Can You Use Tap Water In A Humidifier?

Buying a humidifier can be a great investment! As fall and winter arrive, the temperature becomes colder.

This makes the air quality thin and lacks moisture, which is made worse as heater use increases during this time.

These factors can affect your sinuses and skin, which can also worsen your quality of sleep if you experience the flu or have allergies. Itchy eyes, congested sinuses, and cold temperatures can dry out our skin.

You may notice chapped lips and a flaky scalp too. Creams and moisturizers can only help so much, as the problem lies with a lack of moisture. 

These symptoms may sound distressing, but one of the best ways of relieving your skin and sinuses is by using a humidifier at home or work.

However, some people question whether humidifiers need a particular type of water. Can tap water work just as well as purified water? 

We’ll cover whether you can use tap water in a humidifier in this article, including how to clean your humidifier to keep it in optimal condition. 

What Are Humidifiers?

Humidifiers are small devices that are used to maintain a healthy moisture level within the air.

This is useful for modern life, as cold weather, air conditioning, and heating systems can lead to dry air within a household.

The best indoor humidity level lies between 30%-50%. If your indoor air reaches below this, purchasing a humidifier can increase the amount of moisture within the air.

This will help your skin and sinuses stay comfortable as you carry out tasks throughout the day.

Humidifiers dispense a vapor that’s taken from water within a tank. The vapor is full of droplets that add moisture back into the air.

There are many ways humidifiers do this, including central humidifiers that are connected to an HVAC system, to ultrasonic models that use vibration to move water through the device.

People with larger households can use central humidifiers, but those who live in smaller spaces will need to look for smaller models.

As long as it’s of decent quality, a small space humidifier can keep dispensing water vapor for fifty hours until it needs to be refilled. 

You can also opt for filterless models that won’t need you to spend money on replacing filters. 

Is Tap Water Suitable For A Humidifier?

Can You Use Tap Water In A Humidifier?

Humidifier tablets, also known as water purification tablets, rose in popularity once humidifier users started encountering issues with using tap water in their devices.

Tablets that were made to ‘purify’ the water in humidifier tanks were then made to solve this issue. Despite the rise of these tablets, tap water can be used in a humidifier.

Tap water can be used in a humidifier and is safe to do so.

Some people do prefer to use distilled or filtered water in their humidifiers, but if you can drink the tap water in your area, you can use it with your device without any issues.

However, if you do decide to use tap water in your humidifier, you might notice two things.

The first is that white powder might start to spray out of the device. If this occurs, you probably live in an area with hard water. 

Hard water has more minerals in it. The white dust that you see simply indicates that you have minerals in your water.

This isn’t harmful, but if you notice the dust collecting on your surfaces, you might want to switch to distilled water.

The second is that pink bold can start to grow in your tank. Again, if you notice pink mold inside your humidifier tank, this may mean that you have hard tap water. 

Pink mold can start to grow even if you use purified water, but it is more likely to occur if your water supply is full of minerals. 

If you notice these occurrences and they start to become frustrating, using distilled water should make a difference. 

In most cases using tap water in your humidifier is perfectly safe unless you live in an area where you cannot cook with tap water, or your device’s manufacturer states otherwise. 

Cleaning Your Humidifier

Whether you use tap water or distilled, if you own a humidifier, you will need to clean it every so often. Keeping your humidifier clean will ensure that it only expels clean water vapor. 

Check your device’s manufacturer’s guide to see what their recommended cleaning advice is. If you don’t have a guide or can’t talk to the manufacturer, you’ll find a basic guide on cleaning your humidifier below.

  • Unplug your device and disconnect the tank reservoir from its base. 
  • Pour any leftover water out of the tank.
  • Clean the tank with a solution of mild dish soap and water, then dry with a microfiber cloth.
  • If you find any pink mold in the tank, pour some distilled, white vinegar into it. You can also use hydrogen peroxide.
  • Leave the vinegar or peroxide to work for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the mixture off of the tank, then leave to dry.
  • Use dish soap and water to clean the vapor spout and the base. Apply the solution with a clean toothbrush or a cloth, then leave to dry.

This method will keep your humidifier in optimal condition. It’s good practice to examine and clean your device every week.

This will prevent pink mold from growing within your tank, and also reduces the chance of white powder developing in the spout. 

The Bottom Line

Yes, you can use tap water in your humidifier, as long as you meet the following conditions. 

The first is that the tap water in your area must be safe for consumption. The second is that your humidifier manufacturer hasn’t specified that your device is a specific distilled water model 

You can also choose to use distilled water if you spot white minerals accumulating within your humidifier.

You can also do this if you notice pink mold forming, but the best way to avoid this occurring is by regularly cleaning your humidifier.