narrow tanks . . . and it may not fit! The fish  is 3″ wide by 7″ long. 

• Sometimes knocks into the side of tank . . . which can be annoying if used in the bedroom (and you are a light sleeper).

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Best Longer-Lasting Cleaner

Not as cute, but works for 90 days
These narrow sticks work in most humidifiers and do a good job at reducing bacteria and mold growth. Silver is the active ingredient, so no harsh chemicals. Easy to use.
$9.99 ($5.00 / Count)

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Best Longer-Lasting Cleaner: Guardian Technologies GGHS15 Aquastick Antimicrobial Humidifier Treatment

The cute fish humidifier cleaners work well, but only last for 30 days. If you want something that lasts longer, we’d suggest this cleaner: Guardian Technologies GGHS15 Aquasticks.

No, they aren’t as cute, but these sticks last longer than 30 days. In our tests, they were effective for two to three months (close to the maker’s claim of 90 days). Here’s more:

What We Liked

 Easy to use.

• Narrow stick fits into all sizes of humidifier tanks.

• Lasts 2-3 months based on our tests.

• No harsh chemicals (active ingredient is silver).

• Reduces growth of mold and bacteria.

What Needs Work

• Doesn’t eliminate white dust from ultrasonic humidifiers. That’s because the white dust is caused by hard water . . . and this cleaner doesn’t affect the hardness of your water. This is true for most humidifier cleaners, however—they are effective against bacteria and mold, but the white dust still happens.

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Best Cleaner + Descaler

Gets rid of that musty smell
Super easy to use—just plop this floating ball in your humidifier tank and it removes bacteria and mold for up to a month. Caveat: doesn't stop white dust from ultrasonic humidifiers.
$7.28 ($2.43 / Count)

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Best Cleaner + Descaler: BONECO EXCal 7417 Humidifier Cleaner & Descaler

Most humidifier cleaners do a good job at keeping bacteria and mold at bay—but they don’t address the scale from hard water that can build up inside a humidifier tank. If scale builds up, it can affect the humidifier performance . . . and shorten its life.

This cleaner and descaler by BONECO does a good job at both cleaning and descaling a humidifier, based our tests and feedback from our parent readers. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Use every 2 weeks.

• Made in the USA.

• Easy to use.

• Works in 30 minutes for an average amount of scale. You fill up the tank with water and a packet of this cleaner/descaler and let it sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.

• Key ingredient is food-grade citric acid.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

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Best Compatible Cleaner

Cleans for up to 30 days
Super easy to use—just plop this floating ball in your humidifier tank and it removes bacteria and mold for up to a month. Caveat: doesn't stop white dust from ultrasonic humidifiers.
$4.97

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Best Compatible Cleaner: Kaz Protec Cleaning Cartridge PC-1

This cleaner is the same as the Protec PC1F, except the form factor—the PC1F is a fish (hence the F) and the PC-1 is a floating ball. The advantage: the ball can fit into more humidifier tanks than the fish, making it a more compatible choice. Otherwise, it has the same pros and cons:

What We Liked

• Easy to use.

• No harsh chemicals—this cleaner uses a small amount of silver as an antimicrobial to do the job.

• Works for 30 days.

• Kills 99% of odor-causing bacteria, mold and algae growth.

What Needs Work

• Sometimes knocks into the side of tank . . . which can be annoying if used in the bedroom (and you are a light sleeper).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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