Can You Put Essential Oil In A Humidifier?

The relaxing effects of lighting a candle are well known—the flicker of the match, the wick-catching light, the glorious smell that fills the room. But, after spending so much time at home, it is time to step up your wellness rituals. Discover the world of aromatherapy and essential oils.

You can use essential oils for a variety of things in your home. For example, you can use them to relax after a long day at work, recover from an illness, or fall asleep. In addition to providing relief during times of stress, they have many other uses. 

So how can you use essential oils in your daily, homebound lives? Diffusers are among the most popular ways to use oils. But maybe you don’t have a diffuser yet and want to know if you can use a humidifier. Here’s the short answer.

A photo of a humidifier releasing moisture
Learn why putting essential oils into your humidifier is a bad idea and other ways that you can do it instead.

Can I put essential oils in a humidifier? You can use essential oils in a humidifier but only if it is specifically designed for that use. With regular use of essential oils, standard plastic humidifiers can break down. Recently, more and more dual-use products are appearing on the market. Choose a humidifier that is compatible with diffusing if you plan to use it for that purpose. 

Let’s dig even deeper!

Is putting essential oils in a humidifier safe?

Whether cool-mist or steam, standard humidifiers cannot use essential oils because they clog easily. In many cases, manufacturers warn their customers not to add essential oils to their devices because they are designed to disperse water.

It is risky to put essential oils in the humidifier. Imagine what would happen if you decided to put diesel into your petrol tank at the gas station one day. Your engine would have trouble starting and might shut down. 

Here are a few things to consider before using essential oils in a humidifier.

Excessive Oil Exposure

While this may be useful only considering humidity requirements, it does not apply to essential oils. It takes just a few minutes or an hour for your body to develop an allergic reaction to ethereal oil.

Plastic parts are destroyed by essential oils

Citrus essential oils, for example, break down the plastic components of humidifiers. As a result, in contrast to diffusers, humidifiers work perfectly with only water added to the tank.

Nebulizer clogs with oils

Humidifiers work differently from ionic nebulizers (diffusers you can put essential oils in). Using essential oils in humidifiers will clog the nebulizer, preventing the humidifier from making mist. Diffusers, however, break down oils into tiny particles that the body can easily absorb through the skin or through breathing.

Heat Interferes With Essential Oil

Heat is used to disperse the contents of a humidifier’s tank. Due to heat breaking down the properties of essential oils into their chemical form, some essential oils could lose their therapeutic properties.

Tanks get clogged with oil

Unlike water, essential oils are viscous. In addition to sticking to the reservoir walls, they clog the humidifier’s narrow piping. The water vapor cannot pass through, rendering your machine ineffective. Regular cleaning is essential.

Cracking of the walls

When essential oils are poured into water tanks, the ceramic walls start cracking and eventually break, so the tanks’ humidifying ability is no longer effective; instead, it adds to other problems.

Will putting essential oils in a humidifier break it?

You will damage the humidifier if essential oils are added to the water tank and could possibly break it. It collects in and coats the machinery, breaks down plastic over time, clogs sensitive ultrasonic nebulizers, loses potency in heated systems, and retains larger particles than are optimal for absorption. If you don’t mind replacing the machine more often, only add a few drops of essential oil to a humidifier’s water tank.

Some humidifiers overcome these disadvantages by adding a special mister and fragrance diffuser that separates the oils from the main tank and mists them into the air. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the mister and cleaning the humidifier if you purchase one. As an example check out this one which acts as both a humidifier and also a diffuser in one.

Moisten a cotton ball with essential oil in a pinch and place it over the mister outlet. The humidifier releases a scent and diffuses some of the oil’s particles by sending fine water droplets into the air. Although a cold air humidifier maintains the essential oil’s full strength, a warm air dispenser still releases the oils into the air. To prevent plastic from being damaged, you have to clean the humidifier grille daily to remove the sticky oil residue.

Are there special humidifiers that you can put essential oils in?

Aromatherapy humidifiers allow you to humidify your room while infusing the air with essential oils.

Essential oils will diffuse into the mist created by the humidifier using this device. By increasing the humidity in the air and creating your own aromatherapy treatments, you get the best of both worlds!

These can sometimes be called ultrasonic aroma humidifiers. People who think they would like to improve and infuse dry air in their house but don’t want to purchase two separate devices can use them.

Furthermore, it makes an excellent gift for someone who needs a humidifier. Instead of going for something average, you can give them the option of adding aromatherapy to their lives.

Buying the correct type of humidifier is essential. Aromatherapy humidifiers and ultrasonic aroma humidifiers are pretty rare. Before purchasing a humidifier, make sure that you can use it explicitly with essential oils.

If you would like to see my recommendation of a humidifier that also dispenses essential oils, check out this all in one on Amazon.


Essential oils can definitely be added to a humidifier. However, the results might not be satisfactory, either with your machine, the fragrance, or the health benefits.

An aromatherapy humidifier could be a great choice if you are interested in beginning aromatherapy. Not only will this increase your room’s humidity more than a standard diffuser, but you will only need one instead of two. This makes it a more exciting pick for your house – and, with proper maintenance, it is a worthwhile investment for many years to come!

If you enjoyed this post why not read my guide to if you can use an oil diffuser as a humidifier.

Andrew Scents and Aroma