Hydrogen Peroxide in Humidifier

Hydrogen Peroxide in Humidifier – What’s the Controversy?

Have you heard of putting hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier?

The subject of using hydrogen peroxide In a humidifier is actually a bit of a rabbit hole.
A subject that sparks much debate and controversy.

Hydrogen peroxide is something we’ve had in our medicine cabinet for as long as I can remember. As far back as I can recall my parents would put hydrogen peroxide on any skinned knee or abrasion that I got playing outside.

So when I found out that not everyone agrees about the use of hydrogen peroxide, and doesn’t see it with the same Norman Rockwell rose colored glasses that I was viewing it, I was a little surprised.

So in this article, we’re going to dive right into what the debate of using hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier it’s actually all about.

hydrogen peroxide bottle Hydrogen Peroxide in a humidifier- What is the controversy?

The controversy of using hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier stems from the ideal or the belief that some people have that the steam or mist from a humidifier when you add hydrogen peroxide to the water is:

1. A way of treating respiratory symptoms by means of inhaling the hydrogen peroxide mist.

I’m not going to lie. When I first heard this I thought it was absolutely reasonable. And a wondered why I had never heard of this practice before.

The idea of using hydrogen peroxide in a humidifier for respiratory treatment does seem intuitive. Given its use as a topical antiseptic, it’s easy to wonder if its disinfecting properties could extend to treating respiratory ailments when inhaled.

The Reality: However, medical experts warn against this. Inhaling hydrogen peroxide mist can be harmful to the lungs and respiratory system.

Unlike its action on the skin, when inhaled, hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation and damage to the delicate tissues in the lungs and airways.

The effectiveness of this treatment is not proven and it can be quite risky, making the potential harms greater than any expected benefits.

2. A method of disinfecting the air.

The Hypothesis: Some proponents suggest that hydrogen peroxide, when added to humidifiers, can act as an air disinfectant. The idea is that the mist dispersed into the air will carry disinfecting properties of hydrogen peroxide, thereby reducing airborne pathogens.

Challenges with this Concept: This concept raises several issues. First, the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide in disinfecting air via a humidifier is not scientifically established. Airborne disinfection requires specific concentrations and contact times, which are not achievable through standard humidifiers.

I was surprised about this one too. It seems logical that misting hydrogen peroxide into the air would be effective at getting germs out of the air. As well as oxidizing germs and bacteria on surfaces.

Hydrogen Peroxide as an air purifier does seem to be valid. There are more than a couple studies that seem to prove it. But trying to get the same type of effect with a humidifier is not doable.

Here’s a couple supporting studies:

In an article published by the national library of medicine it was stated that “HPV (hydrogen peroxide vapor) was virucidal for structurally distinct viruses dried on surfaces, suggesting that HPV can be considered for the disinfection of virus contaminated surfaces.”

An article published by OHS, the occupational health and safety website states that “hydrogen peroxide vapor represents a major technological advance in preventing the spread of dangerous bacteria inside a hospitals”

3. Cleaning the Humidifier Itself:

Some believe that adding hydrogen peroxide to the humidifier’s water tank can help keep the device clean, preventing mold and bacterial growth.

But, as you may have guessed, this is a practice that is considered unsafe because it can not not only be dangerous to breathe the hydrogen peroxide mist, the hydrogen peroxide can actually be to corrosive of an agent on the materials of the humidifier itself. Potentially shortening the life of the humidifier.

Cleaning Humidifier with Hydrogen Peroxide

Even if you plan on disassembling the humidifier and using hydrogen peroxide to clean it, the result would not be as good as using vinegar or bleach and you still risk it being to corrosive on the materials of the humidifier.


Hydrogen Peroxide and Humidifiers: The Other Side

Like every good controversy, there has to be another side to the story.

The use of hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for respiratory issues has a lot of proponents that who absolutely endorse its use for “alternative” treatments for breathing and topical applications for nasal and throat issues.

A lot of people including many alternative medicine practitioners encourage the inhalation of hydrogen peroxide vapor as a way of clearing the nasal passages and lungs of viral particles that have been ingested.

Be warned though, this is not something you want to try without supervision. Also Food grade hydrogen peroxide will burn your skin if you get it on your hand or anywhere else while using it. So you certainly don’t want to ingest it.

But the proponents of using hydrogen peroxide vapor are not suggesting that you drink hydrogen peroxide or that you use it full strength in a humidifier or nebulizer.

“The ideal is that a diluted low level of peroxide is not enough to cause any damage but is strong enough to have an antiviral oxidizing effect on viruses.”

There are people who say that you can put straight 3% hydrogen peroxide into your humidifier and that is completely safe.

The internet has a huge amount of people testifying that breathing hydrogen peroxide vapor has helped them and in a lot of cases is the only thing that has helped them.

Breathebetterair is not a medical website, nor are we doctors.

If you should decide that you want to try this, this is completely up to you and we do not encourage or discourage the method either way.

gargling peroxideGargling with hydrogen peroxide

This has nothing to do with humidifiers but it definitely goes down the same path.

Many people claim, including alternative medical professionals, that gargling hydrogen peroxide as well as nasal washing will quickly stop the progression of respiratory complications due to ingesting viruses.

The suggestion is that you use a 1.5% solution of hydrogen peroxide when doing so.

This PubMed article points out that it is safe to use hydrogen peroxide on the mucous membranes as it is already a common practice in otolaryngology.

And it seems to add some weight to the alternative argument for the “questionable” practice of hydrogen peroxide inhalation.

Again, this is something you should definitely be very careful with. Consulting a medical professional is suggested.


If you haven’t heard, there’s a controversy brewing over the use of hydrogen peroxide in humidifiers.

There are a lot words like experts and alternative medical practitioners be thrown around.

The “experts” say that hydrogen peroxide should never be used in an humidifier.

Regardless of it is only a way to keep the humidifier clean or if you are planning on inhaling the humidifier mist for respiratory reasons. Or as a method of disinfecting the air.

The argument is that is to corrosion to breathe, and could damage lung tissue. And that it is too corrosive for your surfaces and the humidifier itself. And that there is simply no way to regulate it.

But proponents of using hydrogen peroxide in humidifiers say that that can absolutely be used safely and the benefits outweigh the potential risks by miles.

What do you think?

Be warned.

If you are going to try it, remember that food grade hydrogen peroxide will burn your skin if you get it on you, so it will need to be diluted with water as much as 10 times before you use it. Be sure your wearing safety gloves and clothing.

The 3% hydrogen peroxide that you purchase in the brown bottles from your local pharmacy should be deleted by half before you use it also.

We do not encourage or discourage this method. This is an informational website and not intended to be advice.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org