Vanilla extract is well-known for its culinary applications. It’s a staple in many baked goods, ice cream, and other sweet treats. Plus, it has a delightful fragrance: sweet and warm with hints of vanilla bean. And the flavour? A delicate hint of sweetness that complements just about any dish.
Therefore, it is not surprising that with all these perks, many people want to use this condiment in humidifiers. Regrettably, I’m here to convince you otherwise.
You should not put vanilla extract in your humidifier because the alcohol component in the vanilla extract can damage your humidifier’s filter. Plus, the heat from the appliance can denature the delicate chemical compounds found in vanilla extract, altering its pleasant aroma.
Read on to find out why you shouldn’t put vanilla extract in your humidifier, alternative ways to de-stink your home using vanilla extract, how it differs from vanilla essential oil, essential oils to use in your humidifier and much more!
Is It Advisable To Put Vanilla Extract in a Humidifier
While vanilla extract is an excellent flavouring agent, you should not put it in your humidifier. The alcohol content in the extract can corrode plastic and rubber components of the humidifier, rendering it unusable. Furthermore, the vanilla extract flavour will not last long and quickly dissipate.
Humidifiers are an excellent way to alleviate dry skin and chapped lips during winter or when the air is too dry for comfort. It works by drawing water into its reservoir and then dispersing it back into your room as cool mist or warm steam.
One of the vital parts of a humidifier is a filter that traps minerals and other impurities before they escape through the machine’s nozzle. However, vanilla extract in your humidifier is a disaster waiting. Why?
Vanilla extract contains about 35% alcohol, which can cause corrosion in these filters, rendering them ineffective. The repercussion? Your air quality will be compromised, potentially leading to respiratory issues such as asthma.
And that’s not all! The heat from your humidifier will denature vanillin, the chemical compound responsible for vanilla flavour, altering or eliminating the scent.
And besides, vanilla extract is not purposed for fragrance but for taste. But don’t fret! There are other ways to use vanilla extract in your home without jeopardizing the integrity of your humidifier.
What Happens When You Put Vanilla Extract in a Humidifier
Adding vanilla extract to your humidifier can clog the filter and prevent proper airflow. Furthermore, being an alcohol-based solution, it will evaporate quickly, leaving a sticky residue that attracts dust and dirt and is difficult to clean.
How Can You Use Vanilla Extracts To De-Stink Your House
Although using vanilla extract in your humidifier is not recommended, there are alternative ways to achieve the desired fragrance in your home. One sure way is to warm vanilla extract over low heat on a stovetop, microwave, or oven.
For the illustration, we’ll heat our vanilla extract in an oven. Here’s how;
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 300ºF (150oC). If it’s too hot, reduce the temperature to 275°F. Remember, you don’t want to cook the vanilla extract but instead bring out its natural essence.
Step 2: Find a Heatproof oven-safe bowl that can withstand the oven temperatures. Avoid nonstick pots and pans because they may melt when heated, compromising the flavour of your vanilla extract. I recommend ceramic, glass, or stoneware bowls.
Step 3: Pour two teaspoons of vanilla extract into the bowl. I like to add vanilla bean pods for a more intense aroma.
Step 4: Place your extract on the middle rack to avoid overheating and burning it. Bake for 20 minutes, or until fragrant, then remove from the oven. The scent can linger for up to a day, after which you’ll need to repeat the process. However, if the smell is overwhelming or unbearable, open the windows to let in fresh air.
How Do Vanilla Extracts Differ From Vanilla Essential Oil
Besides the high amounts of volatile oils, the vanilla extract contains minerals and vitamins extracted from the vanilla pods. While it has a lower concentration of some of these compounds than an essential oil, it still yields the same benefits but in gentle doses.
Many people confuse the two products and sometimes even use them interchangeably. However, this should not be the case.
Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol and water to draw out the natural flavours and aromas. The flavour is not overpowering or intense, making it easy to incorporate into recipes without significantly altering the taste. It’s no surprise that it’s often used in cooking, such as flavouring desserts or pastries.
