Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier? Don’t. Learn Why

can you put essential oils in a humidifier

There is no denying the benefits of using essential oils for aromatherapy. They can boost your mood, help with sleep, or simply add fragrance to your space. If you regularly use a humidifier and want to add a beneficial scent, you’ve no doubt asked asked the question – can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Do not put essential oils in a humidifier, unless your humidifier has a tray specifically for adding oils. Do not put drops of oil in the water tank. Essential oils can damage the humidifier and shorten its life. Oil droplets can also land on furniture, carpets and soft furnishings causing damage.

This article goes over how to use essential oils to add humidity and freshness to your surroundings and the benefits of humidifiers and diffusers.

Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

oils in humidifier

If you’re wondering whether you can use essential oils in your ultrasonic humidifier, it depends on whether your device has an essential oil tray.

Some humidifiers can’t be used directly with essential oils. This is because essential oils are corrosive, so you can’t put them straight into the water tank.

Humidifiers with an essential oil tray in the water tank let you enjoy aromatherapy everywhere you go. Knowing about different types of humidifiers can help you better understand this question.

Types of humidifiers are:

  • Warm Mist Humidifiers
  • Cool Mist Humidifiers
  • Humidifier and Diffuser Combo

Adding Essential Oils to a Warm Mist Humidifier

Since a warm mist humidifier uses boiling water to make mist, it is not the best way to diffuse essential oils. When heated (usually below a simmer), essential oils lose their aroma and therapeutic qualities.

Although you can add essential oils to a warm mist humidifier, it may damage the structure of the oil if heated. It changes the oil’s chemical composition, altering the scent and eliminating its therapeutic benefits.

Adding Essential Oils to a Cool Mist Humidifier

On the other hand, a cool mist humidifier is ideal for preserving the oils’ therapeutic effects and aromatic value. Regardless, it can damage the appliance in the process.

Essential oils can block the filters and fan components inside the humidifier. Without a complicated mechanical system that converts the oils into an invisible vapor mist, the oils might not be able to reach their full potential.

Also, putting oils in the water tank of your humidifier can cause it to wear out faster. So, whilst it is possible to open the tank and put essential oils inside, you should not do this.

Why Can’t You Use Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

adding essential oils to humidifier

Humidifiers work best with distilled water. Essential oils are usually corrosive because they are made up of different parts of plants, such as seeds, roots, rinds, etc. The average humidifier has a plastic tank, and essential oils tend to destroy it.

Essential oils also affect the humidifier’s fan mechanism, which may cause it to malfunction. Because of this, essential oils aren’t the best choice unless the humidifier is made for this purpose.

Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier for Plants?

can put essential oils in a humidifier

Some essential oils are incredibly helpful for plants. Oils such as neem oil, citronella, and tea tree help repel insects, whilst oils such as cinnamon has beneficial antifungal properties.

Essential oils are derived from plants, so diffusing other scents (in small amounts) won’t harm your plant, but won’t necessarily provide any benefit to your plants either.

The key is to only use a humidifier diffuser combo if you want to diffuse essential oils in your plant humidifier. Plant humidifiers are no different to room humidifiers – you should not place any oils with the water.

Choosing a Humidifier and Diffuser Combo

If you want humidify the room and use essential oils for aromatherapy at home or at work, you can choose from many different humidifier and diffuser combos.

A humidifier diffuser combo is a humidifier that has an extra tray to add essential oils. As the mist passes the oil, the scent is released into the air, without the oil coming into contact with the internal components of your machine.

can you put drops of essential oil in a humidifier

As a result, you can have fresh, fragrant air without any risks.

There are several products with the features of both humidifiers and diffusers. For instance, the Everlasting Comfort Humidifier is an excellent combo for circulating essential oils into your surrounding air.

I’ll cover this further in my post on essential oil humidifiers.

Humidifier vs. Diffuser – What’s the Difference?

peppermint oil in humidifier

A diffuser breaks up essential oils and releases them into the air, while a humidifier simply adds moisture to the air.

Water-based diffusers commonly use ultrasonic vibration to provide a soothing mist. Underneath the water tank is a small, vibrating disc that pulverizes the oil into particles so small that they may escape via the nozzle with the water vapors.

As well as spreading essential oils, diffusers can also be used to add moisture to the air. Their water tanks, however, are usually too small to be beneficial as a humidifier. I’ve covered this further in this post: Diffuser vs Humidifier.

A more convenient way to enjoy the best of both worlds is to get a specialized model that serves as a humidifier and a diffuser in one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about adding essential oils and other scents into humidifiers.

lavender oil in humidifier

Can you use a humidifier as a diffuser?

No, the working system of a humidifier is different from a diffuser. Attempting to use a humidifier as a diffuser can harm your device. 

What can you put in a humidifier to make it smell good?

Many steam cleaner makers offer scented demineralized water, which can also be used in your humidifier. If your humidifier smells funky however, there could be an underlying problem such as mold.

How do I put scent in my humidifier?

To add scent to a humidifier, trying using a dissolvable scented tablet, scented demineralized water, or the splash scents humidifier treatment and scent in one.

Can I put vanilla extract in my humidifier?

Most vanilla extract is alcohol based and not suitable for use in a humidifier. The alcohol can damage the internal components of your humidifier.

Can I spray perfume in a humidifier?

You should not spray perfume in humidifier. Perfumes are usually a combination of perfume oil and alcohol, both of which can damage the internal parts of your humidifier.

Can I put Vicks in my humidifier?

Vicks should not be placed in the humidifier water. Vicks contains eucalyptus oil, cedarleaf oil and nutmeg oil (among other ingredients) which can damage your humidifier and stop it working.

What can I put in my humidifier to breathe?

Distilled water is the purest form of water and will not release any particles into the air when you are breathing. Distilled water should be the only thing you put in your humidifier, unless you have a separate tray for oils. In that case, try Frankincense or Peppermint essential oils for breathing.

Enjoy Your Humidifier – Without Essential Oils

can i put essential oils in my vicks humidifier

So, can you put essential oil in your humidifier? Even though you could add essential oils to your humidifier, it’s not a good idea for the longevity of your machine.

If you haven’t yet bought a humidifier, consider buying one with an essential oil tray, so you can enjoy the aroma of essential oils without breaking down the components of your humidifier.


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