tap water in humidifier

Tap Water in Humidifier? The End of Civilization?

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 fear porn.

  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?


“You can absolutely put tap water in a humidifier. Is it the best water to put in the humidifier. No. But if you have a regular cleaning schedule using and acidic cleaner like “cleaning vinegar” then you should have very few issues putting tap water in your humidifier.”

What are the issues with putting tap water in a humidifier?

1.  Minerals

The primary problem with putting tap water in a humidifier is that it is full of minerals that can eventually stop up your humidifier or at least cause it to have less output.

2. Humidifier dust

Those same minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of a humidifier over time also contribute to the amount of white humidifier dust that settles on and around your humidifier.

3.  Mold

And thirdly, the minerals in tap water can increase the chances of mold growing in your humidifier water.

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 aqua stick 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

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.

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

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. 

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.

So tap water in a humidifier? 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