Can You Use A Diffuser As A Humidifier?

Last Updated on: 15th September 2023, 08:27 pm

One of the downsides of the winter season is that it makes your indoor air extremely dry and uncomfortable. Using a furnace further dries out the air. This dry air worsens many health conditions, such as dry skin, nosebleeds, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.

Many homeowners use humidifiers to maintain the ideal humidity levels and to make the indoor air more comfortable and convenient. People who use essential oils might have wondered if they can use a diffuser as a humidifier.

If you’re wondering about the same question, you’re at the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail how both these devices work, their differences, and whether you can use a diffuser as a humidifier.

Table of Contents

can you use a diffuser as a humidifier

Let’s dive in.

Oil Diffuser Vs. Humidifier: How Do They Work?

To find out whether you can use a diffuser as a humidifier, you’ll have to understand how each device works and their similarities and differences.

How Does an Essential Oil Diffuser Work?

Oil diffusers emit essential oils into the atmosphere as a fine mist. The tank is filled with water in an ultrasonic diffuser, and essential oil is mixed into it. When the device is turned on, the disc inside the diffuser vibrates, creating ultrasonic waves.

The ultrasonic waves break the essential oils into very small particles that are released into the air as a fine mist. Using oil diffusers offers amazing health benefits. People use them in aromatherapy for various purposes. These benefits include:

  • To relax or destress
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Uplift mood
  • Improves sleep
  • Aids digestion

The most commonly used essential oils in these oil diffusers are citrus, orange, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

There are different types of humidifiers, such as ultrasonic, warm mist, and evaporative. Each type has a different working mechanism, but they all have the same purpose, i.e., to increase humidity levels in the air.

Normally, there is a water reservoir in the device. The humidifier uses either a fan or vibrations to turn water into water vapors dispersed into the air in the form of a mist. This process increases moisture levels in the air.

Humidifiers are commonly used, especially in the winter, when dry air causes many health issues such as coughs, congestion, dry skin, and nosebleeds.

Diffuser Vs. Humidifier: What are the Differences?

Humidifiers and diffusers look very similar in how they work. For example, both these devices produce a stream of mist. However, they are different in many ways.

Let’s discuss some important differences between a diffuser and a humidifier.

  • Diffusers are comparatively small devices whose primary function is to disperse essential oils into the air. While humidifiers are larger than diffusers and are designed to increase moisture levels.
  • A humidifier significantly raises the humidity levels in a space. On the other hand, the increase in moisture levels generated by an oil diffuser is not very noticeable.
  • Diffusers can humidify only a small area because they have smaller water tanks. In contrast, humidifiers come with larger tanks, which can significantly increase moisture levels in larger spaces.
  • Diffusers are specifically designed to release essential oils into the space. Most humidifiers are not built to disperse essential oils. The working parts of some types of humidifiers may get damaged if you put essential oils into them.

Can You Use a Diffuser As A Humidifier?

can you use a diffuser as a humidifier

Yes, you can use a diffuser as a humidifier, but a diffuser would not make much of a difference in the indoor humidity levels. The reason is that, unlike a humidifier, a diffuser doesn’t produce enough mist to increase moisture.

Therefore, it is recommended to use a diffuser if you want to reap the benefits of aromatherapy through essential oils. On the other hand, you should use a humidifier to maintain ideal humidity levels in your indoor air. A humidifier would be the best option to combat problems caused by dry and cold air.

The Health Benefits of Using an Oil Diffuser

The aromatic compounds released by the oil diffuser offer incredible benefits to both physical and mental health. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improves concentration and focus
  • It helps you to calm down and relax
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves sleep  (Lavender and Roman chamomile essential oil may help with insomnia
  • Opens airways
  • Helps with headaches and migraines
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Increase energy
  • Acts as mosquito repellent
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial (thyme, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus are commonly used for this purpose)
  • Improved cognitive function

The Health Benefits of Using a Humidifier

Humidifiers come in handy during winter when the cold and dry air creates many health issues. Using a humidifier may be beneficial in many ways:

  • Reduces asthma flare-ups
  • Reduces allergy symptoms
  • Helps with dry or flaky skin
  • Reduces the transmission of infections
  • Helps with cough or sore throat
  • Aids in breathing
  • Provides sinus relief
  • Reduces eye irritation
  • Helps with cracked lips and nosebleeds

Why You Should Not Use A Humidifier In Place Of A Diffuser?

Diffusers and humidifiers are designed to perform different functions. If you use a humidifier in place of a diffuser, it might cause some problems.

If you use essential oils in your humidifier, these oils may lose their potency. In this way, the essential oils cannot offer the desired health benefits.

Also, many types of humidifiers are composed of plastic and porous components. Some essential oils are corrosion in nature. For this reason, these oils can damage the working parts of the humidifier, negatively impacting the unit’s effectiveness.

Moreover, essential oils can erode the plastic material of the humidifier. This plastic can disintegrate and release harmful chemicals into the surrounding air, causing potential health hazards.

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Can you use a diffuser as a humidifier for plants?

Yes, you can use a diffuser as a humidifier for plants if you want to humidify a small area such as a plant corner. Diffusers can act like mini-humidifiers because they produce a small mist and add little moisture as compared to humidifiers. Humidifiers, on the other hand, add more moisture and are more suitable for increasing humidity in spacious rooms.

How do I know if I need a humidifier?

If you observe symptoms of dry air such as nosebleeds, dry skin, cough, congestion, asthma, and other respiratory issues, know that you might need a humidifier to relieve these symptoms.

Another way to tell if you need a humidifier is to check the air’s humidity levels using a humidity gauge. Ideally, the indoor humidity levels should be between 30% and 50%.

Can you put just water in a diffuser?

Yes, you can put just water in a diffuser without adding any essential oil in it as a diffuser can work as a mini-humidifier. It is recommended to add distilled water instead of tap water to the diffuser.

Final Thoughts

You can use an essential oil diffuser to humidify small spaces. However, it is not suggested to use it to humidify larger rooms or areas because the mist output of the oil diffuser is quite small, and it would not make a large impact on the humidity levels.

You should consider an actual humidifier if you want to make a significant difference in the moisture levels of a room. Moreover, you can opt for a diffuser to get the incredible benefits of aromatherapy.