Meanwhile, the vanilla essential oil is produced through steam distillation or cold-pressing fresh vanilla beans. The process extracts only the purest and most potent essences from the plant. With its more intense aroma, the vanilla essential oil is typically used in perfumes and soaps while having more therapeutic properties than vanilla extract.
For example, it can be applied topically for treating acne and other skin conditions while relieving stress. It has also been shown to have antifungal and antiviral properties, which aid in treating respiratory issues.
Although they appear similar at first glance, they have significant differences. So next time you browse your local grocery store, make sure you know what you’re buying.
Best Types of Essential Oils to Put In Your Humidifier
If you want to add a little fragrance to your home while maintaining the desired humidity level, consider adding a few drops of essential oil into your humidifier water reservoir.
Some good essential oil to try are:
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the most popular oils used in aromatherapy for relaxation and relieving stress. Studies have shown that it contains calming agents that can help improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety levels, and alleviate depression symptoms.
Add 10-20 drops of lavender oil to the humidifier water tank and relax all night with its soothing aroma.
2. Rose Essential Oil
Roses’ sweet aroma brings tranquillity and peace of mind to any room. It has been proven effective against insomnia, nervousness, hysteria, and rage. As a result, you can use it either as aromatherapy or as an inhalant. Make sure not to use too much, or you will become dizzy from the strong odour.
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is excellent for opening your sinuses and clearing your nasal passages. Eucalyptol, the primary component in eucalyptus oil, has antibacterial properties, which make it useful for respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis.
Perhaps one of its notable qualities is that it is a natural repellent for insects like mosquitoes and flies. So, rub it on your skin before going outside or spray it around the perimeter of your house.
4. Peppermint Essential Oil
For centuries, peppermint oil has been used to treat digestive issues such as bloating, cramps, indigestion, and upset stomachs. Peppermint oil’s main component, methanol, can alleviate flu-like symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, fever, and chills.
However, do not use it in its pure form because it is very potent and may irritate sensitive skin.
5. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass is a citrusy and herbaceous essential oil with excellent antiseptic properties. Many soap and candle makers incorporate it in their products since it offers a light and refreshing fragrance perfect for summertime.
It is also known to be very effective at repelling mosquitoes. Rub some on your skin before heading out, or spray it around the edge of your home to ward off pesky bugs.
6. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is extracted from Melaleuca, a plant native to Australia. The oil is a powerful disinfectant and fungicide, often included in lotions, soaps, and cleaning solutions. One of the more well-known uses for tea tree oil is in treating acne.
To do this, apply a small amount of tea tree oil directly to the affected area and leave it overnight. A word of caution, though: too much exposure to the oil can lead to irritation, redness, and dry skin.
Do Vanilla Extracts Have Health Benefits
Vanilla extract is not all about flavour. Surprisingly, it also has some health benefits, giving you more reasons to include it in your natural health regimen.
Here are a few of the ways vanilla extract can profit your overall health:
1. Contain Essential Minerals
Vanilla beans, like all plant-based foods, contain potassium and magnesium. Potassium, for example, aids in blood pressure regulation, fatigue relief, cell water regulation, and nerve function. Magnesium, on the other hand, is necessary for muscle relaxation, bone strength, hormone production, and energy metabolism.
While the quantity varies depending on the extraction process, one serving of vanilla extract contains 6mgs of potassium and 1mgs of magnesium. The recommended daily intake for both minerals is 2,600-3,400mgs for potassium and 420-410mgs for magnesium. Although the amount may seem insignificant, every bit counts when it comes to mineral intake.
2. Stress and Anxiety Relief
Studies have shown that vanilla’s potent fragrance induces a calming effect in humans, which helps relieve stress and anxiety. The vanillin chemical compound found in vanilla extract act as an antidepressant, altering mood by impacting our serotonin levels.
For this reason, vanilla extract is used as an alternative treatment for those with anxiety disorders or depression but don’t want to take medications. What’s even better? You don’t need large quantities to reap its benefits – just a drop or two of vanilla extract should do the trick!
