How To Use A Vicks Humidifier? [Step-By-Step Guide]

Vicks is a household name due to its Vaporub. But now, it has become a big brand that produces an array of products aiming to relieve symptoms related to dry climates, cough, congestion, etc. Vicks humidifiers are popular in the market, and I have one as well. Today, I will share with you how to use a Vicks humidifier properly.

Note that there are a few different types of Vicks humidifiers on the market, but the way you use them is more or less the same.

Setting up the Vicks humidifier 

Before running the device, you should decide where to put it and what to add to the water reservoir.

Step 1: Find a good spot to place your Vicks humidifier 

Where to put your Vicks humidifier is dependent on how big your room is, what type of furniture you have, and whether it is a warm mist or cold mist model. 

Humidifiers tend to create a concentrated area that can be over-humidified. Therefore, you should keep it away from objects susceptible to water damage.

For example, you should keep a few feets away from electronics. Humidifiers will not damage electronics, but they can cause adverse effects when you place a humidifier too close to them.

You should also place it a few feets away from the bed. When you have a Vicks vaporizer, you should put it in a place that is hard to reach by your children or pets. The hot water in the tank can cause burns easily.

You should always leave some space between the device and the wall for air circulation and ensure the surface is flat.

Step 2: Fill the water with water 

fill the water

Some Vicks humidifiers are filterless, and some are not. Except for the Vicks warm steam vaporizer, adding distilled humidifier is always the best option. It can prevent mineral buildup and inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold. 

You can add either distilled water or tap water for the models that require a wicking filter. But using distilled water can decrease the filter replacement frequency. I have a Vicks starry night model. It has a wick inside, but I still add distilled water to it.

At last, don’t fill the tank with hot water. It is dangerous and can shorten the lifespan of your device. Even if you have a warm mist unit, don’t do it.

Step 3: Add Vaposteam or Vapopad if you need it

humidifier and vapopads

You can’t add Vicks (the Vicks Vaporub) to a humidifier. But instead, you can use Vaposteam or Vapopad as alternatives. 

Many Vicks humidifiers come with a medicine cup, a door, or a slot for you to pour Vaposteam or insert Vapopad. They will release the scent when the device is running.

Vapopad can work with both cool mist models and warm mist models. But Vaposteam is often compatible with Vicks vaporizer or the model with a heated medicine cup.

Step 4: Plug in the device

Plug the cord into the outlet on the wall. Remember to check if your hands are dry since wet hands can lead to an electric shock.

Adjust and run the Vicks humidifier 

Now it is time for you to watch the show of your lovely Vicks humidifier. They don’t involve many complicated functions, and soon, you can figure them out.

Step 1: Adjust the humidity setting

In general, humidifiers only come with one or two knobs for settings, and the same goes for a Vicks humidifier.

There is a big knob on the front for you to adjust the humidity setting. You can turn the know clockwise to increase the amount of mist or vapor coming out of a humidifier. Some also have a sleeping mode specially designed for use at night. 

You should turn it counterclockwise when you want to close it, or the water runs out of water.

Step 2: Turn on the projector

vicks humidifier projector

This is a very interesting feature that many Vicks humidifiers have. I personally have a model with a starry night theme projector. Some models even have a projector with three themes. 

This feature is usually independent, meaning that you can turn it on even if the humidity setting is not turned on. 

It can create a romantic and beautiful atmosphere at night, which helps your children and yourself to get a better mood before getting to sleep.

Step 3: Check the hygrometer

Very few, if any, Vicks humidifiers have a built-in humidistat. Therefore, you should monitor the room humidity level through an extra hygrometer. While low humidity can be uncomfortable, an over-humidified environment can be the playground of dust mites and molds. 

Whenever the humidity level is over 60%, you should turn the humidifier off or open the window to let some dry air come in. 

Step 4: Refill the water

Many Vicks models can run up to 24 hours or even 30 hours. But I still suggest you change the water every day. The stagnant water in the tank could be the peri dish for molds and bacteria, which can pose risks to your health.

Most models have an auto-shutoff feature while running out of water, so you don’t have to worry too much.

To refill the water, you should turn off the machine and unplug it. Pull up the water tank, unscrew the cap on the bottom, dump the remaining water, and then fill with water again. 

Maintain the Vicks humidifier

Humidifiers are terrific for many of us, but they have annoying upkeep. Luckily, many Vicks models have a large cap and base, making cleaning may not be as hard as you imagine. But still, you should maintain it.

It is recommended to clean the Vicks humidifier at least once a week. If you often use it day and night, you should be diligent and increase the frequency. 

Step 1: Unplug the humidifier

The humidifier is electronics, so you should unplug it before any cleaning routine. If you are using a warm steam vaporizer or warm mist humidifier, you should wait about half an hour until the water in the tank is back to room temperature. Otherwise, it might cause burns. 

Step 2: Unattach the tank and fill it with white vinegar

The same as refilling the water, you need to take out the tank and dump the water. As a natural and effective homemade cleanser, Vinegar has often been used in cleaning the humidifier. The manufacturer also suggests we do so.

You don’t have to make any homemade solution. You can directly pour two cups of undiluted vinegar into the tank, close the cap, and then swirl it around the tank to let every corner is reached. 

Now you should put the tank back so that a portion of white vinegar can drain to the base. 

Step 3: Let the vinegar sit for a while

To loosen up the mineral buildup and kill the germs, you should keep the vinegar in the tank and base for a while. 

For those who clean the device regularly, it may only take 1 or 2 hours. But to remove the stubborn buildup, may cost you 3 to 4 hours. 

Step 4: Rinse off

You can’t run the humidifier with vinegar in it. Therefore, you should rinse it off before filling the water in the tank. Dump the vinegar in the reservoir and base, then fill with water a few times until no parts smell like vinegar. 

Step 5: Dry the Vicks unit

You can air-dry the appliance if you are not in a hurry. But the tank is hard to get dried quickly. You can use a dry cloth to facilitate the process. 

If you don’t plan to use it recently, you should make sure every part is dry and clean before putting it in the cabinet.


This post is a complete guide on how to use a Vicks humidifier. There is no significant difference between using a Vicks humidifier and any other humidifier. 

Place it in a safe place, fill the water and plug it in, and then you are good to go. By turning the knobs, you can either adjust the humidity setting or projector. When using a Vicks model, keeping it clean is critical. You don’t want the humidifier to end up making you sick, right?

As far as I know, Vicks humidifiers are of high quality. It will be your best friend on dry days for a long time.

About The Author

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested dozens of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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