Today:24 May, 2024

Can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

The air in the room you are in is the key to your health. Agree, it’s nice to have not only healthy air in the room, but the house is fragrant with your favorite aromas. Today, people are paying more and more attention to their health. That is why one of the recent trends of scenting the air is aromatherapy sessions, which can be carried out at home. For these purposes, it is preferable not to use artificial air fresheners, but natural essential oils. A humidifier can be used to spray them evenly throughout the room. In this article, we’re going to talk about whether you can put essential oils in your humidifier.

The quick answer is yes. However, not all types of humidifiers are suitable for this purpose. To avoid damaging your humidifier and, moreover, harming your health, check out our recommendations.

What is an essential oil?

essential oil

Have you heard the term aromatherapy? It is a wholesome healing process that uses natural oils extracted from plants. These oils are called essential oils and they contain the scent of their source plant. This long-lasting scent is believed to improve the health of the mind, body, and spirit through the inhalation and absorption of the skin.

Essential oils have been used for decades. Recently, many health professionals have started taking interest in them for their healing properties. There are hundreds of essential oils available in the market. Most common include; Eucalyptus, Tree tea, Rose Mary, Lemon Grass, etc.

Since these oils have a thick formula, they need to be diluted in one way or another to avoid breathing problems. If you are using them in your humidifier, they need to be broken into small vapors – with a diffuser – and transmitted to the environment.

First, let’s understand what a humidifier is.

What is a humidifier and how does it work?

The function of a humidifier is to maintain the humidity conditions of indoor space by diffusing water vapors into the surrounding.

The two types of humidifiers are:

  • cool mist humidifier,
  • warm mist humidifier.

The cool mist humidifier differs from the warm mist by diffusing the water-vapor-contained air through a fan, whereas the latter boils the water till it evaporates. The vapors are then dispersed into the room air.

Warm mist and vaporizers are quieter since they operate without a fan. They also tend to make the surrounding air a little warmer. In a household with children and pets, a cool-mist humidifier is preferred due to the absence of heating elements.

What is a diffuser and how does it work?

what is a diffuser

Diffusers are primarily manufactured to diffuse essential oils within a room or a closed space. They do not necessarily increase moisture levels. The function of a diffuser is to break the potent essential oil particles into tiny particles and disperse them in the air. This fine mist can be inhaled easily and does not irritate the skin.

There are three types of diffusers:

  • ultrasonic diffuser,
  • nebulizing diffuser,
  • evaporative diffuser.

The ultrasonic diffuser uses a disc that vibrates and breaks the essential oils into smaller particles and transmits them into the air. The nebulizing diffuser pumps the oil through small tubes which converts the oil into mist and is spread into the air.

The evaporative diffuser uses heat to carry out its function.

A diffuser can maintain the humidity levels of an environment but since it is not manufactured for this purpose, the water tray is small. Hence, the result is unsatisfactory.

Humidifier vs diffuser: which one is better for using essential oils

Above, we have understood what makes a humidifier different from a diffuser. Simply put, a humidifier disperses water vapors into the air to maintain humidity whereas a diffuser diffuses essential oils to make the air pleasant. A diffuser also brings forth health benefits.

So, can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Now, a question arises: can you add essential oils to a humidifier? If yes, then in what quantity? If no, then what is an alternative option to get an air that is cool as well as scented?

The humidifier which uses a fan to transmit cool air cannot be used with essential oil because the heavy oil particles clog the filters and abrade the fan. This hampers durability and reduces the life of the machine.

In the case of a warm mist humidifier, the manufacturers advise not to use it with essential oils. The heat used to boil the water can alter the chemical constitution of the essential oils. This can cause the scent of oil to change and can result in potential health risks.

Adding essential oil to your humidifiers without following the guidelines can cause the oil to collect and form a thick layer inside the machine. Over time, the humidifier will malfunction. The plastic tank made for holding water can erode with the use of essential oils and lose its strength.

If you still choose to use essential oils in a humidifier, add 3-4 drops to the water tank. You will get your desired result but you have to scrub it thoroughly and be prepared to replace it more often.

2-in-1 humidifiers

Fortunately, there are 2-in-1 humidifiers that can perform both as a humidifier and a diffuser. They come with a special tray for putting the essential oil drops and do not affect the functionality of the device. The tray separates the oil from the water tank and a humidifier disperses the oil into the room. Monthly maintenance of this machine can result in lasting durability. Some models that can use essential oils are covered in our review of large room humidifiers.

Best essential oils for humidifier and diffuser

Several essential oils are added to a humidifier and diffuser. Based on their health benefits and healing characteristics following are our top 5 picks.



Lemon essential oil is extracted from lemon skin. It is usually applied on the skin mixed with vegetable oil or dispersed in the air and inhaled. Lemon essential oil is said to give clear skin, resist bacteria, fight exhaustion, and helps reduce anxiety. One of the many benefits of lemon essential oil includes boosting your brainpower and perking up your mood.



The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia but is now grown all over the world. The oil produced by crushing dried eucalyptus leaves is claimed to have various health benefits. Rubbing eucalyptus oil on the chest eases cough and inhaling it clears mucus from your chest. Having anti-inflammatory properties, it is applied on minor burns for a soothing effect.



A long-time favorite – Lavender essential oil – calms a racing heart and mind. It is also used by people who have trouble sleeping. The Lavandula plant’s oil helps to treat skin infections and promotes relaxation. It also reduces nausea and relieves headaches.



Native to North America, peppermint oil is extracted from an aromatic herb. The oil induces a purified air and a sweet scent. It is applied to particular areas of skin to prevent itching and muscular pain. Peppermint oil also helps in easing respiratory issues and flu.

Wild orange

Wild orange tree

Wild orange oil comes from sweet orange zest. It is rubbed on the surface to make them squeaky clean. Its delicious scent relieves stress, boosts energy levels, and refreshes the environment.


  • What happens if you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Relax. Nothing bad happens if you use essential oils and a humidifier together. If your humidifier does not have a specific tray for the oil, you will need to take extra precautions to avoid damaging the machine parts.

Follow the instructions given in the manual and use the right amount of oil drops in the correct tray.

  • Where do you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Usually, in a 2-in-1 humidifier (having a diffuser), the essential oils are added in a separate tray. The humidifier sprays this oil into the atmosphere. In a simple humidifier, you will add the essential oils to the water tank. The oil will disperse along with the water vapors.

Remember, timely maintenance will result in better performance.

  • How many drops of essential oil should I put in my humidifier?

Add 3-5 drops to your humidifier. This quantity is enough to be dispersed in the air and induce peacefulness and therapeutic effects.

  • Is sleeping with a humidifier good for you?

If your city happens to have a dry climate, sleeping with a humidifier is excellent for your health. It is also allowed by health professionals. Humidifier removes dryness from the atmosphere by transmitting vaporized air. This air can soothe your throat, moisturize your skin, and impart better sleep.

If you combine this with essential oils you can also enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy in your cozy space. However, you need to clean the machine after every 3 to 4 days to avoid health risks.


A humidifier is a handy machine in environments where there are low moisture levels. Combining humidifiers with essential oils creates moist and pleasant air that you can enjoy while doing your chores. Out of the many essential oils, pick a favorite one – that aligns with your taste – and add the correct amount in the humidifier. Make sure to clean the humidifier, now and then for its increased life span.

Joseph is the founder and Chief Editor of "Indoor To Outdoor". He is an entrepreneur with experience in sales of household products. He also travels a lot, takes pictures and loves to ride a bike.

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