Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier Review

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There is no single trick or tip to getting a good night’s sleep. Many times, it’s a combination of a comfortable mattress, a supportive pillow, a dark quiet room and…moist air? That’s right – a humidifier is one ingredient in the recipe for good sleep.

Simply speaking, a humidifier adds moisture to a room. When someone uses a humidifier overnight, the added moisture keeps the person’s hair, skin, nose, throat, and airway from drying out. That means no dry cough, sore throat or unexpected nosebleeds interrupting sleep.

There are so many humidifiers on the market, it’s hard to know which one to get. Vicks offers several, including their Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier. This easy-to-use humidifier fits most adult or children’s bedrooms and can be turned on and off with a simple switch.

Ready to learn more? Check out my full video or scroll down for my written review of the Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier (photos included). Comment below if any questions come up!

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Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier
Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier

The Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier is a 1.2-gallon humidifier that works well for medium-sized rooms and is great for kids or adults. It's easy to use, the humidity level can be adjusted and the nozzle can be redirected wherever needed.

Check out the written review with more details, photos and my experience using the humidifier below!

Key Features

  • Water is released onto a nebulizer that moves at ultrasonic speeds, turning the water into a mist.
  • Unit size: 12″L x 9.5″W x 8.5″H
  • Capacity: 4.5 liter / 1.2 gallon
  • Run Time: up to 33 hours
  • Good for a medium-sized room (250-400 sq. feet)
  • Produces visible cool mist without a filter; users have the ability to control humidity levels
  • Mist nozzle allows sleepers to point cool mist in a specific direction
  • Up to two Vicks VapoPads may be added in a special “scent station” for additional comfort
  • $49.99 at full price

Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier 1.2 gallon tank

How To Use The Humidifier

Following the instructions provided by Vicks will ensure that the humidifier is operating properly:

  1. Select a firm, level location at least 6″ to 12” from any walls. Place the humidifier on a water-resistant surface. The mist should be directed away from any walls, bedding or furniture.
  2. Remove the tank by grasping the handle and pulling up. Remove tank cap located on the bottom of the tank.
  3. Fill the tank with cool water. Do not fill with warm or hot water.
  4. Replace tank cap by firmly turning back in place. Place tank back on the humidifier base.
  5. Next, set the control to the desired output setting. It is recommended the user set the output to high until he or she has reached a comfortable humidity level.
  6. The individual will know it’s on and working because they will see the green nightlight on the control knob illuminate and, after 10-15 seconds, the humidifier will produce a visible mist.

Humidity Level: Once a comfortable humidity level has been reached, the humidifier should be turned to a lower setting. A comfortable humidity level is between 40-60%. Not many have the ability to measure the humidity of a room at home (although measuring devices are available online for purchase), so the individual will have to go by their comfort level.


  • Very simple to use
  • Directional mist outlet is very convenient
  • Will work well in anyone’s room, from adults to children
  • Helps add moisture to the air in a room so the individual can avoid nasal congestion or scratchy throat
  • Option to add a VapoPad to the humidifier

Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier directional nozzle


  • The intensive weekly cleaning process, both de-scaling and disinfecting (with bleach)
  • The green light that comes on when the humidifier is in use can be distracting in the dark
  • A slightly more expensive option than those with filters

My Experience

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, at Mattress Clarity we are Team Humidifier. Humidifiers are an excellent way to add moisture to the air and help keep people comfortable and sleeping well all night, and that’s what we’re all about here!

Humidifiers have been a staple in my house since my children were babies, and I’ve learned a few things about them during this time. One of the things I’ve come to learn is that humidifiers need to be cleaned regularly and kept dry when not in use. Standing water, of any kind, has the ability to grow mold and bacteria and the last thing anyone wants is to allow infected air to be evaporated and inhaled by an adult or a child.

Investing in a filter-free humidifier makes this maintenance process slightly easier (and cheaper). No filter means that the humidifier is using ultrasonic waves to create mist out of the water in the humidifier, and it also means that there is no need to soak, flip or replace a filter between uses.

I think Vicks Filter Free humidifier option is very simple to use and I appreciate the full control I had over the humidity level in the room. It offered plenty of cool mist for both my master bedroom and my son’s nursery (250-400 sq feet in general). I also liked that I could control the direction of the mist through a nozzle as it came out of the top of the humidifier.

