Can You Put Essential Oils In A Humidifier? Scent & Humidify


Can You Put Essential Oils In A Humidifier Scent & Humidify header image

A humidifier helps increase comfort in a dry space and can even help with some health conditions. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could add some essential oils to the humidifier to bot humidify and scent the air at the same time for even better results? Is this a good idea? Here’s what you want to know. 

Adding essential oils to the reservoir of a humidifier is not a good idea since it can degrade the plastics and clog up parts of the machine, reducing it’s efficiency and possibly reducing it’s lifespan. Using a humidifier and oil diffuser at the same time will yield better results. 

Let’s go into why using essential oils in a humidifier is usually a bad idea and the best solutions if you want both the correct humidity and a nice smell in your room. 

Can You Put Essential Oils In A Humidifier?

It is not a good idea to put essential oils or anything oil/fat based in a humidifier. It can negatively affect the functioning of the humidifier and even cause premature failure.

There are different types of humidifiers that can experience different problems with essential oils. But in general, essential oils can break down certain plastics, clog up parts so they lose efficiency or even all function. The humidifier gets oily on the inside and this is also a pain to clean up properly. 

Suggested: What kind of water should go in a humidifier?

The oil itself can be too thick to properly be turned into mist. That means the filter screen gets clogged up. That’s why it stays in the machine and over time the concentration gets higher and higher. Also, many essential oils have some kind of alcohol in it which is what’s damaging to the plastics. 

In case you add a few drops of essential oil to your humidifier reservoir, it probably won’t break immediately. It will shorten the lifespan of the machine though. Cleaning the machine thoroughly after use with essential oils will help increase lifespan. 

Regular use of essential oils in a humidifier is just not a good idea though. 

How To Scent Your Humidifier

If essential oils are off limits, what can you do to let your humidifier produce scented air? There are a few options although not that many. If you want to smell essential oils, just get a diffuser. That’s a much better long term plan than trying to put them in your humidifier. 

However, there are some options for scenting the water in a humidifier that doesn’t cause any problems;

  1. Humidifier Tablets
  2. Lemon/Lime Juice
  3. Cotton balls
lemon juice

Humidifier tablets come in different varieties. Most of them are just meant to prevent scale and slime buildup in the reservoir. However, some of them also scent the water which then can be smelled in the room. Simply drop the tablet in the reservoir and let it dissolve. 

Of course these only last one fill of the reservoir and you’ll have to use a tablet every time you fill the reservoir. 

Suggested: 4 Best Things To Add To A Humidifier For Mold

Adding some lemon or lime juice to the water is fine. There are no oils in juice so you can put it in the reservoir. Stick to lemon or lime juice though since those are low in sugar. High sugar juices will just supercharge the growth of bacteria and/or mold. Lemon juice actually prevents mold from growing to some degree. Make sure to use pure juice though, don’t put any fruit in there. 

Another little hack you can try is to put cotton balls with essential oils on the ‘exhaust’ of the humidifier. Make sure they’re big enough to not fall into the machine and are not so drenched in oil that it starts dripping. Don’t put them on there for too long since the cotton will get saturated and start dripping back into the humidifier. This will scent the air a little but it’s not optimal. If you really want to use both essential oils and a humidifier, the next chapter might provide a solution for you. 

Humidifier And Essential Oil Diffuser Combo

Humidifier and essential oils

If you want to diffuse your essential oils and humidify at the same time, you can do three things; 

  • Boil a pot
  • Get both a humidifier and diffuser
  • Get a combination humidifier and diffuser

The first option is easy but it’s a bit of a brute force attempt at humidifying. You simply put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil without a lid. You can add pretty much anything you want like; essential oils, spices, juices, etc. A pot is easily cleaned and everyone has one. It’s a bit of a crude method however, and it only really works in the kitchen. 

Running both a humidifier and oil diffuser is another easy way to get the desired result of humidifying and scenting the air in a space. That way you can use both the humidifier and the diffuser as intended.

If you just want one appliance, there are combinations that both humidify and diffuse essential oils at the same time. These aren’t very expensive although they’re mostly meant to be used in small spaces. They’re perfect for bedrooms and smaller living rooms but for large spaces, just getting two separate appliances that are rated for the proper square footage will yield better results. 

These appliances simply have both things built into the same package but they’re still separate. So you put the water in one reservoir and the essential oil in another. These combinations don’t allow you to put the essential oils in the water reservoir. 

Looking for a humidifier/diffuser combo? In general it’s best to look for models that cost upwards of +-$50 to get decent results. There are cheap models but most of them have at least one serious flaw. 

A great option is the Everlasting Comfort ultrasonic humidifier (Amazon). Ultrasonic humidifiers are relatively quiet (less than 30 Db) and produce cool steam. That means they don’t raise the temperature in the room. This particular humidifier has a 6 liter reservoir which is claimed to last up to 50 hours. That means there is no chance you’re going to run out of water during your sleep and if you do, it shuts off automatically. It also has an essential oil tray which means you can add any oil you like safely. And finally, it has a 2 year warranty which is really good for humidifiers. 

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