The “Distilled” Difference – Why You Need to Use Distilled Water in Your Humidifier

Have you ever noticed white dust piling up around your home or even gotten a whiff of an unpleasant smell coming from your humidifier? If you answered yes, you probably haven’t used distilled water in your humidifier.

Distilled water is the safest and healthiest choice to use in your humidifier because it reduces scale, mold, and bacteria growth.

As an added bonus, your humidifier will also be much easier to clean and may even last longer if you use distilled water.

Let’s take a closer look at why you should consider using distilled water in your humidifier.

Why You Need To Use Distilled Water in a Humidifier

After years of waking up with a sinus headache in the winter, I finally heard that running a humidifier while I sleep could be the answer to my problem. It was!

But then I realized I had another problem… In the first few months of using my humidifier, I started to notice tiny white dust gathering all around it and an unusual odor coming from the inside. I checked my manual and to my surprise, these were common issues that I could fix by using distilled water!

Modern Humidifier in House

At first, I was skeptical. I wanted to know how much of a difference it would make if I used distilled water instead of my regular tap water. After a bit of research, I firmly believe that distilled water is the way to go!

Here are some of the benefits of using distilled water in a humidifier:

It Will Help Your Humidifier Last Longer

Using distilled water can slow down the buildup of scale inside your humidifier. This will make your humidifier easier to clean and even help it last longer!

As water evaporates in your humidifier, it leaves behind a layer of mineral deposits called scale. You probably know it as the white, crusty stuff that shows up in your humidifier to let you know it’s time for a cleaning.

If you are using water with a high mineral content in your humidifier (like tap water), then you may start to see scale showing up in other places too. The little white dust I saw was actually scale that escaped my humidifier and landed all around my room!

The more water that evaporates, the more scale gets left behind. If you don’t clean your humidifier on a regular basis, this scale will eventually clog your humidifier from the inside and cause it to break.

In distilled water, 99.9% of the minerals are removed, so it can take a very long time for scale to accumulate. This means less cleaning, less dusting, and a longer, happier life for your humidifier!

It Will Prevent Mold Inside Your Humidifier

If I asked you to imagine the perfect place to grow mold, what would you picture?  Probably a dark, moist environment.  A wet place with little sunlight and not a lot of airflow…

That sounds like the inside of your humidifier, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, mold isn’t the only thing that might grow inside your humidifier. Other microorganisms like bacteria and fungi can also thrive in these conditions. As you can guess, this yucky stuff can cause serious health risks when it gets into the air you breathe.

So how do you prevent the yucky stuff? You guessed it! Use distilled water!

The first step of the distillation process is heating the water until it boils. This level of heat kills microorganisms like mold and bacteria, so you won’t find them anywhere in distilled water.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Regular Tap Water in a Humidifier

Regular tap water has a higher mineral content which can be damaging to humidifiers. It also contains trace amounts of mold and other harmful microorganisms.

Man Holds Hand over Humidifier on the Table

As we mentioned before, minerals in your humidifier water is a recipe for disaster when it comes to humidifiers. But it can cause more problems than just clogging your humidifier…

As we discussed earlier, minerals can be left behind when water evaporates in your humidifier and create a white, crusty layer of scale.

This scale is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and mold. When you turn on your humidifier, tiny bits of mold and all of the other bad stuff will make their way into the air you breathe.

What You Can Do if You Don’t Have Distilled Water

If you don’t have distilled water, you can use several other solutions to ensure you have safe water to use in your humidifier.

Not everyone has a secret stash of distilled water at home – I know I didn’t!

You can usually find jugs of distilled water in your local grocery store. The only problem is that buying distilled water all the time can get expensive.

The good news is that there are several other alternatives that are easier and even more affordable than buying distilled water!

You can try demineralization tablets, other types of water, or even make your own distilled water right at home!

How To Remove the Minerals From Humidifier Water

Demineralization cartridges or tablets are a great way to remove the minerals from your humidifier water.

But, there is a catch. These cartridges and tablets do not kill mold or bacteria, so you will need to make sure that your water is either filtered or boiled beforehand.

The other downside to this method is that it only works with ultrasonic humidifiers, so it is not an ideal solution for everyone.

Other Types of Water You Can Use in a Dehumidifier

Reverse osmosis water is a great alternative to distilled water and will work with any kind of humidifier.

During the reverse osmosis process, water passes through several filters and membranes. These membranes remove the minerals and microorganisms like mold and bacteria from the water.

If you have a reverse osmosis system in your home, then you can substitute reverse osmosis water for distilled water in your humidifier.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Boiled Water Instead of Distilled Water

Boiled water is not the best choice to use in your humidifier. While boiling might be a great way to kill mold and bacteria, but it only removes some of the mineral content.

As we discussed earlier, minerals in your water can be the culprit behind scale buildup and broken humidifiers. In this case, it is best to look for a better solution.

Besides, if you are willing to boil water to use in your humidifier, then you may as well try making your own distilled water! It’s just as easy!

How to Make Your Own Distilled Water

If you are up for an adventure, you can make your own distilled water at home using the super easy steps below…

To see this process in action, check out:

  1. Fill half of a large pot with water (regular tap water is fine)
  2. Put a small glass bowl inside the pot and make sure it floats in the water
  3. Place a lid upside-down over the pot
  4. Place several ice cubes on top of the lid
  5. Bring the water to a boil
  6. The steam will condense on the lid and drip into the glass bowl
  7. Watch the distilled water collect in the floating bowl

Be careful! The bowl will be pretty hot, so make sure you have a towel or potholder handy to remove it from the pot!

Bonus Tip: Make sure there is always enough water in the pot, so the glass bowl is always floating.

How to Clean Your Humidifier Before You Start Using Distilled Water

Before switching to distilled water, it’s a good idea to thoroughly clean your humidifier.

Just like the nasty microorganisms and scale can make it into your air, so can the stuff you use to clean your humidifier. In this case, it is always best to use natural cleaning methods instead of chemicals.

Here are some natural and cost-effective cleaning methods you need to know about…

Distilled white vinegar is a safe, healthy, and cost-effective way to kill mold and bacteria inside your humidifier. You can usually find it in small bottles or jugs at your local grocery store. Make sure you do a thorough job of rinsing out the vinegar, or your room will smell like a jar of pickles the next time you turn on your humidifier!

Hydrogen peroxide is another great way to sanitize the inside of your humidifier and cut through scale buildup. You can fill your humidifier tank with three parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide (3%). Let the mixture sit for 30 mins before dumping and rinsing the humidifier tank.

Distilled Water Really is the Best to Use in a Humidifier

Distilled water is the best type of water to use in your humidifier! It can help prolong the life of your humidifier, make it easier to clean and keep your air cleaner and healthier.

If you want to avoid heading to the grocery store every time you need distilled water, you can make it yourself at home! It is just as easy as boiling water and takes no time to do!

Although it may be tempting to fill up your humidifier with regular tap water, it is definitely worth it to use distilled water instead.

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