Why Is My Humidifier Leaving White Dust?

Wondering where all this white dust around your house is coming from? It might be the fault of your humidifier.

Ultrasonic humidifiers that are filled with tap water can leave white dust as such water usually has high mineral content (the white dust is the by-product of the minerals). To take care of the issue, start adding distilled water to the humidifier.

Why Is My Humidifier Leaving White Dust?

The white dust is the by-product of the minerals present in the water that you use for the humidifier. By the way, ultrasonic humidifiers are the ones that can leave white dust.

Steam humidifiers release only the actual water in the form of steam into the air and all the elements that were present in the water get left behind.

But that’s not what happens when you turn on an ultrasonic humidifier. The device simply ejects the water without turning it into vapor; this means that all the impurities will get to travel with the water as well.

Read: Can You Use Tap Water In The Humidifier?

What Causes White Dust?

Hard water causes white dust. If you fill the humidifier with water from the tap and the device ends up spreading white dust, it means that you have hard water in your area.

The reason why the water is called that way is because it has high mineral content. Usually, such water has an excess of magnesium and calcium.

Why Does My Humidifier Leave a White Film?

The white film is the dust particles that have settled on the various surfaces of your house. The humidifier will be releasing such dust if you are filling it with hard water.

What Is White Buildup in Humidifier?

The white buildup in the actual humidifier has the same origin as the white dust – it’s the minerals from the water that are accumulating inside the device.

If you notice such a buildup, you would have to clean the water sensor and the nebulizer with a soft cloth. You can also fill the base with a solution of water and white vinegar and then use a cotton swab to clean the parts.

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Read: Ultrasonic Humidifier Not Working? Troubleshooting Guide

Humidifier Leaving White Residue on Plants

Some homeowners like to rise the humidity in the house for their plants. The white residue won’t really harm your green friends, but you would want to wipe it off as soon as you see it.

Just like any other dust, white residue can end up coating the surface of the leaves and blocking the tiny pores

White Dust from Air Purifier

The majority of air purifiers don’t create white dust. However, electrostatic devices might end up producing white powder that’ll get accumulated around the purifier.

Is White Dust from Humidifiers Harmful?

In general, the white dust is not harmful. It might become annoying though, as nobody wants to deal with extra cleaning.

If you tend to use tap water for your humidifier, then you might want to reconsider if drinking the same water is good for you or not. Even though a high content of minerals in water is usually a great thing, the water coming from your tap might have quite a few elements that are not beneficial for you.

Read: Why Do Humidifiers Need Distilled Water?

Can a Dirty Humidifier Make You Sick?

Even though the majority of people won’t get affected by white dust health-wise, children and those with respiratory issues should stay away from such humidifiers, just in case.

The EPA hasn’t found any adverse health effects that are related to humidifier use, but there is a case of a young boy with an inhalation lung injury associated with the white dust.

How to Clean White Dust from Humidifier?

When it comes to cleaning-related issues, there are a few tips that you can try out:

  • Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the white dust off the surfaces in your house
  • Do not place the humidifier on the floor
  • Switch the device to the lowest mist setting and make sure that the nozzle is pointing upward
  • To go the extra mile, place rubber mats or a plastic try underneath the humidifier – this will help protect the furniture

How Often Should I Clean Humidifier?

How often you should clean your humidifier would depend on the frequency of usage. In general, it is recommended to clean the device every 3-7 days.

Also, don’t forget to empty the water reservoir on a regular basis as still water can contribute to the growth of a biofilm. If you’re not planning on using the humidifier, empty the device, and let the tank dry for 30-60 minutes.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Humidifier?

  • Without regular cleaning, the humidifier will start suffering from mineral buildup. Scale can clog the filter and cover the heat exchanger and nebulizer – at one point, the humidifier might stop working at all.
  • Mold and different bacteria can start growing on the parts of the device that come in contact with water. These spores will, later on, be released into the air together with the mist.
  • The same bacteria can also make the humidifier smell bad.

Read: How To Prevent Mold In A Humidifier?

How Do I Get Rid of the White Film on My Humidifier?

There are at least three different methods for removing the buildup from your humidifier – with vinegar, citric acid, and decalcifier.

What Kind of Humidifier Doesn’t Leave White Residue?

Steam vaporizers (warm moisture humidifiers) and evaporator cool moisture humidifiers do not release white dust. That is because only water ‘leaves’ the device and all the impurities end up being left behind.

Ultrasonic humidifiers are the only devices that can leave a white residue. However, even these humidifiers might operate without emitting any dust, if you take a few simple tips into consideration (for example, use distilled water).

Does the Dyson Humidifier Leave White Dust?

Ultrasonic humidifiers manufactured by Dyson might leave white dust if you are going to use tap water.

Do Cool Mist Humidifiers Cause White Dust?

Ultrasonic and evaporative wick humidifiers are the two types of cool mist humidifiers. As we have already figured out, the former can produce white dust.

However, evaporative wick humidifiers work quite differently from ultrasonic devices. The water evaporates inside the humidifier and then gets pushed into the room; this means that all the impurities (including the minerals that form white dust) will get left in the humidifier.

How Do I Prevent White Dust in My Humidifier?

  • Use distilled water – such water has fewer minerals.
  • Install a water softener – if you live in an area with hard water, installing a water softener would benefit not only your humidifier but also your plumbing system and the rest of the appliances that use water.
  • Get a demineralization cartridge – the majority of humidifiers allow you to install different cartridges for various purposes. A demineralization one will help you deal with the white dust issue.
  • Switch to a steam vaporizer or an evaporator wick humidifier – these devices do not produce white dust.

Should I Use Distilled Water in My Humidifier?

No matter what type of humidifier you have, both the EPA and CPSC recommend filling the device with distilled water. Such water doesn’t have any dissolved minerals, so you wouldn’t have to think about dealing with white dust ever again.

Another important benefit of distilled water is that it helps keep potentially dangerous microorganisms out of the air that you breathe.

What Happens If You Use Tap Water in a Humidifier?

Depending on the source of the tap water, it may contain minerals or bacteria. These things will affect the air that you breathe.

Moreover, mineral buildup and mold and bacteria growth can reduce the overall lifespan of your device or even damage it.

Is It OK to Run Vinegar Through Humidifier?

You can use vinegar to clean the humidifier, but you should not run it through the device. Even though some people like to add apple cider vinegar to the humidifier to alleviate congestion, the ingredient might irritate your nose, eyes, throat, and lungs.

Read: Why Dehumidifier Freezing Up?