What Can I Add To My Humidifier Water?

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With summer approaching, you’ve probably been prepping for the hot, humid weather, and a must-have of the season is a humidifier. Maybe you never really considered putting anything in your humidifier besides water, but we’re here to tell you there’s so much more you can do with yours! 

With essential oils gaining in popularity, you may have wondered if you can add fragrant substances to your humidifier too. Not only can you add essential oils but there are other things you can add too.  

From pleasant scents to adding more moisture to the air and even detoxifying the air in your home, there is a lot you can do with your humidifier. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of having a humidifier, what you can add to your humidifier water and the things you absolutely should not do with your humidifier.

What are the Benefits of a Humidifier?

Woman with air humidifier at home

Preventing a Cold or Flu

One of the many benefits of a humidifier is preventing sickness during cold and flu season. When the air is not as damp during the dry, cold months of winter, humidifiers can help fight the effects of airborne diseases.

Alleviating Symptoms When You do Have a Cold or Flu

If you do happen to get a cold or flu, a humidifier may help speed up recovery by loosening congestion and making it easier for you to breathe by improving the air quality. It may also help alleviate symptoms such as sleep deprivation, sore throat, and sinus headaches.

Preventing Dry Skin and Hair

Another benefit of a humidifier is preventing dryness or itchiness on your skin and scalp. When the surrounding air gets too dry, you may notice dandruff or dry and brittle hair. The added moisture in the air from a humidifier may help to prevent this. The same goes for your skin since both skin and hair are made of collagen and require moisture.

Improving the Quality of Sleep

A humidifier provides a more comfortable atmosphere by reducing symptoms you may experience from dry air such as a sore throat, stuffy nose, or even a dry mouth. Improving the airflow quality also helps with sleep apnea and snoring by promoting better airflow.

The White Noise May be Soothing

The white noise of a humidifier may also be considered a benefit to some people. White noise is comforting as it blocks out distracting noises and sounds when you’re trying to relax, sleep, or meditate. It can also help you get your best sleep and even train your brain to know when to fall asleep.

Let’s Talk About the Actual Water You’re Using in Your Humidifier

Another important thing to consider with your humidifier is the water that you use. Most people think using tap water is fine, but over time, the minerals that are in tap water build up inside your humidifier and can create a white filmy mist with prolonged use. 

Distilled Water

Distilled water is your best option for your humidifier since it does not contain mineral impurities like tap water. Distilled water provides better air quality, prevents mold growth, and even keeps your humidifier cleaner since it doesn’t contain impurities that can build up over time.

Bottled Water

Believe it or not, when it comes to humidifier water, bottled water is not any better than tap water. Although bottled water does not contain the same particles as tap water, it does still contain some dissolved minerals.

Filtered Water

If you don’t have any distilled water available, your next best bet is filtered water. Filtered water is better than tap water because it removes chlorine, magnesium, lead, and other impurities.

What’s the Difference Between a Cool-mist Humidifier and a Warm-mist Humidifier?

Warm-mist Humidifier

A warm mist humidifier works by heating the water before releasing it into the air. This is beneficial because the boiling process helps to kill any mold or bacteria before releasing it, making the air you breathe cleaner. Warm mist humidifiers are also quieter due to their lack of an internal fan.

Cool-mist Humidifier

A cool-mist humidifier works by releasing an ultra-fine mist into the air. Since the water is not heated before it is released, a cool-mist humidifier uses less electricity than a warm-mist humidifier and can also be used in larger spaces.

What’s the Difference Between a Dehumidifier and a Humidifier?

The difference is quite simple: a humidifier adds moisture to the air and a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air. 

Both humidifiers and dehumidifiers are used for specific purposes and have multifaceted benefits.

So… What Can I Add to My Humidifier Water?

Woman Adding Essential Oil to Aroma Diffuser on Table

Before we get into what you CAN add to your humidifier water, always make sure your humidifier is compatible with substances that you plan on adding. Some substances may cause damage to your humidifiers with prolonged use, including white vinegar, tea tree oil, tablets, and even essential oils. 

Rose Water

You can wake up and smell the roses with this one! Rose water not only adds a fragrant scent but also helps improve the air quality in your home because of its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. 

Rose water is also beneficial for your skin by providing hydration and antibacterial properties.

Tea Tree Oil

One of the best essential oils you can add to the water in your humidifier is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is another versatile substance with many helpful uses. Similar to white vinegar, tea tree oil acts as an air purifier because it contains antifungal and antibacterial components. 


Lavender essential oil has many benefits including anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe your skin and increases circulation. Its heavenly scent is also great to use at night to help you feel more relaxed and fall asleep.


Lemon has great antibacterial properties that can cleanse the air in your home and rid your space of any germs and bacteria. Lemon also provides a very clean and warm aroma.

How to Prevent Mold and Bacteria in Your Humidifier

It’s important to clean your humidifier frequently to avoid mold or bacteria build-up, which can take only a few days to occur. Cleaning your humidifier regularly is a safe precaution to take to avoid mold. 

Make Sure to Empty the Water in Your Tank

You should never leave water in your humidifier tank when you’re not using it. When the water is left sitting for more than a few days, it is prone to breeding nasty substances such as bacteria and mold.

White Vinegar 

White vinegar acts as a cleaning agent for the different components of your humidifier and is a great alternative to other cleaning products which may contain toxic substances. White vinegar can also be mixed into your humidifier water to act as a disinfectant by cleansing the air you breathe in the room. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a great, inexpensive additive to your humidifier water for cleaning purposes. You only need to add half a teaspoon to the reservoir of water, and it should work to prevent mold and bacteria from forming.

Common Mistakes People Make with Their Humidifier

Woman near Modern Air Humidifier at Home

Not Cleaning Your Humidifier

Cleaning your humidifier is something many people don’t always think about, especially when they are using clean, distilled water. However, neglecting to clean your humidifier can lead to issues such as flu-like symptoms or lung infections if the contaminated mist is released into the air.

The Air is Too Damp

You may not think this could be a problem during those humid months, but believe it or not, the temperature needs to be at a certain level to necessitate a humidifier. If the air is too damp, it can attract dust mites and mold. One way to negate this is by purchasing a humidifier with a humidistat.

Best Places to Keep Your Humidifier in Your Home

The Bedroom

The best spot to keep a humidifier is near your bed. Keeping your humidifier in such close proximity improves your sleep quality, boosts your immune system, and the cool mist can even helps you breathe, which is even more beneficial to those prone to snoring or sleep apnea.

The Living Room

Another great place to put a humidifier is in your living room, which benefits the whole family. Increasing the moisture in the air helps lessen the risk of spreading germs and allergies since this is one of the spaces in a home where people spend their time together.


So, if you’ve been wondering if there’s more you can do with your humidifier water, the possibilities are endless. From adding better quality air to your home, improving your skin and hair, and even improving your sleep quality, having a humidifier in your home is beneficial. 

However, it’s important to consider the actual water you’re using and the required maintenance to get the most out of your humidifier. Many people may not know that they are using their humidifiers improperly and potentially exposing themselves to contaminants, so we hope this article was insightful.

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