Can You Put Essential Oils In A Humidifier?

Essential oils play a key role in maintaining your overall health. Now, one of the best ways to use these oils is through diffusers. Talking about diffusers, people often confuse it with humidifiers because they pretty much look the same. However, they are completely different. There are chances are that you might even have one at your home, which often calls up for one common question – can you put essential oils in a humidifier?

Well, let’s understand both these products in detail and make you aware if essential oils can be used in humidifiers or not.

So, let’s get started.

What Is A Humidifier?

can you put essential oils in a cool humidifier

A humidifier is a large device whose purpose is to increase the humidity of a space. In simple words, it increases the moisture levels in the air. Typically, it can hold about 1 gallon of water. It is often used to get rid of dry skin, treat sore throat, cure colds & flu, and breathe better.

Since a humidifier releases humid air into the house, it can also destroy the flu virus. Another benefit is that it helps lessen snoring. This is due to the fact that the moisture that it emits, keeps your throat from drying out.

What Is A Diffuser?

can you put essential oils in a humidifier

A diffuser is a small device that is exclusively designed to hold less water (typically about 150 – 500 ml). Its sole purpose is to form a small stream of mist to help carry an essential oil into the air.

Though a diffuser’s main function is to diffuse the essential oil in the air, it can also work as a humidifier.

Difference Between Humidifiers And Diffusers

Humidifier Diffuser
A large electrical device, which is exclusively designed to increase the humidity in a room. It sprays moisture in the air. A small electrical device, which is exclusively designed to spray or scatter essential oils throughout the room.
A humidifier ensures that the humidity levels in a room is well maintained. A diffuser ensures that the essential oils are spread in a room so that it smells aromatic.
A humidifier has a big water tank because it needs a big capacity to hold water and raise the room’s humidity levels effectively. A diffuser has a small water tank to hold the essential oils.
A humidifier’s tank can hold about 3800 ml of water on average. A diffuser’s tank can hold about 300 – 500 ml of water on average. Some diffusers might not need water.
A humidifier sprays moisture into the air through the air nozzle. A diffuser uses ultrasonic vibrations to help break down essential oil particles into microscopic oil particles.
A humidifier does not produce much sound. A diffuser produces loud sound. Since it uses ultrasonic vibrations, it results in loud noise.
A humidifier requires less maintenance. A diffuser requires proper maintenance.

How Long Should You Diffuse Essential Oils?

If you are using a diffuser, do not diffuse the essential oils more than 30 minutes. This also depends on how big your room is. If your room space is small, diffuse not more than 15 minutes. If your room is big, 30 minutes is fine.

Rule of Thumb: The main purpose of a diffuser is to occupy a room with aromatic particles or molecules without overpowering the space. Hence, you have to ensure that there is adequate vapor in the air to reap the benefits of any essential oil that you are diffusing. 
  • Never do the mistake of diffusing the essential oils for hours because it can cause headaches and even nausea.
  • According to a study performed on different spa workers, exposure to essential oils for 1 hour was proven effective for relaxation whereas prolonged exposure to essential oils – longer than an hour might be dangerous to cardiovascular health of spa workers.
  • People recommend dispersing essential oils for a maximum of 20 minutes (on average) at a time, given that your room size is small or medium. But if you are diffusing in a bigger space, use it for 30 minutes or at least until you notice that the scents of an essential oil has scattered throughout the area.

Buy A Diffuser That Has A Timer With It

Most diffusers that are sold in the market these days come with timers. This is an incredible feature, which gives you an idea as to how long should you let a diffuser run.

So, if you are someone who chooses to have proper control over how much scent should your home have, it is best to buy a diffuser that has different timer options.

Say, for instance, if you have a diffuser whose timer can be set for 15 minutes, then you could just turn on the diffuser for a when you are in the shower.

On the other hand, if you have guests coming to your home in an hour, try setting the timer to 1 hour. Your home will smell fantastic when they arrive. The best part – you don’t have to remember that your diffuser needs to be turned off.

A timer is a great way to prevent a diffuser from diffusing the essential oils for too long. Even though a diffuser is designed to last for a longer time, when you use it frequently, especially turn it on and leave it too long, not only is it dangerous but also its inner parts work harder.

