When do people use a humidifier, and why do they use them? Humidifiers are made for when people are sick and need to help get drainage out of their nose, or they are possibly trying to prevent their nose and chest from becoming congested.

Humidifiers are most often used to put some moisture in the air. This can be useful when the weather boasts very dry air and cold temperatures.

Even though most humidifiers are very helpful, there are recent reports saying that they can sometimes have a negative effect on people. One of the problems with humidifiers is that instead of putting moisture into the air, it is actually throwing bacteria into the air, as well. This bacteria comes when humidifiers are not properly cleaned out the way the directions instruct, or it comes from people not cleaning them out at all.

There are many manufacturers that make claims that their product “produces pure bacteria-free vapors,” “germ-free mist,” and “antimicrobial material.” There were multiple tests done on over 30 different types of humidifiers and the results came back to show that the humidifiers with the anti-bacteria claims were not really any better than the humidifiers without that claim.

As Consumer Reports‘ Dory Sullivan states, “Humidifiers with antimicrobial claims weren’t necessarily any better at preventing bacterial growth or emitted bacteria.”

This goes to show that people cannot always trust what is said on a label because it is not necessarily the truth, but the label represents what the producer of that product wants the buyer to believe.

The type of humidifier is what made the difference between the humidifiers that threw out bacteria or the ones that didn’t.

There were three categories of vaporizers that were used in the testing: Ultrasonic humidifiers, Vaporizers, and Evaporative humidifiers.

An Ultrasonic humidifier will emit a fine mist into the air, while a Vaporizer will emit steam. A Evaporative humidifier will blow air over a wet wick filter.

The humidifier that did not do very well in the testing was the ultrasonic humidifier. All but one brand of the ultrasonic humidifiers emitted some kind of bacteria. This could mean that most of the homes and people that use this type of humidifier unknowingly have some amount of bacteria mixed in with the fine mist coming out.

When bacteria comes out of the humidifier through the fine mist, it can be very harmful to people who have allergies or people who have asthma. This bacteria can also be very harmful to an infant because it can bring on an onset of flu like symptoms for the child. Having the proper humidifier can ultimately cut down on the amount of times someone might get sick and could help with the length of time that the person stays sick.

When it comes to a couple of better types of humidifiers on the market today, a person should consider the Evaporative wick model and the Vicks warm mist vaporizer.

In testing, both of these products reportedly performed very well. The Evaporative wick model had no confirmed bacteria out of the ten different models that were tested.

The Evaporative Wick humidifier may be a great product to purchase because there would be no worry of having bacteria being emitted into the air.

The other product that was really good was the Vicks warm mist vaporizer. This product was advised to be good for people who suffer from asthma, allergies or even just for infants.

This product can be purchased for fifteen dollars, while the Honeywell Evaporative humidifier costs sixty dollars.

Neither of these products grew or emitted bacteria in any of the testing.


This information provided as part of an ongoing series of helpful information for our indoor air quality concerns. As always please make us your first call with any environmental concern with any home or building.


Jim Rood

Lighthouse Environmental Consultants

Expert Real Estate Vendor

845-228-0076 Jim@lighthoseenvironmental.com


This article from information provided by Consumer Reports and posted by