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College Advice

Are Humidifiers Allowed in Dorms?

DormEssentials November 20, 2020

Living in a dorm room will probably be one of your most joyful experiences, although with its own challenges. During winter, the climate gets dry and you end up getting itchy and flaky skin. Your dorm room climate needs to be managed, whether it’s too hot, too cold, too dirty, or too dry. If you have respiratory problems, you may end up with an irritated, dry throat. This is why many students bring a humidifier with them. A humidifier increases the moisture in the air and lets you breathe easier. The dorm room tends to be dusty, and having a humidifier can alleviate this problem too. But are humidifiers allowed in dorm rooms? Let’s find the truth about using a humidifier in the dorm. The short answer before you begin reading is yes, so make sure to check out the best dorm humidifiers.


What are Humidifiers and Why You May Need One?

You may have encountered humidifier at least once in your life because they are everywhere. It’s an electric appliance that increases the humidity level of a room or space, hence the name humidifier. The purpose of using this device is to get rid of an overly dry environment. If you are sensitive to dry climate, a humidifier may be an appropriate choice.

For dorm room usage, small portable humidifiers are suitable. Dorm rooms tend to be congested at times, and during winter, the weather gets extremely dry. Too much dry climate can cause severe skin diseases and itching. A humidifier can help to provide a bit of relief from this state. It keeps the air moist, keeping away dry throats and flaky skin, which is why many people bring it in dorms.


Dorms Regulations Regarding Appliances 

It’s tough to answer “are humidifiers allowed in dorms?”, because there is no clear stance imposed on it. There are no strict regulations regarding bringing small electronic humidifiers. In most dorms, it wouldn’t matter much. Dorms usually strictly prohibit heavy-duty appliances such as an electric heater or coffee maker. Humidifiers are generally safe and require a small amount of electricity. 

However, if you end up using it the wrong way and cause havoc, dorms may seize the item from you. Don’t overuse or operate it in the wrong way which may jeopardize the safety limits. Violating the limits may cause you to get penalized, and that’s the last thing you want. So, the bottom line is, humidifiers are allowed in dorm rooms, as long as you follow the safety limits and know how to use one.


Are Dorm Rooms Humid Enough?

Before wondering whether humidifiers are allowed in a dorm, we should ask whether you need one in the first place. It depends greatly on the dorm’s location, the weather spectrum of the location, ventilation, and how many people are in the room. During the summer, the humidity is slightly better; it reaches 30% to 45% and, at times, 60%. The ideal humidity level in a dorm room should be about 45% to 55%. In winter, the humidity level drops below 40%, so it gets really dry. 


Things to Remember While Using a Humidifier 

Before using a humidifier, beware of all the risk factors and educate yourself on properly using it. 

Where Should I Place a Humidifier?

If you are wondering why dorms are reluctant to permit electronic appliances usage, they are often linked to fire hazards. While humidifiers may not cause a fire hazard by itself, it can aggravate it if misused. The placement of a humidifier in a room is a crucial factor concern safety. Don’t place your humidifier near anything flammable. Keep away from clothes and beds to prevent any mishaps. Try to place it in an open and empty corner and make sure it is working properly.

Clean Regularly

The buildup of moisture and dirt is the worst combination, and unfortunately, humidifiers tend to cause this a lot. It absorbs a lot of dirt in the room and stacks it inside, settling, and eventually clogging. Not cleaning a humidifier regularly could cause more health hazards rather than alleviating them. It could cause skin allergy and respiratory problems before hitting the dump. So, if you end up getting one, make sure to clean it from time to time. You also need to make sure there is no black mold forming in your dorm.

Use Cold Water

Don’t use hot water for humidifiers. Hot water tends to have more minerals, and the higher temperature start makes the scaling of minerals more prevalent. Preventing any scale formation is important as it gives rise to the bacterial formation. If you can’t use distilled water, at least try to use colder water for humidification. Also, try not to use any special disinfectants to clean your humidifiers because the residue can turn into a water mist and cause more damage. Most disinfectants contain chlorine-based molecules which is highly toxic and would certainly cause lung diseases.

