tap water in humidifier

Tap Water in Humidifier? What’s The Issue?

If you have been doing any type of research on whether or not you can put tap water in a humidifier, you undoubtedly come across a lot of information to scare you.

A lot of sites make it sound like if you put tap water in a humidifier you will have committed the unpardonable sin.

Can You Put Tap Water in a Humidifier?

Using tap water in your humidifier is generally fine, especially if distilled water is not readily available. However, to ensure the longevity of your device and to maintain air quality, it’s important to clean your humidifier regularly and consider using distilled water when possible to minimize potential issues related to mineral buildup and impurities.

What Are The Issues Of Putting Tap Water In A Humidifier?

There are a few considerations to keep in mind to alleviate any concerns and to ensure optimal operation of your device.

    1. Water Quality Variations: The quality of tap water can vary depending on your location. In some areas, tap water might contain higher levels of minerals and impurities, which can lead to mineral buildup in your humidifier and potentially disperse these minerals into the air.
    2. Potential for White Dust: Using tap water, especially hard water, in ultrasonic humidifiers can result in a fine, white dust being emitted. This dust is composed of the minerals found in the water. While it’s not harmful to most people, it can be annoying and may settle on furniture and electronics.
    3. Cleaning and Maintenance: To reduce any negative effects of using tap water, regular cleaning and maintenance of your humidifier are crucial. This helps to prevent the buildup of minerals and the growth of mold or bacteria within the device.
    4. Filter Systems: Some humidifiers come equipped with built-in filters designed to reduce mineral deposits. If your humidifier has this feature, using tap water may be less of an issue, though you will need to replace or clean the filters regularly.
    5. Distilled Water as a Better Option: While tap water is generally safe, distilled water is often recommended for use in humidifiers because it lacks the minerals and impurities found in tap water. This can help extend the life of your humidifier, reduce the need for frequent cleaning, and prevent the emission of white dust.

Do these issues constitute some type of crisis that will keep your humidifier from operating? Not really.

And if you look around, you will find some humidifiers like Vicks that tell you to put tap water in your humidifier basin right in the instructions.

And like we pointed out before, if you are keeping up with a regular schedule of cleaning your humidifier with an acidic vinegar, you might not even notice these being issues at all.

And plus there are additives that you can purchase like Aquastick that will cut down the chances of mold becoming a problem with your humidifier for up to 90 days even with tap water.

The primary issue with any type of tap water  that you use in a humidifier is how many minerals and other particles that it contains.


What Water is Best for a Humidifier?

“Distilled water is the best water to run in a humidifier. Distilled water goes through a process that removes 99% of the minerals and sediment that you find in your usual tap water.”

Distilled water simply has less particles that can gum up a humidifier than any other type of water.

So if you want to give your humidifier the best chance for lasting longer, then make distilled water your choice for running inside of your humidifier.

You will find that it cuts down on the amount of humidifier dust that settles around your humidifier.

Does using distilled water in the humidifier mean that you do not have to clean your humidifier?

Not at all. Mold and bacteria will grow in distilled water that has been allowed to sit and become stagnant.

Maybe not as quickly as when you use tap water, but using distilled water in no way prevents the eventual bacteria in water over time.

What About Using Tap Water in A Warm Mist Humidifier?

And if you are using a warm mist vaporizer type humidifier then you already have a built-in mechanism for keeping mold and bacteria from becoming an issue with your humidifier.

These types of humidifiers raise the temperature of the water to a boiling point which will kill any bacteria in the water before it becomes airborne and inhaled by the user.

Humidifiers these days are pretty sophisticated. You can buy humidifiers that operate as both cool mist and warm mist as well as get them built with mold resistant plastic.

Top Fill designs take a huge amount of work out of using a humidifier because they do not require you to take the humidifier apart or turn the basin upside down to fill it with water.

So understandably, once you’ve made that extra investment into a humidifier with all the extra features, then you want to give your humidifier the best chance of lasting longer.

So using distilled water over tap water in your humidifier makes perfect sense at that point.

But the risk of putting tap water in a humidifier really doesn’t amount to a whole lot of excitement. And it’s up to you whether or not you want to deal with a little extra clean up.

Bottled Water in Humidifier?

Should you put a bottle of water in the humidifier if you don’t have any distilled?

Bottled water in a humidifier may be a little better than tap water because it does go through a little stricter of a purification process than tap.

But the minerals are not taken out of bottled water and since it’s the minerals that are the main issue with tap water, you’re only going to get a little bit of improvement using bottled water vs tap water.

How about using boiled water in the humidifier?

Boiling water will kill the bacteria or any type of fungal threat that could be present and water.

But the primary problem with boiling water then putting it into a humidifier is that boiling separates the sediment in the water and getting the water into the humidifier without getting the sediment in the humidifier along with it is going to be a little tough. Not impossible but tough.

Stream water seems like it would be a great solution for a humidifier but it probably has more minerals and sediment in it then tap water. And the likelihood of it already containing bacteria and fungus goes up a thousand percent.

bottled water for humidifier Summary

Should you use tap water in a humidifier?

“You can use tap water in the humidifier as long as you understand that the minerals and other particles in it can eventually reduce the output of the humidifier.”

And tap water generally creates more humidifier dust on and around the humidifier than other types of water.

But if you have a regular cleaning schedule for your humidifier that includes a good acidic vinegar, you may not ever notice that these are issues. source

But humidifiers can be quite expensive if you get the type with all the bells and whistles.

So understandably you want to put the best water possible in the machine to keep it working like new.

Distilled water is the best possible water for a humidifier because it does go through a process of removing the minerals and other particles as well as bacteria.

And it can reduce the amount of humidifier dust you see around your humidifier as well.

Right Out Of The Sink?
You can do it and it’s not the end of the world. But if you want the best water for your humidifier that will increase the chances of it lasting much longer, go with distilled water.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org