Can You Use Tap Water in the Humidifier?

A lot of people choose to use tap water in their humidifiers because it is cheap and there is plenty of it available at all times. But is it safe to do so?

In general, it is ok to use tap water in your humidifier; however, the water vapor will remain safe, only if you manage to clean the unit regularly to get rid of mineral buildup and pink mold. It is better to use distilled, demineralized, or purified water instead. 

What Happens If I Use Tap Water in My Humidifier?

And what happens if you don’t use distilled water in humidifier?

At one point, you might notice a few unpleasant side effects:

  • White dust

If you have hard water, then very fine, white dust might start to ‘spray’ out of the humidifier along with the mist.

This happens because of the minerals present in the water. Such white powder is created when the H2O is heated and then cooled.

The white dust can, in some cases, trigger an allergic reaction and it will certainly become annoying – the thing is going to land on your furniture, carpets, and floors. 

  • Pink (red) mold

Slime and mold might form in the water tank even if you use distilled water, but it will happen more frequently, in case you are using hard tap water.

Any type of mold can be harmful and can lead to various health issues, so getting rid of the slime should become one of your top priorities.

Read: What Is Proper Humidity For Your House And Why?

Can You Use Tap Water in the Humidifier?

In general, it is safe to use tap water in your humidifier, unless the manual that came with the unit explicitly states that only distilled water should be used.

In the US, the quality of tap water is regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, so if you can drink it, you can use it in your humidifier (in case you live in an area where you can’t drink the water coming from your tap, don’t use it for the humidifier).

Do bear in mind that it is recommended to use distilled or purified water in any unit to avoid contamination and buildup. 

Read: Ultrasonic Humidifier Not Working? Troubleshooting Guide

What Type of Water Should You Use in a Humidifier?

You should opt for water that contains fewer minerals and bacteria.

The types that are most suitable for your humidifier include:

  • Distilled water
  • Demineralized water
  • Purified water

You might think that it would be ok to use bottled water in your humidifier. After all, you can drink it and it is considered healthy for you, right?

However, bottled water is not the right type for humidifiers as it usually has high mineral content. Such water will cause mineral buildup and can damage the unit in the long run. 

Is Boiled Water the Same as Distilled Water?

No, boiled and distilled water are very different.

 Boiled WaterDistilled Water
How is it produced?The water is heated until it reaches the boiling point.The water is heated past its boiling point so that the liquid begins to vaporize.After that, the vapor is collected and condensed back into a liquid that now has the various impurities removed.
Main featuresBoiling the water is a quick way to get rid of bacteria, but the liquid is still going to contain plenty of minerals.Distillation is an effective way to get rid of mineral and heavy metal salts and bacteria.
Can you consume it?Yes, you can drink boiled water. In fact, the mineral content in such water is much higher than that in the liquid that had not been boiled.You can drink distilled water, but it is not recommended as the liquid doesn’t have any beneficial minerals in it.
Can you use it in your humidifier?It is not recommended to use boiled water in the device as it will cause mineral buildup.Yes, distilled water is perfectly suited for humidifiers

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What Can I Use Instead of Distilled Water in My Humidifier?

Distillation is a complicated process that requires special equipment and takes quite a few hours. At times, it might be difficult to find distilled water or such an option might be too expensive.

Instead of distilled water, you can try using deionized or osmosis purified water.

  • Deionized water is also known as ‘demineralized water’.

The process of deionization involves special resins that remove all the mineral ions from the liquid. 

Fact: deionization requires less time than distillation.

However, do bear in mind that such water might still contain bacteria. To make sure that the water that you use in the humidifier is safe, you can add a special tablet to the water tank or a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.

  • Osmosis water or water purified with osmosis is demineralized

It is considered to be the best substitute for distilled water.

Such liquid is created by making the water travel through various membranes, pressure processes, and heat.

Where to Buy Distilled Water for Humidifier?

You can buy distilled water at your local store, but the bottles can be quite expensive, especially, when the costs add up.

There are also plenty of water distillers available on the market. You can get this device and have an endless amount of distilled water at your disposal.

The machine is able to remove 99.9% of contaminants by heating up the water to its boiling point and then passing the condensate through a special corridor from where it drips into a clean container.

How Can I Make Distilled Water at Home?

If you have some free time, then you can attempt making some distilled water yourself with the help of ordinary kitchen equipment. 

  1. Fill a 5-gallon pot with tap water halfway.
  2. Place a smaller bowl into the water (you have to make sure that it floats). If the bowl is not floating, then you can place it on a baking rack inside the pot.
  3. Bring the water to its boiling point.
  4. Invert the lid of the pot and place ice on top of it. Once the steam hits the cold lid it is going to condensate and ‘fall’ into the bowl.
  5. Continue boiling the water until you have enough distilled water in the bowl.

Hint: you have to make sure that only the water in the pot is boiling. If the liquid in the bowl starts to boil, then simply turn the heat down.

Read: Does Outdoor Humidity Affect Indoor Humidity?

Can You Use Bottled Water in Humidifier?

Bottled water is not completely pure as it usually contains plenty of minerals.

You should avoid using such water in the humidifier as it will cause mineral buildup that, in its turn, can damage the device.

Can You Use Tap Water in a Vicks Humidifier?

Yes, you can use tap water in your Vicks humidifier.

The manufacturer recommends using a demineralization cartridge to capture the minerals and prevent the formation of white dust.

If you have a device with a filter and you are using tap water, then you should remember to turn the filter over each time you refill the tank. 

Such filters have to be changed once every 1-2 months, but if you decided to go for hard tap water, then you might have to replace the filter more often.

Read: What Will Absorb Moisture In A Room?

Can I Use Tap Water for Baby Humidifier?

Ideally, you would want to run only distilled water through the baby humidifier.

If that is not an option, then make sure to take extra care of the device. 

Using tap water can result in fine white dust accumulating in the baby’s room. It hasn’t been proven that this dust is harmful, but it might potentially trigger some respiratory issues.

Tap water can also lead to mineral buildup within the device. Such accumulations can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so you would have to clean the humidifier a bit more often to get rid of these unpleasant consequences.