If Your Humidifier Isn’t Misting, Here’s How To Fix It

misting humidifier

What does it mean when your humidifier isn’t misting? There might be something wrong with your power cord. Here’s how to fix it.

Humidifiers are truly one of a kind. Whether you use them to treat any respiratory issues, or simply to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day, there’s no denying that owning one is an advantage.

They’re relatively affordable, and so easy to use, that you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who has bought one of these appliances, and has experienced buyer’s remorse.

There’s truly a lot to love about them.

That being said, a fail proof model is yet to be invented, which means that, from time to time, your appliance might give you some trouble, and give you a couple of headaches.

What can you do when your humidifier isn’t misting?

There are several options at your disposal, but in order to make the right choice, and implement the correct solution, you need to know exactly what you should be looking for.

This is why I’ve created the list below, where you’ll find the most common causes to this occurrence, and the simplest steps you can take to address each one of them. I’m confident that, if you follow them to a tee, your humidifier will be back to normal in the blink of an eye.

Are you ready? Let’s get down to business!

Fixing a Malfunctioning Humidifier

I know how eager you are to fix your appliance. Once you’ve tried the health benefits humidifiers can provide, being without them can be difficult. Trust me, I sympathize.

You might be tempted to pry your unit open and look for a faulty internal component, but please, don’t do that just yet. 

We’ll definitely get there, but only as a last resort. More often than not, the culprit is an external factor.

Failing to go about the troubleshooting process in a detailed, and orderly manner, is a surefire way of wasting precious time, and money, as well as risking damaging the machine further.

Bear with me, and be patient. Here are 5 things you can do to fix a humidifier that isn’t misting:

  1. Check your wall outlet
  2. Test your power cord
  3. Use higher settings
  4. Remove sediment buildup
  5. Add more water

#1 Check Your Wall Outlet

testing outlet for continuity
A faulty outlet could be the first sign of a greater concern

First, I want us to look at your power sources.

More often than not, what seems like a technical failure, is actually a compromised wall outlet. Diagnosing this can be a little tricky, as the signs of a malfunctioning outlet are very similar to those of overheating, or a fried circuit board.

Depending on the severity of the damage to it, your humidifier might not turn on at all, but if the fault is only partial, it could be supplying electricity intermittently to your appliance.

This is extremely dangerous, as it could cause short-circuiting and damage your unit permanently. It is of the utmost importance that, as soon as you suspect this to be the issue, you stop using your machine until you test the outlet.

Solution: Try another outlet.

Carefully unplug your appliance, and let it cool down. Once you have done that, take it to a different section of the house and plug it back into a different outlet. Should this factor be, in fact, to blame, this should solve your problem.

If you want to DIY challenge, and own a multimeter, you can use it to test the outlet for continuity. This is completely optional, but strongly encouraged, as a failing outlet could be the first symptom of the greater malfunction in your home’s electrical layout.

#2 Test Your Power Cord

Assuming that your power outlet was unscathed, we can safely move on to the next chain in the power supply link.

While your power cord looks thick and sturdy on the outside, you must remember that, inside its rubber housing, there are several smaller cables that make it up, which can be very easily damaged.

Now, I’m not saying that using your appliance normally will break them, but seemingly unimportant bad habits, such as storing your cord away improperly, keeping it tangled or pressed against a wall in a weird angle, are more than enough to do it in.

Just as it happens with your wall outlet, depending on the severity of the damage, the cable could either be supplying electricity intermittently, or none at all, causing the machine to have trouble misting.

Solution: Test a different cable.

On the off chance that you have a spare one for testing, go ahead and use it. This will save you both time, and money, as well as provide you with an immediate answer.

Just make sure it meets the same amperage and voltage requirements as the broken one.

Provided that you don’t have another one lying around, that’s okay too. You can do a quick Google search on your make and model to easily find a replacement at any online marketplace.

#3 Use Higher Settings

Read your user manual to set the best settings for your room

Sometimes your apparent problem isn’t even a problem.

Depending on the way you use your appliance, there’s a very good chance that it could be perfectly fine, but you’re operating it at very low settings.

This would create a nearly invisible mist that could be mistaken as a malfunction. If you’re not sure what the best settings are for the specific room you’re using your appliance in, you can always read your user manual again.

More often than not, you will be able to find the recommended misting settings for any living space. 

Solution: Not a lot to do here, just mess a little with your current settings, and see if the machine starts misting the way you want it to. You can also approach the humidifier, and place your hand above it to feel for airflow.

#4 Remove Built up Sediment

This problem can manifest itself sooner or later, depending on where you live and the water conditions in your area, but the ultimate certainty is that it will eventually happen.

Now, before you throw your humidifier in the bin, let me put your mind at ease. Sediment is not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it is present in the water that we shower, and do our dishes in, and even in the water you drink (if you drink tap water, of course).

If you’ve ever forgotten to clean your shower head for a couple of months, you’ve probably encountered this issue, so you know what it looks like.

Allowing for sediment buildup in your humidifier can clog the air exhaust, which would explain why your appliance isn’t misting. However, this is not the only issue that can stem from sediment accumulation.

If the clogging is too severe, it could be keeping the mist inside your unit, thus causing it to work harder to expel it, which would result in overheating, and eventual permanent damage.

Solution: In order to clean your humidifier, you will need to descale it. This process is also used to clean garment steamer water tanks, and coffee makers, amongst other appliances.

It sounds somewhat complicated, but it’s not. All you need to do is prepare a mixture made up of equal parts of water and white vinegar, pour it inside your humidifier’s tank, and let it run until it’s nearly empty.

Provided that the build up is too severe, you can also use a soft brush to scrub off any residue.

Doing this at least once a month will do wonders for your machine, and prevent, for the most part, the formation of sediment in the future.

#5 Add More Water

refilling humidifier water reservoir
Top up your humidifier’s water to continuously experience the mist

Lastly, let’s take a look at something that might seem too obvious, but that a lot of people miss.

Adding more water to the humidifier.

Trying to use this appliance without water is like trying to drive a car without petrol. It’s impossible. As you know, the mist that comes out of the unit is evaporated water, so, when you’re low on this liquid, your machine will start having trouble creating it.

If your humidifier isn’t misting, there is a very good chance that you need to top up the water tank. This should not only get rid of your misting problem, but also prevent the machine from overheating in the future, which, as you can imagine, is essential to extend its lifespan. 

Solution: Try to be a little more conscious about how you operate your appliance. Your humidifier is designed to make your life simpler, but that does not mean you can forget about it entirely. Make sure to give it proper maintenance regularly.

When Should You Call a Pro?

The answer to this question will depend greatly on the status of your warranty, and whether the problem was resolved.

Assuming that the solutions above did not work for you, and you’re still under coverage, by all means, go ahead and call your manufacturer. Unless specified otherwise, they should take care of the repairs for free.

Alternatively, if your warranty has expired, you’ll have to weigh the cost of repairs vs the cost of a new model.


To have your humidifier stop misting can be very inconvenient. Especially if you use it to treat eczema or any kind of respiratory disease, such as allergies, or asthma.

Fortunately, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, addressing most of the causes behind this issue is simple, and quick. More often than not, cleaning your appliance regularly, and making sure that your water levels are appropriate, should keep the machine working like clockwork.

Thank you for reading. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject by checking out our other wonderful resources below?

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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