Can You Put Hot Water in a Humidifier?

can you put hot water in a humidifier

Humidifiers are a great way to keep the air in your home comfortable and healthy, but did you know that there is more than one type of humidifier?

One common question people have when considering which kind of humidifier to buy is “can you put hot water in a humidifier?” The answer isn’t as simple as it seems.

Boiling or very hot water may not be appropriate for some types of humidifiers. To get all the facts about using hot water in your humidifier, read on.

Should I Put Hot or Cold Water in a Humidifier? Room temperature water is sufficient. You don’t need to use cold water from the fridge, or hot water from the kettle. Distilled water is always the best choice for any humidifier.

What is a Humidifier?

A humidifier is an appliance that increases the humidity in a room or home. It works by releasing water vapor into the air, which helps to keep your environment comfortable and reduce allergies and other respiratory issues.

There are several types of humidifiers available on the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Evaporative humidifiers are the most common type; they use a fan to draw in dry air, which is then passed through a water-saturated wick filter before releasing it as moistened air into the room. Other popular models include ultrasonic, impeller (or cool mist), warm mist (or steam) and central systems that use ductwork to circulate moisture throughout your home.

Adding humidity to your interior space can be advantageous, as it may assist in relieving symptoms associated with colds, influenza viruses, asthma attacks and sinus infections.

A humidifier can:

  • Help with dry skin by maintaining hydration;
  • Curb static electricity build-up;
  • Make breathing easier at night;
  • Help prevent wood furniture from splitting due to low moisture levels;
  • Facilitate better sleep quality;
  • Reduce dust mites;
  • Enhance vocal performance when singing or speaking publicly (as well as reducing snoring caused by dryness in nasal passages);
  • Provide comfort during the winter months without having to crank up the thermostat excessively.

Can You Put Hot Water in a Humidifier?

hot water in humidifier

Humidifiers are an ideal solution for increasing the humidity levels in a room, or across your home. But can you put hot water in a humidifier? The answer is yes, but it depends on your humidifier type.

Warm mist and cool mist humidifiers both use water, but they differ in how they generate moisture.

Warm Mist Humidifiers:

These types of humidifiers boil water to create steam that is released into the air. This makes them ideal for adding warmth as well as humidity during cold winter months. Because warm mist humidifiers rely on boiling water, you can put hot tap or distilled water directly into one of these units. 

Pros and Cons of Using Hot Water in a Humidifier:

If you’re using a warm-mist humidifier, there may be some advantages to putting hot (not boiling) water directly into the unit instead of waiting for it to heat up naturally while running – such as faster delivery time and more efficient operation overall.

However, if your model isn’t designed for hot water, you could damage its components due to excessive heat exposure which could lead to costly repairs down the line.

Always remember that even though these units don’t produce boiling temperatures like traditional kettles do when heating up their contents; they still generate heat so please exercise caution when handling them at all times.

Should You Boil Water for a Humidifier?

Boiling water is an effective way of eliminating microorganisms and other pollutants present in the water. This can help keep your humidifier from becoming a breeding ground for germs, which can cause allergies or respiratory issues. Having said that, it is not necessary to use boiled water in your humidifier.

Boiling water doesn’t remove minerals like calcium and magnesium that are often present in tap water. These minerals can build up over time and clog the filter of your humidifier, reducing its effectiveness.

Ideally, you should always use distilled water in humidifiers. Try to never use tap water in your humdifier, if you can’t get distilled or demineralized water, at least use filtered water instead. I’ve also written a post on distilled water substitutes to help keep your appliances safe.

What is the Best Temperature Water for a Humidifier?

For warm mist or steam humidifiers, you can use hot or cold water. The humidifier will  heat the water to approximately 140°F to generate the hot mist.

Cool-mist humidifiers should use room temperature water. Hot water can damage the internal components of cool mist humidifiers shortening the life of your machine.

If you want to use boiled water in an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier, let the boiled water cool to room temperature before using.

Monitor Relative Humidity in Your Home

Relative humidity should be kept between 30%-50% inside your home. This should provide enough comfort while avoiding potential problems caused by too much moisture indoors. To ensure this balance is maintained at all times during operation, try setting your unit’s thermostat between 41°F to 59°F (5°C-15°C).

Make sure that whatever temperature setting you choose is based on manufacturer recommendations for optimal performance from your specific model of humidifier.

Regular maintenance such as cleaning out the humidifier water tank, and changing filters (if required) is essential maintenance – don’t skip this. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Putting Cold or Hot Water in Your Humidifier’s Water Tank

hot or cold water in humidifier

Can I Put Hot Water in a Cool Mist Humidifier?

It is not recommended to put hot water in a cool mist humidifier. Cool mist humidifiers are designed to work with cold or room temperature water, and using hot water can potentially damage the humidifier or cause it to malfunction.

What Happens if You Put Hot Water in a Humidifier?

If you put hot water in a humidifier designed for cool mist, it can potentially cause damage to the humidifier or cause it to malfunction. The hot water can cause the plastic parts of the humidifier to warp, melt, or crack, leading to leaks or electrical issues.

Can I Put Hot Water in a Vicks Humidifier?

The Vicks Warm Mist humidifier instruction manual states to use cool, clean tap water in your humidifier. Allow the Vicks warm mist humidifier to heat the water up. The only time you can use warm water is when rinsing the heating chamber to remove the white vinegar. This is explained in the instuction manual as part of the weekly maintenance. 


Humidifiers are designed to be used with bottled distilled water that is kept at room temperature. You do not need to use boiled water in a humidifier, nor should you use excessively cold water.

If you have children or pets in your home, it is especially important to use cold water in your humidifier. If you were to accidentally know over the humidifier, there is a risk of burns from the hot water.

Not to mention, most inexpensive humidifiers have plastic parts that are simply not designed for hot water. You are likely to damage your humidifier in the long run.


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