What Can I Add to My Humidifier Water?

by Véronique Raymond
humidifier during work

Let’s face it. A humidifier is one of those worthwhile investments that you don’t realize you need until you have it. It’s a beast at moisturizing indoor air, saving your body from the unpleasant realities of the harsh winters and dry rooms.

Having a humidifier or air purifier in your room can be great for your sinus or dry skin, but did you know you can add different liquids to it other than water? So if you’re wondering, ‘what can I add to my humidifier water?’ then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’ll answer this commonly asked question and more.

What Can I Add to My Humidifier Water?

To curb mould and bacteria growth, hydrogen peroxide is one of the most affordable and foolproof ways. You only need to add a few drops to the humidifier’s water tank, and you’re good to go. Alternatively, you can add ¾ cup of white vinegar to prevent mould growth.

Should You Toss Various Items Into Your Humidifier?

No! You should only put liquids into the water reservoir of your humidifier. With most models, the addition of essential oils can disintegrate the plastic tank and damage the internal components. Therefore, we recommend Vicks VapoSteam or Vicks VapoPads with particular humidifiers for aromatherapy.

Should You Add Fragrance to Humidifier Water?

Although scented oils are safe to add to your humidifier, you should do so in a way that prevents potential damage. If proper precautions are taken, there will be no cause for alarm.

Should You Add Something to Your Cool-Mist Humidifier?

We advise against the use of essential oils in any type of cool-mist humidifier. Instead, tap or distilled water is ideal. If your water source is filled with minerals, investing in a filter would be wise.

Is It a Good Idea to Add Lemon Juice to Your Humidifier?

When filling the humidifier, add one or two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to the water reservoir. The acid in the juice will destroy the allergens, bacteria, and mould in the air. Furthermore, it’ll keep the base unit of a cool-mist humidifier fresh between cleaning sessions.

Is Bottled Water Safe for a Humidifier?

We don’t recommend filling your humidifier’s reservoir with bottled water for the same reason as using hard water. Although bottled water is purified to get rid of impurities, it has dissolved mineral content. Therefore, if you opt for bottled water, make sure you switch back to distilled water as soon as possible.

Is Vicks Safe to Add to a Humidifier?

While Vicks is one of the most popular decongestant and cold remedies if used appropriately, we advise against adding it to your humidifier. Furthermore, the company doesn’t recommend using the ointment in a warm-mist humidifier, which is why it makes Vicks VapoSteam that lacks petroleum and is designed for use in a vaporizer.

mini black humidifier on a stool

Source: Shutterstock

What’s the Ideal Surface On Which to Put Your Humidifier?

Typically, your humidifier should always be three to four feet away from you. We recommend placing it on a non-wooden elevated surface such as a shelf or side table for excellent circulation. Doing so will prevent the likelihood of water spilling onto the trim or wooden floors.

Are There Repercussions for Using Distilled Water In a Humidifier?

The type of water you choose to fill the reservoir with can cause problems. For that reason, it’s advisable to fill the humidifier tank with distilled water rather than tap water to prevent harmful microorganisms from affecting indoor air quality. They can be detrimental to your health.

Are Essential Oils Harmful to a Humidifier?

Yes! Avoid adding essential oils to the water reservoir of your humidifier.

Is Efficascent Oil Suitable for a Humidifier?

The easiest way to add Efficascent Oil to your humidifier is by putting up to 5 drops in the water reservoir.

Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe to Add to a Humidifier?

Yes! You can add up to 5 drops of eucalyptus oil into the reservoir of your humidifier, after which it’ll be vaporized with the water.

Is Vinegar Safe to Add to Your Humidifier?

Granted, white vinegar can be a lifesaver in getting your humidifier spick and span. However, we advise against running it with vinegar as it can irritate your lungs, nose, eyes, and throat. That’s the last thing you need.

Should You Add Baking Soda to a Humidifier?

While you can use baking soda to get your humidifier spick and span, we recommend using it once you clean the water reservoir with white vinegar.

How Close Should Your Humidifier Be to Your Bed?

Using a humidifier the right way includes positioning it at an appropriate distance from your bed. Particularly, we recommend keeping it at 3 to 4 feet from your bed. Nevertheless, putting it close is harmless if you’re restricted on space.

The three to four-foot distance is ideal for a few reasons. For starters, if you’re using a warm mist humidifier, it must be safely away from your bed to avoid the risk of sustaining burns if hot water pours or splashes onto you.

Unless your humidifier is incorporated with patented technology for minimal noise, having it too close to your bed may negatively impact sleep quality. After all, hearing water dripping or a fan right next to your head may keep you awake.

Additionally, the goal is moisture diffusion in the air instead of it being concentrated near your mouth and nose. Moist air ushers in thinner mucus, making it easier for you to breathe.

Therefore, although having your humidifier adjacent to your head might provide instant relief at first, it’s not advisable in the long run.

What’s the Ideal Humidity Setting for Your Humidifier?

You have free rein to choose the setting that’s an ideal fit for you. However, to curb the issue of excessively high or low humidity, it’s advisable to maintain a humidity level that ranges from 45% to 50%. That will make it easier for you to sleep.

What Can I Add to My Humidifier Water to Curb Mould Growth?

When it comes to having water in any device, one of the main concerns is mould or mineral buildup. Here are a few pointers on using a humidifier to ensure it remains mould-free.

White Vinegar

Once you fill the reservoir with water, add ¾ of white vinegar to prevent mould growth.

Humidifier Tablets

You can invest in humidifier tablets that you’ll toss into the reservoir. They can be aromatic and dissolve in less than 10 minutes. These tablets prolong the life of your humidifier by keeping the reservoir spick and span when it contains water.

Add Extras

You can add a few extras to the reservoir of your humidifier, for instance, a few drops of chlorine bleach and tea tree oil.

How Frequently Should You Clean Your Humidifier?

Even when using distilled water, it’s advisable to clean your humidifier daily, if possible. If not, aim for at least once or twice a week. This prevents stagnant water, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mould, and other harmful microorganisms.


Getting a humidifier is a perfect way to make your breathing easier, particularly during winter. It also helps moisturize your skin as dry air can wreak havoc. Armed with insight into humidifiers, you now know what to add to the water reservoir, the type of water you can use, the frequency of cleaning, and much more.


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