Can you put Vicks in a humidifier and is it safe to do so? Read on to find out whether it’s recommended or not.
When you get right down to it, we as human beings are both quite hardy and incredibly finicky. We are able to survive in conditions as diverse and inhospitable as the blistering Savannah and blizzard-ridden Siberia. From vast mountain ranges to the loveliest lowlands and from pole to pole, we have spread our influence and made ourselves at home on what Carl Sagan and the Apollo Astronauts came to call this “Pale Blue Dot.” The Pyramids, The Great Way, Notre Dame, The Sistine Chapel, The Statue of Liberty, The Statue of Christ the Redeemer – all products of our impeccable ingenuity.
Yet, for all of that, if the temperature or humidity is just a bit off in our homes, we go to pieces – or, at the very least, get incredibly frustrated. Taming the world is one thing, but when discomfort works its way into our homes, that somehow feels like a step too far. Luckily, our ingenuity and entrepreneurship have tackled this problem as well, producing air conditioners, coolers, humidifiers, and other products with which to help make ourselves feel more at home in our temperate climate-controlled domestic environments. Not content to stop there, some of us have continued to tinker with these objects.
Which leads us to our question – can you use Vicks in a humidifier, should you, and what other tips and tricks can help your humidifier be that much more effective?
What Is Vicks?
First, in case you’re not up to speed on your VapoRub, Vicks is just that, a type of ointment that is typically applied to the chest for medicinal purposes. It is a brand with a long history, dating back to well over a century of use in America. During that time, it has been used to treat everything from coughs and colds to muscle soreness and other aches and pains. People of a certain age can still remember a time when inhaling Vicks VapoRub was part and parcel of staying home as part of a sick day from school.
Now that we’re adults, with homes and humidifiers of our own, this brings us back to our central question – can we safely update that old treatment method and use Vicks VapoRub with a humidifier?
A Word on Humidifiers
Next, let’s take a look at humidifiers. They combine humidifying fluids and fans to disperse a fine cleansing mist throughout a given area. This makes it seem like Vicks should be a great match on first blush. Simply pour in the VapoRub the same way as you would fill it with humidifier fluid, turn it on, and you should be good to go – right?
The Problems Begin
Wrong. While it may seem like VapoRub and humidifiers are a match made in heaven, the devil’s in the details – and they are none too good. For starters, there’s the question of what you’re going to do with your humidifier fluid while this is going on.
If you put it in, you’re talking about mixing VapoRub and humidifier fluid. Oil and water may not mix, but they almost sound like a more enticing combination than those two. On the other hand, if you leave it out, then your humidifier is no longer humidifying your home, is it?
Either way, you have a major problem on your hands – and that’s before we get into what’s actually in VapoRub itself.
What’s in Your VapoRub and Why it Matters
Capital One likes to ask, “What’s in your wallet?” so let’s take the opportunity to ask – “What’s in your VapoRub?” That’s at least as important a thing to know if you’re planning on pouring it into a humidifier and inhaling it as it’s dispersed throughout your home.
It’s here that we come across the biggest problem with using VapoRub, namely, that it can actually be quite hazardous to inhale in such a way as is facilitated by humidifiers. VapoRub contains something called petrolatum, which you might otherwise recognize as petroleum jelly. This can really irritate your respiratory system when inhaled, especially in the way in which it will be present in the air should you have it in your humidifier.
The problems don’t stop there. Vicks VapoRub is also, by its very nature, greasy. Anyone who has ever had VapoRub smeared on their chest can attest to its cool, greasy texture. This can be great for treating muscle aches or a nasty chest cold, but it doesn’t mix well with a humidifier. That greasy texture can get into the inner workings of a humidifier and begin to interfere with it, which can result in the unit having problems, and you definitely don’t want to jeopardize your humidifier over something as trivial as that.
VapoRub also has the potential to be flammable – not exactly something you want to hear when you’re placing it in a humidifier unit which can potentially grow hot with use.
Can You Put Vicks In A Humidifier?
By now, we’ve gone over the litany of problems that can come with using Vicks VapoRub in this improper fashion. But surely if we can create all of those great Wonders of the World we can work out how to make Vicks and humidifiers go together.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can make Vicks work with your humidifier.
The most important thing to realize here is that Vicks VapoRub not only isn’t the only option here, but likewise isn’t the only option here from Vicks. After all, having been around for more than a century, the company has more than a little experience anticipating and meeting the demands of customers. They understand the natural inclination on the part of customers to mix Vicks products and humidifiers.
That’s why they offer VapoSteam. This option is just what it sounds like – a Vicks product that can safely be converted into the kind of steam which can be safe to use in your humidifier. These products feature everything from eucalyptus to specialty oils which are designed to be dispersed in such a way as to fit well with humidifiers.
Even more importantly, these VapoSteam options do not feature petrolatum, getting rid of arguably the biggest and most hazardous stumbling block to being able to use Vicks in humidifiers. Instead, it makes use of something called camphor, which can be of even greater use when it comes to soothing coughs and having the kind of medicinal impact you would hope for and expect from Vicks.
Use is also quite easy. To start, you need only fill the tank which is going to hold the VapoSteam with water before then adding a tablespoon of VapoSteam for every quart that you end up using.
There is one final alternative to consider. Vicks VapoPads are just what they sound like – pads which can be added to your humidifier instead of VapoSteam. Simply add them to your steam humidifier, and they will release that soothing healing waft of air you’ve come to expect from Vicks along with a lovely scented aroma. These pads are only to be used with steam humidifiers, however, not cool mist ones.
Discover what human ingenuity can do when it turns its collective mind and efforts to making home life that much more comfortable with great ways to make Vicks work with humidifiers.