Can You Put Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

A decade or so ago, candles were all the rage.  We lit different scents for every season and enjoyed the warm glow and rich bouquet that filled our rooms.  Everyone was a candle fanatic, and everyone had their favorite brand.  Gradually, however, the trend for candles has begun to fade in lieu of something more versatile: essential oils.  

Suddenly, your kids’ teachers don’t want an apple scented candle, they want an ounce of thieves oil.  Your mother-in-law now swears candles release toxins into the air and insists on an essential oil diffuser and lemongrass oil.   

Bottom line:  if you’ve yet to jump on the essential oil bandwagon, you’d better grab a seat, and fast.  Interestingly enough, the candles you may still be in love with are likely scented with essential oils in the first place, so eliminating the candle is kind of like eliminating the middleman.  

You’re getting straight to the source of what smells so good and not only enjoying the scents in a purer form, but reaping the benefits of diffusing and using essential oils.  

What Are Essential Oils?

If this all sounds confusing to you, we understand.  We can help you navigate the tricky waters of essential oil usage and determine how to effectively diffuse them alongside a humidifier:  here’s a hint; you don’t have to have two machines to do it!  

Essential oils are simply oils extracted from plants and then mixed with a carrier oil, like jojoba oil, almond oil, or avocado oil.  These oils are not essential meaning that the body needs them to survive, they are essential because they are the extracted “essence” of a plant. 

Essential oils are plentiful and have been used for centuries in alternative medicines and therapies.  Most frequently, essential oils are diffused into the air or applied topically.  Aromatherapy is the most popular method of essential oil usage.  

Aromatherapy involves inhaling essential oils in some manner to obtain benefits like alertness, relaxation, or to soothe stress, anxiety, depression, or obtain relief from congestion and coughing. This may sound too good to be true, but there is evidence that aromatherapy and the use of essential oils can be incredibly beneficial and effective.  

Essential oils do more than just smell great.  They have a plethora of benefits that can help people who are suffering.  Here’s how.  

What Can Essential Oils Do?

The use of essential oils for therapeutic benefit dates back to 3,500 B.C.  As such, you can trust that this practice has benefits and is effective.  Essential oils can:

  • Create an atmosphere of relaxation.  Oils like sage and chamomile can promote relaxation when used.  Whether applied to the skin on the temples or the forehead, or diffused in the air, smelling these oils is said to help release tension and help you relax.
  • Give you a better night’s sleep.  It’s no coincidence that many nighttime baby shampoos are laced with lavender.  Lavender has long been through to help ease the mind and body, encourage the release of melatonin, and help give you a great night of sleep.
  • Energize.  Peppermint oil is said to help wake up the senses, refresh the mind, and stimulate the soul, creating a feeling of readiness to take on the day or finish a pending project.
  • Alleviate cold and flu symptoms.  Essential oils work to alleviate symptoms of the common cold and flu.  Stuffy noses, congested heads, itchy, watery eyes, coughs, chest congestion, and sore throats can all make you feel miserable when you’re sick.  What is worse is that they can also cause you to lose sleep.  You can get relief by diffusing oils like thyme, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil while you sleep.  These oils can help keep your nasal passages clear so you can breathe better and get some rest.
  • Help with allergies.  Much in the same way essential oils can assist with cold and flu symptoms, they can also help with allergy relief.  Lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and sandalwood are all thought to help alleviate allergy symptoms and bring comfort so you can get relief even when pollen is at its worst.  

How Can you Use Essential Oils?

Essential oils are not meant to be consumed orally, so it’s important you don’t try to ingest them by mouth or add them to your food or drinks.  While some oils may be specially formulated for consumption, most are not, so it’s better to be on the safe side!

You will generally use essential oils by diluting them in a carrier oil and applying them topically to your skin, or by diffusing them in an essential oil diffuser.  Diffusing is a preferable method because it fills the air with essential oil vapors and can literally surround you with their therapeutic benefits.  

The question then arises: what do you do if you would like to diffuse your essential oils at the same time you use other holistic methods of providing relief?  For instance, can you use a humidifier with an essential oil diffuser?  

How Can You Use Essential Oils in a Humidifier?

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When you need relief, you need it fast and in a form that won’t cause weird side effects or make you feel worse.  Cold and flu medicines are notorious for leaving you feeling “loopy,” drowsy, or wired; there seems to be no medication that can just do the job of alleviating cold and flu symptoms and leave you feeling like your normal self at the same time.  

As such, many of us turn to more holistic methods of symptoms management.  One of the best ways to manage cold and flu symptoms is by using a humidifier.  Ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers are one of the best types of humidifiers, and they work by releasing cool mist water vapor into the air to keep it moist so your nasal passages and upper respiratory system are soothed and comfortable.  

When you are sick, breathing dry, parched air can further inflame and congest your nose and chest, making it difficult to breathe and sleep.  Using a humidifier helps alleviate these feelings and allows you to rest.   

Using a humidifier is also a great option even when you are well.  People who suffer with seasonal allergies or just seasonally dry skin and chapped lips can wake up feeling refreshed and hydrated by using a humidifier in their bedroom overnight.  

Children who have difficulty falling asleep fall asleep faster and wake up better rested when a humidifier is placed in their room, allowing them to breathe easy and stay asleep longer.  

If you’re already using a humidifier, you may also want to use essential oils along with it.  This is a great idea for many reasons:

  • The combination of using a humidifier and essential oils can help you relax.  If you are experiencing dry, flaky, and irritated skin and mucous membranes, the humidifier can help alleviate those symptoms while a quality essential oil, like lemongrass, brings you comfort and relaxation that can help soothe your anxiety.
  • Humidifiers and essential oils in combination can help you sleep better when you are ill.  While the humidifier keeps your nasal passages and upper respiratory passages clear, an essential oil like eucalyptus or peppermint oil can help you breathe more deeply and can soothe irritated chests and quiet coughs.  
  • Using humidifiers and essential oils can be beneficial for allergy sufferers.  Much in the same way you would use the combination humidifier and essential for relieving cough and cold symptoms, a humidifier and essential oil combination is great for helping soothe inflamed sinuses which are suffering from allergies.  

You may think you need two separate devices to diffuse your essential oils and promote a comfortable level of humidity in your room, but you do not.  Many humidifiers are available with specialized compartments or trays meant for use with essential oils.  This means that the humidifier will not only pull water from the reservoir to disperse into the air, it will also pull in essential oil from a separate compartment and diffuse it along with the water vapor.  This is a great way to get a dual benefit in one product.  

Humidifiers and essential oils are excellent choices for alleviating cold, flu, and allergy symptoms in a natural and holistic manner.  You can get relief from symptoms fast, and also promote a better night of sleep by using these two therapies simultaneously.  You do not need to purchase two separate machines to accomplish this task.  Look for humidifiers that are essential oil ready so you can dispense oil while you humidify.  


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If you are looking for superior comfort, an ultrasonic humidifier that is aromatherapy ready is an excellent choice.  These humidifiers are safe, extremely quiet when in use, capable of delivering over fifty hours of humidification before needing a refill, and small enough to go virtually unnoticed in your room.  

You can use these humidifiers in a small room, or use them in a space of up to 500 square feet, and still expect to reap benefits.  Be sure to look for humidifiers which bear the ETL safety certification seal, so you can trust that the humidifier you purchase has been tested to the highest standards to ensure it not only is beneficial, but also safe for your personal usage.  


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