Can humidifier make you sick

Maintaining the ideal humidity levels is crucial. High humidity levels and low humidity levels are both unhealthy for the body and the environment. Humidifiers are excellent devices that can help to add moisture to the surroundings and ensure the indoor humidity levels are met. However, an indoor environment that has excess moisture in it is harmful.

In this article we will discuss the problems that arise when there is excess moisture in the indoor air and if a humidifier can make you sick. Let us take a look at the importance of proper maintenance of portable humidifiers, central humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, and humidifier filters, and why a dirty humidifier is hazardous to health.

Does a humidifier make you sick?

Using a humidifier properly can resolve many troubles that arise from low humidity levels. The health problems dirty reservoirs cause are the reasons why one can fall sick. Dirty humidifiers promote bacterial growth and fungal growth. It is crucial to clean the humidifier properly to avoid humidifier fever or humidifier sickness.

Does a humidifier make you sick

Dry indoor air or dry air can lead to various health problems. Dry sinuses, dry skin, allergy symptoms, etc., can result from dry air. Keeping indoor humidity levels balanced is crucial because lowering humidity levels beyond a point can lead to dry indoor air. Dry air can worsen asthma, and allergy symptoms, trigger flu-like symptoms and aggravate airborne allergens.

The purpose of humidifiers is that they add cool mist or water vapor to the already existing low indoor moisture. A humidifier can make you sick when it is not used correctly. Serious health hazards like lung infections, the proliferation of white dust and dust mites that trigger flu-like symptoms, bacteria growth, harmful mold growth that release airborne allergens, stagnating harmful chemicals from the dirty mist, dry skin, dry sinuses, humidifier fever, heatstroke, muscle cramps, etc., are few of the many problems that arise from improper use of humidifiers.

When troubles like this arise from humidifiers you must focus on the cleaning process of the water reservoir, and the humidifier filters, and attempt to reduce indoor moisture and hit the right balance.

Humidifier Maintenance: Why Is It Important?

Distilled or demineralized water, tap water, hot water, etc. Any water stagnating will be the source of harmful mold and bacterial growth. As a result of the water left inside the water tank in the humidifier the fungal and bacteria growth will increase.

Humidifier Maintenance

Invest time in the cleaning process to avoid dirty humidifiers. Remove mineral deposits using chlorine bleach or soapy tap water by scrubbing the water tank. Proper maintenance of the tank and dirty humidifiers can avoid bacteria growth.

A humidifier filter or any filter that deals with humidifiers like air conditioners, cooling systems, heating systems, and devices that collect moisture like dehumidifiers, etc., must be maintained properly. Air filters that blow air into the room can release airborne allergens like white dust mites into the room and even lead to lung infections.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission emphasize the necessity to maintain clean air filters. Just like hazards with increased humidity and low humidity, microbes released from filters of dirty humidifiers are also dangerous.

Humidifier sickness symptoms:

A dirty humidifier can make you sick and the symptoms to identify the health problems dirty reservoirs cause are many. Here are the symptoms that health problems from dirty humidifiers can show.

1. Allergies and sinuses

An increase in allergies and inflamed sinuses could be because of poorly maintained or improperly used humidifiers. Cilia will fail to work properly when excessive moisture is added to the indoor air. Congestion of mucous will lead to bacteria growth in the sinuses as a result of which inflammation happens.

Allergies and sinuses

2. Humidifier fever

Humidified air with a contaminated mist containing bacteria leads to humidifier fever. Lung inflammation, body aches, cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing can be the symptoms of humidifier fever.

Humidifier fever

3. Asthma

High humidity from an improperly used humidifier can worsen asthma because increased humidity leads to inflammation of the airways.


4. Lung diseases

Using tap water as hot water or hard water will generate white dust mites. Inhaling white dust or contaminated mist or dirty mist will eventually cause lung infections. Avoid using tap water and replace it with distilled or demineralized water to prevent the generation of white mist.

Lung diseases

How to get mold out of a humidifier?

Consistent and thorough cleaning of the humidifier tank and filters is the best way to keep humidifiers free from mold and other microbes. Cleaning the tank with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution is a great option to clean the tank. Hydrogen peroxide is readily available in pharmacies.

It is the best resort to remove any residue from the tank or any other part of the unit as well. You must remember that having humidifiers free from mold and other allergens is crucial to create a comfortable and healthy level of humidity.

What is good bedroom humidity?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and EPA strongly recommend maintaining the humidity level between 30% to 50%. Whether you make use of central air conditioning systems, central humidifiers, or any central heating element; make sure to test humidity levels before you invest in the device.

What is good bedroom humidity

Humidity varies depending on the climate, time of the day, and space. In order to maintain a comfortable and healthy level of humidity at all times, it is necessary to measure humidity and work on lowering humidity levels at the place of high humidity or increasing humidity at the place of low humidity.

What is the safest type of humidifier?

There are different names and types by which portable humidifiers and other models are available- cool mist humidifiers, ultrasonic humidifiers, central humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, etc. The EPA stands by the Evaporative Humidifiers as the safest and best option. These humidifiers blow air that is unheated over an absorbent material like a wet wick or filter.

What is the safest type of humidifier

Evaporative humidifiers are suggested in comparison to ultrasonic humidifiers or other types. Keeping indoor humidity balanced and regulated is possible with evaporative humidifiers.

FAQ Section

1. How do you know if your humidifier filter is bad or dirty?

Identifying a dirty humidifier filter is easy. You will get a prominent pungent smell or experience dampness in the indoor air that circulates. Similar to how filters in air conditioners work, you might also observe a musty or moldy smell from the indoor air or the filter.

If you notice any visible signs of mold or any other residue on the outer body of the humidifier or the filter act immediately to clean the filter.

2. Can you have too much humidity from a humidifier?

Yes, a humidifier can lead to high humidity in any space if one fails to measure humidity before running the device. As aforementioned, humidity varies depending on the climatic conditions and time of the day.

If you fail to test humidity levels before setting the unit or to monitor the level of the humidified air in the room, you can end up with high humidity.

3. Can humidifiers make sinuses worse?

Yes! Humidifiers that are not maintained can either cause high humidity or can be filled with mold growth. If someone with an already existing sinus problem happens to inhale mold spores or bacteria from contaminated cool mist humidifiers, there are very good chances of ending up with inflammation in the sinus. This is how humidifiers can make you sick when not properly maintained.

4. What should you use when the air is too moist?

The devices that collect excess moisture are dehumidifiers. There are different types of dehumidifiers available to handle moisture extraction from an environment. These devices collect excess moisture from the air, furniture, surrounding, and even stagnant water. Heavy-duty dehumidifiers with a large pint capacity can remove standing water.

Advanced units are equipped with technology that includes a humidistat, Wi-Fi access, and other interesting features to make moisture extraction seamless. Any home looking to lower high humidity and keep away the dangers it brings along must invest in a suitable dehumidifier.

Wrapping Up

We have reached the end of this article. We trust you are aware of the benefits and the areas to exercise caution while using a humidifier. Hope you understood the reasons why humidifiers can make you sick and the ways to prevent it. Share with us your experiences in using humidifiers for your home or workspace and your favorite units.


About The Author

Olivia — a self-confessed air quality addict — is a home climate enthusiast, fresh air advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about mold extermination. Her work was mentioned in countless notable humidity publications. Previously she was an editor at Mold Remediation.