Can You Use a Vicks Humidifier with Just Water and No VapoPads?

Can you use a Vicks humidifier without VapoPads? A RESOUNDING YES! The VapoPads are not part of the essential working mechanism of the Vicks humidifier. They are accessories for comfort and relief from cold symptoms. If the camphor, rosemary, lavender, or menthol scents are not your thing, you can use your Vicks humidifier without them. Please note that using the humidifier without VapoPads means you will not enjoy your aromatherapy experience. 

Vicks humidifiers come in many models, styles, and sizes. They make cool mist, warm mist, mini-filtered, mini-filterless, and other filterless humidifiers.

If you are looking for one, you will be spoilt for choice because there are so many!

Beyond the humidifiers, the Vicks brand name is known for the Vicks VapoRub. We use this ointment to help relieve cold and congestion symptoms.

What do the Vicks VapoPads do?

What Do VapoPads Do

VapoPads are designed to work with Vicks humidifiers. These release essential oil scents such as menthol, camphor, lavender, and rosemary into your air.

You can use essential oils for aromatherapy to help you relax and sleep better and longer. They can also help to relieve cold and congestion symptoms.

The humidifier is designed with a scent pad, where the VapoPads go.

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But, the question on your mind is:

What are Vicks VapoPads made of?

Perhaps you are wondering what these VapoPads are, or what they are made of. VapoPads are actually scent pads that start to release their menthol scent with heat.

Please note that VapoPads are different from regular humidifier pads. The latter are also referred to as wicks or filters.

By design, these are renewable VapoPads, which means that you can refill the scent. They can run for up to 8 hours, releasing menthol vapor to give you the extra comfort that you need in your indoor space.

While you can use a Vicks humidifier in a baby’s room, you should be cautious when using VapoPads in the baby’s room.

The manufacturer recommends using just one pad in 24 hours in a room with an infant who is below 10 pounds of weight.

If you have a kid who is between 10 and 22 pounds, do not use more than 6 pads in 24 hours.

Can you use the Vicks humidifier with just water?

Can you use the Vicks humidifier with just water

The original idea of humidifiers was to use them with just water. Therefore, if you have to add anything else to a humidifier for it to work, then it is not a good one.

Vicks humidifiers are designed to increase the level of humidity in your house by releasing a cool or warm mist.

Primarily, that is their purpose!

However, it does not hurt to kill two birds with one stone (no offense to birdies). If you can get a humidifier unit that comes with an essential oils tray, get it fast.

Do not feel pressured to use VapoPads in the humidifier if you do not want that kind of aromatherapy. Use distilled water in the unit if you live in an area with hard water.

If you do not have a budget for distilled water, you can use humidifier tablets, which you can add to your tank. Such helps remove minerals from the water.

Ultrasonic humidifiers need soft water or humidifier tablets because they cause humidifier white dust if you use hard water in them.

Can you use Vicks humidifier without a pad?

Can you use Vicks humidifier without pad

Even though Vicks humidifiers are designed to use VapoPads for aromatherapy, you can still use the unit without pads. The only thing that will be missing is the scent, but the mist will come out very well.

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Even if the humidifier is designed with a tray for using essential oils, such as most of the Holmes humidifiers, it will run just fine even if you do not add the oils to the tray.

Another question that people ask is: Can you use Vicks VapoPads in any humidifier? That is what we are going to find out next.

You can choose to use VapoSteam instead of VapoPads. Since the VapoSteam product comes in liquid form, add the water to the humidifier tank. Add a spoonful of VapoSteam, plug in the unit, and run it.

It is recommended that you do not use essential oils in any humidifier tank because it can void the warranty.

If you have a Vicks humidifier, you can use VapoSteam comfortably. The humidifier is designed to work with this product, and both are from the same company.

Vapopads pros and cons: Helpful or overhyped?

These little inserts filled with menthol and camphor, offer a fragrant promise of relief when used in a Vicks humidifier.

But are they all they’re cracked up to be? To answer this, we have to look at the pros and cons of this popular humidity add-on:

Vapopads pros

  • Soothing scents: Vapopads offer a cool, minty aroma that can be decongesting and relaxing, especially if you have a cold or allergies.
  • Added relief: The menthol and camphor ingredients can provide a slight numbing sensation, potentially relieving throat irritation and cough.
  • Easy to use: Simply pop a Vapopad into the designated slot in your Vicks humidifier and enjoy the added boost of scent.

Vapopads cons

  • Limited benefits: The medicinal benefit of Vapopads is minimal and primarily temporary. They provide minimal moisturization compared to pure water vapor.
  • Potential irritation: While generally safe, menthol and camphor can irritate sensitive airways, especially in children or people with asthma.
  • Cost factor: Vapopads come with an additional cost, and frequent use can add up.
  • Not for everyone: Some people find the scent of Vapopads overpowering or simply don’t enjoy menthol or camphor.
  • Alternative solutions: For pure humidification, using distilled water in your Vicks humidifier or opting for another type of humidifier altogether might be better.

