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Essential Oils & Humidifiers – Everything You Need to Know

If you’re using a humidifier in your home, you may be wondering if you can add essential oils to make it smell good or to get the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. In general, it’s not recommended to put essential oils in a humidifier. But there are a few exceptions. Here’s everything you need to know about using essential oils and humidifiers. 

What are Humidifiers

Humidifiers, as their name implies, add or restore moisture and humidity – the amount of moisture in the atmosphere – to the surrounding air inside a closed space like your room, and even your entire house. These are useful especially during seasons when humidity is very low like during the fall or winter, or when weather conditions cause humidity to drop.

Why Use a Humidifier

Generally, too much or too little humidity can be uncomfortable and even harmful for us, especially in prolonged exposure. A humidity level of 30-50 percent is recommended for indoor air to prevent any irritation or adverse effects.

High humidity causes you to feel hot, sweaty, and you are prone to heat strokes and dehydration. Low humidity, on the other hand, leaves you vulnerable to experiencing nose, throat, eye irritations, and dry skin. 

Humidifiers also help maintain the condition of your house since humidity below or above the recommended levels can also damage some furniture and interiors. Static electricity can also build up in dry closed spaces, and this could be a huge fire hazard. You can prevent cracks on paint jobs, walls, woodwork, hardwood floors and keep molds at bay when you keep the inside of your house within the recommended moisture levels. 

How Humidifiers Work

Humidifiers have one job: add moisture to the air. They employ different technologies to do this depending on the type of humidifier. 

Evaporative humidifiers use a paper filter, cloth, or wick to pull water from the device’s reservoir, and a fan pushes the moisture to the air. 

Ultrasonic humidifiers use the same kind of technology most popular essential oil diffusers have. Metal discs in the device break the water down and then push out to the air in a mist. 

A lot of humidifiers nowadays are automated and self-regulating; most come with humidity sensors and regulate the room’s humidity to your desired level. They can start and stop automatically depending on the moisture level of your space. 

Humidifiers vs. Diffusers

It’s easy to understand why people think humidifiers and diffusers are similar devices: they both involve water and they employ similar methods in dispersing water or essential oils into the air in a mist. 

However they are different devices with different purposes. Humidifiers are specifically built to break down water, while diffusers are built to break down the essential oil solutions. 

Most humidifiers are just not built to handle substances other than water. They are made from a lot of plastic, and have materials and components that might get damaged when you put essential oils in them. The extra “weight” of the oils also makes the entire device susceptible to clogs, and parts could break. 

Diffusers on the other hand, are specifically made to diffuse essential oils for their aromatherapeutic benefits. While diffusers can add moisture to the surrounding air, it’s not as effective and efficient as a humidifier when you want to regulate a room’s humidity. 

Some Humidifiers Are Designed for Essential Oils

If you’re looking for a device that can both add moisture to your room while reaping the benefits of essential oils, you’re in luck because you can find humidifiers designed to also diffuse essential oils. These come with containers or trays where you can put essential oils that are separate from the water tank. These are specifically made to be the best of both worlds, so you can finally have the option to add humidity and diffuse oils at the same time. 


Another device you can look into are vaporizers. These devices basically use heat to boil the water and blow the hot steam to add moisture to the air, effectively doing the job of a humidifier.

It is also generally advised against putting essential oils in vaporizers since heat is known to change the oils’ chemistry and you would lose their benefits. 

While they are an alternative to humidifiers and essential oil diffusers, they aren’t as popular mainly because they use heat, and they’re not advisable for use around children and pets. 


To answer the question again: no, you can’t put essential oils on humidifiers as this can damage the device. You stand to reap the aromatherapeutic benefits of essential oils when you use dedicated essential oil diffusers.
However, you do have the option to enjoy a fragrant, humidity-regulated room using a humidifier designed specifically for diffusing essential oils, like the YJY Humidifier

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