Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

Dehumidifier Critic / Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

Humidifiers are popular devices used both on an industrial level or at home. They’re perfect during cold, dry seasons to prevent dry skin, dry nose, throat irritations and even keep you clear of colds and coughs. 

Usually, the mist emitted by humidifiers tends to be unscented, and you may wonder whether you could add a few drops of lavender or peppermint to the machine to benefit from the healing properties of essential oils.

However, there are a few risks associated with this, and you may need to take a few precautions to maximize your humidifier’s life and get the most out of your essential oils that tend to be expensive. 

The Short Answer

It is recommended that you use an essential oil diffuser over a humidifier to diffuse oils into the air. Though it’s possible to add essential oils into your humidifier’s water tank, it might damage it in the long run. 

Oils will build up and coat the insides of the machine. Since humidifiers work by collecting the extra heat from the room and then emitting it back into the air in the form of vapor, if essential oils are added to this vapor, they would be diluted due to the heat and would reduce their effect. 

How Humidifiers Work

Humidifiers increase humidity in an area of space. They emit warm or cold mist to add moisture to the air gently. Usually, you will find two types of humidifiers on the market: cold and warm mist humidifiers.

Cold mist humidifiers work by a fan that moves over a basin full of water. Water will then evaporate into the air. 

On the other hand, warm mist humidifiers work by heating water in a basin to the boiling point and then emitting the water vapor into the air. In the winter, warm mist humidifiers help with heating a home, giving a bonus of keeping winter-associated illnesses at bay.

Why Essential Oils In Humidifiers Aren’t Ideal

Adding in essential oils to your humidifier can create lasting damage that’ll reduce the machine’s longevity. The alcohols naturally present in essential oils can erode the device’s plastic and end up clogging parts of the humidifier, eventually leading to leaks and cracks.

Additionally, heat that’s created in the humidifier mechanics can degrade the essential oil, reduce its healing properties, and release a diluted version of it into the air. Also, the mingled mix of heat, oil, and water can result in a sticky mess that may land on furniture and clothes and can be difficult to clean when released. 

Humidifiers shouldn’t be scraped for diffusers, though. They are great as they add water vapor to the air, increasing moisture levels necessary for better breathing, moisturized skin, and increasing the lifespan of wooden furniture. They have many benefits in their own right, but they aren’t designed to diffuse oils; they are specifically only intended to deal with water.  

So it’s probably not worth all the costs to your machine, wastage of oils, and your home. You may be better off purchasing an essential oil diffuser, often cheap, and does the job perfectly!

What Are Oil Diffusers?

The ideal way to diffuse your favorite essential oil into the air is with an oil diffuser. These machines break down the essential oil fragments to a fine mist that remains in the air and gets inhaled easily. 

This is because they have a nebulizer mechanism that is also medically used to allow inhalation into the body, enabling the user to experience utmost benefits. 

Diffusers, therefore, use water and ultrasonic vibration to create this fine mist. They work by using a vibrating disc that sits under the water basin and breaks up the oil into smaller fragments that can easily vacate the machine combined with the water, releasing the fine mist. 

Since no heat is used in the process, your essential oil properties remain in good condition. Many might believe that the diffuser can technically humidify the air, but before you scrap your humidifier, realize that the water basin is so small in an oil diffuser that the impact on humidifying the air in your home would be too low. 

Humidifiers That Work with Essential Oils

If you can’t deal with having two machines doing their own things and are set on just a humidifier that can diffuse oils, you can opt for an ultrasonic humidifier. These machines are designed to both humidify and work with essential oils with the help of a designated essential oil tray compartment in the device that prevents the mingling of oil and heat. 

Tips and Techniques 

Still contemplating on whether you should buy an oil diffuser or an ultrasonic humidifier? Before you set on a decision, we’ve gathered some cheeky tips that you could use temporarily and safely with your current humidifier and some essential oils.

Be extra careful to follow the instructions not to compromise your humidifier machine. Approach each tip with caution and understand that these suggestions may not work for everyone, so if you are unsure, consult the manufacturer for the humidifier you have to inquire for further information. 

  • Cotton Balls: A possible way to use your favorite essential oil is by putting a few drops of oil on a cotton ball and placing it into the humidifier’s basin. The warmth will release the scent through the vapor without the need for the oil to contact the mechanical internal parts of the humidifier. 
  • Clean-Up: Each time after using your essential oils with your humidifier, even through cotton balls, clean your humidifier well to remove the oil residue that may have dispersed around during the vaporization process. This will preserve the longevity of the machine’s plastic. 
  • Diluting: You can try adding the essential oil to the humidifier basin by diluting well. About three to nine drops of oil to the water basin is more than enough, and you can reap the benefits of the oil without causing mechanical damage.

A Breath Of Fresh Air!

Our advice is to avoid choosing one over the other when it comes to diffusing essential oils with dehumidifiers and oil diffusers. Both are designed for different functions, and risking your humidifier machine by simply dumping in your essential oil will be of no avail, as the device and scent are compromised.

Instead, you could purchase an oil diffuser with a clever little nebulizer to enhance the essential oil diffusion into the air. Having a humidifier alongside this can create a healthy atmosphere in your home as the essential oil particles will be retained for longer in moist air environments.

If you think it’s time to invest in a new humidifier, perhaps you could opt for one that works with both functions. This may save you space if your living conditions are small and give you the ease of 2-in-1.

The Ultrasonic humidifiers are intelligent machines catered to do both essential oil diffusion and humidification of an area of space, giving you utmost health benefits. 

Lastly, suppose you’re still a little torn on deciding whether to buy an oil diffuser or an ultrasonic humidifier to diffuse your oils. In that case, you could temporarily try out our tips for correctly using essential oils with your current humidifier.