Look Out for White Dust

Water used in humidifiers most likely has minerals. What humidifiers do is they pulverize water into a fine mist, the perfect particulate size you can breathe into your lungs. So, the minerals also enter into the particulates which you would breathe and it ends up looking like a cloud of somewhat white dust. Breathing white dust can cause long-term lung disease; some of which can turn chronic. Use distilled water instead of humidifiers, if you can manage to find it. Or try to operate it for a short time every day and make sure to clean the device afterward.


Benefits of Getting a Humidifier 

While there are many risk factors of using a humidifier in a dorm, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s look at the advantages of using a humidifier in a dorm room.

Get Rid of Ultra-dry Skin

Dry skin can cause unrepairable damage, especially during the winter. If you are in college, you’re most likely to be in your 20s. Early adulthood is when your skin may make or break. So, it’s important to stay in a moderately humid environment, which can be made by using a humidifier.

Warmth and Comfort

Humid air tends to be warmer than dry air. During wintertime, dorm rooms can get extremely cold and comforters may not be enough. Installing a humidifier can provide a bit of warmth and comfort during this time.

Helps Keeping Allergy Problems at Bay

If you’re plagued by allergy, a humidifier can be your friend in need. The dorm room can get difficult to adjust to due to dust and bacterial growth in places. Dust mites can cause chronic allergic problems. Using a humidifier can eliminate this problem, as the vaporized mist water traps dirt and settles it down.

Prevents the Spread of Virus

Humidifiers turn water into a particulate size ideal for inhaling. They turn into mist and traps other molecules in the air, such as bacteria and viruses. The water mist trapping the germs eventually drops to the surfaces, preventing the harmful microbes from spreading through the air. 

Good News for Snorers

If you have a snoring problem, getting a humidifier can help curb it. If you breathe through the mouth, your throat can dry up easily and increase the uncomfortable feeling. Try running a humidifier in the day time to keep the air moist rather than starting it at night. Moist air can relax the tissue at the back of your throat and prevent snoring.

No More Statics

Have you ever woken up to your hair being frizzy mess and clothes tangled? Well, it might be due to statics. Dry climate can cause static electricity to build up on surfaces. Although this is a small nuisance, in flammable gas or dust being nearby, serious accidents may happen. Having a humidifier can resolve this issue.


What to Look for Before Buying a Humidifier for Dorms? 

Before buying a humidifier for your dorm, research a little about the best brands and essential features you’d need. Here is a small guide on how to choose a perfect humidifier for your dorm room.


Instead of asking, “are humidifiers allowed in dorms?”, ask if your dorm-mates will allow you to bring a noisy humidifier. Since the rooms are small and have more than one occupant, the humidifier must be serene, not loud. Make sure to check the noise while operating and go for an ultrasonic humidifier.

Size and Shape

A small size humidifier is appropriate for dorm rooms since you are not blessed with ample space. Small and portable humidifiers are affordable and flexible to set anywhere in the room.


Buy a humidifier which is easy to operate. The function of a humidifier is simple, so you don’t need a high-end one anyway. Make sure it is easy to clean out and has maintenance options with a warranty.


You don’t need to spend too much on a simple appliance like a humidifier. There are plenty of affordable options in the market, so try to choose a cheaper one.


You can use the humidifier as an aromatherapy device. Mix a drop of fragrant essential oil with the water to soothe your senses.


The Verdict: Are They Allowed? Most likely, Yes.

So, are humidifiers allowed in dorms? The short answer would be yes, they are. However, you must make sure to use it properly, maintaining the safety factor, and choose one appropriate for living comfortably in college dorms. Otherwise, you could be left with mold. If you are ever unsure, you can always check with your resident advisor.



Humidifiers can be helpful to manage stress and keep you healthy during the hectic college life. Even if they are allowed, it is mandatory to maintain them properly.


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