The Ideal Distance Between Your Bed & Humidifier (Explained)

Ile Kauppila

Written By

Ile Kauppila

Expert Reviewed By

Josh Mitchell

Last Updated On

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I’m asthmatic, so dry air in my bedroom causes me serious breathing problems.

Having a humidifier near my bed has helped me sleep and live much better.

But how close should a humidifier be to your bed? I asked myself that when I bought my first unit, and I bet you’re asking it too.

I’ll help you put your humidifier in its best-performing place.

In this guide, I will teach you how close your humidifier should be to your bed so you can enjoy the peaceful sleep you deserve.

Key Takeaways

  • You should place the humidifier 3-10ft away from the bed on a stable, water-resistant surface that is at least 2ft high.
  • A central and open location is preferred away from curtains and windows and not aimed at walls and electrical outlets.
  • Extra care must be taken with warm mist humidifiers due to dangerous boiling water and hot steam.

How Far Exactly Should A Humidifier Be From Your Bed?

Optimally, you should place your humidifier 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) away from your bed.

At this distance, you can ensure ideal relative humidity in your bedroom air without taking risks.

Humidifier placement in bedroom
I like to use my leg as a measuring stick with my humidifier.

If I’m sitting on the side of my bed and I can’t kick the unit over, I know it’s good.

If you place your humidifier closer to a bed, you risk humidifying the air around the sleepers too much.

Excessive humidity could cause mold growth and trigger asthma symptoms — and your sheets and soft furnishings could get damp and gross.

You also probably have more furniture and appliances in your bedroom than just your bed.

To prevent water damage, keep the humidifier at least a foot (30cm) away from walls and three feet from any electrical appliances and furniture.
Keep humidifier away from curtains

When I didn’t yet know much about humidifiers, I accidentally placed my unit too close to my curtains.

Finding mold behind them was a nasty surprise, so make sure to avoid my mistake.

In case you are sick with a cold, suffer from congestion, have a history of sinus problems, or live in a dry climate, you can temporarily put a humidifier closer to your bed than the recommended 3 feet.

However, you should move it further away once it has humidified the air.

TL;DR: Keep it 3-10 ft. away from your bed; 2ft. above the floor. Keep it away from curtains, appliances and electrical sockets. Make sure nozzle is not pointing toward anything susceptible to water damage.

Should You Put A Humidifier On The Floor Or A Nightstand?

You should keep your humidifier at least 2 feet (60cm) off the floor.

I recommend putting your humidifier on a sturdy table, desk, nightstand, or other flat surface.

Keeping the humidifier at the best elevation allows it to add moisture to dry air more directly and humidify your bedroom much faster.

I don’t sleep on the floor, so my humidifier shouldn’t be down there either.

Additionally, leaving your humidifier on the floor could risk water damage to carpets, rugs, or flooring if your device happens to leak.

You might also accidentally kick the humidifier over and spill water all over the floor if you get up during the night.

Important Note:

Make sure the desk you put your humidifier on is waterproof. In case the surface is made of wood or other water-sensitive material, I recommend placing a water-resistant cover — like a plastic tray — under the device to catch any possible leaks.

Some humidifiers might be far too big or heavy to place on a table.

You can leave these devices safely on the floor — they’re often taller than 2 feet so they’ll still work well. Just make sure they’re not in an area where you could tip them over accidentally.

How Can Good Placement Of A Humidifier Benefit Your Sleep?

Proper humidifier placement gives the device optimal conditions to run.

I can tell you from experience that an ideally placed humidifier can improve your sleep and bring you many health benefits.

Here’s my breakdown of the most significant benefits you’re likely to see when using a humidifier near your bed.

Easier Breathing Due To Lower Congestion

humidifiers help with nasal congestion

Dry air can dry out your nasal passages and sinuses, which increases irritation and produces more phlegm.

I often have serious breathing issues with dry air, especially during winter.

humidifier can soothe your sinus issues and mucous membranes. This can help you breathe and sleep easier by relieving congestion, dry lips, dry throat, coughing, and stuffy nose.

Reduced Snoring And Sleep Apnea Episodes

Irritated or dry airways can lead to snoring and keep you (or your bedfellows) up all night.

Place the humidifier properly and the increased air moisture can relieve snoring and sleep apnea, helping you catch Z’s more peacefully.

My wife really appreciates that I don’t snore as much with our humidifier.

Lower Chance Of Getting Sick

A humidifier helps you keep air humidity in your bedroom at the recommended 30-50% range.

This humidity level has been shown to make cold and flu viruses less active. As such, you’re less likely to get sick and can sleep better. (1)

Moisturized Skin And Hair

Proper humidity levels prevent skin dryness, which can be very beneficial for people with eczema or psoriasis.

A properly placed humidifier keeps your skin moisturized and reduces uncomfortable itchiness caused by dry skin.

It also moistens your hair and prevents breakage.

