What To Add To Humidifier Water

What can I add to my humidifier water?

This depends on your needs.

What can I add into the humidifier tank? You may add a few drops of essential oils, vinegar, eucalyptus oil and others. However, always read the manufacturer’s recommendations in the humidifier instructions manual so that you don’t damage your appliance. 

A humidifier raises the humidity level in your indoor air. This helps to prevent dry skin and chapped lips, soothe the airways, make it easy to breathe and it makes you feel more comfortable.

To do this, your appliance holds water in a reservoir. It uses this water to add mist to the air.

However, over time, people have realized that a humidifier can do much more than just release mist.

They have been asking some questions such as: do you know what to add to humidifier?

Which water do you use? Can you add anything else in the water?

Best type of water to use in a humidifier

Do you know what to put in humidifier? Which water do you use? It would be best if you only used purified, distilled or demineralized water.

image of what to put in humidifier

You should never use tap water in a humidifier.


Tap water contains minerals deposits. If you put the water into the appliance, it will support the growth of bacteria and mold. This can later cause signs of mold toxicity and exposure.

When the humidifier is dispersing the water as mist, the mineral deposits become white dust. If you inhale this dust, you can have an allergy reaction and get breathing problems, itchy skin, sneezing and red eyes.

Also, it could aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Tap water contains chlorine, which you wouldn’t want to inhale.

The minerals can also be deposited on the heating elements if you are using a warm mist humidifier. This can end up damaging the unit.

The only time you can use tap water is if it is demineralized or filtered.

Purified, demineralized or distilled water does not contain mineral deposits.

What Do You Add To Humidifier Water?

Yes, you are using distilled water. However, can you add anything else into this water?

Maybe you want a pleasant scent to fill the room or to disinfect the water. Or you want to add something else that can help more with your breathing.

Some people also add products that can prevent the tank from developing mold, which is one of the nastiest indoor allergens.

Please, before you add the following things to your water reservoir, make sure you read the label.

Some manufacturers list things that you should not add to that particular appliance model. Be advised!

Essential oils

Essential oils have many uses, and you can add these to the water in your humidifying appliance. If you are looking for a pleasant scent, you can add lemon or lavender.

Add essential oils such as eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Others include peppermint, sandalwood, and rose oil.

Please know that essential oils are really strong. Therefore, you should only put one or two drops into the water.

Also, you need first to test if the oils can damage the humidifier. Before you add into the water, put a drop of the oils on the plastic part. Leave it for a few hours. Check to see if there is damage or not.

You should use the essential oils sparingly. Too much of it can damage the plastic parts of the unit. Make sure you clean the appliance with soap after every use.

Also, it is best to use the essential oils with a cool mist or ultrasonic humidifier. This way, you will not damage some of their properties.

Scented additives

Can I add scent to my humidifier? Or do you want your house to smell of roses? You can add water-soluble scented additives to the water.

Remember that these are not natural scents but chemicals so you should use them cautiously. Don’t use them all the time.

Also, make sure you follow instructions and use as prescribed. If a particular scent is not suitable for use with warm mist, then don’t use it.

Some chemical compounds disintegrate if they are aerosolized or boiled and can have side effects.

Eucalyptus oil

Can I add eucalyptus oil to my cool mist humidifier? Yes you can. Eucalyptus oil has a nice, minty scent.

It is also an anti-inflammatory agent and an expectorant which can help to loosen mucus. You can add it into the water reservoir if you want to get these benefits.

However, just like the other essential oils, you should use it with caution. Add 4 to 5 drops into the reservoir.

It would help if you did not use it undiluted because you can get headaches. Also, too high concentration can irritate mucus membranes, skin and eyes.

What can I put in my humidifier to kill bacteria?

This question is also very common. The reason for this is that if you put water contaminated with bacteria in your appliance tank, it will dispel the same with the mist. And you will get sick!

However, just as you can add scented oils albeit in a few drops to the water, you can also add some chemicals to kill bacteria.