Vapopads offer a touch of aromatherapy and potentially mild relief for specific symptoms. However, their benefits come with potential drawbacks and additional costs. Ultimately, the decision of whether to use them depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Here’s a quick decision tree to help you choose:

  • Craving some scent and occasional relief? Give Vapopads a try.
  • Sensitive airways or concerned about added costs? Stick to plain water vapor in your Vicks humidifier or consider another type of humidifier.
  • Seeking maximum humidification? Vapopads offer minimal extra moisture, so focus on using distilled water and maintaining proper humidity levels.

Remember, consult your doctor if you have any respiratory concerns or are unsure about using Vapopads.

Can you use Vicks VapoPads in any humidifier?

Well, this depends on the design of the humidifier. For instance, to use these menthol scent pads, you have to add them to the scent pad, which is a small enclosure somewhere in the humidifier.

If your humidifier has this scent pad door, you can use the VapoPads comfortably. For instance, some Holmes humidifiers come with a scent pad.

You can use different types of pads with them. Since VapoPads from Vicks are some of the most popular in the world, go ahead and use them.

The most important thing is to check the user manual of your humidifier. If the manufacturer says you can use VapoPads or scent pads in general, go ahead and use them.

You can choose from an array of menthol, lavender, or rosemary-flavored pads. Once running, you will have up to 8 hours of comfort in your indoor air.

You can then change the pads if you want to continue with the aromatherapy.

If you cannot use the pads with any humidifier, you might want to try VapoSteam. VapoSteam is also from Vicks.

It is safe for humidifiers because it does not contain Petrolatum. This is a compound that damages humidifiers.

How to use Vicks VapoPads in any humidifier

How to use Vicks Vapo Pads in any humidifier

You cannot use Vicks VapoPads in a humidifier that does not have a scent pad. If you are a fan of aromatherapy (well, who isn’t?), order a humidifier that has a scent pad.

Alternatively, you can buy a diffuser and a humidifier. The diffuser is designed to be able to break the “heavier” oil molecules, mix well with water, and then release as mist.

Brands work well with things and accessories that were specifically designed for them. My advice to you is…

If you must use the Vicks VapoPads, VapoRub or any of the company’s products, please only use them with their diffusers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, and humidifiers.

However, if you have a unit from a different brand name, and it has a scent pad, please check with the manufacturer. Ask them what types of aromatherapy products you can use with the unit.

Can Vicks VapoPads be reused?

Can VapoPads be reused

Vicks says you can use their VapoPads for 8 hours and then dispose of them, and replace them with new ones.

However, it is your humidifier and your VapoPads. Unless you use them for a continuous 8 hours, I would suggest you reuse them the second, or even the third, time if you like.

Even with the third reuse, they will still have a lot of good scents left in them. That’s why you should never throw them away after their first use.

But if they are dirty for some reason, you should not reuse them. Also, make a point to clean your humidifier to prevent this from happening again.

When you are taking your humidifier to storage in the summer, for instance, throw the used VapoPads away. They won’t keep very well.

Another thing is, who is getting the aromatherapy? Is the baby helping with shortness of breath? If yes, DON’T USE MORE THAN 2 SCENT PADS IN 24 HOURS.

This, therefore, means you can reuse the scent pads. Babies do not need very concentrated aromatherapy. Mild should do it just fine.

For grownups, you can change the scent pads up to three times a day.

Can you put Vicks VapoSteam in a cool mist humidifier?

Can you put Vicks VapoSteam in cool mist humidifier

In the past, it was not recommended to use Vicks VapoSteam in a cool mist humidifier. However, today, you can!

Be careful not to use VapoSteam in just about any humidifier. Rather, use it specifically in the Vicks CoolRelief Cool Mist Humidifier that you can buy on

The general recommendation is to use this product in a warm mist humidifier. Vicks knows how best to use their products. They have a unit that specifically works with VapoSteam and cold water.

For the first time, you can experience a cool mist humidifier that accepts Vicks VapoSteam and VapoPads and the option to use your favorite essential oils with the Vicks CoolRelief Filter Free Humidifier that you can order on

How do you put Vicks VapoPads in a cool mist humidifier?

How do you put VapoPads in a cool mist humidifier

This is a very simple process. Here are a few steps to help you add Vicks VapoPads in a cool mist humidifier:

Step 1: Unplug the humidifier from power, not just switch off the power; unplug it.

Step 2: Place the humidifier on a level surface and lift the tank from the base. Unlock the cap (for top-fill humidifiers) and add water to the tank.

Step 3: Lock the cap back on and return the tank to the base. Plug it back in and turn the humidifier on (there is usually a knob for that).

Step 4: Let the humidifier run at the highest mist setting until it starts to raise the level of humidity in the room. Switch the humidifier off.

Step 5: Open the scent pad door, remove the cover from the VapoPads, and add them to the scent pad compartment. Lock it up.

Run the humidifier and enjoy the lovely scent. VapoPads can run for up to 8 hours.

