Cool mist humidifiers are an easy way to make a dry indoor climate naturally healthier and more comfortable. Humidity is the amount of atmospheric water vapor, and a cool mist humidifier increases this amount indoors to human-friendly levels. The Mayo Clinic says indoor humidity levels should ideally stay between 30 and 50 percent, and you can’t get that inside in winter without a humidifier. Besides the lack of humidity in the atmosphere in winter, indoor heating systems dry the air out even further.
Increasing humidity levels in your home soothes dryness, irritation, and itchiness of your family’s noses and respiratory systems. It prevents nosebleeds in people prone to them, reduces asthma and allergy attacks, and provides some relief during a cold or flu (when dry air exasperates a raw throat and nose). Nasal passages don’t like to be dry, and will heal from infection much slower without proper lubrication. Cool mist humidifiers can even prevent possible sicknesses, by destroying the viruses and bacteria that grow in dry air.
Adults and children who have asthma usually find a humidifier aids their breathing between asthma attacks, and is especially useful if they’re suffering from an additional respiratory infection. But it’s important to clean the humidifier and change the water frequently—mold or mildew growing in the tank will be released into the room and breathed in, making respiratory trouble worse. If you have a wick filter cool mist humidifier, stay on top of changing out the filters as needed—they can house a lot of bacteria and mold.
Besides soothing the lungs and sinuses, humidifiers also relieve dry skin and chapped lips. The skin is an organ and it needs moisture to function properly and stay elastic—overly dry skin sags and wrinkles more easily. Indoor humidity levels in a furnace-heated home can drop to 10% or less—not sufficient for healthy skin and lips. Running a cool mist humidifier near the bed while you sleep will rejuvenate your face and hands.
On a related note, a lack of humidity in the air makes skin troubles (like eczema and psoriasis) worse. Thyroid disorders, topical creams for acne, and cosmetic products also dry skin out—a humidifier will help. Nails don’t like to be dry either, and will break easier in dry indoor climates, unless you treat them with saltwater soaks and use a cool mist humidifier.
For people who have trouble sleeping, the soothing white noise of a humidifier can help there too. The cool mist humidifier comes in two types, evaporative and ultrasonic, and they have different noise outputs. Ultrasonic models are far quieter than evaporative because they don’t use a fan to draw up moistened air. Instead, they use high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations to evaporate the water, and you barely hear them running (which is good for people who can’t sleep with any background noise). And humidifiers can also help prevent snoring, increasing the quality of your sleep and anyone else’s who shares a bed with you. Sleep apnea is eased somewhat by humid air.
Beyond their health benefits to humans, cool mist humidifiers actually benefit your home. Increasing moisture in the air reduces static electricity and it also preserves the structural integrity of a room. Adequate moisture slows the peeling of wallpaper and keeps cracks in plaster and paint at bay. Furniture also benefits from a degree of moisture in the air, making it less prone to cracking and discoloration.
Finally, consider the feeling of a dry, furnace blasted room in winter versus a room that has a cool mist humidifier running—there’s a tangible difference. The room is more comfortable, both physically and psychologically, when there’s a 30 to 50% humidity level.