As more people seek to live a healthier lifestyle, alternative methods of healing and living are becoming ever more popular. Instead of relying on traditional medicine to solve their problems, people are searching for natural, holistic methods of healing that are just as (or even more) effective than traditional medicine.

The use of essential oils has become extremely popular among those seeking an alternative healing method for various ailments. Whether you’re trying to heal a toothache or get over a cold, essential oils can help — when used properly.

Many enjoy using essential oils at home because of the therapeutic benefits. But there are often questions about diffusion, including: Can you put essential oils in a humidifier? This is a good question and definitely the right one to ask. Because choosing the right method for diffusion is the best way to maximize the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.

While diffusers are the most common way to send essential oils into the air, some essential oils enthusiasts are dabbling with humidifiers. While humidifiers may seem like an obvious, easy and effective method for diffusion, that may not be the reality. It’s important for any essential oil user to understand how humidifiers affect the therapeutic benefits of essential oils — and also how essential oils might affect your humidifier.


Essential Oils and Their Uses

Essential oils are the natural oils found in a variety of plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. These natural oils are extracted using a process known as distillation. Distillation of the natural oils found in plants and flowers is accomplished either through steam or water distillation. Once extracted, these oils can be used for a variety of purposes, from aromatherapy to holistic healing.

Some ways in which essential oils can be used are:

  • All-natural cleaner
  • Disinfectant
  • Alleviation of mouth pain
  • Bug repellant
  • Odor eliminator
  • Natural food flavoring
  • Decongestant
  • Sanitizing wounds
  • Natural perfume
  • Air freshener
  • Spiritual awareness
  • Massage therapy


How to Get the Most Benefit from Essential Oils

When used properly, essential oils provide a host of benefits. But, in order to reap these benefits, it’s important to understand how essential oils are released and why the choice of diffusion method is so key.

Methods of Diffusion

Diffusion is the process by which essential oil is dispersed through the air. The diffusion process results in the release of an aroma, and the small particles allow for the body’s respiratory system to absorb the essential oils.

Popular methods for diffusion include:

  • Oil Burner: Through this process, heat is used in combination with water to disperse essential oil into the air. This method may be useful for scenting an environment. However, because of the use of heat, it is not recommended when using essential oils for therapeutic purposes, as heat can breakdown the oil and damage its therapeutic properties.
  • Diffuser: A diffuser is a machine that uses cold air to break essential oils down into tiny particles, thus allowing the oils to be dispersed into the air more efficiently. The use of the cold air also assists in maintaining the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. That means oils can be absorbed efficiently by the respiratory system and circulated through the body.
  • Humidifier: Humidifiers are traditionally used to add moisture to the air through emitting vapor. Some people add essential oils to a humidifier’s water tank in oder to disperse the oil through vapor. Some humidifiers feature a special tank or compartment specifically for adding essential oils.

Essential Oils and Humidifiers: Are They a Good Combiation?

While the idea of adding essential oils to a humidifier seems like a good idea because, trust me when I tell you that humidifiers are not the best choice for a variety of reasons.

  1. Damage to Humidifiers: Essential oils can wreak havoc on humidifiers, causing them to break prematurely by clogging the mechanisms that enable the vapor to release into the atmosphere. Likewise, many humidifiers are not constructed to handle contact with essential oils. Thus, the oils can breakdown a humidifier’s plastic over time.
  2. Humidifiers Don’t Break Down Oils: While humidifiers produce vapor, many of them do not have nebulizers capable of breaking the essential oil down into smaller particles. Nebulization is very important as it allows for more efficient absorption of the essential oils by the respiratory system.
  3. Heat Destroys the Benefits of Essential Oils: Most humidifiers use warm vapor. While the warm mist from a humidifier won’t affect the aroma produced from the oils, the heat will destroy all therapeutic benefits of the essential oil.
  4. Most Humidifiers Don’t Have Interval Timing: Diffusers usually have some type of programmable timer that allows the user to choose how long the essential oil is dispersed into the atmosphere. Most humidifiers run continuously, making it difficult to adjust the amount of essential oil absorbed by the body.

While using a humidifier may appear to be a fantastic way to obtain the many benefits of essential oils, it’s possible that using a humidifier negates almost all of the benefits that attract people to essential oils in the first place.

Getting the Most From Your Essential Oils and Humidifier

If you’re adamant about using essential oils with humidifiers, you do have several options that will help prevent damage to the humidifier and maximize the benefit of the essential oils. These options include:

  • Purchasing a humidifier that made to be used with essential oils. These types of humidifiers contain a compartment specially designated for the essential oils that is separate from the main tank (that is used for water). Opting for a cold air humidifier with this feature ensures that the essential oils will retain their therapeutic properties.
  • Placing a damp cotton ball with drops of essential oil on it over the mist/vapor opening of the humidifier is another way to get the benefits essential oils without damaging the humidifier.


Final Thoughts on Using Essential Oils in Humidifiers

Ultimately, the choice to use essential oils in a humidifier is a personal one. As mentioned above, there are a number of reasons why this isn’t the best idea. But, that said, you may have your own reasons for doing it. In that case, definitely do what’s best for you.

Have you tried using essential oils with humidifiers? If so, let us know in the comments section below. You can always send questions and comments via our contact page, too.