How To Make Humidifier Smell Good Without Spoiling It?

As you know, I specialize in air humidity, and I was in awe of how humidifiers work that was why I became a humidifier geek. Everything that involves this great invention has my eyes on, and so I dedicate my time researching, studying, and experimenting.

Perhaps, you are now aware of how humidifiers help us by preventing nasal congestions, allergies, and infections due to weather conditions.

Insufficient moisture inside the house or more particularly in your room makes it even difficult to breathe. If you are suffering from asthma or allergic rhinitis, a humidifier is the best solution to clean the air.

Keeping Humidifiers Smelling Good

I have always believed that machines even the short ones last longer as long as you keep them clean and follow correct troubleshooting steps. Maintaining humidifiers in good condition is simple.

Proper humidifier cleaning is not complicated, in fact, manufacturers put the directions on the labels to avoid confusion and to prolong the device. Here is a quick rundown of humidifier essentials:

Regular Water Changing

how to clean humidifier

Water is one of the vital keys in having a healthy-producing humidifier. The device itself only processes the water and emit enough moisture.

Regularly changing the water dramatically affects its function based on how frequent you use your humidifier. If you use it on a daily basis, change the water every day.

At least once a week, clean the entire water tank to remove residue, molds, and other build ups. You can do this by adding cleaning solutions such as vinegar and bleach.

  • 1
    Rinse the water tank
  • 2
    Fill it with water and add your preferred cleaning solution
  • 3
    Let it sit for an hour
  • 4
    Rinse and let it dry

Filter Change

filter replacement

Another factor that contributes to humidifier performance is its filter. Humidifier filters are replaceable and you can do this by reviewing the recommended filter change by the manufacturer.

I highly suggest that you check the filter of the machine. Gently open the filter compartment and from here you can assess if it needs to be changed or not.

Damaged filters will result in poor performance and will make you susceptible to congestions and other breathing issues.

Why Is It Important to Keep Humidifiers Clean?

clean humidifier

Your humidifier plays a critical role in keeping you fit and healthy apart from balancing humidity and moisture.

In line with this, regular cleaning highly contributes to keeping it smelling good. If you do not clean humidifiers as often or in the exact method specified by the manufacturer, your unit will eventually breed mold, bacteria, and mildew.

Dirty humidifiers specifically, the filters and water reservoirs will scatter those allergens into your air through the mist. Yes, you bet, it will only worsen any allergy or nasal problems.


essential oils in humidifier

Many people use their humidifier with fragrant oils to keep their home smelling good. This practice is fine as long as you are properly aware of the correct device and procedure.
I usually get messages about using humidifiers for aromatherapy. As we know, aromatherapy helps us in calming nervousness, anxiety, and other forms of emotional stresses. Some oils also exude health benefits.

There is a special device dedicated to aromatherapy called diffuser. This device looks similar to a humidifier but produces a super fine mist.

Maybe this is why a lot of people use the humidifier with aromatherapy thinking it works the same.

Diffuser vs. Humidifier

diffuser vs humidiifer

Just a quick stretch for first timers, diffusers are actually different from humidifiers. Some people get confused about how these devices work, I hope this information clears out all confusions.

Diffusers are devices specially made for essential oils. It works by dispersing essential oils into the air so that the aroma fills the room with organic fragrance.

Humidifier, on the other hand, is built in the purpose of adding water moisture into the air to prevent dryness that may cause harmful health effects.

Primarily, if you want to keep your room or house smelling good then you can use a diffuser. However, if you got some allergies like me, I suggest having a humidifier instead.

But, I gathered all the required information you need so you don’t have to keep searching if humidifiers can also work with essential oils.

Can I Use Essential Oils in My Humidifier?

Essential oils

Essential oils are now receiving royal recognition because of their natural, emotional, and psychological benefits. If you are same like me who believes in the healing and soothing effects of aromatherapy; yet need humidifiers to clean air impurities and stay healthy; I have good news for you.

