Can Reverse Osmosis Water Be Used In A Humidifier?

Yes. Reverse osmosis water is safe for consumption with humidifiers. Reverse osmosis, short for RO, is a water purification process that eliminates up to 98% of impurities.

Not all water is usually safe for consumption with humidifiers. People usually use distilled water for their humidifiers for maximum performance. And that’s usually the type that commonly delivers good results. But not the best.

You can’t just fill up the humidifiers with impure water. That’ll cause load on the machine and is even harmful to the health. That means that the life of your humidifier will get reduced as well.

Can Reverse Osmosis Water Be Used In A Humidifier (1)

The purpose of a humidifier is to add moisture to the body from external sources. A lot of people with sleep troubles, breathing problems, and other nasal and health issues use these machines. If the water that’s put in the machine is impure, it’ll soon negatively impact the health.

Thus, when using a humidifier, reverse osmosis water is the safest for consumption. The process takes away all most all impurities leading to better performance of the machine.

Can you use reverse osmosis water in a humidifier?

Humidifiers work with water. People usually assume that any type of water will work well with the humidifier. That’s a myth. Using impure water with humidifiers can be harmful to the machine as well as to the health.

Reverse osmosis water is perfectly safe for use with humidifiers. In fact, most humidifiers work best only with RO water. The other alternative to RO water is distilled water, but that doesn’t always deliver the best results.

But if you absolutely have to use an RO water substitute, it’s best recommended that you use distilled water. Why? Because distilled water is close to RO water in terms of its impurity measurement. Distillation is a process where tiny impurities are removed from the water.

That’s the kind that goes perfect with humidifiers.

Is reverse osmosis a humidifier?

No. Reverse osmosis isn’t a humidifier.

These two are separate things. A humidifier is a machine that’s used to treat dry conditions of the human body.

Some conditions where humidifiers can bring relief are:

  • dry skin
  • sinus congestion/headache
  • dry throat
  • nose irritation
  • bloody noses
  • irritated vocal cords
  • dry cough
  • cracked lips

These conditions are usually mild in nature but can go severe with negligence. A humidifier helps relieve these conditions or at least lessen the suffering. So reverse osmosis isn’t to be confused with a humidifier.

Reverse osmosis, on the other hand, is the type of water that goes into the humidifier. So how the humidifier works is that you put the water into the machine. It runs it through filters and other mechanisms and then evaporates steam in the air that’s then inhaled by people.

It’s basically a mechanism of moisturizing the body from an external source.

The reason why reverse osmosis water is used is that it is pure in nature. Impure water can mess up with the humidifier machine fast. It can reduce the life of your machine and isn’t effective in treating dry conditions as well.

If RO water isn’t available, you can use distilled water as the next best substitute. But avoid using water that comes from impure sources or contains lots of impurities. Doing that often can take money out of your pockets, and you may even need a new humidifier altogether.

Humidifiers and Scaling

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What’s scaling? A humidifier runs water through various mechanisms to add moisture to the air. It basically filters out the impurities, which then gather on the filters and forms scales. Over time, the scales need to be removed else; they can clog the machine and diminish the performance and eventually spoil the machine.

The reason why humidifiers gather scales primarily is that the water that’s put in them is impure. Tap water and even distilled water at times contain minerals, particles and tiny impurities that pile up the form scales on the filter.

So, if you want your humidifiers to last long and deliver efficient results, the key is to scale them regularly and only use pure water. RO water is often the best for humidifiers. It keeps the filters clean for longer times.

Even scraping of the impurities needs to be done after longer intervals when you use RO for the humidifiers. Distilled water also delivers results close to RO water.

Would reverse osmosis water cause scaling of filter in a humidifier

Any water that you use will cause scaling of the filter in humidifiers. That’s because, even with the cleanest water, there are several particles that are still present.

The reason why scaling happens is that impurities get stuck to the filters. With tap water and sources other than distillation and RO water, the scaling quantities are higher. That’s because those water types are rich in minerals and other particles.

