29 answers

Cool Mist or Warm Mist Humidifier

My 4-month old has developed a cold - cough, sneezing and congestion. Should I get him a warm mist or cool mist humidifier?

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone! I went with the cool mist.

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My son is 6 yrs old. Since he was born I have always been told to use a cool mist. Just depends on all the symptoms. Warm mist is for nasal congestion, but along w/ the indoor heater, can cause too much dryness. So we have always used cool mist. It keeps the bronchial passages moist, and cuts way down on the coughing. Hope this helps.

I dont understand what some of the moms are talking about. The cool mist does promote mold and bacteria. I had one and it also produced "white dust" on EVERYTHING in the room! When I bought one that said it wouldnt do that, the air smelled like dead fish! Also the cool mist makes the room real cold. I switched to the warm mist. It works great. No white dust and also keeps his room warm and cozy. My son is going to be 17 months. Just keep it out of reach. I dont bring it out until he is in his crib ready to go to sleep. Good luck!

I bought and have both. But I always gravitate toward the warm mist. When my daughter is congested, the doctor also says to put her in a small bathroom with the shower running to steam her. Isn't that also warm mist? :)

I think you'll find 50/50...half of what you read says one or the other. And the bacteria thing, I've read for both cold and warm. I'd say get one that is the easiest to clean and just keep it clean. We have the Vicks warm mist, and it IS hard to clean.

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Vicks or Eucalyptus oil can help open breathing passages & can be added to steam vaporizers.
The one concern is to be sure that you clean either one of them frequently preferably with vinegar/water & let them run for at least 2-4 hours. I have actually taken care of children in the hospital who were being infected again from bacteria growing in their vaporizers as well as humidifiers.

Hi Cara,

With babies, I'd keep the warm mist while you are running the heater. My parents told me that & let me borrow one that's about 30 years old. It seems to do the job. They have only been sick once & they're 9 month old twin boys. I hope this helps you! Have a great week.

S. J

cool mist humidifier b/c it doesn't promote mold and bacteria growth.

Cool Mist is better due to the dryer air that some heating units put out. I don't think warm or cool are any better than the other but usually this time of year is you have a gas furnance cool will be better. The difference between one or the other is the warm you can add medication to the water. Not only that a saline mist is good to spray up the nose to flush out any germs that may be in the air, and suck out any snot that maybe in the nose. My son is 14 monhs old and I just took him in for what I thought was a cold but turns out it was a virus and allergies and the doctor told me to give hm half a teaspoon and Zertec for children and let me tell you it knocked it right out. He was coughing and runny nose and sneezing. Good luck.


The best advice would come from your pediatrician in which case you could just give them a call or call your local pharmacist...either could give you the right advice, which is very important. There has been much discussion about this since my daughter was very little. She is 26 now!! Best to check with the experts.

Pediatricians would like you to use a cool mist humidifier. I have one and it is great. Cool mist is definitely what is recommended by doctors and hospitals.

I don't know the reasoning for it but my pediatrician told us at that age to always use the cool mist.

Cool mist is best. We use one with my 7 week old and it is what was recommended from our doctor and many friends. From the research I have done on my own they seem much safer as well.

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