Healthier Plants And Furniture

A lot of people — me included — enjoy houseplants and wooden furniture in their bedrooms.

If you place your humidifier appropriately, the added air moisture can improve the health of your plants.

It can also prevent dry rot and cracking on wooden surfaces, which helps maintain your expensive bed frame.

TL;DR: Placement of the humidifier can make or break your health.

How Humidifier Types Affect Positioning

When positioning your humidifier in your bedroom, the type of humidifier determines the optimal distance and height.

Cool Mist Humidifier – Quite Safe To Operate

Cool mist humidifiers can be placed anywhere from 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) away from your bed.

If you suffer from nasal congestion and other sinus or allergy problems, you can keep it 3-5 feet away (1-2m).

Ideally, cool mist models should be elevated by at least two feet (60cm) but some can do well on the floor.

Warm Mist Humidifier – Caution Advised Due To Hot Steam

A warm mist humidifier should be placed at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from beds.

Warm mist models contain boiling water to produce steam, and you could seriously burn yourself if they’re too close.

In general, I would not use warm mist humidifiers in bedrooms and I advise that you don’t either.

Evaporative Humidifier – Fan Powered Cool Mist Humidifiers

An evaporative humidifier uses a fan to blow air over a wick filter and distribute water vapor throughout your room.

I recommend placing evaporative humidifiers farther away — around 5 feet (2m) — from your bed because these devices can get quite loud.

It’s fine to keep some evaporative models on the floor but place a plastic tray or other water-resistant cover under them to prevent spills.

Ultrasonic Humidifier – Quite But Unfiltered Cool Mist Humidifiers

An ultrasonic humidifier produces mist droplets to introduce moisture to the air.

It should be placed on a desk or nightstand to help it distribute this fine mist.

Ultrasonic humidifiers are very efficient at humidifying rooms, so keep them at least 3 feet (1m) away from your bed.

I have one of these units in my bedroom and it works wonders at this distance.

TL;DR: The placement of your humidifier is affected by the type of humidifier you have. With warm mist humidifiers, due to their boiling steam, you must take extra precautions in their placement.

Adults’ Bedroom Vs Children’s Bedroom Compared

In all bedrooms, you should keep your humidifier 3-10 feet away from any bed. However, the occupants’ age can introduce some additional considerations.

Here are my tips on the best place to put a humidifier in adults’, children’s, and babies’ rooms.

Adult Bedroom

humidifier sqft coverage
Consider the size of the bedroom when choosing your humidifier to ensure it can cover the room’s entire square footage.

If you have a large bedroom (larger than 14 feet by 16 feet) and a weaker humidifier, I recommend keeping it a bit closer to the bed so you don’t lose out on the benefits of added moisture.

Just don’t put it too close!

Children’s Bedroom

The biggest precaution with a children’s bedroom is to ensure that the humidifier is in a place where the child cannot mess with it.

Keep the humidifier at a height that your child can’t reach.

I also recommend choosing an ultrasonic humidifier (or another cool mist unit) for your children’s bedroom so that there is no risk of burns from hot water and heated or warm surfaces.

Baby’s Room/Nursery

humidifier placement in nursery

When getting a humidifier for your baby, the same precaution of keeping out of the baby’s reach applies.

Additionally, babies are more sensitive to what they breathe in.

I recommend placing a humidifier at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from the crib or bed in your baby’s room.

TL;DR: You must take extra precaution when placing humidifier in children's or baby's room to avoid accidents. Warm mist humidifiers must be avoided.

Is It Safe To Run A Humidifier All Night In The Bedroom?

In general, it is perfectly safe to let your humidifier run all night. I do it all the time without any problems.

Use a humidifier with auto shut off feature

As long as you keep the humidifier 3 feet (1 meter) away from your bed and follow my other placement guidelines, there should not be any safety risks with leaving a humidifier on all night.

However, it’s important to make sure your humidifier’s tank can last through the night.

I advise you to invest in a humidifier with an automatic shut-off feature so you don’t risk the device running dry.

Additionally, if you live in an already humid area, a humidifier could over-humidify your bedroom, which could cause mold growth and health problems (as I found out the hard way).

Consider buying a humidifier with a built-in humidity level monitor so it knows when to turn itself off if the air gets too moist.

TL;DR: It is perfectly normal to run a humidifier all night long. However, auto shut-off feature and a large tank are highly recommended.

Risks Of Keeping A Humidifier Too Close To Your Bed

It’s essential that you don’t place a humidifier closer than 3 feet (1 meter) to your bed for extended periods. Having the device too close can lead to problems, including:

Over Humidification Can Be Damaging To Sleep And Health

A humidifier too close to a bed can increase the air humidity too much.

Too-high humidity levels make air heavy and difficult to breathe, which could disrupt your sleep.

Important Note:

Humidifiers can be a double-edged sword since over humidification can actually be detrimental to your health.

Asthma Symptoms Can Get Aggravated With High Humidity

Asthmatic people, like me, must be particularly careful about humidifier placement.