I would highly recommend using distilled water when using the humidifier. Not only does this make the de-scaling and cleaning process easier, because there are no extra minerals to deal with, but it also means the water that’s being added to the air is pure and there will be fewer concerns with it in a child’s room. Keeping in mind that even standing distilled water can grow bacteria and mold, which is why it’s important to keep the humidifier clean and dry when not in use.

Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier distilled water

I didn’t experiment very much with the VapoPad that can be added to a little “scent station” on the side of the humidifier. However, those who love Vicks vapor rub and menthol that can help open air passages will surely enjoy this feature. Follow the installation instructions as the actual scent pad should not be touched by bare hands.

The Vicks Filter Free humidifier is a little higher in price than other options that have filters, but the ease of use and the ability to control so many aspects of the cool mist make it a good value in my opinion.

Keeping The Humidifier Clean

With consistent use, the humidifier should be cleaned weekly. The humidifier must be de-scaled and disinfected – two different processes that require different solutions. While this is an involved cleaning process, it’s essential that a humidifier stays clean to avoid the evaporation of any bacterial or mold spores into the air.

Here are the cleaning guidelines straight from Vicks. Make sure to turn off and unplug the humidifier before starting any de-scaling or disinfecting.

Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier cleaning

Scale Removal:

  1. Turn off and unplug the unit.
  2. Remove and empty the tank and base of any water
  3. Remove the mist nozzle, water tank, accessories and set aside.
  4. Fill the water tank with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar, add mist nozzle, replace tank cap and place back on the base. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
  5. After soaking, using a soft damp cloth wipe the nebulizer to remove mineral deposits
  6. Gently rinse the water tank mist nozzle and base with water until the smell of vinegar is gone.


  1. Turn off and unplug the unit.
  2. Remove and empty the tank and base of any water.
  3. Remove the mist nozzle, water tank, accessories and set aside.
  4. Mix 1 gallon of water and 1 teaspoon of bleach. NOTE: Bleach may stain clothes. It is recommended that all individuals wear rubber gloves during this process to protect their hands. Pour bleach solution into the tank, add mist nozzle and replace tank cap.
  5. Place the tank on the base and let stand for 20 minutes.
  6. Gently rinse the water tank, mist nozzle base with water until the smell of bleach is gone.

The Sleep Benefits Of Humidifiers

When it comes to sleep, the main job of a humidifier is to add moisture to the air, which prevents irritation and congestion that results from increased dryness. Dry air can be a natural part of a home thanks to the region of the country it’s in or it may come from turning the heat on in the house for the first time. People, especially young children, may benefit from moisture in the air to help combat allergies or sensitivities.

For adults and kids, this can mean better sleep simply because they’re not waking up with a dry or scratchy throat, and their nasal passages will stay moist and help filter out bacteria and allergens. Plus it’ll help prevent nosebleeds. which can be a huge sleep disruptor at night.

Final Thoughts

The Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier is a solid option for a humidifier in both an adult or a child’s bedroom. It offers great cool mist output and the direction of the mist and the amount of mist can be controlled in a very detailed manner, which is not always an option with humidifiers.

It needs to be de-scaled and disinfected regularly, so purchasing a humidifier comes with some level of commitment to maintenance. No one will benefit from the use of a dirty humidifier!

Comment below with any questions or a request for a personal humidifier (or mattress, pillow, weighted blanket, etc.) recommendation! We’re happy to help.


Can you put Vicks in a cool mist humidifier? 

Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier scent stationVicks has a "scent station" in their Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier where individuals can put a VapoPad to get the benefits of Vicks mentholated products. The Vicks Starry Night Cool Mist Humidifier also has a "scent slot" for a VapoPad inside the base. Please follow all instructions carefully with these.

Should you leave a humidifier on all day?

How long a humidifier is left on is technically a matter of personal preference. Many people choose to leave it on all night while they're in the room, so they can benefit from inhaling the moist air. Leaving the humidifier on all day when no one is home may not be as beneficial. It uses electricity, and the humidifier may run out of the water with no one to replace it. The best use of a humidifier is to have it on when the person is in the room to breathe in the moisturized air.

Can you run Vicks humidifier without filter?

Yes, the Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist humidifier does work without a filter. Water is released onto a nebulizer that moves at ultrasonic speeds and turns the water into a mist.

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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news. She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.