What are essential oils?

Essential oils have been in use since 3000-2500 B.C, but they’ve started to become a worldwide trend only within the last decade. Essential oils are natural concentrates that conserve the scent of the original plant and the plant’s tranquilizing and curative effects.

They are highly convenient and they can be utilized for numerous things in a person’s home. They can help people recover from a stressful day, soothe their senses, help them fall asleep, and they are also used for cleaning without chemicals.

Essential oils are predominantly used in diffusers in which they proved they work well. The question is: Can they be put in a cool-mist humidifier? At first glance, you would think: Yeah, why not, what can possibly happen? Well, there are some dos but mainly don’ts to that, which we will clarify throughout this article, so stay tuned.

What are humidifiers?

A humidifier is a device that increases humidity in an area. At home, you can usually see them in a single room, unless you have a whole-home humidifier. There are two types of humidifiers: cool-mist and warm-mist humidifiers. With the cool-mist humidifier, a fan moves air past a wick full of water. The water evaporates into the air. Having a cool-mist humidifier is a must, especially during the summer.

A lack of humidity can cause irritation on the skin, eyes, and,  other areas of the body. Dry air can also result in cracks in the house, such as in the drywall and plaster. Thus, you definitely should not preserve the dry air in your house, so it is suggested to have a humidifier.

Raising the humidity in your home to 40% can improve skin and hair health, can diminish snoring symptoms, and can keep wooden furniture, floors, and musical instruments in pristine condition.

How do diffusers work?

A nebulizing diffuser sprits the essential oils into the room straight away without the use of a humidifier. It uses both a cold air pump and a spritzer to atomize the oil into very small particles of vapor. The micro vapor consists of tiny droplets of the essential oil only. No heat is used in this process.

Why you shouldn’t use essential oils in a cool-air humidifier?

Let us break this down. As mentioned earlier, using essential oils in a cool-air humidifier is not recommended. Here are some reasons why :

  • Plastic humidifiers - Some oils, especially citrus essential oils, can tear down the plastic. Humidifiers are built to dispel water, they are not constructed to endure essential oils. Diffusers are designed specifically to handle oils
  • Filter congestion - Evaporative humidifiers use wicking filters. Minerals and debris, including essential oils, can get trapped inside the filter and possibly bring it to failure.

  • No time interval control - Unlike diffusers, humidifiers run continuously. You can’t set a timer to allow the body the time needed to absorb oils and then turn it off. Diffusers have timers that shut them off after a given amount of time. This protects from over-saturation.

  • An extra mess is created - When you put essential oils in your humidifier, you may form an unusual mixture of oil that is sticky and heavy. When this is emitted from the humidifier, it will land on your body, furniture, and your clothes. This is very unhygienic and can leave you feeling frustrated.

However, using a cool-mist humidifier for dissolving essential oils is certainly better than using a warm-mist humidifier, since the warm air can destroy oils’ therapeutic features. There are some cool-mist humidifiers that are designed for this purpose, like the Crane humidifier.

By adding a fragrance diffuser and a special mister the humidifier holds the oils detached from the main tank and mists them into the air. If you happen to purchase one of these, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for using the mister and keeping the humidifier clean.

If you still want to use essential oils in a cold-mist humidifier you need to contemplate THIS

Possibly you have no other choice but to use a humidifier. Maybe your diffuser went out, and you are in urge to use the humidifier. In that case, follow these instructions:

  • Maintenance - You need to clean your humidifier frequently to reduce the possibility that the plastic will be damaged.

  • Use the right amount of oil - Don’t use too much oil. The tanks on most humidifiers are usually larger than those on diffusers. If your cold-mist humidifier has a separate oil holding area then the oil quantity is determined by the size of that area.

  • Give your humidifier a break - Turn the unit off after it has run for a while. Humidifiers do not run intermittently like diffusers, so you should consider turning it off after a couple of hours to prevent the oils from eradicating the system.

What are the best essential oils to use in a humidifier?

If you are using a humidifier with an essential oil diffuser tray, any essential oils can be used ranging from chamomile extract to lemon essential oils. Water-soluble fragrance oils stick out from usual essential oils for their concentration and are exemplary for use in humidifiers. To acquire this product, glycerin is detained from the essential oil to lessen its density and viscosity and is later swapped with alcohol. The resulting product has the same configuration as classic ether.

Here is a list of the finest essential oils to use in a humidifier :

  • Eucalyptus Oil - This is a natural decongestant - it has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and promotes mental alertness.

  • Peppermint Oil - It is good for soothing the sinuses, easing the mind and also helps with digestive tract problems.

  • Lavender Oil- This oil promotes calmness and is great for headaches, stress relief, and exhaustion

  • Tea Tree Oil - Helps fight cold and flu symptoms because it is antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory in nature.

  • Rose Oil - Rosewood has many properties, including being antibacterial, a deodorant, and an insecticide as well as enhancing the atmosphere for romance.

  • Sandalwood Oil - Enhances the atmosphere for romance and boosts mental agility


So to conclude, the answer to the question: Can you put essential oils in a cold-mist humidifier? Is YES, you can but the research obviously points out that essential oils are not meant to be used in humidifiers. If you want to use essential oils as vapor you should probably invest in a diffuser.

Other Questions


Is a diffuser the same thing as a humidifier?

Diffusers and humidifiers are often confused with each another because of their external appearance and similar functions. But there are distinct differences which sets them apart. The principal purpose of a humidifier is to moisten the air while the diffuser is used for adding fragrance to a room. Though both products use water for functioning, the humidifier uses it to increase the humidity levels in a room while the diffuser uses it to disseminate essential oils into the atmosphere. Humidifiers help in relieving discomforts related to dry skin, stuffy nose and scratchy throat while the benefits of a diffuser is limited to aromatherapy only.


How much essential oil do you put in a humidifier?

Besides its primary function, a humidifier can also provide aromatherapy with the use of essential oils. This creates a pleasant atmosphere with therapeutic effects as the oil contains healing properties. I do not recommend it to use oils in regular humidifiers, as it may shorten the lifespan of the device and make it look very dirty. On the contrary, the aroma humidifier comes with a special container to hold essential oils. This facilitates the evaporation process without contaminating other parts of the device. The recommended dosage is around five drops per every 15 square meters of the room. Humidifiers with essential oil trays must be cleaned and disinfected regularly to prevent the growth of mould and fungus.


Can I put essential oil in my Vicks humidifier?

Adding essential oils to a regular mist humidifier like the Vicks model is not a good idea because of many reasons. All Vicks humidifiers come with a water tank specifically designed for water only. Adding oils could damage the unit's inner components in a severe manner making it useless and exposed to shock and fire hazard. It may also wear off the plastic. If the humidifier stops working upon adding essential oils, you may end up purchasing a new one which could be more expensive as the warranty may become void depending on what it offers. Majority of the humidifiers depend on heat for generating vapour that is emitted into the air. As far as this process is concerned, heat is among the greatest enemies of essential oils.


If you require more information, please check these references

The Healing Power of Essential Oils: Fragrance Secrets for Everyday Use , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 29-June-2020

Reference guide for essential oils , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 29-June-2020

Complete aromatherapy handbook: essential oils for radiant health , article, "", retrieved on, Mon 29-June-2020

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