Can You Use A Humidifier Without A Filter? Here’s The Surprising Truth

Can you use a humidifier without a filter? If you are looking for an answer to this query, you are on the right page. I invite you to check out this informative guide and find out whether humidifiers can go solo without filters or if they need them all the time. Let’s get started!

Quick Answer

A humidifier without a filter seems attractive because of its low maintenance. However, it lacks deep filtration as compared to a humidifier with a filter. This can result in the accumulation of minerals as white dust on surfaces.

Hence, affecting the air quality. So before using a humidifier without a filter, you need to consider crucial factors like safe operation and dry airflow that might influence its effectiveness.

For a better understanding, continue reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using a filter-free humidifier and also get insights into important considerations before using it. Let’s deep dive into my guide.

Read Also: How Close Should a Humidifier Be To a Baby? 3 Safety Tips

Can You Use A Humidifier Without A Filter and Do All Humidifiers Come Up With It?

No, not all humidifiers have a filter. There are also filterless options available in the market. Here’s a sneak peek into it:

humidifier comparison

Read also: Vaporizer vs Humidifier: Which is the Best For Your Needs?

Filterless Humidifiers

These devices use various mechanisms to add moisture to the air without needing a filter. They have a diaphragm that converts the water into small moisture molecules. Some common examples of filterless humidifiers include:

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers;
  • Some evaporative humidifiers;
  • Steam vaporizer humidifiers. 

Humidifiers With Filters

Let’s know common humidifier types with a filter:

  • Drum-style humidifiers;
  • Flow-through furnace humidifiers;
  • Some evaporative humidifiers.
Note: However, the filter replacement should be done every three months or once or twice during the heating season, which could hit your pocketbook.

An Insight Into the Filterless Humidifier

A filterless humidifier is a type of device designed to increase indoor humidity levels without the use of traditional filters. These devices are often chosen for their ease of maintenance and cost-effectiveness compared to humidifiers with filters.

To use a filterless humidifier, all you need to do is the following:

using a humidifier without a filter

  • Add distilled water to the tanks.
  • Turn on your ultrasonic humidifier.
  • The ultrasonic vibrations from the humidifier will create a soothing mist.

That’s it, now you can enjoy a mist that promotes easier breathing and moisturized skin.

Understanding the Working of Filter-Free Humidifiers

Multiple filter-free humidifiers are available in the market and work differently. Here’s a quick summary:

gravity-fed water reservoir

  • They all have a gravity-fed water reservoir with a capacity of around a gallon.
  • To destroy bacteria, some models feature an internal ultraviolet light that glows on the water as it flows.
  • In the next step, sediments and mineral deposits are removed from the water before it goes through the humidifying process.
  • In ultrasonic humidifiers, a vibrating diaphragm creates ultrasonic waves that break the water into tiny droplets.

It is worth mentioning that filter-free humidifiers still require regular cleaning to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and mineral buildup in the unit and the surrounding area. 

For further insights, I recommend you watch this helpful video.

YouTube video

Read also: Air Purifier vs Humidifier: Look Out 5 Important Differences

Pros of Using a Filterless Humidifier

Filter-free humidifiers have a lot of benefits. Some of them are: 


  • Since they don’t use filters, you can save money on their replacements.
  • They operate silently.
  • Pre-installed with antibacterial defense against the spread or growth of bacteria.
  • Warm mist humidifiers are equipped with adjustable mist levels to provide you with comfort.

Cons of Using a Filterless Humidifier

Here are some downsides of using a humidifier without a filter: 


  • There’s a slight chance that distilled water vapor may carry tiny organisms and germs.
  • You can also experience white dust in your room.

To understand the differences between a cool mist humidifier and a warm one, I would recommend you check out this amazing video.

YouTube video

Read also: Do HEPA Filters Remove Viruses? Latest Information and Data

Now, let’s head toward the next section and learn about the functionality.

What Are The Functions of A Humidifier Filter?

Humidifier filters hold up the dust particles while giving you fresh and clean air. But there’s more to this. Let’s take a closer look at its functions: 

  • Clean Air: Filters trap minerals, dirt, and impurities from water so they don’t get into the air.
  • Healthier Air: It helps to clean air and make it free from allergies or breathing issues.
  • Less Dust: Filtered humidifiers release less dust into the room, keeping things cleaner.
  • Extended Humidifier Life: They protect internal parts from mineral buildup, making the humidifier last longer.
  • Reduced Maintenance: Filters reduce the need for frequent cleaning and maintenance.
  • Extra Features: In addition to these, some filters have added features like air purification or antimicrobial treatments.