Because both diffusers and humidifiers spray on mist, I often receive this question from first-time users and even converts. Well, yes, you can put essential oils into humidifiers.

BUT, take note of this, not all types of humidifiers can handle essential oils. There are specific humidifiers only that work with essential oils.

Generally, the essential oil is not advised in using with humidifiers because the oil might corrode or cause clogging in the filters and other parts unless you are using the right humidifier type.

Cool-mist Humidifier for Aromatherapy

I will give more details and breakdowns about essential oils in keeping the house smelling good and what type of humidifier to use.

If you are actually thinking about what kind of humidifier to use, a cool-mist humidifier is an ideal choice. Cool-mist humidifiers are quite similar to diffusers, which by the way use cool temperature to change water into fine mist.

Warm-mist humidifiers are not fitting for aromatherapy oils because the heat generated by the boiling water destroys its healing properties. Essential oils work best with cool-mist types even with diffusers.

Applying Scented Oils on Cotton Balls

Scented oils are cheaper versions of essential oils and are also a popular choice for the humidifier to smell good.

However, since it is still oil-based, I suggest not to put scented oils directly into the water tank. I will give you a rather tested and a reliable way to use scented oils in a humidifier.

You can still achieve the same fragrance envigorating the entire room by placing drops of the oil on cotton balls.

Things To Note

Drop the balls into the medicine reservoir of the humidifier and allow the steam to cause the scent to evaporate without having the oil reach into close contact with the internal components of the humidifier.


But of course, there are conditions, even though humidifiers work with essential oils, they cannot perfectly treat and transform water into a very fine mist. Superfine mist is what essential oils require to be effective.

And these mists are the ones we breathe to relax our senses, stay healthy and odorize the room. Too much exposure to essential oil is also not good for health. A controlled amount and timeline is best if you really want your room filled with aroma.

Apart from that, using these oils may also damage the filter if yours contain one. Oil splashes will also accumulate and damage pieces of furniture later on. Not to mention that oils are messy at times.

What to Buy

Ultrasonic Air Humidifier with Essential Oil Tray

I admire innovations particularly when manufacturers listen to their customer’s suggestions. Because adding essential oil into the water in your humidifier will degenerate the device, there are brands that now offer cool-mist humidifiers with a separate chamber for essential oils.


Use Humidifier Treatment for Bacteria-Free and Fresh Smell

As an avid fan of humidifiers, I scanned through the best possible ways and solutions to keep these devices at their maximum performance.

Of course, my top concerns are maintenance, cleaning, and deodorizing. I notice that in a typical home where cooking is frequent, and laundries are sitting everywhere, a distinct damp smell starts to fill the air. And this, my friend, is a sign of bacteria present in the air.

Humidifier Bacteriostatic Water Treatment

Even though you are using a humidifier, the odor won’t be completely gone and this exposes your family and yourself to more bacteria.

Good thing, when you are using an evaporative type, having a humidifier treatment solution on hand is the best way to get rid of bacteria, molds, and algae buildup.

A Humidifier treatment kills all odor-causing elements and keep your humidifier clean and emit fresh and bacteria-free air. You can purchase this treatment solution at any home maintenance centers or even online.

Natural Ways to Keep Humidifiers Smell Good

Ok so now that we are clear that essentials oils are excellent with cool-mist humidifiers with separate trays, I’d like to talk more on the natural ways to keep humidifiers smelling good.

I know some of you here are enthusiastic fans of natural remedies and I exceedingly admire that. Essential oils are healthy options but sometimes, they cost too much.

This is why I have decided to teach you natural ways to keep your humidifiers smell good. Aside from the pleasant odor, these tips I am giving will also balance the health advantages.

Any additives as long as they’re water-soluble can be used in your humidifier to smell good and create an atmosphere. The best part about using natural ingredients is your creativity.