Too much moisture in the air can trigger asthma attacks. I recommend consulting with your doctor before placing a humidifier in your bedroom if you’re asthmatic.

Mold And Bacteria Love Excessive Humidity Levels

Mold and bacteria love moisture. Excessive humidity levels could cause wet spots on your walls or furniture and create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and fungi.

Moisture Can Dampen Your Bedsheets

If your humidifier is too close and blowing directly on your bed, your sheets could get wet.

Not only will they be uncomfortable to sleep in, but they could also get moldy or become a paradise for dust mites.

Water Spills Can Be A Nuisance

You may accidentally knock over a humidifier while tossing in your sleep or when you get up, which could lead to water damage.

Avoid putting the device right next to your bed to avoid accidents.

TL;DR: Over humidification can cause water damage to your furniture, make your carpet and bedsheets damp, and turn your room into a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria to thrive.

Other Considerations When Placing A Humidifier In The Bedroom

In addition to the distance from your bed, there are other smaller but still important details you should consider before putting a humidifier in your bedroom. These include:

Choose A Central Location

Living room humidifier placement

Keep your humidifier as close to the center of the room as possible to ensure the steam, mist, or water droplets are distributed evenly and to prevent water damage to walls.

Keep Away From Appliances And Outlets

This cannot be stressed enough.

Keep the humidifier at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from electronic appliances and outlets to prevent electrical damage from possible spilled water.

Save Your Carpets And Rugs From Leaks And Excessive Humidity

Carpets or rugs could suck up moisture and get moldy from undetected leaks in your device’s water tank.

Put a water-resistant cover underneath your humidifier to catch any water leaks.

Away From Windows And Direct Sunlight

Place the humidifier away from windows and direct sunlight.

Windows could hinder the machine’s ability to humidify the bedroom, while sunlight could cause bacterial growth in the water tank or overheat the humidifier.

Consider Your Pets

If you have pets, it’s particularly important to keep your humidifier off the ground so your furry friends can’t knock it over.

Warm mist humidifiers could burn pets, so it’s best to avoid using them around animals.

I also tuck power cords safely away so my dog won’t drag the humidifier off a table when she gets the zoomies.

TL;DR: Over humidification can cause water damage to your furniture, make your carpet and bedsheets damp, and turn your room into a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria to thrive.

Use The Right Water To Avoid Bacteria And Mineral Buildup

I recommend using only distilled water in your humidifier’s water reservoir.

Tap water may have minerals and bacteria in it that the humidifier could spew into your bedroom, resulting in possible illness.

The minerals could also lead to white dust settling on your bed and furniture.

Regular Cleaning Is Crucial

You should clean your humidifier at least once a week (although I recommend doing it every other day) to prevent mineral deposits, mold, and bacteria from building up in the device.

Use a mixture of water and white vinegar and a soft cloth to wipe the tank and other surfaces in direct contact with water.

TL;DR: Other than choosing a proper location, consider your pets, always use distilled water and perform regular cleaning of the humidifier to get maximum health benefits, improve its longevity and avoid accidents. 

Common Questions

Where Should You Put Your Humidifier If Your Bedroom Is Too Large?

If your bedroom is too large for your humidifier’s size, you can move the device 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) away from your bed.

The goal in your bedroom is to add moisture around the bed, so having the humidifier near your bed can be fine in a large room.

Should The Bedroom Door Be Closed When A Humidifier Is Running?

It’s best to not close the bedroom door when running a humidifier.

A partially open door can prevent excessive humidity from building up in the bedroom, especially if you’re running the device for a long time.

Do Humidifiers Make Everything Wet?

A properly placed humidifier does not make everything wet. Humidifiers should only be adding moisture to dry air.

If you notice dampness on the walls or furniture, move the humidifier at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from them.

Can You Over-Humidify A Room?

Yes, you can over-humidify a room. Excess humidity can lead to mold growth, asthma problems, and difficulty breathing.

I recommend purchasing a hygrometer so you can accurately monitor the air quality in your home.

So, How Far Should Humidifiers Be From Bed?

My bedroom humidifier has helped me sleep better by reducing coughing and snoring, while also providing white noise.

Your humidifier can do the same for you — if you keep it at a good distance.

Make sure that you keep your humidifier approximately 3-10 feet (1-3 meters) away from your bed and check your humidistat level each night.

You can then enjoy sweet dreams and maximum benefits while breathing in healthy, humidified air!


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Ile Kauppila

MA Multimedia Journalism / BA English Philology

Ile Kauppila
Ile Kauppila is a globetrotting writer and editor living in Virginia. Ile holds an MA degree in Multimedia Journalism and a BA in English Philology. Ile has written for a variety of home, HVAC, and energy-related websites and publications. He has covered HVAC solutions, insulation, and energy-efficient construction, automotive AC systems for multiple auto dealerships and garages.

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