What Can I Put in My Humidifier Water to Keep It Clean?

What can I add to my humidifier water?

This depends on your needs.

What can I add to 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 make 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 the humidifier?

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

The best type of water to use in a humidifier?

Do you know what to put in a 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 mineral 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 disperses the water as a 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, a dirty humidifier can trigger 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 with a demineralization cartridge 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 to 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 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 them 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 in the water.

Also, you need to first test if the oils can damage the humidifier. Before you add it to the water, put a drop of the oil 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 the instructions and use them 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 it 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 to 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 to the reservoir.

It would help if you did not use it undiluted because you can get headaches. Also, too high a 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 disperse the same 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.

Hydrogen peroxide can also stop mold growth in the humidifier. It is an effective all-rounder that ensures your appliance’s proper health.

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 a 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 a 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 add to 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 they are 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 a humidifier? Well, you have seen that in the past sections.

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

Do not add bleach

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

Don’t add 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 blocks 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 a humidifier, you can damage it.

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

Can I put lemons in my humidifier?

You can add a spoonful or two of lemons to 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 problems 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 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 anything to the tank, please don’t.

The 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 to 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.

Please also check out my article on: Pink mold in humidifier