With distilled water and RO water, the impurities are almost gone. But the focus word here is ‘almost’. Because supposedly, even the cleanest water isn’t clean enough to leave no scales on the filter.

So, to answer the question “Can Reverse Osmosis Water Be Used in a Humidifier” is an easy yes. But there will be scaling of the filter for sure. But the scaling damage and frequency will surely be lesser with RO water when compared with other water types.

Tips to prevent scaling

Before we tell you how to remove scale from a humidifier, there are ways to prevent the build-up and ensure that it comes super slow. Almost as if it didn’t exist. Let’s discuss that first and make your lives easier.

Never use tap water

Distilled water and RO water are fine. Never use tap water as it is heavily loaded with minerals and particles that are ready to scale your filters even after just the first use.

While it may be super convenient to just go and turn on the tap and fill the humidifier with it, it’s to be avoided at all costs. Unless of course, you want to spend money over and over on getting new humidifiers.

Clean the humidifiers regularly

Well, this one is probably the simplest of all. To keep anything clean, you ensure that it doesn’t gather dust. Similarly, to ensure that your filters are clear of scaling, you need to clean them regularly.

There are ways recommended by humidifier manufacturers how to efficiently clean the filters and machine. Make sure to check the manual to stay safe from any damage caused by scaling.

Never let the water rest inside

Once the water is used, discard it immediately. If you let the used water settle down, you are inviting trouble for the filters. Empty the humidifier the moment you are done using it. When you need to use it next time, fill it up with the new batch of water.

Now let’s move to how you can remove scales from your humidifier

Cleaning the humidifiers isn’t a cumbersome process. Sure it can take some time, but the process is fairly easy.

It’d be best if you could just resort to the preventative measures mentioned above. But if you have an active scaling problem to tackle, then here’s how you deal with it:

The first defence against scales lies in your fridge- it’s the vinegar. Vinegar works wonderfully well on the scales. It helps remove calcium deposits from the filters of your humidifier. Calcium and major lime are the two main minerals that cause scaling.

Soak the target area in vinegar and leave it overnight. This way, the stubborn mineral deposit shall weaken. You can use a toothbrush to clean out whatever remains. Once you scrub everything, the filters should ideally be free from scales.

There are other ways you can clean scaled filters as well.

Some of them include:

  • Using Hydrogen peroxide as a cleaner.
  • Putting the tank in the dishwasher (Only for dishwasher-safe humidifiers)
  • Using a soap

All these methods are effective in pulling away the scales from your filters.

Remember, using humidifiers with scaly filters can do a lot of harm. It puts the machine at risk and can even be harmful to health.

It’s only best if you use the recommended water types for your humidifier. That way, the scale build-up will be slow, and your machine will last you a lot longer.

The Best Type of Water to Use in a Humidifier

Can Reverse Osmosis Water Be Used In A Humidifier

There are only two best types of water that extract top performance out of a humidifier- distilled water and RO water.

The reason is simple; both these water types are free from almost all impurities that are otherwise found in any other water type. Impurities in water can cause your humidifier to clog up, and you’ll stop getting the performance after some time.

A lot of people mistake and fill their humidifiers with tap water. That’s not a good thing. Sooner or later, the machine will malfunction and leave you with regrets. It is best to use the recommended distilled and tap water only.

That way, you can get the relief you expect out of your humidifiers while keeping them safe and preventing scales from developing on the filters.

Conclusion | Can Reverse Osmosis Water Be Used In A Humidifier?

The conclusion is simple- using reverse osmosis water is safe for humidifiers. That is because the impurities are almost gone. RO water is almost 98 to 99% free from minerals and large particles. Still, you’ll need to maintain the machine, or the scales on filters can ruin it over time.

The above-mentioned tips will surely help elongate the life of your humidifiers. We hope that they work well and give you relief from dry conditions!


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

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