If you want to bring more humidity into your home, you are most likely looking at three similar machines with very similar functions but vastly different purposes.
They are all very similar in function, but their purposes are different. For example, humidifiers only increase the dampness in the air, while diffusers circulate essential oils throughout the room.
What is your goal, purpose, and objective for humidifying your home? First, we will look at the differences between all three machines to make sure you are clear on what will work best.
What is The Purpose?
You’ve probably seen a diffuser at your chiropractor’s office, medical clinic, or other public health care facilities. They are soothing and can create a calming atmosphere in the space by diffusing essential oils into the air.
They add moisture to the air while simultaneously scenting the air with your preferred essential oil. They operate by taking wet air and combining it with essential oils placed in an internal tray mechanism before dispelling this mixture into the atmosphere. This can offer many healing benefits as the air becomes more humid.
A humidifier’s only purpose is to increase the humidity of your home. Humidifiers range in size and function. Most humidifiers keep your home at a comfortable humidity range of 30 to 50 percent relative humidity. To get started, fill the tank with water and select your preferred humidity from the setting knob. You can also specify its operating time if it has a timer function.
These machines are similar to humidifiers as they increase the humidity in your home. They simply do it differently.
They operate by using electricity to heat the water, which creates steam, which is then dispelled into the air.
How Do They Add Humidity to the Air?
This device combines water from a small holding tank containing essential oils, which is then emitted into the air. They can increase the humidity in a room but not at the same level as a dedicated humidifier.
A variation of humidifiers is called ultrasonic humidifiers. They utilize ultrasonic vibrations to disperse a powerful blast of moisture into the air. A fresh fog of small and easy to breathe particles are released. In addition, because the mist is cooler in temperature, it won’t cause any mold or excessive dampness in your home.
Vaporizers use heat to generate steam, which is then inhaled. Although it’s created from heat, the steam is often cooled by the time it reaches you.
How Do You Clean Them?
It is imperative to clean your diffuser in regular intervals because the essential oils can cause blockages and stop the diffuser from functioning properly. There are many methods for cleaning your diffuser.
Simply fill the tank with clean water and add a small amount of dishwashing soap. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to sink into the oily parts. When you’re ready, use a sponge to scrub the inside gently. If you want to make sure it’s extra clean, go ahead and add two teaspoons of white vinegar to the water and let it soak for an additional 10 minutes.
The most important safety rule is to always unplug your diffuser, humidifier, or vaporizer before cleaning it to avoid electrocuting yourself.
Something that we commonly see with humidifiers is that calcium or limestone can gradually build up inside the tanks, especially if you live in a place that uses “hard” water in the taps. Leaving water in the tanks for too long may also cause mold or mildew to grow.
The quickest way to clean a humidifier is by dismantling it and adding some white vinegar to the container. Fill it up halfway and shake it. The vinegar will clean any mold or other build-up left in the tank.
Remember that vaporizers use heat to boil the water to create steam. Because of this, you must unplug the device and let it cool down for 30 to 60 minutes before cleaning. Be careful to drain the vessel and remove it from the electrical heating element. Rinse the container with clean water and empty everything, then dry it with a clean towel.
If you can, clean the heating element as well. To do this, add clean white vinegar and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Then place it under running tap water. Be mindful to cover the steam outlet to avoid water getting into the heating element. At the end of it, flip it upside down to ensure that any water that got into the element falls out.
How Much Do They Cost?
Diffusers are not expensive. They typically run between $13-30 depending on how big or small they are and how complex they are. Some diffusers cost more because they come with several essential oils too.
Humidifiers have a greater range of prices, from $14 up to $100. The price depends on the size of the tank, functions, and customizations. Cheaper models are typically smaller and more basic.
Vaporizers are commonly found for around $30 but you can also find cheaper machines for a little over $15.
How Safe Are They?
While diffusers are considered safe, there are a couple of things you want to watch out for. If you have pets or children, beware of these features.
Diffusers become hot when they are operating. This can be dangerous if a child touches it as they could get burned. Another aspect that could be dangerous is the essential oils compartment. High concentrations of scents may cause allergies or irritation to both you and your pets.
If there are pets or children present in your space, keep the diffuser in a separate area of the house to avoid any unpleasant accidents.
Humidifiers that use a cool mist are safer to have around pets and children. They don’t use heat to create steam or use concentrated essential oils. Still, you might want to keep them in a separate area, so children or pets don’t knock them over.
Do bear in mind that if you don’t properly maintain your humidifier by cleaning it regularly, you could be dispersing mold and other contaminants into the air.
Vaporizers have the potential to cause burns. If the machine were to fall, you’ll have boiling water everywhere and this could cause significant burns. Make sure you keep this device out of reach of children and pets.
Do They Work for Allergies?
Some essential oils have been known to help with certain allergies. For example, peppermint is used to reduce inflammation.
Despite this, avoid mixing oils unnecessarily as some mixtures could cause allergic reactions. So read up on essential oils before you decide to become a mixologist!
While low humidity can be irritating for the throat, high levels of moisture indoors are the main cause of indoor allergic reactions.
High levels of humidity can cause dust mites and mold to circulate throughout the air. Make sure you keep your humidifier clean, so this doesn’t happen!
This is the best option if you’re contending with indoor allergens and low humidity. The process of boiling water kills any contaminants and releases pure and clean mist.
How Well Do They Work on Congestion?
Similar to the question about allergies, diffusers can only be as effective as the oils you decide to use. For example, eucalyptus and peppermint are popular oils for soothing congestions and opening up the lung airways.
Simply adding moisture to the air is an effective way to soothe congestion. It’s why humidifiers are such popular choices for dealing with cold and flu symptoms, as well as asthma and more chronic illnesses.
Like humidifiers, vaporizers add moisture to the air. Therefore, they both help to soothe and stop congestion.
Can Anything Go Inside Them?
The diffuser is all about your ability to add essential oils to the container, thus diffusing them into the air.
Do not add essential oils to this device, as it can cause build-up and damage the internal mechanisms. If you want to, you can add scents that can be dissolved into water.
There are different kinds of vaporizers, some come with the option of adding scents such as the “Vicks” brand. This is not recommended to use around children.
Which One Will You Choose?
If you are looking to add humidity to the air to help with dry skin or breathing issues, vaporizers, diffusers, humidifiers can all do this. So, which one will it be?
Consider what you need the most, then go from there. Do you want the aroma of dispersed essential oils, or the ability to humidify a whole room with just one machine?
Whichever one you choose, please make sure to clean it regularly according to your usage. The health effects could be costly if you don’t maintain your device properly.