For example, you can use hydrogen peroxide. It is very effective. You just need to add about 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to the water.

However, never run the humidifier with this acid. Let the solution sit in the tank for 30 minutes or more, and then pour it out.

Is it OK to run vinegar through humidifier? Yes indeed. Just pour a cup or two of vinegar and then run it for several minutes.

After that, switch it off and pour out the remaining vinegar. Rinse the tank and add demineralized water. The vinegar will have killed all the germs.

What can I put in humidifier to prevent white dust?

If you have an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier, you will have the problem of white dust if you use tap water.

But there is something you can do, something you can toss in the tank to prevent this. This is the demineralization cartridge for humidifiers. Through ionization, it will attract all the minerals so that they are not dispersed with the water.

You can clean a demineralization cartridge and reuse it. But make sure you replace them when due.

Apart from installing the demineralization filter in Homedics humidifier to take the place of the tank cap, these things require no installation.

Mostly, how to install a demineralization cartridge in AIRCARE humidifier means you just need to drop it inside the tank.

If you have a warm mist humidifier, you do not need this cartridge.

What Not To Put In Humidifier

What Not To Put In Humidifier

Can I put anything in my humidifier? This is a very common question and the answer is no. Many people ask: what can I put in humidifier? Well, you have seen that in the past sections.

Here is what you shouldn’t put inside the water:


Do not add bleach to the water when you are using the appliance. You can only use bleach to disinfect when you are cleaning it to kill mold inside.

Remember, you should disinfect after a week or so depending on how often you use the unit. Also, you should rinse it thoroughly until you can’t smell the bleach.

NEVER use bleach and vinegar together, even when cleaning your unit. They form a dangerous gas.

Odor neutralizing liquid

So, there is a smell in your home, and you want to use the humidifying appliance to neutralize it? Don’t.

The odor-neutralizing liquids do not remove the smell, but they have a substance (diluted ethanol), that block your nose receptors.

That way, you won’t smell the odor, but it is still there. Besides, should you be inhaling ethanol?

Fabric softener

Do not add fabric softener into a humidifier. If you do, it creates fumes that make breathing difficult for people with respiratory issues.

In the same spirit, do not use air fresheners in the humidifier tank.

What To Add To Humidifier Water FAQ

If you still need more clarification about things you can add to your unit, read this section on frequently asked questions:

What can I put in my humidifier to make it smell better?

Just add a dash of your favorite essential oils. However, if you are really into aromatherapy, you should just get a diffuser. If you make a habit of adding essential oils to humidifier, you can damage it.

You may also add lemon juice into the humidifier water. The citrus aroma is going to invade your room and help you relax. If there was musty smell, this should eliminate it.

Can I put lemon on my humidifier?

You can add a spoonful or two of lemon in the water tank. It will change the way your air smells. Lemon juice can also deodorize the tank so that you get the freshest and purest mist.

Since a humidifier is not made to diffuse liquids, do not make a habit of adding other things apart from water to the tank.

What can I put in my humidifier to help me breathe?

Some of the essential oils that can help you with breathing problem include eucalyptus, tea tree oil and peppermint.

Do not add more than just a dash of these essential oils because they can damage the unit. Buy a diffuser.

Can I put perfume in my humidifier tank?

You can use oil-based perfumes only, but never alcohol based ones. The latter can catch fire easily.

However, if you really want some aromatherapy, get a Vicks humidifier with Vapopads or any other humidifier that has a scent pad.

If the user manual of your Crane humidifier instructions says you should not add something to the tank, please don’t.

Short answer is, just avoid using perfumes in a humidifier.


What can I add to my humidifier water? You will not believe how popular this question is! Some people even ask, “can I put vodka into my humidifier,” I know, eyes popping open right now… but don’t.

A humidifier can catch fire if you add alcohol into the tank.

After using cleaning agents such as bleach, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, don’t run the humidifier with them. You use them briefly, pour them out and add fresh water.