Can A Humidifier Make A Cough Worse? Demystifying

Will a Humidifier Make a Cough Better or Worse?

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to take the place of a doctor’s advice. If you have a persistent cough, please see a doctor as soon as possible.

Yes, a humidifier can make a cough worse, but only when you do not use it properly. If this appliance is not cleaned often, it causes mold and encourages the growth of bacteria, which causes coughs, colds, and other respiratory issues.

In any case, if you read our article on does a humidifier help with coughs, we saw that a warm or cool mist humidifier for coughs can make you feel better.

And indeed, a humidifier for coughing can help. You see, it injects moisture into the air that you breathe. Imagine what happens to your airways when you have a cold. They become swollen and very sensitive.

Inhaling dry air makes them worse. It makes them swell and make breathing difficult or painful.

Thankfully, a humidifier for dry coughs is going to make the air softer, smoother, and silkier.

I know… it sounds like a bit of an exaggeration, but it is the truth! However, be careful not to make the humidity too high.

You need just enough humidity!

Is a humidifier good for a cough?

Is a humidifier good for a cough

When you have swollen sinuses, a sore throat, and other symptoms of common cold, breathing feels hard and challenging. That is why many babies inhale through their mouths when they have a cold.

A humidifier increases moisture by making mist. It comes in handy during winter when the air is dry or in the summer when the air conditioner or dehumidifier is overused.

Dry air causes dry skin, cracked lips, sinus congestion, chest tightness, nose irritation, a dry throat, and a dry cough. Ideally, the humidifier is used to relieve these discomforts.

So, if you are experiencing a dry cough, nose irritation, or dry throat, you should use a humidifier for dry cough. It will add moisture to the air and provide relief.

If you use the humidifier properly, the moisture it produces should give you relief from the cough by loosening the mucus instead of making the cough worse.

What type of humidifier is best for coughing?

What type of humidifier is best for cough

Warm or cool mist humidifier for cough? This is what many people ask. Either can help if you can’t stop coughing.

You can use any. It does not matter whether the vapor released is warm or cool, because by the time it gets to you, it will be at room temperature.

If you need a high-quality humidifier for coughs and colds, try the Everlasting Comfort humidifier that you can buy on

When can a humidifier make a cough worse?

Mostly, we buy the best humidifier for baby cough. It is believed it can help in dislodging the mucus. However, we may also ask: Can a humidifier make a cough worse?

Of course, it can. Not every time, but it can under several circumstances, as follows:

1. When it adds too much humidity

The desired level of humidity at home is between 30 and 50 percent. If you make it any higher than that, you will have excess humidity.

Not only does this cause dampness, but it will also worsen respiratory problems such as asthma.

The high humidity encourages mold growth, which causes mold exposure symptoms in babies, pets, and adults.

It can also cause mildew, dust mites, and harmful bacteria. All of these cause allergy flare-ups and asthma attacks.

Always test the humidity levels using a hygrometer. You could also buy a humidifier that has a built-in hygrometer that maintains humidity at the desired level. You can buy a hygrometer on

2. When a humidifier is dirty

Does a humidifier help clear your lungs? Lungs are sensitive. So, when it is dirty, it might not help.

How often should you clean a humidifier for baby cough? Your unit needs to be cleaned regularly. Dirty filters and tanks encourage the growth of fungi or bacteria.

These cause coughs, colds and lung infections when the contaminated mist is released.  The contaminants are more harmful to people with asthma or respiratory illnesses.

Cool-mist humidifiers are the ones likely to release bacteria and fungi, unlike steam and evaporators.

Warm mist humidifiers, on the other hand, boil water, and as a result, they kill any germs and bacteria. They also kill all viruses. They have a downside too, because they cause mineral deposits to build up in the tank.

And that is just why you need to clean the humidifier as often as possible. Clean it three times a week if you are using it daily. If you use it about once a week, clean it just once.

How to clean the humidifier

To clean the humidifier, follow the instructions that the manufacturer provides. We wrote an article on how to clean a humidifier some time ago. You can refer to it.

In most cases, you should empty the tank, wipe it, and refill it every day.

Clean the filter system, the bucket, and other parts that come into contact with water after three days. Use a disinfectant, such as hydrogen peroxide, to get rid of the film and other deposits.

Rinse the tank thoroughly before you use it again to get rid of the cleaning chemicals. You don’t want them to be inhaled after being released by the humidifier.

Change the filters regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you are using a central humidifier built into the home’s HVAC, check the manual on how you can do proper maintenance. You can also call a specialist to help you with the whole house humidifier maintenance.

3. If a person is asthmatic

An asthmatic cough can get worse when a humidifier is used. Dust mites thrive in high humidity, and they can cause serious asthmatic attacks.

In that case, if you turn on the humidifier, you will make the cough even worse. If you get asthmatic attacks, you will need to consult with your doctor before using a humidifier.

4. When it is too old

As you use a humidifier, mineral deposits build-up, and these may later prove difficult to remove. These deposits can encourage bacteria to grow. If these bacteria are emitted with the mist, it can cause or worsen respiratory illnesses such as coughs.

If your humidifier is too old, then it is better to replace it. Also, if the humidifier is not working, check it and fix it.

Can dry air make your throat hurt?

Actually, dry air can do worse than that. It can make your throat hurt, and it can also make your nostrils and airways hurt.

Image of can dry air make your throat hurt

Every breath that you take of dry air can cause a rattle down your airways. The sensitive membrane feels too sensitive, and it can be painful when you inhale.

When you start experiencing a scratchy feeling in your throat, you should know it is time to raise the humidity a bit.

Wrapping it up

Can a humidifier make a cough worse? We have seen that it can. However, you have also seen the things that make a humidifier bad for a cough.

Other reasons why a humidifier can make a cough worse include dust, dirt, or when it releases more mist than is needed. The good thing is that all these are easy to avoid.