For better understanding, check out this helpful video to understand how air purifiers differ from a humidifier.

YouTube video

3 Important Considerations When Using A Humidifier Without A Filter

Well, a humidifier without a filter appears to be a treasure, but here are a few things you must consider before buying one. 

factors when using a humidifier without a filter

1. Tap Water Or Distilled Water?

Using the right water is crucial to prevent mineral buildup and other issues. Here are the types of water you can use:

  • Distilled Water: It is the best choice since it lacks minerals that can cause white dust or buildup
  • Demineralized Water: If you don’t have distilled water, you can use it since it has fewer minerals than tap water. 
Important! You must be cautious with tap water as it can lead to white dust, mold spores, and mineral accumulation.

2. Cleaning Schedule

Regular cleaning is important to prevent mold, bacteria, and other problems. Here is a breakdown of a few things you must tackle daily vs monthly. 

  • Daily: Empty and wipe down the water tank, let it dry, and refill it with fresh water.
  • Weekly: Clean all parts thoroughly using mild soap and water, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Monthly: Deep clean, including disinfecting, and check for any signs of mold or mildew.

3. Humidity Control

Maintaining the right humidity levels ensures comfort and prevents issues. To monitor levels, you can use a hygrometer to measure humidity and keep it between 30-50%. 

humidity level

In addition, most humidifiers have adjustable settings; start with a lower setting and increase if needed. You need to do this to avoid over-humidification.

Important! Be careful, while dry air can cause breathing discomfort, too much humidity can lead to mold growth, so keep an eye on windows and surfaces.

How to Run A Humidifier With No Filter: Step-by-Step Guide

Operating a humidifier without a filter is straightforward. Here’s how you can do it in simple steps:

start humidifier without filter

1. Prepare the Humidifier

Place the humidifier away from electronics or water-sensitive items on a flat, level surface. Make sure the humidifier is unplugged before you begin.

2. Fill the Water Tank

Fill the water tank according to the following steps:

  • Remove the water tank from the humidifier base.
  • Unscrew the cap or lid of the water tank.
  • Fill the tank with distilled or demineralized water to the designated fill line. However, remember to avoid overfilling.
  • Securely screw the cap or lid back onto the water tank.
  • Then double-check to ensure the cap is tightly closed to prevent leaks.
  • Place the water tank back onto the humidifier’s base.
  • Make sure it’s properly aligned and securely seated. 

3. Power On

When you’re done with all the preparations, it’s time to plug the humidifier into a power outlet. Turn it on using the power button or control settings.

4. Adjust Settings

Select your desired humidity level if your device has adjustable settings. As stated earlier, you must start with a lower setting and increase it if needed.

5. Operate Safely

If you have children at home, ensure the humidifier is away from their reach. Also, avoid placing it near electronics or water-sensitive surfaces to save yourself from electric shocks.

children and air humidifier

6. Power Off and Empty

When you’re done using the humidifier, turn it off and unplug. Empty any remaining water from the tank to prevent mold growth in your humidifier.

Note: In addition to these safety measures, regular maintenance and cleaning are essential when using a filter-free humidifier to ensure effective and safe operation.


Can I use a humidifier with just water?

Yes, you can use your humidifier with only water. In this regard, using distilled or demineralized water is recommended to prevent mineral buildup. Avoid using tap water.

Is it OK to use a Vicks humidifier without the filter?

Yes, it is okay to use a Vicks humidifier without a filter. But, before doing so, you need to be aware that you might need to clean the humidifier more frequently to prevent mold and bacteria growth.

Do I need a filter in my cool mist humidifier?

Yes, you need a filter in your cool mist humidifier. It will help to trap minerals and impurities from the water while improving air quality. 

Does humidifier water need to be filtered?

Yes, it is good to filter humidifier water as it can become sluggish which will lead to mineral buildup. Contrarily, using filtered water will help you to prevent this issue. 

Related Topic:

What Does An Ionizer Do? Revealed Along With 5 Uses and Benefits

Can Mold Grow On Plastic?

Mold in a Humidifier: Reasons and Proven Ways to Remove It


The final say is that you can use a humidifier without a filter. You will experience a silent operation and there will be no need to spend extra money on maintenance. But, you will also need to consider the factors like water used, cleaning schedule, and humidity control to make the best use of your device.

Keep in mind that not all humidifiers operate effectively without filters. If you’re using a warm mist humidifier, you’ll be fine with no filter. But, if you have an evaporative cool mist humidifier then better have a filter as well for efficient working.