Can An Oil Diffuser Be Used As A Humidifier?

With cooler temperatures approaching, it’s time to dust off your humidifier and plug it in. Humidifiers may look similar to oil diffusers, which raises the question: can I use an oil diffuser as a humidifier?

When humidity levels are low during the fall and winter, humidifiers add moisture to indoor air. In order to prevent dry skin, nose and throat irritation, and itchy eyes, the Mayo Clinic recommends indoor air humidity levels of 30 to 50 percent. Furthermore, they explain that humidifiers can help keep colds and flu at bay and ease symptoms when you’re sick.

The mist produced by a humidifier is “unscented” because it is odorless water vapor. However, this raises the question as to whether you can use an oil diffuser instead. Besides providing a pleasant scent, essential oils in the air may also benefit health.

an oil diffuser showing moisture being released
Oil diffusers do release moisture into the room but can they be used as a humidifier?

Can an oil diffuser be used as a humidifier? Indeed, an oil diffuser is essentially adding moisture to the rooms atmosphere like a humidifier. However the mist may not be enough to affect the humidity to appropriate levels, and you should only use a diffuser for a limited amount of time.  

This guide discusses essential oil diffusers humidifiers, whether you can use them interchangeably, and more.

Diffuser V.S. humidifier

Let’s start by discussing the similarities between humidifiers and diffusers.

Both of them add moisture to the air by releasing water vapor. You can use tap water for both. Beyond that, however, their functions are entirely different. Here are some key differences.

Oil Diffuser

Diffusers are usually smaller devices made of smaller tanks of water. With a small amount of moisture, they can run for up to 4 hours with 150ml – 300ml of water. The purpose of a diffuser is to create a small stream of mist using ultrasonic technology that breaks essential oils into tiny particles that are then carried into the air by the molecules of water. As an example of a good oil diffuser check out this one which has raving reviews.

The most popular type of diffuser for this purpose is an ultrasonic diffuser. Water and oils are mixed and vaporized by shaking the vibrating plate inside the water tank. As a result, essential oils are easier to breathe in. In addition, diffusers are generally easy to clean and maintain since there are no tubes or enclosed areas where water can collect.


Typically, humidifiers are larger machines with larger water tanks that hold about 1 gallon of water. A humidifier controls the amount of moisture in a room. Humidifiers do not typically mix essential oils with water. However, some do have what is called a vital oil tray. Keeping it clean and maintained can be challenging. A fine mist is typically created by heating in warm mist humidifiers. Cool-mist humidifiers are more expensive.

Can I use essential oils in my humidifiers?

It may seem obvious, but humidifiers were not designed to hold essential oils. Depending on the model, adding essential oils to your device can quickly ruin it. 

Essential oils are acidic, so they can corrode and eat certain plastics. This is a problem for humidifiers made of plastic and other easily dissolvable materials. Additionally, essential oils (particularly resinous oils like Myrrh and Vanilla Oleoresin) can clog up gears and mechanics, causing further damage to your humidifier. 

Humidifiers are also made to cover a particular area. For example, if you add a few drops of essential oil to a humidifier designed to protect 1200 sq ft, but you place it in a 700 sq ft room, it may overdiffuse, causing complications. In addition, the temperature of the humidifier can alter the quality of essential oils.

We do not recommend killing two birds with one stone in this case, even if using essential oils in your humidifier would be convenient. Instead, invest in both a humidifier and an essential oil diffuser

Humidifiers Made for Essential Oils

If you want to humidify your air and disperse essential oils simultaneously, choose an ultrasonic humidifier explicitly designed for essential oils. You can find reviews on Amazon to help you decide which one to buy or check out the link I placed above to my recommendation.

The Best Essential Oils for Diffusing in Your Home

Here are five essential oils you should try if you are new to them:

  • Lavender has long been a popular bedtime scent for those who have trouble falling asleep.
  • Citrus is said to purify the air and perk up your mood.
  • Inhale peppermint oil to soothe respiratory issues (and make your house smell like candy).
  • Need help relaxing? Try eucalyptus. Eucalyptus oil has calming properties.
  • You can use wild orange for a pick-me-up when you’re feeling sluggish, as well as for air purification and immune system boosting

Essential oils: What Are the Benefits of Diffusing Them?

There are many benefits to using an oil humidifier. People enjoy aromatherapy immediately, and with the different varieties, there are even more benefits. An oil humidifier provides many benefits, including lavender for calming effects, cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory properties, orange for inflammation, peppermint for nausea relief, and clarity of mind, to name a few. 

Over 5000 years ago, many cultures used essential oils, benefitting the health of those who enjoyed their scents. It is impossible to understand the benefits of using both a humidifier and essential oils unless you try it. Try crucial oils in humidifiers if you want to alleviate any of the following conditions:

  • Tension and body ache
  • Skin that is dry and wrinkled
  • Cold or flu
  • Anxiety
  • Digestion
  • Unbalanced hormones
  • Inflammation of the bronchi in a baby

Here’s the bottom line …

Diffusers that use essential oils are suitable for smaller rooms because they humidify the air. Adding moisture to the air may not be as effective as you would like for a humidifier. Diffusers release tiny particles of water and essential oils into the air.

You can use an ultrasonic humidifier, but it may not produce enough mist to make a difference in your humidity level, and you should only run a diffuser with essential oils for short periods of time. However, you could run your ultrasonic with plain water for as long as you would like.

You can use your diffuser to add a small amount of moisture to your room air if you just need a little bit and get a separate diffuser for essential oils.

If you enjoyed this post maybe you would like to read a vice versa, have a look at my guide to if you can use essential oils in a humidifier.

Andrew Scents and Aroma