Informational Guide

Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

While it may seem logical to add essential oils to your humidifier, you may want to rethink that idea. Learn more about the pros and cons.

by Josh M

Extracted from plants and other natural sources, essential oils are the aromatic ‘essence’ of the plant they come from. Some use these oils to improve the smell of a space, soothe anxiety, or improve sleep.

Can you put essential oils in a humidifier? Read one to discover our take.

Humidifiers are excellent devices for adding water to your air to decrease dryness; people living in deserts or long winters often use them. There are a few types of humidifiers available, including:

Is it possible to add essential oils to humidifiers? While it may seem logical to add essential oils to your humidifier, you may want to rethink that idea.

Woman on Bed Looking at Humidifier
Humidifiers are not designed to handle oil

Oil and water don’t mix, and most humidifiers are not designed to evaporate oils. The oil can clog parts of the humidifier, making it harder to humidify the room. If the clogging is not removed, the oil could further damage the humidifier and cause it to break down.

Essential oils are corrosive

Most essential oils have an element of corrosion, especially citrus ones like orange and lemon. If used in humidifiers, the oils can clog various moving parts within the machine and erode the water tank. Only humidifiers that are specifically designed to be used with essential oils will run adequately while working with oils.

Essential oils are less effective in humidifiers

Essential oils have specific aromatic properties that can allegedly bring certain health benefits when inhaled. However, during the humidifying process, the oils’ chemical properties change; therefore, their health and aromatic benefits are reduced. This could make humidifying the oils feel like a redundant process for some.

Essential oils can clog humidifiers

As we mentioned above, these oils can corrode the parts of your humidifier and drip onto various moving parts. Once the pieces are coated, the oils can clog them over time, making your humidifier work harder to function or cease working entirely. These clogs can be a pain to remove or force customers to order a wholly new humidifier.

Are Any Humidifiers Essential Oil Friendly?

Some specially designed humidifiers are capable of working with essential oils to freshen up your home. These models often have oil diffusing parts or corrosion-resistant materials to help aid the process while minimizing damage.

Read the product description carefully to ensure that these types of humidifier have the following features:

  • Very Good at Humidifying the Air
    As its primary function is humidifying, you want to find a well-reviewed model that gets the job done. Looking at critic and customer reviews and their features can help you find the right humidifier for your home.
  • Extremely Small And Compact
    Having a small but powerful humidifier means that you get perfect air without another gadget taking up counter space. It is possible to get small and compact humidifiers that can handle small to medium-size rooms and apartments.
  • Quieter
    Many people place their humidifier in their room to help ease nasal congestion and other respiratory issues while they sleep. No one wants a loud machine interrupting their routine – look at the dB rating in the product description to learn how loud your desired humidifier model will be.
  • Do Not Generate Heat
    If your humidifier uses heat to diffuse your water or essential oils, then it is not the right one for you. Heating the oil can change its chemical composition and reduce its health and aromatic properties.
  • Consume Very Little Electricity
    We all want to save money on our household bills; having an energy-eating humidifier does not help you achieve that goal. Check the energy rating of your desired model before purchase to avoid racking up your electricity cost.

How To Safely Use Essential Oils In An Ultrasonic Humidifier

Ultrasonic humidifiers have certain parts that vibrate incredibly fast and launch tiny water droplets into the air, propelling them with fans. Suppose your ultrasonic humidifier, or another type of humidifier, can have essential oils.

In that case, we recommend using 3-5 drops according to the manual instructions only. We do not recommend putting the oil into the water tank as oil and water do not mix, meaning that it may not be effective at diffusing the oil.

Oil Diffusers Vs. Humidifiers: Which Is Best For Essential Oils?

We would recommend using diffusers over humidifiers when dealing with essential oils. Diffusers are specially designed to work with essential oils to freshen your home. In contrast, most humidifiers are designed to work with clean water only.

Some humidifiers have diffusion parts that can work with oil. We recommend carefully following the manual for proper function.

Dehumidifier with Aroma

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Are essential oils safe for babies?

That depends on the babies in question. Some children may have an adverse reaction to pure oil or essential oils in general. Be cautious and do no use oils in the place of proper medical care.

How do you clean essential oil out of a humidifier?

Each humidifier should come with cleaning and maintenance instructions. However, warm soapy water or clean damp cloth can do wonders on non-electrical parts. Take apart the machine according to manual instruction, gently clean and dry the parts before reassembling.

Can I use boiled water in a humidifier?

That depends on the model of the humidifier in your home. Some models can handle the boiling water while others cannot. We recommend reading the product manual before putting boiling water inside your humidifier in the interest of safety. You can use water after it has been boiled and cooled, however.

Can you put Vicks in a cool mist humidifier?

We do not recommend putting Vicks products in a humidifier. They can be damaging when inhaled and flammable in certain conditions. Only use Vicks VapoSteam in a Vicks vaporizer if you need relief.


Humidifiers are a great way to freshen up your home, and essential oils can work well under the right conditions. Find a humidifier with diffuser properties or a diffuser to bring an aromatic element to your personal space.

Last Updated on December 23, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.