Do You Have to Use Distilled Water in a Humidifier

Do You Have to Use Distilled Water in a Humidifier? Really?

Do you have to use distilled water in a humidifier?

“No. A humidifier will work with any type of water, distilled, tap, or otherwise, to add moisture back into the air. It’s a fact.”

But certain types of water, because of the mineral and chemical content, will shorten the life of your humidifier and lower its output.
And if the water in the humidifier has been stagnant and is moldy when the humidifier is run, it can actually be dangerous. 

Distilled Water For Humidifiers? Why is it Best?

Distilled water is the best water to use in a humidifier because of its low mineral content. Because of the process it goes through, it has the lowest mineral content of any type of water.

This is important for a few reasons:

  1. The mineral content in most drinking water will eventually shorten the life of your humidifier and lower the output by stopping it up.
  2. The minerals in most water are what is responsible for the dust that you see gathering around your humidifier.

Since dust is one of the primary reasons that your skin gets dried out in dry weather, using water with a lot of mineral content in a humidifier can produce the opposite effect than intended.

  1. The higher the mineral content in the water that you use in a humidifier, the more likely, the growth of mold and bacteria in the water.

Can you use tap water in a humidifierCan you use tap water in a humidifier?


Is it dangerous to use tap water in a humidifier. No.

Now more so than drinking tap water.

And though most of us probably drink bottled water more regularly than tap water. But most anytime you purchase tea or coffee from a restaurant, it’s going to be made with tap water.

So whether we believe that tap water is good to drink or not, most of us are most likely consuming it on a regular basis.

The issue with tap water being used in a humidifier are primarily about the high mineral content in tap water.

The higher the mineral content in the water that you use in a humidifier, the more likely to get stopped up and not work properly.

And it’s the mineral content in the water that creates the white Dust that accumulates on the humidifier and around it.

Since dry skin is one of the primary reasons people purchase humidifiers and dust is one of the primary things that pulls the moisture out of your skin in dry weather,operating a humidifier that is creating more dust by using tap water is kinda anti-productive and is producing the opposite result.

  Another issue with tap water is that the minerals in the water have more of a chance to become food for mold to be able to take root inside of a humidifier.

And finally, tap water has a whole list of chemicals that are there “for our own good apparently” that you do not necessarily want to breathe in as part of the moisture content in your air.

Tell me again why they put “fluoride” in tap water?

So even though tap water is definitely not the best option for a humidifier, the issues with it are relatively minor. And if that’s all you have at your disposal, you know the risk,

and it’s not like you can’t clean your humidifier extra well after you use tap water in it. And as for the dust, keep it wiped up.

What other water besides distilled can you use in a humidifier?


Bottled water has a lot of minerals in it that could be an eventual problem for your humidifier. Even the water that is produced by using reverse osmosis has the disclaimer on it that minerals are added back to make it more consumable.

It’s a better option than tap water but it still has its fall backs.

Boiled water?

Boiling water causes the minerals in the water to settle. So if you had a way to separate the settlement so that it did not make it into the humidifier with the rest of the water, it would make a great choice.
The problem is, making that happen. Not exactly easy to do.

So as you can see, what type of water you put in your humidifier pales in comparison to so many other problems.

warning-dirty humidifier water aheadBut there is absolutely one type of water you should never run your humidifier with.

“Stagnant water”.

Water that has been allowed to sit inside of your humidifier is going to be moldy and full of germs and bacteria.

And when you turn that humidifier on with that stagnant water still in it, the germs and bacteria in that water will become part of the air that you are breathing.

Now talk about having the opposite effect than you intended, the humidifier that was supposed to make you feel better, has basically become a weapon of germ warfare.

Legionnaires’ disease and humidifier lung are harsh reminders of what can happen when humidifiers and evaporative coolers are allowed to sit with moldy water.

You can easily look up the symptoms of mold allergies and discover that they look very closely like the symptoms of the flu.

So if you think that the humidifier in your house may be making you sick, you may be right. And you should take it seriously.

Humidifiers have become pretty sophisticated devices and many of them have ways of helping control mold growth.

If you’re in the market for a new humidifier, it’s well worth it to look into some of the features that can help reduce the chance mold and bacteria growing in your humidifier and becoming part of the air you’re breathing. 

There are additives that you can place in your humidifier that can reduce the chances of a humidifier developing bacteria too.


Do you have to put distilled water in a humidifier?

No. Even though distilled water is the best water to extend the life of your humidifier and has the least chance of creating humidifier dust and producing mold,
A humidifier will work without it.

And though everyone agrees that tap water is the worst water you want to use in a humidifier, you can use it without having to worry about it being dangerous to you.

The main issue with tap water is that it is filled with minerals that can stop up your humidifier. And those minerals can and will produce humidifier dust on your unit and around it.

If tap water is what you have available, then do your best to keep your humidifier clean with vinegar and keep the dust around the humidifier wiped up so it does not become part of the air quality.

  The main thing you should watch out for when using a humidifier is that you do not run it with stagnant moldy water in it.

Mold in your air can produce very similar symptoms to the flu. Pneumonia, humidifier lung, and legionnaires are harsh reminders of what can happen when mold is allowed to grow in water unchecked.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @