Choosing the Right Water for Your Humidifier

By: Evan Scoboria, Last updated: June 28, 2023

A humidifier can significantly improve the air quality in your home by adding moisture to the air, particularly during the dry months. However, using the correct type of water is crucial to ensuring your humidifier works effectively and maintains a healthy environment. This article will discuss the importance of using the appropriate water in your humidifier and provide tips on choosing the best water type for your specific device.

Distilled Water

What Type of Water Should be Used in a Humidifier?

Knowing which type of water to use is essential to keep your humidifier functioning optimally and avoid potential issues. In this section, we'll explore the different types of water suitable for humidifiers and discuss the benefits and risks associated with each.

You should use distilled water for your humidifier whenever possible. Distilled water is produced through evaporation and condensation that removes impurities and minerals. This makes it an ideal choice for use in humidifiers for several reasons:

  1. Reduced mineral buildup: Since distilled water is virtually free of minerals, there is a significantly lower risk of mineral deposits forming inside your humidifier. This helps maintain its efficiency, reduces the need for frequent cleaning, and prolongs its lifespan.

  2. No white dust: Without minerals, using distilled water in your humidifier eliminates the problem of white dust, providing cleaner air and reducing the need for additional cleaning.

  3. Decreased risk of bacteria and mold growth: Distilled water contains fewer microorganisms than tap water, reducing the likelihood of bacteria and mold growth within your humidifier. This leads to a healthier indoor environment and fewer potential health concerns.

Why distilled water is recommended

Distilled water is the gold standard for use in humidifiers. It undergoes a purification process that removes impurities, minerals, and bacteria, which can help prevent the buildup of scale and microbial growth in your device. By using distilled water, you can maintain the performance of your humidifier, prolong its lifespan, and create a healthier indoor environment for you and your family.

The risks of using tap water

Tap water contains minerals, chemicals, and other impurities that can accumulate in your humidifier and lead to scale buildup, reduced efficiency, and even damage to the device. Additionally, tap water can promote the growth of bacteria and mold, negatively affecting indoor air quality and potentially causing health issues. Some of these issues include:

  1. Mineral buildup: The minerals present in tap water can accumulate inside the humidifier, forming deposits on the heating element, water tank, and other components. This buildup can decrease the efficiency of your device, increase the risk of malfunction, and even shorten its lifespan.

  2. White dust: When tap water evaporates, it leaves mineral residues that can be dispersed into the air as fine white dust. This dust can settle on surfaces around your home, causing potential respiratory issues and requiring frequent cleaning.

  3. Bacteria and mold: Tap water can contain microorganisms that may thrive in the humid environment of a humidifier. This can lead to the growth of bacteria and mildew, which can be released into the air and cause health issues, especially for those with allergies or respiratory conditions.

Other types of water that can be used

Other Water Options

If distilled water is not readily available, other water types can be used in your humidifier:

Bottled water

Bottled water typically has fewer impurities than tap water, making it a suitable alternative. However, it may still contain some minerals and contaminants, so checking the label is essential to ensure it's a good option for your humidifier.

Filtered water

Filtered water has been passed through a filtration system to remove impurities and contaminants. While it may not be as pure as distilled water, it's generally a better option than tap water.

Boiled water

Boiling water can help kill bacteria and other microorganisms, making it a safer option than unboiled tap water. However, boiling does not remove minerals or other impurities, so it may still lead to scale buildup in your humidifier.

The effects of using the wrong type of water

Using the wrong type of water in your humidifier can lead to several issues, including scale buildup, reduced efficiency, damage to your device, and poor indoor air quality due to bacterial and mold growth. To prevent these problems, choosing the right type of water for your humidifier is crucial.


Using the correct type of water in your humidifier is essential for maintaining its performance and ensuring a healthy indoor environment. Distilled water is the best choice, followed by filtered or bottled water when distilled water is unavailable. Avoid adding essential oils or other contaminants to the machine, and regularly cleaning your humidifier with vinegar, bleach, or hydrogen peroxide can help prevent the buildup of mineral deposits, bacteria, and mold. By following these tips, you can keep your humidifier in top condition and enjoy the benefits of improved air quality in your home.