Humidifiers used to be on the market mainly to add humidity into the air, to make respiratory issues lessen and provide moisture into very dry environments. Now, there are also humidifiers that diffuse oils for aromatherapy. There is a difference between the kinds of humidifiers.
Essential Oil Humidifiers
There are special humidifiers made for essential oils that use a special misting mechanism with a fragrance diffuser that houses and diffuses the oils separately from the main water tank and then mists them into the air along with the misting water vapor.
Warm And Cool Mist Humidifiers
Warm mist humidifiers are using the most traditional method of getting water particles in the air: heated water will produce steam, thus dispersing humidity into the air. For warm mist vs cool mist, a cool mist humidifier works by three methods: evaporative, ultrasonic, and impeller types.
Evaporative types use a fan to draw air past a wicked area that is saturated with water, and the humidified air is pushed into the environment. The problem with this kind of humidifier is that mold can build up easily inside, making them unsafe without regular cleaning or maintenance for dangerous mold spores.
Ultrasonic type humidifiers use a piezoelectric transducer, or a ceramic diaphragm, that rapidly turns and vibrates at a high ultrasonic frequency, and this vibration creates tiny water droplets that will form into a mist and hydrate the surrounding air. These do not pose a mold risk, and are a bit safer for long term use.
An impeller type humidifier uses a rapidly rotating disc that spits water droplets through a diffuser, that then further breaks up the droplets into a mist that humidifies the air. This is a very safe and commonly used method, but unfortunately these humidifiers are very loud to operate.
How To Use Essential Oils In Both Kinds
People who have tried to use regular vaporizers for dispersing essential oils have found that adding essential oils to a water tank of a cool or warm mist humidifier will do a great amount of damage to the humidifier. When used this way, the oils will collect inside the crevices of and coat the inner mechanisms, and will break down plastic components of the humidifier over time.
Aside from that, it will eventually clog up ultrasonic nebulizer components that are found in some kinds of humidifiers. In heated humidifier systems, the oils will lose their potency and also will retain larger particles than what is considered optimal for good absorption. If you don’t mind knowing that your humidifier will break eventually, it’s ok to use oils in a traditional one – just be aware that it is not an optimal way to diffuse the oils, and it will eventually ruin the unit entirely.
Using A Standard Humidifier For Essential Oil
If you want to use your essential oils in a standard humidifier without ruining the humidifier, you can moisten a regular cotton ball with your essential oils, and find a way to place the cotton over the outlet that the misting water comes out of. As the water vapor comes out of the humidifier and sends the water vapor into the air, the oil in the cotton will also release scent, and some of the oil particles are diffused into the air, as well. A cold air humidifier works better for this method, as it preserves the nature of the essential oil at its full strength.
A warm air humidifier dispenser also frees the oils into the air, but the heat can damage some of the properties of some oils. The downside to this method is that you must clean the humidifier parts that come into contact with the oils daily in order to remove any oily or sticky residue, and this residue will ultimately damage any plastic parts of your humidifier.