Woman with laptop near modern air humidifier at home

If you’ve been enjoying the fresh air a humidifier provides, you might be asking what can I add to my humidifier water to take it one step further.

The answer lies in the type of water you use. In fact, many people make additions to their humidifier water to create an even more pleasant atmosphere.

Humidifiers have an open water tank that makes it easy to experiment with different types of water. By doing so, you can see how each affects your space.

A word of caution, though: If you love your humidifier and don’t want to ruin it, you need to make sure you are only adding safe substances to the water tank.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why people make additions to their water, what you can add, and the benefits doing so can have on your comfort and health.

What Water Should I Use for My Humidifier?

First, you need to make sure you are putting the best water in your humidifier. This means no plain tap water. You should only be filling your humidifier’s water tank with distilled water or bottled water that is free of minerals.

Using the purest, distilled water possible ensures you aren’t adding anything harmful to your air, and that the air in your space is being well recycled to remain clean. The minerals can also create unpleasant white dust on surfaces near the humidifier. Plus, deposits of these minerals can build up making the humidifier unusable.

Filtered and distilled water ensures you are pushing the cleanest mist into the air so you and your family can breathe well and enjoy a comfortable humidity level.

Why Add Things to my Humidifier?

There are several reasons someone may want to make additions to their humidifier water.

Some just want to add a scent to the mist since distilled water is unscented. This is accomplished in different ways, but most of them result in a sticky or dirty humidifier that needs to be cleaned. When you opt for a sweet-smelling mist, you’ll want to clean the humidifier tank regularly.

The best reason to make additions to your humidifier water is for health and cleanliness. Many additions work to discourage bacteria from growing and prevent mold and mildew. When mold spores are released into the indoor air it can cause serious health problems for people breathing the air.

What to Add to Your Humidifier

Here’s a list of the best substances to add to your humidifier’s water tank to purify and cleanse your air while adjusting the humidity level.


Adding a cup of white vinegar to your humidifier’s water will prevent mold and mildew from growing and keep your humidifier clean and healthy.

Adding plain white vinegar is fine, but some people prefer the scent of apple cider vinegar and choose to add that. Both are acceptable and should keep the humidifier from growing mold.

Essential Oils

You can add essential oils, especially tea tree oil, to your humidifier’s water for a pleasant scent and added benefits. Tea tree oil contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties that will cleanse your air.

If you have a favorite essential oil, add a few drops into your water tank and see how it changes the feel of the indoor air in the room. But if you have pets, make sure the oils you pick are not toxic to your pets.

Humidifier Tablets

Humidifier tablets are great because they can demineralize the water for you. This means you actually can use tap water as long as you put a tablet in at least once a week to keep it distilled.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Adding a teaspoon or so of hydrogen peroxide has the same effect as vinegar does. It stops mold from growing and releases mold spores into the area. Hydrogen peroxide fights bacteria so you don’t need to clean your humidifier as frequently.


what can i add to my humidifier water

Adding sliced lemons or a few squirts of lemon juice to your humidifier tank is one of the most common additions. People not only love the citrus scent emitted in the mist but also the aesthetic of some lemons floating in the water.

The acidity in lemons and lemon juice helps fight some bacteria but can also promote other bacteria to grow. If you choose to add lemons, make sure you are willing to clean the tank regularly or it will become sticky and gross.


Adding bleach to the water being sprayed into your indoor air might seem weird, but it is a great way to keep your air and humidifier tank clean.

Effects of Additions to Your Humidifier

Although adding these substances to your humidifier can improve the indoor air quality in your home and relieve congestion, they aren’t great for your humidifier.

Adding harsh chemicals can slowly erode the plastic causing the humidifier to leak or simply stop working.

When you add things like lemons or other fruits, the sugars in the fruit will make the humidifier very dirty, sticky, and difficult to clean. If you don’t stay on top of the routine cleaning your humidifier may begin to develop mildew or release mold spores into the air.

Breathing in mold spores is unbelievably bad for your health and must be avoided.

Bottom Line

Adding substances to your humidifier is fun and can improve your air quality. Adding substances like essential oils or lemons to boost the pleasantness of your humidifier is a wonderful idea.

By making adding scents or soothing properties to the water, you are maximizing the benefits of the humidifier that is constantly making your home a better place to be.


Do I need to add anything?

No, you don’t have to add anything to the humidifier if you don’t want to. But additions can make your humidifier better at its job and relieve certain discomforts that come from unhealthy air.

What should I not add?

Try to avoid any powders or additions with small granules. These can clog the humidifier’s mister causing it not to humidify the air properly anymore.

Anything that has sediment in it can result in mineral buildups that make the surfaces in your space dusty and unpleasant. A good rule of thumb is to stick with liquid additions to ensure your humidifier continues to run smoothly.

Can I add multiple substances?

First off, you should never mix anything with bleach except water because it can be very dangerous. Second, mixing these substances can result in an unpleasant air experience if they don’t mesh well. It is best to try these additions on their own first to see what you like.