Can a Humidifier Give You a Sore Throat?

Can a humidifier give you a sore throat? This article explores the answer to your question.

Dry indoor air could be pretty uncomfortable. In addition to heat, it causes a bloody nose, cracked lips, and dry sinuses. This is why many people opt for humidifiers in a bid to alleviate some of these issues.

While humidifiers are meant to solve some problems, one needs to be careful as it needs regular maintenance. Poor maintenance of humidifiers can become a health hazard to many people. As a result, it can make you sick with excessive humidity levels. This is why it is essential to keep tabs on the humidity levels of a humidifier if you are using one.

Dirty humidifiers create the perfect breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. When this gets into the air, one might suck this in which creates health problems for users. In addition to how clean your humidifier is, the type of water with which you fill it might also affect you. It might make you breathe in microorganisms that are unhealthy. In cases like that, humidifiers do more harm than good. Here are some health issues that can be triggered by a humidifier:

  • Asthma 
  • Ling and sinus infections
  • Coughs
  • Allergies

Your Humidity and Your Health (Comfort)

How can a humidifier give you a sore throat?

The ideal humidity level in your home should be between 30 and 60%, according to the government, depending on the season. In the hot months, the humidity level could rise as much as 60%. In the cold months as well, it usually comes down to 30%.

This seasonal fluctuation could be uncomfortable, which is why many people invest in a humidifier. Your humidifier brings the humidity to a comfortable level when it drops below 30%. Extreme humidity levels can affect health negatively. Many people develop skin problems like eczema with excessively low humidity, which leads to dry skin. This is a sign to invest in a humidifier.

But can a humidifier give you a sore throat? Not really, but pretty high humidity does trigger asthma and allergies.

From the above, it is clear that humidifiers can help relieve sore throat and dry skin, rather than causing it. This is due to the capacity of the device to increase the level of humidity in your house. It also alleviates other effects of cold-like stuffy nose and nose congestion.

For your humidifier to help relieve cold, cough, and sore throat, it is essential to maintain the right level of humidity in your house. In addition, you should also avoid using humidifiers excessively as too much use can lead to respiratory issues.

People with allergies or asthma should contact their healthcare provider before using a humidifier. When a humidifier is used in the right way, it might ease breathing in people with allergies and asthma. The problem, however, comes with a dirty humidifier. Excessive humidity can result in increased allergens, which could worsen asthma symptoms.

A Clean Humidifier is a Healthy Humidifier 

If you develop health problems because of your humidifier, there is a big probability that the humidifier is compromised. In other words, there could be bacteria and molds, which will worsen asthma symptoms, trigger allergies, and even lung infections. 

It should not be surprising that a humidifier can trigger these health issues when you consider its mode of operation. It captures stored water and evaporates it using a network of damp wicks. Finally, the machine expels the moistened and infected air to the living space where it raises the level of humidity in the air.

Now, there is no problem with this if the humidifier works with perfectly clean, distilled water. However, the problem is that the water reservoir provides a conducive habitat for mold, bacteria. Once the water reservoir and saturated wick in your humidifier get compromised, your humidifier becomes a distribution system for mold and microorganism.

As these microorganisms get into the air, they search for a new breeding place. Bear in mind they need a moist warm place to nest – many times, your sinus cavities and lung becomes their habitat. While this is rather scary, it is not a license to stop using your humidifier. Instead, the point of action is to ensure that you have a clean humidifier such that it does not become a breeding ground for mold and microorganism. This calls for regular cleaning routine and maintenance service. 

How To Avoid Sore Throat From Using a Humidifier

We have established that a clean humidifier is primal to sound health. This means that you need to take some steps to prevent fungi and bacteria from taking over your humidifier. Make sure you follow the tips recommended by the manufacturer. Also, we have the following tips for portable humidifiers which can help

  • Use Distilled Water 

Tap water is not ideal for use in humidifiers due to their level of mineral deposits. These deposits support the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. When released into your home, you will see these minerals as white dust in and around the furniture. In addition, everyone living in the house could breathe in the minerals distributed in the air. 

This is why we recommend distilled or demineralized water due to their low mineral content. In addition to that, you should consider using a demineralized cartridge.

  • Change Humidifier Water often

One of the things that compromise your humidifier is allowing film deposits in the humidifier. As a result, you must refill the tank every day with clean water. Make sure you empty the tanks and dry the surfaces. This is very important if you are using ultrasonic humidifiers.

  • Clean Humidifiers Twice a Week

Ideally, we recommend cleaning the appliance once every three days. Make sure you unplug it before doing any cleaning operation on it. You can use hydrogen peroxide solution to get rid of any mineral deposits from the tank. You can also consider chlorine bleach or any effective disinfectant, based on the direction of the manufacturer. After cleaning, make sure you rinse effectively to prevent harmful chemicals from compromising your outdoor air quality.

  • Change the Filters Regularly

Every humidifier comes with a manual that directs the owner on simple precaution measures. One of such is the frequency of changing the humidifier filter. Make sure you stick to this. Also, watch out for dirty filters and change as soon as you can. The filters in your HVAC system should also be changed frequently.

  • Don’t Use the Humidifier around Wet Area

When using a humidifier, there is a possibility the area becomes damp. This might cause moisture to settle on windows, drapes, clothes, window blinds, and surfaces. Make sure you reduce how frequently you use the machine.

  • Avoid Running Your Humidifier for too Long 

In using a humidifier, moderation is crucial even if you are sick. It is essential to strive for an optimum humidity level of around 30 to 50%. There are many cheap humidifiers these days that do not have humidistat. As a result, there is no way the homeowner can measure the humidity in their space. This makes it easy for the humidifier to work excessively. 

When you work your humidifier for too long, you provide the perfect ground for bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive. In addition to weakening the integrity of every wooden structure you have, there is a mold problem that comes from using the humidifier for too long.

With the above in mind, it makes sense to invest in a humidistat for you to keep tabs on your home’s humidity level. 

The White Dust is not the only Problem 

Some humidifiers claim to be antibacterial. The Consumer Reports Council, however, have disclosed that they are not very effective in handling bacteria and other microorganisms.

The problem with humidifiers is not the minerals in the water and the microorganisms. Part of the maintenance culture for your humidifier is regular cleaning. When you clean it with chemicals, those chemicals are distributed into the air and end up in the lungs. And of course, these chemicals are poisonous; hence, they could be toxic to humans, especially children.

As a result, you should be extremely careful when cleaning or washing your humidifier. Avoid using any detergent or chemical that could compromise your indoor air quality. This calls for effective rinsing of the water tank and other essential parts of the appliance. 

Humidifiers: Are they worth the risk?

Without a doubt, a humidifier is essential for every home and comes with some health benefits. If you will, however, use a humidifier, be sure to maintain it effectively. Make sure you follow every cleaning instruction the manufacturer recommends in the manual. 

Many people, however, might not be able to follow the stringent cleaning and maintenance routine essential to keep their appliance safe. It is not surprising as life gets in the way. As a result, we recommend using an evaporative humidifier. It does not emit microorganisms and minerals. You, however, must be willing to change the filter often. 


So can a humidifier give you a sore throat? As evident, a humidifier does not cause a sore throat. A dirty humidifier, without proper maintenance, however, comes with a couple of health issues. You can escape some of the associated health risks of using a humidifier by following the recommended maintenance tips in this article. Remember, a clean humidifier is a safe humidifier.

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