6 Places You Should Never Put a Humidifier

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

A humidifier may seem like a small purchase, but it can have a big impact on your home during these cold, dry winter months. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and improve temperature control. This relieves ailments like dry skin, sinus congestion, allergies, cold symptoms and other discomforts. But to take full advantage of your humidifier, you need to put it in the right spot.

We’ll help you figure out the best placement for your humidifier to help you add some moisture back into the air and reap all of the rewards. (To be clear, I’m talking about portable humidifiers that you can move from room to room, not whole-home units.) If you want to figure out which rooms in your home have the driest air and could use a humidifier, you can buy a cheap hygrometer, a small device that measures humidity in the air.

And if you’re in the market for a humidifier, you can check out our humidifier buying guide and our advice on how to figure out which size humidifier is best for your space

Never put a humidifier in these 6 spots

Before we get into where you should be putting your humidifier, here are six places that should be avoided. While there are some caveats here depending on if you’ve purchased a cool mist humidifier or a warm mist one, the advice generally holds true.

1. On the floor or carpet

There are a few reasons to avoid placing your humidifier directly on flooring or your rug or carpet. For one, cool mist humidifiers need to be at least a couple feet off the ground so that the mist can more easily mix with the air. If it doesn’t get the chance to properly disperse into the air, it will fall and land on the floor, leaving it wet. And if it’s on a carpet, that can lead to mold. However, you also don’t want to place the humidifier so high up that the mist goes directly up into the ceiling either. 

If you do have to place your humidifier closer to the floor, consider putting down a plastic tray or a towel to catch any moisture that falls.

2. Close to decor or wooden furniture

If you’re putting your humidifier on, say, a nightstand or dresser, make sure that there isn’t a piece of art or photos hanging on the wall right behind it, as the mist could reach and damage it. Also, if there’s wooden furniture nearby, keep the humidifier away from it so the wood doesn’t warp, or put down a protective tray, mat or towel.

3. Near electrical sockets or wires

This one shouldn’t be a surprise: Water and electricity can create a dangerous situation. 

4. Close to your tech products

Similar to getting too close to anything electrical, you don’t want your humidifier to be putting out mist that falls directly on your phone, computer, tablet or TV that would be harmed by water damage.

5. Directly above a heating vent or radiator 

Depending on your humidifier model, putting it right next to a source of heat can potentially make it overcompensate, creating more mist than the room actually needs. 

6. Within reach of small children or pets 

This will likely already be obvious to parents of children or pets, but you don’t want your humidifier to be located anywhere that small hands can grab or paws can knock off — particularly if it’s a warm mist one with hot water inside. Cool mist humidifiers are the safer choice, especially for children’s rooms. 

humidifier on floor with cat

Putting your humidifier on the hardwood floor and in direct reach of a mischievous pet are two things to avoid.


The best places to put your humidifier

Now that you know all the places to avoid, here are the spots you should put your humidifier, whether it’s in a bedroom or your living room.

Best place to put a humidifier in your bedroom: A few feet from your bed

To keep the air from getting too dry at night and help aid with congestion, dry skin, allergies and more, keep your humidifier a few feet from your bed. (If it’s a warm mist humidifier, you definitely want to be careful of it being too close where you could potentially knock over the hot water.) That way, it has room to disperse the mist into the air while still being close enough for you to benefit from it. The humidifier should be placed on a flat, dry area, like a nightstand, dresser, desk or table.

Best place to put a humidifier in your living room: In a central spot

Since people are typically awake when they spend time in their living room (couch naps not included), the placement of a humidifier for safety purposes is less of a concern. The same rules as above generally still stand: The humidifier should go on a table or other flat, dry surface at least a couple feet off the floor. You’ll want to place it somewhere that pets or children can’t knock it over.

Wherever you put your humidifier, make sure to clean it out regularly to keep it running properly (here’s how to clean your humidifier). You can also check out how much money a space heater can save you and the best energy-saving smart gadgets that will help you cut down your bills.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Top Home Products Revealed at CES 2023