How Close Should A Humidifier Be To Your Bed?

This article sheds light on the question: How close should a humidifier be to your bed?

Humidifiers are great if you want a good night’s sleep, but putting one too close to your bed might not be a good idea.

This is especially true if you have a humidifier capable of very high mist flow or different temperature modes. 

As a rule of thumb, your humidifier should be at least 3 feet away from the bed at all times. Not only does this prevent some adverse effects (which we get into below), it actually helps your humidifier work more effectively!

If you were confused about how close a humidifier should be to you and your bed, leave it to us. We’ve been reviewing humidifiers for a while, so we know a thing or two. 

Here, we will get into how a humidifier works, the best way to combat possible side effects of regular humidifier use, and the risks/benefits of positioning a humidifier closer to your bed.  

Keep reading to learn more about how close a humidifier should be to your bed and your person. 

How Close Should A Humidifier Be To Your Bed?

When putting a humidifier next to your bed or anywhere else, we recommend using the 3,2,1 rule. At least 3 feet away from the bed, at least 2 feet off the ground, and at least 1 foot away from any walls, furniture, or other wooden fixtures.

Putting a humidifier right up against your bed when you sleep could be problematic. The 3,2,1 rule counters most of the risks while also giving the humidifier ample space to work efficiently. 

Is A Humidifier Safe To Use While Sleeping?

Barring some medical conditions, a humidifier is perfectly safe to use while sleeping and is even recommended by some medical professionals. Studies show that using a humidifier makes a noticeable difference in your sleep quality. 

The benefits of using a humidifier with regard to coughing and respiratory problems are well documented. Still, if you tend to snore or get a stuffy nose while sleeping, a humidifier can also help with that. 

Suffice it to say, a humidifier is perfectly safe to use while sleeping. In fact, it is even recommended if your child or infant is having trouble sleeping. 

Where Should You Put Your Humidifier While Sleeping? 

Where you position your humidifier while sleeping will usually depend on factors such as the mist volume it is capable of, the coverage rating, and the different modes available. 

Generally, you should place the humidifier on a nightstand, a shelf, or a desk, where it has a solid, flat surface to sit on. Here, it is important to remember that since a humidifier is essentially just launching moisture into the air, it could damage a room’s paint, wallpaper, furniture, and even wooden fixtures. 

By putting a humidifier at least 1 foot away from walls, furniture, doors, and the like, you completely neutralize the risk of those things developing mold, deforming, or not sealing properly. 

Additionally, you will have to place the humidifier in a spot where it can actually be effective. The exact distance you choose will also be influenced by how well the humidifier performs, so things like the mist speed and volume come into play. 

Really, it’s a matter of trial and error to see which position suits your humidifier best. 

Pro tip: If you are considering a larger, heavier humidifier that will also be a bit more cumbersome to move around, ensure that it has an adjustable nozzle and put it in a central location. This will allow you to direct the mist to any spot in the room. 

How Close Should A Humidifier Be To Your Bed?

So now we have the million-dollar question: how close to your person should you put a humidifier, especially when sleeping?

The jury is still out on that one, and opinions differ vastly. So let’s break it down. What are the pros and cons of positioning humidifiers closer to your bed? 

The obvious benefit here is that putting a humidifier with lower performance closer to your bed, say on your nightstand, will allow it to work a bit more effectively. This is especially true for humidifiers that can’t deliver the highest mist volume or speed. 

On the other hand, if your humidifier tends to be on the high mist volume side and adjusting the mist level is not an option, you might become uncomfortable. 

Humidifiers need a little space to properly diffuse moisture and get it where it needs to be. If they’re not given ample space, it is easy for the moisture to become localized in one place and be ultimately ineffective. 

A humidifier very close to your face poses a serious risk as it can cause excess moisture to enter your respiratory system. Additionally, the high humidity can cause increased sweating. In extreme cases, this can even lead to dehydration.  

Another possible concern is with warm mist humidifiers. These may boil water in order to get mist to the desired temperature. It’s wholly possible that the excess heat from this mist could cause low-level skin burns. 

And if you tend to toss and turn at night, a hand or a foot might find its way up against the hot parts of the humidifier. 

Despite what you might think, we don’t mean to scare you away from using a humidifier at night. But it is essential that you realize the risks of putting a humidifier too close to your bed. 

If you ask us, a humidifier should be placed a bit further away from your bed, on a desk or stand. This gives it plenty of space to diffuse water vapor around the room, while also preventing excess moisture from getting in your respiratory system. 

The problem arises with humidifiers that have lower mist volume/speed capabilities or ones that lack adjustable nozzles. These may require you to place the humidifier closer to your bed so that it can be effective. 

As a rule of thumb, we would recommend that your humidifier be at least 3 feet away from your bed while you sleep. Higher mist volume units can be put even further away. 

We also recommend keeping it at least 1 foot away from walls, doorways, windows, or any other fixtures around your room. 

Additionally, we find that most humidifiers deliver optimum performance when they are placed a minimum of 2 feet above the ground. In fact, elevation seems to make the humidification process a little bit faster, which is something to keep in mind. 

Signs Your Humidifier Is Too Close To Your Bed

Let’s play a game called ‘Move That Humidifier Away!’. No rules, just safer, healthier humidifier use. 


Trouble breathing is one of the first symptoms of excess humidity as a result of the humidifier being too close to your bed. The extra moisture flowing into your respiratory system can make it harder to breathe, which is not what you want when you’re sleeping! 

The problem is only exacerbated if you have underlying medical conditions that could be affected by the excess moisture in the air. Move that humidifier away!

Increased allergy symptoms

Say you suffer from allergies. Humidifiers have long been a great way to deal with allergies. But if you notice your symptoms getting worse while using the humidifier, it is a sign that the humidity is too high, or the humidifier is too close to your bed. 

This stems from the fact that many microbes, dust mites, and allergens thrive in damp, humid conditions. Move that humidifier away!

Dry sinuses, asthma, and allergic reactions

‘You became the very thing you swore to destroy!’

People often buy humidifiers to combat dry sinuses or asthma. But in extreme humidity, it is possible for these problems to get even worse. Again, extremely humid conditions are breeding grounds for bacteria, mold, and the like. 

Move. That. Humidifier. Away!!!

Too Much Humidity

If you’ve become a champion of ‘Move That Humidifier Away!’ by placing the humidifier further away from yourself, but still find yourself experiencing the above symptoms, it’s probably because the humidity is just too high regardless. 

The consensus is that relative humidity should be between 30% and 50% for optimal comfort. Any more than 60% is considered very high for indoor environments. So consider lowering the relative humidity.


So when you want to place your humidifier in a room, just remember the 3,2,1 strategy: At least 3 feet away from the bed, 2 feet off the ground, and 1 foot from walls, furniture, and other wooden fixtures. 

Of course, that’s just a general guide. We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the various features and capabilities of your humidifier and adjusting the strategy accordingly. If the humidifier is too close to your bed, there will be plenty of signs that you need to move it further away, and now you know what to look out for. 

And if moving it away doesn’t work, it’s possible that the humidity is just too high. Lowering the relative humidity to between 30% and 50% should fix this issue and give you a more comfortable night’s sleep.


Shawn Willis is all about humidifiers. After working for some of the biggest names in the industry, he started HumidifierGuys with Scott Dawson. Now, the dynamic duo helps others figure out what they need in their next humidifier.

Shawn is an avid sports fan, motorcycle enthusiast, and has two dogs named Whiskey and Boba.