Can you put Vicks VapoRub in a humidifier?

Image of Can you put Vicks VapoRub in a humidifier

Under the Vicks brand name, US-based Procter & Gamble makes many products. Some of them, such as the Vicks humidifiers, VapoSteam, and VapoPads, we have already discussed.

They also have VapoRub, which is a Vicks ointment that you rub on your neck, your forehead, or your chest. It helps to relieve the cold and congestion symptoms.

Vicks warns that you cannot ingest VapoRub because it is toxic. Thus, you are advised not to rub it inside your nose when blocked.

It can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the thin membranes in the nasal cavities.

In the same light, you cannot use VapoRub in a warm mist or cool mist humidifier. If you do that, you will definitely ingest it through the mist.

A humidifier puts out whatever you put in, through the mist. Since you will inhale the mist, the VapoRub will get to your lungs.

How long do Vicks VapoPads last?

VapoPads are going to last up to 8 hours. It is advisable to change them after using them continuously for 8 hours.

But you can also reuse them, as we have mentioned somewhere else in this article. You can reuse them two times, or even more if you wish.

If you are using them in the baby’s room, you can reuse them even two more times. Babies require mild aromatherapy to help with relaxation, sleep, and congestion.

Remember to keep everything in your humidifier clean, including the filters. Also, note that too high humidity outside and inside can cause mold. Keep it at the required level all the time.

Vicks VapoPads for humidifier FAQ

If you still need more clarification about using Vicks humidifiers without VapoPads, this section of frequently asked questions and their answers might help you:

Can I Use Vicks Humidifier without VapoPads

Vicks humidifiers can use some accessories, such as a demineralization cartridge and/or the VapoPads.

The demineralization cartridge prevents the formation of humidifier white dust, while VapoPads are for aromatherapy.

Since these accessories do not affect the operation of the humidifier in any way, if you do not want to use them, don’t.

The unit will still release mist to increase the humidity level in the room.

Please note: You should not add anything else to the humidifier tank apart from water. Essential oils can damage the tank.

If you want to use tap water in the humidifier, you can drop in a demineralization cartridge in the tank.

The demineralization filter or cartridge does not require installation in the humidifier. Besides, it does not add anything to the water, so it is safe.

Can I use Vicks humidifier with a newborn?

You can use a Vicks humidifier with a newborn baby, but be sure to set a low to moderate mist output speed.

Also, keep an eye on the hygrometer so that you can switch it off as soon as it attains optimum humidity.

Use a Vicks cool mist humidifier with the baby instead of a warm mist one. If you are using an ultrasonic humidifier, use distilled water only to avoid humidifier white dust.

Because babies have very sensitive airways, don’t use any type of accessory in the tank. Do not add any essential oil for babies.

Avoid anything that dissolves in the water, including humidifier tablets. It is not good for a baby’s humidifier.

While running a Vicks humidifier in a baby nursery is okay, make sure you keep it clean. Follow the tips for how to clean a cool mist humidifier.

Exposure to mold is dangerous for babies.

Do not over-humidify the room! While the symptoms of dry air in the house are dangerous for babies, too much moist air is also dangerous.

The recommended humidity level for a baby is 30 to 50 percent. Please do not exceed that range.

Can I use Vicks VapoPads for a baby?

Unless your baby is older than three years, you should not use Vicks VapoPads in their humidifier.

Your baby’s airways are too delicate. They can sustain harm from exposure to the strong menthol vapor coming from the pads.

Even when your baby is older, say, above two years, you should use these additives minimally.

Vicks humidifier instructions say you should not use more than two pads in 24 hours for babies that weigh under 10 pounds.

Is it safe to put Vicks in a humidifier for a baby?

Is it safe to put Vicks in humidifier for baby

This depends on the age of the baby. It is a big NO for a newborn baby. However, a baby that’s older than two years can handle a mild menthol vapor.

Adding Vicks to humidifier helps with chest tightness, stuffy nose, and other symptoms. Just do not overdo it.

If you are using VapoPads, just use the utmost two in 24 hours in the humidifier for the baby. If your baby is under two years of age, don’t use anything else apart from water in the humidifier.

Final Thoughts: Can I use Vicks humidifiers without VapoPads?

It has been a long time coming, but at last, here are wonderful aromatherapy products that you can use with your humidifiers.

These are:

There is also VapoRub, but you cannot use it in a humidifier.

If you are not into these scent therapies and all, don’t worry. It does not spell the end of your Vicks humidifier.

You can use your Vicks cool mist or warm mist humidifier without the VapoPads or the VapoSteam products. These are not important to the basic use of the unit, which is to produce mist.

As you crank up the unit, remember to keep the humidity level between 35 and 55 percent. Any higher than that, and you can start a mold colony in your house.

If you are not sure whether you can use VapoSteam in a cool mist humidifier, just buy a vaporizer such as the Vicks Nursery Vaporizer on In many instances, you can void the warranty of the unit if you add essential oils to it.