Woman relaxing in comfortable room

The Complete Guide to Cool Mist Humidifiers

When people think of fall, they picture colorful leaves, pumpkin-themed treats, and chilly but pleasant weather. If you have dry, sensitive skin, however, you might already be stocking up on moisturizers and strategizing your winter skin care routine. 

If lotions and balms never seem to be enough to satisfy your thirsty skin, a cool mist humidifier might just be the key to feeling more comfortable. Here’s everything you need to know about cool mist humidifiers to fight dry air.

What Is a Cool Mist Humidifier?

The traditional method of humidifying a room involves boiling water to produce steam. Unfortunately, hot pots, kettles, and warm mist humidifiers can be unsafe, especially around young children and pets. Inadvertently touching the surface and hot water vapor can lead to burn injuries.

A cool mist humidifier is the modern solution. This device distributes a continuous stream of room-temperature moisture into the air to improve humidity levels. In addition to helping skin stay healthy and smooth, it can help your family breathe and sleep easier by alleviating cough and congestion from colds, the flu, and allergies. There are two types of cool mist humidifiers you can choose from: evaporative and ultrasonic.


This type of humidifier has an internal wick filter that holds moisture. The device works by drawing air from the room, sending it through the filter, then dispersing it back into the room as a fine, invisible mist. An evaporative humidifier is an excellent option for increasing the humidity of a larger room or multiple rooms.


Ultrasonic humidifiers use unique technology to moisten the air. They contain a reservoir to fill with water and a metal diaphragm that vibrates at a very high frequency—so high, in fact, that it is inaudible to the human ear. The whisper-quiet operation makes ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers a popular option. The vibrations send microscopic water droplets out into the room, adding moisture to the air. 

If you prefer the safety and convenience of a cool mist humidifier, it’s important to keep in mind that they need regular cleaning. A unit may develop mold and leave mineral deposits all over the surfaces of your home. This is why most require the use of distilled water, rather than tap.

With Canopy humidifiers, you can use any source of water without having to worry about mold growth. Our devices use paper filters that retain contaminants, preventing them from entering your home. Their innovative Smart Persistent Airflow (SPA)™ technology features sensors that detect when the unit is completely dry inside, meaning no water is left behind and no mold can develop. Say hello to clean hydration and healthier skin!

How to Clean a Cool Mist Humidifier

Woman loading humidifier parts into dishwasher for cleaning

Taking care of your humidifier should be a weekly routine. Fortunately, the process is simple. Canopy humidifiers are designed to inhibit mold growth and are built with dishwasher-safe parts, so maintaining them is a breeze. Start by disassembling the parts, removing the filter, cap, fan, tray, and water tank from the main housing. Set the filter and main housing aside and run the parts in the dishwasher on a normal cycle. Use a damp cloth to clean the main housing. 

For a standard cool mist humidifier, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Unplug your humidifier, then take out the filter and all removable parts. Every part except the filter can be washed with dish soap and water. Rinse the components and allow them to air dry. 
  2. Using a clean microfiber cloth, wipe the exterior of the humidifier with soapy water and rinse it with a different damp—but not soapy—cloth.
  3. Use distilled white vinegar to fill the water tank and base and submerge the filter. After allowing them to sit for 30 minutes, tackle any mineral residue, mold, and mildew you see with a toothbrush. Rinse the tank thoroughly and give it time to dry completely.
  4. Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble the humidifier and refill the tank with distilled water. 

What Are Some Alternative Options?

Since they were mentioned above, you might be curious about the alternatives to cool mist humidifiers. The main alternative today is the warm mist humidifier. This type uses an internal heating element to boil water and release steam to moisten the air. While the resulting warm sensation can feel nice in the winter, the heating feature can be dangerous, as well as the risk of hot water spills. These appliances are not recommended for households with young children and pets.

Of the two systems, warm mist humidifiers generally run quieter. However, they also tend to use more energy. Cool mist humidifiers are safer and more energy-efficient, and they can be used comfortably any time of year. Both are effective at adding moisture to the air and hydrating skin, but the best humidifier for you will ultimately depend on your preferences and priorities.

This winter, don’t let dry skin get you down. Instead, fill your home with properly moisturized air and soothing fragrance for a truly cozy, relaxing season.

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