Now, this leads to deterioration much faster. However, when you have a timer, a diffuser’s life expectancy and efficiency become better.

Benefits Of Diffusing Essential Oils

 Assume that you are standing near a beautiful waterfall, surrounded by deep green trees. Now, one breath of that cool mist can take you to a stage of great “wellness.” What if I tell you that you could bring that same feeling indoors?

That’s exactly what happens when you diffuse essential oils.

Fact: We take 25,000 breaths every day on average. An average adult breathes around 6.3 – 8.4 million times a year. Individuals who live up to 80 years breathe over 500 million times. (1, 2)

Therefore, paying attention to what kind of air we breathe makes a big deal, especially when it comes to well-being. Most of us live in overcrowded buildings with polluted surroundings that we tend to forget what fresh air and green outdoors feel like. But no matter where you live, a diffuser can help you take healthy breaths.

Every essential oil is a distilled natural concentrate, which retains the aroma of the plant it is extracted from. It has soothing and healing properties. Diffusing an essential oil in your home creates a lovely aroma, calms or uplifts your mood, heals your physical infirmities, balances emotions, and purifies the air.

Let’s understand how diffusing essential oils can benefit your overall health.

1. Relieves stress

Essential oils have been well admired to relieve stress and this fact is not new. They have been used since ancient times for various health benefits. Several studies have already proven that EOs can alleviate the signs of depression, anxiety, and maintains your overall health. (3)

Essential oils for stress: 

2. Enhances respiratory health

It is well known that inhaling plant oils can get rid of colds, coughs, inflammation in your respiratory tracts, and improve your immunity. So, the next time you feel like that your nose is blocked, diffuse a few drops of eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, or tea tree oil. These can do wonders do your health. (4)

Essential oils for respiratory health:

3. Puts you to sleep

One of the most well-known and admired uses of essential oils is that they help you to relax after a tiring day. Most essential oils encourage neurotransmitter activities in your brain, stimulating the release of hormones like dopamine & serotonin for an uninterrupted and peaceful sleep. (5)

Essential oils for good sleep:

Set a diffuser close to your bed and diffuse a few oils for 20 minutes to relax your body and mind for better sleep at night.

4. Uplifts your mood

Besides de-stressing, diffusing essential oils in a diffuser help in uplifting your mood. So, the next time when you are feeling little low, sad, or depressed about something, essential oils can come in handy. They set a healthy, positive atmosphere and help you feel revitalized. (6)

Essential oils for good mood:

5. Controls your appetite

This might sound little surprising but the fact is that essential oils can do a great deed in controlling your appetite. A few EOs are well-known for interacting with your limbic system (your brain’s emotional side) and suppressing your cravings to eat. So, this could be great if you are overeating or trying to lose some weight.

Essential oils for appetite control:

Can You Put Essential Oils In A Humidifier?

No, you cannot use essential oils in humidifiers because most of them are made of plastic components and since they release vapor with the help of heat, it cannot handle plant oil or essential oils. It degrades the plastic parts and damages the humidifier.

Can You Put Essential Oils In A Cool Mist Humidifier?

Yes, you can put essential oils in a cool mist humidifier because it does not use heat to release vapor. It is as effective as a diffuser and can handle plant oils safely, provided that its compatibility with EOs is mentioned in its specifications.

So, if you are using essential oils in a cool mist humidifier, make sure to read its features and its ability to handle them.

If they don’t mention anything about essential oils, then using them is a clear NO. This could be due to two reasons:

  • Essential oils are so strong or potent that you are risking the possibility to break down the plastic (non-hospital grade) of your cool mist humidifier. This might damage its parts or make it lose its efficiency.
  • A cool mist humidifier works by drawing water (from the bottom of the water tank) and scattering them out. Apparently, water and oil don’t mix. Therefore, your essential oils will just remain stagnant in the humidifier and don’t disperse unless the water drops become empty. However, if you have a cool mist humidifier that takes hours for it to turn empty, then you will certainly see essential oils being sprayed out.

So, this means that you need to get a humidifier that can do both – humidify and diffuse.

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