3. Antioxidant Properties
The vanillin compound has been proven to be one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, keeping your body safe from free radical damage and premature aging. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack your body’s healthy cells. They’re produced during metabolic processes such as breathing, digestion, sun exposure, smoking cigarettes and other environmental factors.
Long-term effects of free radicals can lead to cancer, congenital disabilities, inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. So, a small dose of vanilla extract in your ice cream or baked goods won’t hurt.
4. Fight Inflammation
Inflammation is a process where redness and swelling occur when there’s an injury or infection in your body. Vanilla extract has anti-inflammatory properties, which aid in pain relief. It works by lowering histamine, a chemical released by the immune system in response to injuries or infections.
However, do not apply vanilla extract directly on open wounds, cuts or scrapes, as this will only cause irritation and itchiness. Instead, add a few drops of vanilla extract to warm milk and honey to drink. As always, consult your doctor before starting any new diet or lifestyle change.
5. Boost Cognitive Function
Like its calming effect, vanilla extract can stimulate brain activity and improve cognitive function by increasing mental alertness and memory.
This is because of the neuroprotective properties of vanillic acid in vanilla extract. Vanillic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant, and since the human brain is made up of 60% fat, it needs an extra boost to help protect it against oxidative stress.
In a nutshell, vanilla extract is an excellent way to get a daily dose of health benefits without spending a fortune on expensive supplements. Adding a few drops to your morning smoothie, coffee, or tea is a simple and delicious way to stay healthy.
Faqs On Can I Put Vanilla Extract In My Humidifier?
1. Can you use pure vanilla extract in a diffuser?
You can use pure vanilla extract in your diffuser, but it’s not recommended. Because vanilla extract is an alcohol-based solution, it evaporates quickly, causing the scent to fade. That means continuously adding drops of vanilla extract to your diffuser, which can be costly and wasteful.
2. Can I use vanilla extract instead of essential oil?
Do not put vanilla extract in your humidifier or substitute it for essential oils. The alcohol in the vanilla extract will corrode your humidifier filter, rendering it useless. After all, vanilla extract is not intended for the scent but to flavor food and beverages.
3. What can I put in my humidifier for scent?
You can put essential oils into your humidifier to enjoy a nice scent. However, avoid using anything containing alcohol, as it may cause damage to the unit. If you’re looking for a natural option, try lemon juice in your humidifier; the scent will be subtle and pleasant but not overpowering.
4. Can I add anything to my cool mist humidifier?
A few drops of lemon juice in the water reservoir of your cool mist humidifier will give it a fresh scent. Furthermore, the citric acid in lemons is a natural antibacterial agent that can aid in the prevention of mold and mildew growth in your home.
5. What can I substitute for a vanilla essential oil?
You can use jasmine absolute, lemon balm essential oil, helichrysum essential oil, and geranium essential oil for a vanilla-like scent. One thing to note is that these oils are potent and may not be as effective as a vanilla essential oil.
6. Is vanilla flavoring the same as vanilla extract?
No, vanilla flavoring is not the same as vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract is made by steeping whole vanilla beans in alcohol and water for some time to release the flavor. In contrast, vanilla flavoring uses artificial ingredients and additives such as sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners.
7. Is there vanilla essential oil?
Vanilla essential oil does not exist; they require a solvent such as alcohol to extract its flavor and aroma. Furthermore, the beans cannot withstand the high heat of steam distillation. Instead, vanilla extract is made by soaking dried vanilla beans in a water and alcohol solution for several weeks or months.
8. Can I put peppermint extract in a diffuser?
Yes, you can, but you should use carrier oil first. This will help the extract last longer and prevent it from evaporating too quickly. You should also only use a few drops of extract, as too much can be overwhelming. Peppermint extract can be refreshing and invigorating, making it an excellent choice for diffusing during the day.
Vanilla extract is undeniably an excellent flavouring agent. However, that does not make it a good humidifier additive. Adding vanilla extract to your humidifier will only do more harm than good.
The alcohol content in the extract will corrode the filter and render it useless. Consequently, the air quality of your home will deteriorate significantly, resulting in excessive dryness and respiratory problems.
My recommendation, seek alternative additives such as essential oils.