One morning earlier this month, while I was out of town, I received the following text from one of my roommates:
“Is it you with the humidifier in the apartment? What’s your opinion on them? Are they high maintenance?”
To which I responded, “I have this one, it’s great, super low maintenance.”
Frustrated after waking up multiple mornings in a row with a dry, bloody nose and cracked sandpapery skin, I decided it was time to make a very adult purchase: a humidifier, specifically, the Vicks mini filter-free (very important) cool mist humidifier. This was last January, which always feels like the driest month in New York City.
Humidifiers are wonderful little machines for adding moisture to the air, which is useful for preventing dry skin, eyes, and noses, and can help reduce coughing and sneezing. They’re especially useful in apartments where clanking radiators dispense round-the-clock, inferno-levels of heat.
When I was in college and lived in a smaller apartment, I hacked a humidifier by boiling water on the stove, which actually does a pretty decent job of adding moisture to the air in a small space.
Unfortunately, in my current apartment, my room is an entire staircase away from the stove, making it impossible to benefit from a stovetop humidifier, necessitating the purchase of a specialized product. I wanted to find something that wouldn’t take up much precious floor space in my 60-square-foot bedroom, which is how I landed on the Vick’s model.
Because of its small size and filter-free design, it’s an excellent starter humidifier, perfect for millennials who’ve never used one in their lives. With a 0.5 gallon capacity, it’s best used in small spaces, like a New York apartment. It’s super quiet and emits a cool mist for up to 20 hours.
Another consideration for my humidifier search was maintenance. This model is super low maintenance — every so often, I empty the tank and wipe out the base and tank with a towel to remove any slimy pre-mold spots. Because there’s no filter, it’s best to use demineralized or distilled water, which will prevent any mineral buildup in the machine or on other surfaces.
While you shouldn’t add essential oils to the tank (they’ll cause residue to build up in the tank), there is a cute little compartment for adding Vicks scent pads, which come in menthol and lavender. I tried the sample that comes in the box but wasn’t too impressed with the effects. The scent fades quickly and refills are pricey. It’s a nice, albeit unnecessary, idea. The humidifier is perfect (for my extra-large broom closet-sized bedroom) without the addition of a fancy scent.