Image of humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose

Which is Better: Humidifier or Dehumidifier for Stuffy Nose

Do I need a humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose?

If you ask this question, I can completely get where you are coming from. The onset of any cold season spells a bit of trouble for many people. This is in the form of blocked nasal passages.

In another article, we asked what you should get between a humidifier and dehumidifier.

We agreed that if you live in a place like Florida that has too high humidity almost throughout the year, you should get a dehumidifier.

But in places that get regular seasons, you should get both appliances. You should also get an air purifier if the air in your city is polluted.

You might also need to get an air conditioner if you experience a lot of heat.

Back to our day’s topic …

If you experience a blocked nose anytime you come across allergens such as dust, smoke, pollen, mold spores and others, you might want to know what appliance can help you.

Does a humidifier help with stuffy nose?

A humidifier can help with stuffy nose. However, this is not an equivalent of medical advice. If you need to see a doctor, see one soon.

When you have dry air in the house, you are going to experience some irritating symptoms. These include:

  • Dry and sore throat
  • Mild headaches
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Dry skin
  • Irritated airways

Try inhaling steam coming from boiling water, and experience the feeling of pureness and freshness. You would get that same thing from inhaling the warm mist from a humidifier.

A humidifier releases moisture to the indoor space. When you inhale moist air, it might help to dislodge some of the dry mucus in the nose.

It might also help to reduce the inflammation in the airways.

If you experience irritation in the throat and you feel as if the air is hurting your nostrils when you inhale, the air is definitely too dry.

How long does it take to help with congestion?

When you have congestion, you want help as soon as possible. Of course, it will take some time for the humidifier to inject mist into the air.

Image of humidifier or dehumidifier for sinus problems

If it is a warm mist humidifier, it will take slightly longer because it has to boil the water first to make steam.

Since the moist air helps to add more moisture inside the nose, and in 10 to 20 minutes, you should start experiencing relief.

Can a dehumidifier help with a stuffy nose? No

It is only fair that we answer this question directly. A dehumidifier does not help with a stuffy nose. In fact, once you start running it and it makes the air drier, the stuffiness is going to become worse!

A dehumidifier works by removing moisture from the air. However, when you have a  stuffy nose, what you need is smoother, damper air. Only a humidifier can increase humidity in your indoor air.

The most important thing is to increase the humidity only slightly above the recommended relative humidity level.

If the humidity is too high, say above 55%, it can cause coughing and shortness of breath. Thus, the idea is to always maintain relative humidity level, which is between 30 to 50%.

When the air is extra dry and you experience a stuffy nose, you could increase the humidity level just so slightly, say to 55%.

Too high humidity can lead to a proliferation of indoor allergens such as dust mites and mold. You can check for symptoms of mold in your humidifier so that you clean it.

Best humidifier-type for stuffy nose

There are many types of humidifiers. Here is a brief look at a few of the popular ones:

Ultrasonic humidifiers – these are not the best unless you intend to use distilled water because they cause humidifier white dust.

Whole house humidifiers – Also called central furnace humidifiers, they require professional installation. They humidify the entire house so you do not need to buy a portable unit for every room.

Evaporators – These evaporate water to release cool mist into the room. You can read about ultrasonic vs evaporative units.

Warm mist units – These boil water to produce warm mist. They can be quite unsafe to have in a toddler’s room because the hot water can be hazardous if it pours on your baby.

What is best for stuffy nose between warm mist and cool mist units?

Both work great. The idea is to increase dampness inside the nose to reduce the stuffy feeling. In another article for warm or cool mist humidifier for sinuses, we saw how helpful both can be.

Cool mist units are best because they do not pose any scalding threats. However, a warm mist unit can also help but you have to know the best position for a humidifier.

Conclusion for humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose

Just get the humidifier if you are experiencing a stuffy nose. Get one with a humidistat such as the Geniani top-fill unit that you can buy on amazon.com.


Once the right humidity level is attained, it will just stop adding more humidity. Too much humidity in the air can give you a running nose and lead to mold and other indoor allergens.

Most homeowners have the two appliances. You also need a hygrometer to know when to switch on what appliance.

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