The topic of the best essential oils for use with a humidifier is somewhat of a loaded question, with really no good answer.
It seems like it would be a good idea for both aesthetic and health-related reasons, but you will find some negatives associated with the combination.
However, many people are curious about incorporating essential oils for use with their humidifier like this one.
In this article, we will explore this topic and provide sound advice and smart workarounds for you to enjoy and make the most of your humidifier and favorite essential oils. Read on to learn more.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are volatile oils extracted from plants. They are used in medicinal and cosmetic applications for aromatherapy, topical and sometimes internal treatment of a variety of maladies. Although many people think these oils just smell pleasant, they have very powerful and definite effects and abilities.
Aromatherapy is a surprisingly effective practice used to:
- Calm the nerves
- Improve mental clarity
- Treat respiratory distress like a stuffy nose or sore throat
- … and more.
It would seem that a humidifier would be the perfect agent to disperse essential oils into the air, but there are at least four reasons why this is not the case.
#1 – You’ll destroy your humidifier. Essential oils are powerful, and they can cause damage to most humidifiers. This is especially true if you use citrus oils, which can destroy plastic. Using essential oils IN your humidifier can cause damage to gaskets, leaking and/or complete mechanical breakdown.
#2 – A humidifier does not render essential oils into fine particles. This means that they will not be easily inhaled or absorbed by your body.
#3 – If you use a humidifier that disperses steam, the heat will damage the therapeutic properties of the oil, so you will essentially end up wasting your money.
#4 – Dispersing slightly oily, moist air over your furnishings and the interior of your home continuously and on an ongoing basis may eventually cause a dingy film to develop.
What Can You Do?
There are a number of smart workarounds you can use to disperse essential oils safely, efficiently and affordably into your home environment.
Use A Diffuser Instead
Diffusers are especially made to diffuse essential oils such as
… into the air.
They work by breaking the oils into minute particles that disperse in a fine, even, cool mist. This is done through the use of cold air, rather than warm steam, so the oils do not lose their potency.
When you inhale, your body takes in fine particles of the medicinal oil. Because it has not been diluted or heated, the oil is in a pure form that can provide a powerful effect.
While a humidifier does serve a solid purpose in adding moisture to the air, a diffuser has a separate and equally important purpose.
Using an essential oil diffuser introduces therapeutic effects in measured doses and helps clear dust and bacteria from the air. Breathing this clear air into which essential oils have been diffused can help open your airways, brighten your mood and heal what ails you.
One important difference between diffusers and humidifiers is that diffusers typically work on a timer. Humidifiers work continuously although some models come with auto shut-off.
Surprisingly, dispersing essential oils into the air continuously is not a good idea. It’s better to introduce the oils into the air for fifteen minutes each hour. This provides a proper dose and allows your body to absorb the oils without being overwhelmed.
Remember, essential oils are volatile oils, so aromatic exposure has very definite effects on the body. When you inhale diffused essential oils to clear sinus congestion, they are absorbed through your respiratory system, delivered to your bloodstream and circulated throughout your body.
Although there are a number of combination cool mist humidifier/essential oil diffusers on the market at the moment, it is important to remember that the timing of essential oil dispersing is essential to its effectiveness.
For this reason, having a dedicated diffuser for the purpose of essential oil use is preferable to using a combination unit or simply using an ordinary humidifier to disperse essential oils.
A good example of an affordable, dedicated essential oils diffuser is:
If you don’t have a diffuser and can’t get one right now, try saturating a cotton ball with the essential oil of your choosing and set the ball in front of the opening of the mist dispenser on your humidifier. This will disperse the oils into the air lightly, but it is not as effective and efficient as a diffuser.
But I Still Want To Use My Humidifier!
If you are bound and determined to use your humidifier for essential oils, there are five important things you should do.
#1 Be sure to use a cool mist humidifier, and consider investing some bucks into a machine with an essential oil tray to keep the oils from gumming up the works.
