July 22, 2018

Essential oils are beneficial for a variety of things in your home. They can be used to help you unwind after a rough day at work, recover from an illness or relax so you can sleep. They are used for cleaning without the use of chemicals and have many other uses. One of the most popular ways oils are used is in a diffuser. Maybe you have been using oils for other things and not yet tried diffusing them, or maybe you don’t have a diffuser yet. Perhaps you already use a humidifier and have the question, “Can I put essential oils in a humidifier instead of a diffuser?” The simple answer is yes, but it requires some clarification. 

Diffuser Vs Humidifier for Essential Oils

Humidifiers are used to increase humidity in an area, usually in a single room unless you have a whole-home humidifier. There are two types of humidifiers usually used in homes, a cool mist or a warm mist. A cool mist humidifier uses a fan to move air through a wick that is full of water, so the water evaporates into the air. A warm mist humidifier heats the water to the boiling point, so the water vapors dissipate into the room air. Some homes prefer a warm mist humidifier in the winter months. Parents often use a room humidifier in a baby or child’s room.

Diffuserstransmit essential oils out into the air in your home. There are numerous types of oil diffusers:

  • Nebulizing diffusers use a cold air pump along with a spritzer to atomize oils into vapor droplets that are released into the air. This type doesn’t use heat.
  • An ultrasonic diffuser vibrates a disc using electrical impulses, so the oils are spread out into the air. This type also doesn’t use any heat.
  • Cool mist humidifiers are one of the most popular types and it works similarly to a humidifier in that it gently sprays a mist into the room which carries the oils into the air.

How does a diffuser work?

A diffuser breaks the oils down into very small particles and spreads them in the air. When we inhale them, those tiny particles are absorbed into our bodies, so we reap the benefits. This might include being able to breathe better, balancing the hormones, improving our moods, or any number of other benefits. Once the particles are inhaled, sensors in the nasal cavity start signaling the brain which goes into action immediately working on systems that manage the body and mind.

Inhaling oils is the most direct way of obtaining the nurturing components in oils since the nasal cavity can directly access the brain. EOs can pass the barrier of the blood and the brain to penetrate membranes which allow them access to the emotional center in the brain in a matter of a few seconds.

Benefits of Diffusing

The basic benefits you can get from diffusing oils include:

  • Boost the immune system
  • Clean the air
  • Help with relaxation
  • Alter moods
  • Benefit several people all at one time

Is there a right way to diffuse essential oils?

If you are just finding out about all the wonderful benefits you and your family can receive from diffusing, you may have tons of questions. How much oil are you supposed to use? Can I run the diffuser all day? These are some valid questions. We know diffusing oils can be good for the body and mind. Diffusers run for different lengths of time. Some run for three hours, some four and some of them can run up to eight hours. Those that run for longer periods of time usually run intermittently. You’ll need to add 4 to 5 drops of your choice of essential oil or oil blend in the diffuser with water to the “full” line. The one caveat is that you only want to diffuse intermittently. This allows the body to absorb the oils without becoming saturated. You can get too much of a good thing.  

Can I put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

The initial answer to the question, can I put oils in a humidifier is yes. However, it does depend on what type of humidifier you are using and a few other factors as well. Here are a few things to think about before using oils in a humidifier.

  1. A humidifier runs continuously. You can’t set a timer to allow the body the time needed to absorb oils and then turn it off. Diffusers have timers that shut them off after a certain amount of time. This protects from over saturation.
  2. Some oils, especially citrus essential oils, can break down the plastic. Humidifiers are built to dispel water, they are not constructed to handle essential oils. Diffusers are designed specifically to handle oils.
  3. A humidifier is not an ionic nebulizer. They do not break down the oils like the diffuser which nebulizes them into tiny particles that are easily inhaled and absorbed.
  4. Some humidifiers function with warm air. Heating the oils can destroy their therapeutic properties.

Just in Case You Still Want to Use EOs in a Humidifier

Maybe you just don’t have any other choice but to use a humidifier. Perhaps your diffuser went out during the night and you have a sick kid. If you do choose to use oils with a humidifier, here are some ways to protect it and your family.

  • Only use oils in a cool mist humidifier so the oils are not damaged in the process.
  • Clean the humidifier frequently to avoid oil buildup or to keep the oils from damaging the plastic parts.
  • Don’t use too much oil. The tank on most humidifiers are much larger than a diffuser, so oils may need to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Turn off the unit after it has run for a while. Diffusers run intermittently and shut off after a specific amount of time, humidifiers do not. Turn it off after a couple of hours to keep the oils from overwhelming your system.

Best Oils to Use in a Humidifier

Diffusers are the best option, but sometimes a humidifier may be your only option. If you choose to use oils in a humidifier, it should emit a cold mist, not warm mist. Here is a short list of some of the best oils to use in humidifiers.

  • Eucalyptus oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, can promote mental alertness and has antiviral properties.
  • Lavender oilpromotes calmness, so it can relieve stress, exhaustion or headaches.
  • Peppermint oilis good for stimulating the mind, soothing sinuses and helping headaches.
  • Tea Tree oilhelps fight cold and flu symptoms because it is antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory in nature.

So the short answer to the question, can I use essential oils in a humidifier,is yes. But a diffuser is the better option, especially for the long term.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.