Can You Put Vicks in a Cool Mist Humidifier?

Can you put Vicks in a cool mist humidifier? This article throws more light as it takes you through all you need to know

Vicks is a unique type of ointment that is applied topically for medicinal purposes. It is effective in the treatment of cold, muscle soreness, cough, pains, and aches. The brand dates back to centuries ago in the United States of America.  Then, inhaling the ointment was an essential part of treatment for the sick.

In modern times where humidifiers are installed in homes and offices, many homeowners are looking for ways to use Vick VapoRub with a cool mist humidifier. This brings us to this question: can you put Vicks in a cool mist humidifier? To answer this question, we need to understand the working principle of a cool mist humidifier.


What is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

Cool mist humidifiers are devices that disperse cool vapor into their surrounding at room temperature. Sometimes, the temperature of the dispersed cool mists is lower than room temperature.  This device is of two types; there are evaporative humidifier and an ultrasonic humidifier. Their working principles are not the same.  For instance, evaporative humidifiers use a fan or an impeller to blow air across the filter, while ultrasonic humidifier creates cool mist via vibration at an ultrasonic frequency.

Ultrasonic humidifiers operated silently; in other words, they make less noise when compared to the evaporative type.

What are the Side Effects of Adding Vicks to your Cool Mist Humidifiers?

Evaporative humidifiers disperse fine mists in your ambient air; this makes it seems to like a perfect match for Vicks VapoRub. Considering its mode of operation, many will be tempted to pour the VapoRub in the humidifier’s tank. While this is a great idea, it comes with some drawbacks.

First, it increases the maintenance cost of your device.  You will have to clean the device and the filter regularly. Also, you might need to change the filter more often. Furthermore, oil and water do not mix; this will affect the efficiency of your device.

In essence, adding Vicks VapoRub to your humidifier might reduce its lifespan, increase the cost of maintenance, and reduce the device’s efficiency.

What are the Constituents of VapoRub, and Why are they Important?

You must know the constituent of your Vicks VapoRub if you are planning to use it with a humidifier. Also, you need to know what’s in the ointment you are inhaling.

VapoRub contains a substance called Petrolatum, which is also known as petroleum jelly. When a humidifier disperses the ointment, it could irritate the respiratory system when inhaled.  In other words, the substance present in the VapoRub can irritate your respiratory system if you pour it in your cool mist humidifier.

Apart from that, the ointment is greasy. People who have applied it on their chest will attest that it has a cool, greasy texture. This makes it effective in the treatment of chest cold, ache, and muscle ache. However, its greasy texture makes it unfit for a humidifier as it does not mix well. This could affect the inner workings of the device and could lead to a more serious problem.

Finally, Vicks VapoRub is potentially flammable; this is why you should not add it to a warm mist humidifier. Another concern is that humidifiers grow hot with extended use, irrespective of the type. You should therefore consider these properties when thinking of placing the ointment in a humidifier.

Can You Put Vicks in a Cool Mist Humidifier?

No doubt, you are now aware of things that can happen when you add Vicks to a cool mist humidifier. From the section above, we can easily deduce that it is not advisable to add VapoRub to a humidifier.

With few modifications, Vicks and a cool mist humidifier can work together.  In this section, we will take a look at some of the few ways in which you can make the ointment work safely with your device.

First, bear in mind that VapoRub is not the only product from Vicks. The company has been operating for more than a century; therefore, it has what it takes to meet its customers’ demands and expectations. They know that some of their customers will be inclined to add the product to a humidifier. To meet the desires of such customers, the company offers VapoSteam.

As the name implies, it can be converted into a form of steam that is safe to inhale when used with a humidifier. Its constituents include specialty oils, eucalyptus, etc. These constituents can be dispersed effectively by a cool mist humidifier.

It will interest you to know that the VapoSteam option does not contain Petrolatum. This means that you can add safely add it to your cool mist humidifier. The product uses Camphor in place of Petrolatum. Camphor also helps in easing cough, and it has a kind of medicinal features typical of Vicks.

Furthermore, VapoSteam is easy to use; all you need to do is fill your humidifier tank with water and add the required amount of the product to it. It is recommended that you add a tablespoon of the substance to a quart that you use.

Another alternative to consider is the VapoPads.  As its name sounds, it a pad that can be added to your device.  So, you can use this in place of VapoSteam. To use this product, add it to your warm mist humidifier, and it will emit a soothing waft of air into your surroundings. This dispersed air has a nice scent with healing properties.


The Vicks products that you can use with a humidifier are VapoSteam and VapoPads. VapoRub is not used with a humidifier of any type because they contain Petrolatum, which could irritate the respiratory system when inhaled.  Also, VapoRub is potentially flammable; so, it must not be exposed to high temperatures, rendering it unsuitable for humidifiers.

If you plan on using Vicks product with a humidifier, you should consider VapoSteam. This product is not flammable and does not contain Petrolatum. Another option is VapoPad; it is also safe to use. However, it can only be added to a warm mist humidifier.