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what to put in a humidifier

Unveiling the Secrets: What Can I Put In My Humidifier?

Humidifiers come with these big water tanks that make many people wonder: what can I put in it? I have to admit I have thought about it as well.

The short answer is except for water, you can also put salt, essential oil, Vicks Vaposteam, or other similar products in a humidifier. But remember, there are specific conditions that need to be met for each addition! 

Given this, I strongly advise you to thoroughly go through this post to ensure you have a clear grasp of what can be safely added to your humidifier.

You may have heard that many people in Korea dead because they used toxic humidifier sterilizer products. So you should always exercise caution when putting anything in your model.

1. Water

Since the core function of a humidifier is to infuse moisture into the air, it’s a no-brainer that water is a must.

When it comes to selecting the type of water to pour into your humidifier, the answer is quite versatile.

In most cases, distilled water is the best because it is free of minerals so you don’t need to worry about the white dust problem. Your humidifier will be easier to clean as well. 

However, it doesn’t mean that other types of water will actually ruin your humidifier. In fact, I know most people only use tap water with it because it is just so convenient and cheap.

Although using tap water can potentially turn your humidifier into a haven for bacteria and mold and lead to blockages, it’s manageable if you’re dedicated to maintaining regular cleaning routines.

Other types of water that are better than tap water include purified water, soft water, and even dehumidifier water. This is because they contain fewer mineral components than tap water.

2. Salt

put salt in a humidifier

If you have a vaporizer and the tap water in your area is relatively soft, chances are you need to add some salt to it

This is because the vaporizer adds moisture to the air by boiling the water. It increases the water’s temperature by making use of carbon electrodes connected to the electricity supply.

Usually, the more conductive the water is, the more efficiently these electrodes can work. By adding some salt to the water, the water’s conductivity can be significantly increased.

But don’t add salt to a cool mist humidifier. It will only increase the chance of blockages.

3. Essential oil

While diffusers and humidifiers have some similarities, they are different. You can’t add essential oil to a humidifier directly without checking the compatibility. 

This is because the essential oil may damage or deteriorate the plastic, affecting the functionality of your humidifier. 

Luckily, some humidifiers are made with stronger plastic and compatible with essential oil. For example, you can add essential oil directly to the water tank of Levoit Dual 200s and Frida 3-in-1. 

Some models come with an aroma box, which you can add essential oil to the pad in the box. 

4. Vicks Vaposteam or Vapopad

vicks vapopads

Many people want to know if they can put Vicks Vaporub in their humidifiers. Unfortunately, the answer is NO. This is because it contains petroleum jelly, which can clog the machine, and it is dangerous if inhaled.

Luckily, Vicks also make other products: Vaposteam and Vapopad, which you can put in your humidifier. According to its official website, Vaposteam is a medicated product that can aid in relieving coughs and facilitating easier breathing. On the other hand, Vapopad is not medicated but is intended to promote a relaxed sensation.

However, you shouldn’t add them directly to the water tank. You should use them on humidifiers that have a medicine cup or aroma box. 

Note that Vicks Vaposteam can’t be used for children under 2 years old. 

There are some similar products on the market, you should carefully read the instructions to ensure your safety and well-being.

5. Venta water treatment additive

This is only for people who own a Venta air washer. Adding the Venta water treatment additive to the water tank can help prevent mineral buildup.

What’s cool is that the minerals actually turn into this gel-like substance, so you won’t need to do as much maintenance.

Venta humidifiers use this evaporator thing with lots of chips to do their thing. Using this treatment additive can really make your life easier. 

6. Demineralization cartridge 

Humidifier Demineralization cartridge 

As I mentioned above, it is OK to use your humidifier with tap water although distilled water is always the optimal choice.

If you go for tap water, using a demineralization cartridge can actually be quite helpful. It’ll soak up the minerals in the water, which in turn cuts down on clogs and those pesky white dust issues.

Brands like Homedics often include one or two cartridges in their package. You’ll need to replace them regularly.

Final Thoughts

If you’re unsure about what to use in your humidifier, please stick to water. That’s the safest option, as humidifiers are designed to add moisture to the air.

To address the white dust concern, consider using a cartridge. If you want more warm vapor, you can add some salt to your vaporizer.

Certain humidifiers are compatible with essential oils—you might be able to put them in a water tank or an aroma box. Some models even feature medicine cups for products like Vaposteam or similar items.

Lastly, you might have heard about people using vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide in their humidifiers. They are only for killing bacteria and you should only use them shortly when cleaning and disinfecting. 

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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 more than 150 products in person, including 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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