choosing the right humidifier

How to Use a Vaporizer for a Cold

One of the things I remember about going to my grandmother’s house when I was a kid was that she always had a mysterious pot of water simmering on the stove.

Sometimes it smelled like clove, other  times it smelled more like chest rub.

Now I know,  all these years later, that she kept that pot of water on the stove to add moisture to the air. And the scents we’re actually real cloves and eucalyptus leaves.

Essentially she had her own “do it yourself” vaporizer and diffuser combo”.

How to Use a Vaporizer for a Cold..

“To use a vaporizer for a cold, add a chest decongestant like Vicks or eucalyptus oil into the provided tray.

The decongestant combined with steam should open the airways nicely.”

Vaporizer vs. Humidifier for bronchitisThese days, humidifiers and vaporizers are so cheap, it makes more sense to purchase one and put it in the room where you need it, rather than to keep a pot of water simmering on the stove.

Though I would thankfully trade in all humidifiers I’ve ever owned to revisit those days.

What my grandmother knew, was that if you keep steam in the air and add eucalyptus to the mix, you can help ease the symptoms of a cold.

That’s exactly what a modern vaporizer can do.

Think about how taking a hot steamy shower opens up your airways when you have a cold.

That is basically how a vaporizer functions to help reduce cold symptoms.

A vaporizer is essentially a steam machine.

And most of them come with a tray that allows you to add eucalyptus or other types of essential oils that are good for breathing.

Difference between humidifier and vaporizerDifference between humidifier and vaporizer

A vaporizer and a humidifier do the same thing,which is to add moisture to the air, the difference is the method they used to achieve that end.

 A vaporizer boils water and add steams

to the air to moisturize it.

A humidifier moisturizers the air by misting.

Cost- Humidifiers are a little more expensive across the board. They also or recommended for use with distilled water only, which is also an added expense.

A vaporizer also has the advantage of reaching a boiling point that reduces the ability for mold and bacteria to grow in the machine.

Otherwise it’s a matter of preference whether you prefer the feeling of steam or the feeling of a cool mist.

Vaporizer vs. Humidifier for cold

Though a vaporizer adds the provided benefit of helping loosen up mucus with steam, many people prefer a cool mist humidifier.

That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a cold in a warm season.

It’s not exactly comfortable to have hot steam blowing when the temperature is already warm.

A cool mist humidifier provides a slight breeze which can be very comforting when you’re sick.

And having a vaporizer running, which gets to very high temperatures, around children or babies it’s not something most people will do.

Vaporizer vs. Humidifier for bronchitis

When congestion really has you down, chances are your cold has turned into bronchitis.

Both a vaporizer and a humidifier will add moisture to the air that will help loosen up the congestion in your chest.

The biggest difference is that a vaporizer puts out warm air and a cool mist humidifier puts out cool air.

Mayo clinic suggest that a cool mist humidifier maybe better for easing the symptoms of a chest cold AKA bronchitis.

Vaporizer vs. Humidifier for coughVaporizer pros

The vaporizer has the advantage of being less likely to introduce mold and other organisms that can only exasperate bronchitis.

Vaporizers are essential oil friendly.

It’s the combination of steam and aromatherapy that gives the vaporizer a slight advantage.

One of the biggest drawbacks of using a vaporizer is the swampy feeling of combined humidity and heat.

Humidifier pros

Cool mist humidifiers can also work with aromatherapy additives and do not pose a risk of spilling boiling water.

A cool mist humidifier also has the advantage of blowing a slight breeze as it’s working.

Cool air is easier to breathe in hot air.

And one of the main reasons better humidifier is needed in the winter is that the furnace is drying out the air.


The cons of using a humidifier is that they must be kept clean or they can become a air pollution problem.

A dirty humidifier can spit out mold and bacteria as well as other organisms.

Vaporizer vs. Warm mist humidifier

A warm mist humidifier is another name for a vaporizer. Both a warm mist humidifier and a vaporizer boil water to create steam.

Most vaporizers are sold as a combination warm mist humidifier with a separate tray to add essential oil extracts or pre packaged chest rub pads.

A generic humidifier usually does not offer the aromatherapy additive option.

So if you intend to add essential oils like eucalyptus or oregano for instance, be sure that you choose a humidifier that is made to do so.

The mistake that many people make is thinking that you can add oil straight to the water in a cool mist humidifier.

But doing so will eventually clog your humidifier filter and make it useless.

If you already own a cool mist humidifier that does not have a aromatherapy extract tray,

Then it is worthwhile to purchase a separate diffuser for your essential oils.

Vaporizer vs. Humidifier for cough

The distinct advantage that a vaporizer has for a cough is that it creates steam and is essential oil ready.

The combination of steam and and essential oil like eucalyptus can help break up mucus in clear your airways which may help you breathe easier.

Another distinct advantage of a vaporizer for a cough is that it boils water to create steam which kills bacteria and mold that can easily take root in a humidifier. Boiling also takes the need of using distilled water out of the picture.

The biggest downside of a vaporizer is that it can leave in room feeling muggy.
And though the steam maybe a excellent way to open up your sinuses, sleeping in a steamy room is not the most comfortable.

Another downside. Vaporizers reach high temperatures because they boil water. Not suitable for use  where children have access.

The humidifier for a cough adds moisture to the air by emitting a very fine cool mist.

And when you have a cough, a cool mist may make it easier to sleep than a warm steamy room that a vaporizer can give you.

Though they lack the ability of being able to add essential oil straight to the water, many cool mist come equipped with a essential oil tray to be able to take advantage of the healing effects of aromatherapy also.

The biggest drawback of a humidifier over a vaporizer is that mold and bacteria and other organisms can take root much quicker in the machine, making it is essential to keep it cleaned and maintained daily.

Another drawback is it should only be used with distilled water. Which can be an added expense.


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Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @