Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

If you have considering purchasing a humidifier or vaporizer in the past several years, you may have heard of essential oils. It may have even been the reason you considered a humidifier in the first place, as there has been a significant rise in the popularity of essential oils.

Well, putting those oils into a humidifier can actually do more harm than good, despite what some companies would head you to believe. Before you consider purchasing a humidifier to use with essential oil, you’ll want to understand a bit more about them.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are part of the aromatherapy world, and while it may seem new, a variety of natural substances have been used as essential oils for thousands of years. These compounds are made by extracting the essence of plants like Lavender, Chamomile, Spearmint, and Bergamont. You can apply essential oils in several different ways, but steam is typically the most popular choice for most homeowners.


As the name implies, a humidifier is a device that adds humidity to the air. They are an excellent choice for rooms and areas with dry air, which can stop up your sinuses and dry out your skin. The best humidifiers can even help when you have a seasonal cold or the flu, but there is more than one type of humidifier available on the market today.

  • Warm mist Humidifier – These humidifiers use steam to increase the humidity in a room, which is released into the air as a warm, soothing mist. As heat is involved, placement is key, which means they aren't ideal for children's bedrooms or in homes with pets.
  • Cool mist Humidifier – Cool mist humidifiers are safer because of their design, and won't consume as much energy as a warm mist system. They are the most popular style, which means they are also available in larger sizes. There are two variants of cool mist humidifiers as well with Ultrasonic and Evaporative systems.
  • Ultrasonic Humidifier – When you are in need of a quiet humidifier, ultrasonic systems are usually the best option. These humidifiers make use of a metal diaphragm that vibrates at high speeds to release mist. They do not put off heat but are typically the most expensive style.
  • Evaporative Humidifier – Evaporative systems are similar to oil lamps as they have a wick that draws moisture into the humidifier from the tank. They remain cool, are easy to use and quite affordable but can be noisier than the other styles.

Using essential oils in humidifiers

Wondering if you can actually use essential oils in a humidifier? Well, the quick answer is no unless the manufacturer of the system tells you that it is safe to do so. In our research, we found that most companies specifically state to not use oils in their systems, despite the fact many manufactures of essential oils say it’s perfectly fine to use.

Using essential oils in humidifier

With Ultrasonic humidifiers, essential oils aren’t recommended. That’s because oils can cause the nebulizer to clog up, but can also potentially cause your water tank to crack. It’s not something you’ll see overnight, but an issue plenty of homeowners have experienced.

Essential oils can crack or damage the water tank of any humidifier. Any substance other than water that is in contact with the water tank for an extended period of time can weaken the material or cause it to break down. Oils can have the same effect on filters or even gum up the inside of your system, making it unusable.

We found that warm mist humidifiers are the more likely to accept oils, but it’s still hit or miss depending on the brand. Some models will have built-in cups or diffusers specially geared towards essential oils. The same rules apply to cool air humidifiers. Although they have wicks, internal parts and the tank can still be damaged by using essential oils.

Final Thoughts

While there are a number of systems on the market that can clear up excess humidity or add some to the air. They excel in what they were built to do but falter in other areas like filtration and oil diffusion. There are a few 2-in-1 humidifiers that can handle both tasks, but good diffusor is the best option for your home when you want to take full advantage of essential oils and the benefits that come along with them.

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