Humidifiers Cause Damp and Mold: 5 Tips To Avoid It

Humidifiers Cause Damp and Mold: 5 Tips To Avoid It

Have you noticed mold in your home after buying your humidifier? You might be using the wrong settings. Here are 5 tips to avoid this.

If you’ve ever heard anyone ask the popular question, “how much is too much?”, you know that it applies to nearly every single aspect in life.

Be it your favorite food, soda, show, or household appliance, excess is always a bad thing. A fact that you’re probably confirming the hard way with your humidifier.

Why exactly is your machine causing mold to form around your home? It’s unfathomable that an appliance, designed to make your life more convenient, can create so many problems.

I understand your frustration, I really do. I’ve had this happen to me in the past, and I was stuck with a huge bill worth of repairs and mold removal. And since I don’t want you to have to go through the same nightmare, I’ve done some research, and gathered useful information for you.

Below, you will find a list with the most common causes to this occurrence, and the simplest steps you can take to avoid it from happening. Rest assured that, if you follow them to a tee, you’ll be able to enjoy your humidifier without having to worry about the unwanted fungi.

Are you ready? Let’s get busy!

Preventing Mold From a Humidifier

If you’re like me and 90% of the people on this planet, you probably never thought that your humidifier could actually contribute to the appearance of mold in your home.

Trust me, I too had to learn the hard way.

I mean, once you start to think about it, it makes sense, but the idea that only large humidity sources can cause this problem is so ingrained in our brains, that we forget to look at the small things.

#1 Lower Your Settings

You might be over humidifying your living spaces

This might seem extremely obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people miss this.

Depending on the humidity in your area, you might be using settings that are too high, thus over humidifying your room.

Now, I’m not saying that if you live somewhere where the climate is extremely humid, you can’t own a humidifier, but you’re probably going to have to use the lowest settings at all times to keep this from happening.

There are many ways in which you can measure the percentage of humidity in your living spaces, but we’ll get to that. For now, let’s focus on keeping mold from forming in your furniture and walls.

Solution: Give your user manual another read through. More often than not, you’ll be able to find certain recommendations for your specific case in there.

And while they’re not perfect, you’ll get better results than if you just wing it.

Hand Measuring How Mutch Steam Humidifier Produces
To keep your humidifier far from producing mold, you’ll generally have to keep it on the lowest setting at all times.

#2 Clean the Appliance Regularly

Giving your humidifier proper maintenance is crucial

Most people underestimate the importance of keeping their humidifiers clean.

How can you expect to prevent mold formation while using your appliance, if there are sediment deposits and mold already present inside it?

Most manufacturers recommend that you clean your humidifier at least once a month, and descale every bimester. This will not only get rid of any unwanted residues inside your machine’s tank, but also prevent any kind of harmful spores from being released into the air as it operates.

It is of the utmost importance that, as soon as you suspect there to be any kind of pollutant inside your unit, you stop using it immediately.

Solution: Empty your humidifier’s water tank, and pour in a mixture made up of equal parts of water and white vinegar.

Once you have done that, set it to run as you normally would, and wait until the water levels are nearly depleted.

Pour a little more of the mixture again, and repeat the process. Doing this often should keep your unit clean, and clear of obstructions.

#3 Monitor the Humidity in the Room

An excessively humid room can create a lot of problems

Have you ever walked into a room, and immediately run out because the smell of humidity was… off-putting?

I have, and I don’t recommend it.

Excessive moisture in a specific room can cause an unpleasant smell, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When the humidity percentage in your living spaces is too high, you can start getting moldy walls and upholstery, as well as other, more concerning health problems. 

It is strongly advised against to set a humidifier to work in a room that’s already very humid, so being able to measure your humidity percentages, is quite convenient.

How can you go about doing this? Simple, with a humidity meter.

These nifty little devices can help you determine whether it’s a good idea to put your humidifier to work in a specific room. So, although they’re not super cheap, owning one is a good idea to prevent damp and mold.

Solution: The recommended humidity level for most homes is 30-60%. Going over or under these limits can cause several household, and health issues.

Go to the room where you normally use your humidifier, and bring your humidity meter with you to test the levels. If these are above 60%, you’ll want to dial back your appliance’s settings, and test again after an hour, or so.

In most cases, as long as you stay below this limit, you should not experience any damp or mold issues.

#4 Use Distilled Water

Avoiding water with high mineral contents can make a night and day difference

There’s an ongoing debate around whether you should use regular or distilled water when operating your appliances.

But the truth is that there is no single answer, as it will depend on the appliance you’re trying to use.

In the case of humidifiers, it has been demonstrated that using distilled water, which has a lower mineral content, helps prevent the formation of mold. Even in rooms with higher humidity levels.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can get away with keeping your room at 90% humidity, but it sure reduces the risk of having these problems. 

So, if your humidifier is causing damp and mold, and you’re certain everything else is fine, you might want to try changing your water type.

Solution: Finding distilled water is very easy. These days, you can even find it at some grocery stores or supermarkets.

That being said, if there’s a specialized supplier that you trust, by all means, go ahead and purchase it from them.

#5 Try Using a Dehumidifier

If all else fails, using a dehumidifier in the same room can make a big difference

If you’ve already tried everything and none of the solutions above have worked out for you, you might want to consider getting a dehumidifier.

As you know, these machines are great at capturing excessive humidity in the air, removing it, and releasing a drier current afterwards. Assuming that your humidifier is causing damp and mold in your living spaces no matter what you do, getting another appliance to counteract the effect, is not too crazy.

The problem with this situation is that you have one upside, and two downsides. On one hand, you will be able to address the moisture inconvenience, but on the other, you’ll have to spend some money on a new appliance, and pay higher electricity bills.

Solution: Put your humidifier to work and measure your humidity levels. Once it’s been running for about an hour, activate your dehumidifier, and play with the settings.

If you notice the humidity percentage is getting too high, bump up the settings on your dehumidifier until the levels are normal again.

I know this isn’t the most convenient thing to do, but remember, this is a last resort solution.

Dehumidifier Next To Couch
If your humidifier is generating dampness and mold in your home, getting a dehumidifier to counteract the problem could be the answer.

Best Practices (Recap)

I want to recap the best practices we’ve covered in this list to make sure you know the dos, and don’ts. This way, you will be able to prevent damp and mold, as well as extend your humidifier’s lifespan significantly.

Here are some useful recommendations:

  • Monitor your settings
  • Measure the humidity in your room
  • Keep your humidifier clean
  • Descale the appliance every bimester

Following these suggestions to a tee won’t guarantee that you will never experience a malfunction or mold, but it will greatly reduce the risk of it.


To have your humidifier cause damp and mold, can be a modern day nightmare. After all, you bought this appliance to make your life easier, not puzzle you with all the solutions you have to come up with to prevent this from happening.

Fortunately, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, addressing most of the causes behind this situation is fairly simple, and quick. More often than not, keeping your humidifier clean, and monitoring your moisture levels constantly, is all you need to do to keep it working perfectly.

Thank you so much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article useful, why not become an expert in the subject through our other wonderful resources below?

Mold begone!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more