Can You Use Tap Water In a Humidifier?

We have no problem drinking tap water here in the U.S. as it is protected by Federal Safe Drinking Water Act in America. An important regulation set by EPA to ensure the water is safe and drinkable for the public. However, why do most manufacturers insist that we do not use tap water in a humidifier when it is clearly safe for humans? If I'm from other parts of the region, is tap water still on the cards? What type of water should be used in a humidifier instead? All of your answers shall be revealed below.
Short answer


Can I Use Tap Water in My Humidifier?

You cannot put tap water in a humidifier even if the water is safe to drink. This is because tap water contains mineral deposits that promote the growth of mold and bacteria. When the tap water is broken down and dispersed as mist, the mineral residues will be spread as white dust and end up on your bed, furniture, wall, and floor. Inhaling to white dust can trigger many allergies like sneezing, red eyes, itchy skin, and breathing difficulty. In long-run it will aggravate many respiratory conditions including asthma. Unless the tap water is filtered or demineralized, never risk putting in a humidifier.

What Type of Water Should Be Used in a Humidifier?

You should use distilled, demineralized or purified water to fill your humidifier as it contains less mineral buildup. The fewer the mineral deposits, the fewer microbes like mold, bacteria, and viruses are in the humidifier. You would be exposed to fewer allergens as less mineral dust are been expelled. The cleaner the air, the healthier a person will be.

Can I Use Bottled Water in a Humidifier?

You should not rely on bottled water to refill a humidifier even if is from a popular natural spring. Most bottled water will have dissolved minerals and other harmful pathogens. It is equivalent to a filtered water tap or in some cases, boiled water. There are endless brands of bottled water in the market. Some may have a higher purifies due to the price point and location. Regardless of the filtration degree, there is bound to have minerals buildup that is safe to consume but could damage the humidifier.

Do You Have To Use Distilled Water In a Humidifier? What About Boiled Water?

To upkeep humidifier’s durability and excellent safety record, use only distilled/ demineralized water. It is the best water to use in a humidifier as there is less mineral accumulation that would cause safety and health hazard. However, most people would opt for boiled water instead of distilled water thinking it is the same thing. It is not. Distilled water is boiled until it turns to steam and cooled off to become water again. This effectively removes all mineral residues and any microorganisms. Boiling water to 212 °F will kill the microbes but it will not remove minerals and other chemical contaminants. So never use boiled water in a humidifier.

There are a lot of benefits to a humidifier. It is compact, cheap, and very easy to use. By adding moisture into the air, it makes breathing more comfortable, reduces infections, and protect wooden items from dry rot. Still, a good humidifier will require constant care and maintenance. The reservoir will need to be clean every 3-7 days depending on usage frequency. The water will also need to be changed every couple of days to prevent stagnation. If there is filter involved, make sure it is clean periodically.


Max Fernandez

A humidifier distributor with more than 11 years of experience in the field, Max Fernandez is no stranger to the moisture-capturing machine. You can catch him here reviewing humidifiers and preaching on the importance of perfect humidity.