Use Vinegar To Prevent Bacteria Growth

distilled white vinegar

I dislike a room filled with lousy odor because this can only mean that tons of bacteria are spread in the air. Humidifiers can greatly eliminate this odor as well as bacteria growth which can harm you more.

Combining a dose of vinegar to your humidifier is a useful way to lessen the growth of bacteria that result in filthy odors and eliminate possible health problems.

The best part thing about vinegar is that it also acts as disinfectant and cleaner. I know this sound pretty familiar because I gave this tip a few times, especially on cleaning humidifiers.

I prefer using distilled white vinegar so the smell is not that pungent. Vinegar retains the fundamental health benefits of humidifiers while keeping it clean at the same time.

  • 1
    First, you need to unplug the humidifier and remove detachable parts
  • 2
    If necessary, change the filter according to the recommendations of the brand’s manual or as I recommended earlier
  • 3
    Pour out the excess water and clean the water tank
  • 4
    Add demineralized water into the tank and pour a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar into the water

You are now confident that your humidifier maintains a healthy environment while giving off fresh and clean air.

Lemon Juice for Citric Aroma

lemon juice for citrus aroma

Springtime is approaching. But, if you live in an area where spring is still far from reach, your humidifier can again do wonders for you.

I avoid that mood when you enter a room filled with damp air. It creates a musty smell and might, later on, accumulate molds. Wet air is inevitable but still manageable if you follow my advice.

So to get rid of this situation, I did my experiment and tested all possible ways to reduce dampness and mustiness.

This is where I stumbled upon lemon juice. I bet, you have one at home, readily available.  Lemon juice adds a bright citrus smell, and the acid components destroy molds, allergens, and mildews. Lemon is another 2in1 natural humidifier freshener.

  • 1
    Right after the proper cleaning of your humidifier, again remember to best use distilled or demineralized water.
  • 2
    You only need a tablespoon of lemon juice into the water tank each time you refill.

Lemon juice helps in preserving the base unit of the humidifier. And, the best thing about using fresh lemon juice rather than essential oil is that it is not oil based.

Unexpected Use of Baking Soda


baking soda

If you don’t like using vinegar in your humidifier, you can alternatively use baking soda. Baking soda has immense benefits primarily as a cleaning solution and anti-microbial agent.

This genius ingredient rids musty smells from a humidifier and also acts as an excellent cleaner especially for clogged humidifiers.

  • 1
    To wash humidifiers with baking soda, add two tablespoons to the water each time you change, and leave it for about 30 minutes.
  • 2
    Rinse it thoroughly and you’ll get a clean, fresh, and bacteria-free mist.

What I like about using natural ingredients is they are fresh and not oil-based. I am also an aromatherapy fan but to ensure my humidifier works on its peak; I use natural ingredients.

Vanilla Extract with Alcohol

vanilla extract

I also like to be creative with my humidifier scent sometimes. I do this to lighten and uplift my mood and to calm my senses. Of course, I use natural ingredients such as vanilla extract.

Having some vanilla scents at home conceives a romantic mood. This fragrant is best if you got some dinner dates at home or want to get into the spirit.

  • A quarter of vanilla extract mixed with alcohol and dissolved into the water tank

I am sharing my experience with trying vanilla extract, but it is still up to you if you want to try it too.

Flower Extracts

flower extracts

At some other times, I tried having some garden scent with my humidifier. So I collected my favorite flowers and plants like roses, orchids, and ferns which is a perfect way to make humidifier smell satisfying. Again, you only need to get the extract and add a small amount of alcohol and dilute it properly with the humidifier water.

Take Aways

There are plenty of ways you can make humidifiers smell good as long as you follow my advice on how to maintain and keep it clean. Remember that a clean humidifier is better and safe rather than a fragrant one but filthy for a long time!

You can use these natural humidifier scents now and then, to uplift the home spirit and everyone’s mood.