If You Have a Slow Cooker, You Already Have a Humidifier—Here’s How to Make It Work

updated Jan 11, 2021
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(Image credit: Sylvie Li)

Winter is upon us, and that means so are pesky, insomnia-inflicting stuffy noses and coughs. If you don’t have a good humidifier on hand, don’t dismay. You can put a kitchen tool you already have to work, saving money and space while adding some much-needed moisture to your room. Plus, you won’t have to clean a filter!

You probably already know you can use your trusty Crock-Pot or other slow cooker for delicious fall soups, but have you ever thought it could work double duty as a humidifier? It makes sense if you think about it: Slow cookers are a good way to boil and simmer water and other liquids, adding moisture to the air as the liquid evaporates.

No slow cooker? Check out these other ways to make a homemade humidifier.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Ready to put your slow cooker to use easing cold or flu symptoms, or just to add some much-needed moisture to a dry space in the winter months? It’s simpler than you think:

Step 1:

Fill the slow cooker with water (tap will do!), pop on the lid, and choose the “high” setting. (Keep in mind that both high and low settings will reach the same temperature—209 degrees, or just below the boiling point—but high just works faster to do it.)

Step 2:

Once the water begins to heat up, you will see steam rolling off the lid, which is your sign to switch to the “low” setting to prevent the water from evaporating as quickly as the high setting. As the water evaporates over the course of a few hours, top off the water level in your slow cooker to keep the good air going.

A note about safety: As you’re using your slow cooker as a humidifier with the lid off, you should never leave it unattended. And it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s always at least half- to two-thirds-full with water.

If your slow cooker is very old (or has a fabric-wrapped cord), you probably just need to find a new one. Read more: 5 Signs It’s Time for You to Get a New Slow Cooker

Step 3: (optional)

If you’re feeling festive (or stuffy), you can add a few drops of essential oil to the water when you fill the pot. Try eucalyptus for a cough or congested nose, lavender for relaxation and sleep, or even cinnamon sticks or orange peels for a cozy, seasonal feel.

In fact, once you add fruits or spices, you’re basically cooking up a simmer pot—which is a great way to humidify the air and add a seasonal scent to your space at the same time. (We have you covered if you want some ideas for fall simmer pot recipes.)