One good example is the Leofan Ultrasonic Diffuser Cool Mist Humidifier
#2 – Be aware you will need to perform some maintenance if using essential oils in a humidifier not intended for that purpose. You’ll need to clean the water tank at least once a week by soaking it with a mixture of warm water, vinegar and dish soap. Use this guideline:
- 1 cup heated white vinegar
- Hot water to fill the tank
- 1 tsp dish soap
Place all of the ingredients in the water tank of your humidifier. Allow the tank to soak for 15 minutes and then rinse it out thoroughly. This will clear out any oil residue and odor. If you want to change oils, you should do it after a tank cleaning. This way you will get a pure scent.
#3 – For the best results and the least damage to your machine, always use filtered or distilled water. The minerals in tap water damage the interior workings of any humidifier (with or without essential oils). It is always best to avoid using water straight from the tap in your humidifier. If you plan to add essential oils to the mix, this is even truer.
#4 – Just use a small amount of essential oil. If you do put the oils in the water, use only a small amount (e.g. 12 drops or less per gallon of water).
#5 – Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to the mix to kill bacteria and fungus. Grapefruit seed extract is an excellent item to keep on hand because it is a powerful antifungal and anti-bacterial agent. Just three or four drops a gallon will help inhibit algae and bacterial growth.
Taking these precautions can help extend the life of your humidifier whether or not you decide to use essential oils in the water.
What Are The Best Aromatherapy Essential Oils?
Always read the label of any oil you consider buying. What you want is pure, 100%, preferably organic, essential oil. Be aware that “scented” oils are different. They may smell nice, but they provide no therapeutic benefits.
First Botany Cosmeceuticals manufacture very affordable, high-quality essential oils, such as this Lavender Oil.
For aromatherapy and other health benefits, be sure to purchase pure, essential oils. These oils are direct plant extracts with nothing added. Scented oils are typically a cocktail of chemicals and petroleum derivatives that will not do you any good and may do you more harm. Here are some of the most commonly used essential oils for aromatherapy:
This oil has a profoundly calming effect. If you are suffering from a headache, insomnia, anxiety or stress, aromatherapy with oil of lavender can be extremely helpful. Diffusing it into the air during prayer, meditation or yoga practice is an excellent idea.
Peppermint oil is both stimulating and soothing. Its crisp, mentholated scent can sharpen mental clarity and also clear your sinuses. It is helpful in managing headaches and soothing digestive problems.
Eucalyptus Oil or Tea Tree Oil
The crisp, cool scent of both of these Australian natives can help clear sinuses. These oils are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. If you have a cold or flu, or if you are suffering from allergies or asthma, aromatherapy with either or both of these oils can provide a great deal of relief.
In aromatherapy, eucalyptus oil can help relieve mental exhaustion. Just a few minutes rest while inhaling its fresh scent can leave you revived. Eucalyptus is especially soothing to the airways and can help soften mucus and ease breathing.
This citrusy essential oil has a bright, fresh scent that can lift your spirits, raise awareness and help you concentrate. Aromatherapy with this refreshing oil can help you prepare for challenges (e.g. job interviews) or increase your creativity and problem-solving abilities. It adds a positive note to your environment.
Sandalwood Oil or Rose Oil
Both of these oils are sweet, delightful and encourage romance. If you are planning an amorous evening with your beloved, you will surely benefit by diffusing one of these endearing oils.
You Can Have It All
In the final analysis, it’s easy to see that using essential oils is a great thing to do, and so is using a humidifier. Be that as it may, using the two together may not be the best choice.
If you plan to use essential oils for aromatherapy, it is smartest to diffuse them without the use of heat. If you want to use them in combination with a humidifier, cool mist is far better than warm mist.
If you can get a humidifier equipped to handle essential oils, you can avoid damage to your machine, but still won’t get the most effective delivery of your expensive oils. For the best dispersal of oils, you want an intermittent, very fine, cool mist.
For all of these reasons, your very best bet is to have it all. Get a high-quality humidifier to keep the air in your home comfortable and at healthy humidity levels. Get an essentail oil diffuser to help clean the air as it introduces health giving essential oils, in a measured way, to your daily routine.