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Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

If you are using a humidifier to add moisture into your air, you might be wondering if you can also add aromatherapy at the same time with essential oils. After all, the fine mist is wafting through your home all day long, so why not add a natural fragrance?

Can you put essential oils in a humidifier? Yes, you can. Should you? That is a question that depends on the type of humidifier you are using, as well as other health factors.

Types of Humidifiers

If you are wondering if you can add essential oils to a humidifier, chances are you already own the appliance. Humidifiers are used to add moisture, or humidity, into your indoor air. The added moisture may be used for easier breathing, less dry skin or even to benefit house plants.

There are four types of humidifiers:

  • warm mist humidifier
  • cool mist humidifier
  • warm and cool mist humidifiers
  • humidifier/diffuser combos

Each adds water vapor into your indoor air in a different way.

Warm mist humidifiers boil water inside the appliance until it evaporates. Then that water vapor is dispersed into the air.

Cool mist humidifiers push out water vapor by using a fan. These are ideal options if you are worried about the humidifier being accidentally knocked over, such as from a pet or kids.

There are very few humidifiers that have the option of choosing either a warm mist or cool mist. I really like this LEVOIT dual-function humidifier that lets you choose which one you prefer. Plus, it has a timer and a remote control which most other humidifiers do not.

While an essential oil diffuser works in a similar way to a humidifier, the humidifiers actually add moisture into the air, rather than just essential oil particles.

There are humidifiers that contain a diffuser in the system. These act like a traditional humidifier, but have a separate compartment to put the oil. This combo works to protect not only the machine, but the oils themselves, as we will see below.

Using Essential Oils in a Warm Mist Humidifier

The process of boiling water in a warm mist humidifier creates conditions that are not favorable for essential oil use. For the best benefits of an essential oil, whether the fragrance or health properties, you don’t want to heat the oil to a boiling point.

While you can add essential oils to a warm mist humidifier, the structure of the oil can be compromised during the heating process. This will result in changing the makeup of the oil which means the fragrance might be different, and the beneficial properties could be removed.

Using Essential Oils in a Cool Mist Humidifier

If you are not heating the essential oils, then you might believe that it is okay to use them with a cool mist. Yes, this is the best way to keep the benefits and fragrance of the oils. However, you could be damaging the appliance at the same time.

The filters and fan parts can actually be clogged by essential oils. Even though you might think that they are liquid and easily diffuse in the air, the oils are quite large and damaging when passed through an intricate mechanical system designed to create a vapor mist that can barely be seen. Over time, your humidifier might be damaged by the use of adding oils to the water.

Humidifier and Diffuser Combos

The good news is that you can buy a humidifier and diffuser combination system to gently fragrance the air without worries.

There are many great humidifier and diffuser combos. I personally have this mini diffuser and humidifier in my office. It works great and adds a fragrance through my room in just a minute or two.

We also use the Guru Nanda Halo XL which is an actual humidifier that can have essential oils added. See my video review on YouTube:

I also like this LEVOIT Humidifier that works in a larger room. It has an essential oil tray that easily pops out for you to add your favorite fragrance to the enclosed pad. After filling, it can last for up to 40 hours, which means you will have uninterupted diffusing and will have to spend less time refilling it.

You can use any essential oil in a humidifier. Pick a scent that you love or an oil with properties that could help you.

For instance, diffusing lavender might help reduce anxiety and stress. While diffusing eucalyptus could help open up your sinuses and lead to easier breathing, which is important if using a humidifier while you don’t feel well.

Bottom Line: Can You Put Essential Oils in a Diffuser?

Yes, you can definitely add essential oils in a diffuser. However, you might not be satisfied with the results, either with your machine, the fragrance, or the health benefits.

If you still want to add essential oils to a traditional humidifier, add a few drops to the water tank for dispersing through the air. Clean the machine frequently to remove oil buildup and prevent clogging of the system.


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Thursday 3rd of August 2023

Thank you, Kimberly for including a step-by-step guide. Your detailed instructions make it so much easier for readers to use essential oils in humidifiers more effectively.