Can you put essential oils in humidifiers? That question is not strange to anyone who uses a humidifier occasionally in their home. Since a number of humidifiers feature an in-built aroma box where you can add your favorite essential oils and enjoy a relaxing and refreshing aroma, most people take advantage of this and save the money that would have been spent on an essential oil diffuser. But is it unwise to put essential oils in your humidifier instead of using an oil diffuser? Well, read on to find out the right thing you need to do.
Lots of people find essential oils to be a real help for their physical and mental health. Here are just some of the ways in which people find essential oils useful:
- Getting rid of stress after a long day
- Focusing the attention
- Relaxing and unwinding
- Alter your mood and the mood of others in the room
- Clean the air of the room
- Dealing with insomnia and difficulty sleeping
In fact, our sense of smell is really interesting. People will often smell something in the air that takes them right back to a time in the past. The memories become vivid and the smell reminds them of a specific time. This is because our sense of smell is directly tied into our memory centers. When we smell something familiar, our memories are triggered and this shortcuts everything else in the brain to produce a vivid memory.
Using a Diffuser for Essential Oils
Lots of people use diffusers for burning their essential oils. These are great because they don’t take up much space and don’t even require power. The essential oils simply slowly burn off and produce a scent that gradually fills the room. They are also affordable and come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors.
For many people, the diffuser is a great way to burn essential oils, but some people also like to put them in humidifiers. Given that humidifiers are common in households where adults or children might suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses, it would seem natural to use them, but is it possible? Is it good for the humidifier?
What Is a Humidifier and What Is a Diffuser?
In climates where there is low moisture in the air, a humidifier can be very useful. A humidifier adds some moisture back into the air. This helps out people who have asthma and other illnesses, and it can even help with dry and cracked lips and dry skin.
In a warm mist humidifier, the water is boiled and the steam is then released into the atmosphere. In a cool mist humidifier, air is moved through a water containing wick and this air is then released into the atmosphere where it contains more moisture.
Diffusers are a great way to add the scent of an essential oil to a room and they come in three styles: nebulizers, ultrasonic diffusers, and cool mist humidifiers. All three of them are useful and very good at adding essential oils to a room.
Using Essential Oils in a Humidifier
If you already have a portable humidifier unit, it would seem like an easy decision to add some drops of essential oil to the distilled water. Indeed, many people do this, and while it is certainly possible, there are a few things to be aware of, including:
- By-products: You might think that essential oils simply burn off and leave no residue behind, but the problem is that some of them will leave byproducts, such as plastic coatings. This residue can build up inside your humidifier and can cause damage. If you neglect to clean it out, then it will be difficult to get rid of. Just be aware that when you add essential oils to your humidifier, it has not actually been designed to deal with essential oils.
- Timers: Lots of humidifiers don’t actually have timers that you can set. Timers can be useful for when you only want something on for a certain period of time. The problem is that if you are also vaporizing essential oils in a humidifier without a timer, you don’t have full control. As your body absorbs the essential oils and you gain benefits from them, if you leave it for too long you, can become oversaturated.
- Overheating: If you have a warm air humidifier that boils the water and vaporizes it, it’s probably not really worth adding essential oils to it. This is because the boiling or heating process will damage the essential oils so that they don’t do what they are supposed to do for your health. In this case, it will all have been a waste of money.
- Not a diffuser: While diffusers are made just for essential oils, humidifiers serve a similar, but quite different purpose. One of the biggest problems is that the humidifier isn’t made to break down essential oils into small particles that can be inhaled and absorbed. Your room might smell nice, but the health benefits of the oils in this case will be quite small and you’ll have wasted your money once again.
What If You Really Need to Use a Humidifier?
Maybe you don’t have a diffuser. Maybe you have some essential oils that someone gave you as a gift and you just want to try them out and see if they work for you before spending more money on them. Given that there are some distinct issues with using essential oils in a regular humidifier, what can you do?
If you really want to use your humidifier for those oils, here’s how to get around some of the problems:
- Cleaning is key: If you’re going to use essential oils in your humidifier, the least that you can do is make sure that you clean it regularly. Many oils will leave a residue after they have been used, and this residue can build up inside your humidifier device and cause damage to it over time.
- Keep it cool: Since boiling essential oils will damage them and render them useless, the best way to avoid doing this is to use them in a cool mist humidifier. These types of humidifiers work by directing air through a wick and then picking up the moisture. As they do this, the essential oil particles are also picked up. It’s not as effective as using a proper essential oil diffuser, but at least you won’t damage your oils.
- Turn it off: Because most humidifier units don’t have a timer, they will run until they are turned off. The problem with this is that if you put essential oils in them, you’ll have no control over how long the unit is on for. Oversaturating the air with essential oils can overwhelm your system and make it more stressful and less relaxing. The best thing you can do here is to turn off the humidifier after a set period of time.
- Not too much at once: The fact is that some really good quality essential oils can cost a fair amount of money, so you really don’t want to waste them. If you must use a humidifier, make sure that you don’t use too much oil. One of the big differences between diffusers and humidifiers is that humidifiers have a larger tank for distilled water. Don’t fill it up with oil and you’ll save yourself some money. If you just want a whiff of the oil in the air, why not just add several drops instead? You might not gain all of the health benefits, but you will have a nice smelling room.
What Essential Oils Are Best to Use in a Humidifier?
If you really want to use your humidifier for your essential oils and you’re willing to take steps not to burn the oil or damage your machine, there are a number of oils that work best in these cases. If you have access to them and can afford them, here are some of the best essential oils to use in humidifiers and why you should use them:
- If you’ve had a long and stressful day, a good dose of Lavender oil in the air can help to relax you and promote calmness of mind
- On the other end of the scale, Eucalyptus oil has long been associated with specific health benefits, and using it in your diffusers or humidifier can make you more alert, wake your brain up, and act to reverse inflammation in the body
- Tea-tree oil is similar to Eucalyptus in that it can help with inflammation, but it can also help to clear blocked noses and sinuses and relieve cold and flu symptoms
- Peppermint oil is a good all-around oil for helping to promote alertness and focus, as well as helping with sinuses, blocked noses, and headaches
What’s the Answer?
Essential oils are great because they can promote some real health benefits, but the best idea is to buy a diffuser that has been made specifically for them. Though many people have humidifiers, they are not ideal for oils. With that being said, if you take the right precautions and buy the right oils, you can certainly make use of your humidifier in the short term while you get hold of a proper essential oil diffuser.
Whichever you use, humidifier or diffuser, essential oils can help to promote health, wellness, and general well-being. Just make sure that you are aware of how to use them properly.