High humidity can make the air in a room feel musty and uncomfortable. This can result in excess moisture and dampness that can lead to the formation of mildew, mold, and other bacteria. A dehumidifier is typically the best recommendation, but is there anything else out there that can help?
What else can you use to dehumidify your home instead of a dehumidifier? Some of the things you can use include rock salt, DampRid, Dri-Z-Air, baking soda, and silica gel desiccants. You can also use other things such as a fan, air conditioner, and space heater. Venting your home, removing indoor plants, cooking outdoors, and taking shorter showers will also help remove excess moisture.
The best alternative to a dehumidifier depends on three major things – the features of your room, your budget, and the cause of the humidity.
For example, running a dehumidifier can ramp up your electricity bill, and many homeowners can’t afford that. If there is no mildew or mold yet, a dehumidifier might be too expensive for some. But if the humidity levels are abnormally high and a musty smell has already appeared, then investing in a dehumidifier early on will be cheaper than having to take on uncontrollable mold growth in the future.
How to Dehumidify Your Home without a Dehumidifier
There are different methods and approaches of dehumidifying a home without using a dehumidifier. Some methods can be demanding, as they require some time, effort, and money. However, some methods are also quick and cheap. Here are some effective alternatives to dehumidifiers:
The first alternative on our list is the Rock Salt approach. Rock salt is a natural hygroscopic material that does a great job of absorbing moisture. This material does not only absorbs moisture but also stores it like dehumidifiers.
Nevertheless, rock salt is non-toxic and 100 percent natural. Unlike dehumidifiers, this material will not add to your electricity bill.
Many people are using this material as a natural alternative to dehumidifiers because it is completely safe, non-toxic, and affordable. It is also easy to apply, as you can use this material to make your own dehumidifier with two buckets or any other container. Here is how you can use rock salt to make a dehumidifier:
- Step One: The first step is to stack the two buckets or containers. After stacking, drill some holes at the bottom of the top bucket. You can also drill some holes around the sides of the top bucket.
- Step Two: Place the drilled bucked into the second bucket ad add the salt to it. There is no exact measurement for the quantity of salt to add, but we recommend filling it to a quarter of the bucket.
- Step Three: The third step is to place your custom-made dehumidifier in a strategic position. It should be in a position where it can absorb the optimal amount of moisture. Placing the fan near the bucket (if available) will also help, as it would push the moisture into the salt trap.
This solution will extract moisture from the air and send it to the bottom bucket. The advantage of this method is that it is affordable, easy to set up, and readily available. The only downside is that it is only for short-term use.
Another great alternative to a dehumidifier is a Dri-Z-Air. This solution consists of non-toxic calcium chloride crystals, and it is highly effective at absorbing moisture. Dri-Z-Air comes as crystals in a big container or bag, and it is easy to apply.
To apply this solution, you can opt for the Dri-Z-Air DZA-U Pot. It is made of recycled plastic and it gives you a 13-oz. refill bag to start with. The pot has two parts – top and bottom. The bottom part is there to collect the water while the top contains the crystals.
As the crystals start absorbing moisture, they will start vanishing. You would have to refill the container once they are gone completely or low in count. If you do not want to buy the pot, you can make yours just as we did for that of the rock salt. The advantages of this method are that it is affordable, easy to use, and non-toxic. However, you would need to refill it frequently.
DampRid is another product that you can use instead of a dehumidifier. This product is formulated to get rid of moisture in small spaces such as a greenhouse, bedroom, and even RVs. You can get this solution in different forms such as spreadable powder, a hanging packet, and a bucket.
The solution contains calcium chloride, which does a great job of removing moisture from the air. This material is colorless and white, but it can rust a bit over time. One of the reasons why many people use this solution is that it is very cheap.
Its user-friendliness is another reason why many people love it – you can visually monitor how effective it is. This alternative solution does not require any sort of maintenance, and it does not create a mess.
The product comes with a guideline, and you can follow the guideline to know how to use it. If you want something that will cover a larger area, you should opt for the bucket. The hanging packet is great for pantries and closets. The downside to this method is that it requires refills and replacements.
Baking soda is one of the common products you will find in many homes. Many people have this product in their kitchen cabinet or pantry, and they use it to make yummy cakes. Interestingly, this product comes in really handy around the home, including absorbing moisture.
If you are faced with a humid emergency in your home, then baking soda can be of help. In addition to being very useful, this product is very cheap. It is effective at absorbing moisture in enclosed spaces and smaller rooms.
This method is also very easy. All you have to do is to put the desired quantity of baking soda in an open container or bowl, and then put it in the humid area or room. The solution will absorb the moisture from the air gradually.
When the powder starts absorbing moisture it will begin to clump. This is not an issue, as stirring it occasionally will remove the clumps. In addition to absorbing moisture, baking soda also absorbs odors.
You are likely to experience moist odors when there is significant dampness because of high humidity. In such cases, baking soda will serve two purposes – absorbing the moisture and getting rid of the bad odor.
However, this solution is not as effective as calcium chloride or rock salt. It is also more effective in small rooms or areas. If you want to use this solution for a larger room, you need to place several containers at different spots in the room or area.
It is true that we tend to experience more humidity during the warm summer months. However, it can be quite humid in the room during the winter as well. One of the best ways to reduce humidity in your home is to keep it warm with dry heat.
A space heater can help in keeping moisture and dampness at bay. With this great heat source, you can reduce or eliminate dampness and moisture in your home without using a dehumidifier.
In addition to dehumidifying your home, a space heater will also help to keep your home warm during cold days. The downside with this solution is that it is not easy to use around children and pets.
Another notable alternative to dehumidifiers are air conditioners. Although not as effective as a dehumidifier, the AC unit works similarly to a dehumidifier, as they take out the air from the room and keep it cool. The major difference between them is that ACs disperse hot air outside the house while dehumidifiers disperse the same hot air back into the same room.
When you run an air conditioner in a room or house, it will reduce or eliminate the humidity in the room. Interestingly, some air-conditioning systems come with a dehumidifying function. If you have an air conditioner with this function, you can use it when it is on.
Running an air conditioner for this purpose can increase your electricity bill. However, it will not have much effect on your bills as a dehumidifier does. In addition to dehumidifying your room, this unit will also cool the air in the room.
Ceiling fans and standing fans also come in handy in dehumidifying your home. Running your ceiling or standing fan all through the day will also help to enhance airflow in the home. Enclosed or locked rooms are usually more humid because the moisture is trapped and has nowhere to go.
By opening your windows and running a fan, you will be able to improve air circulation. This will bring some fresh air into the room and dehumidify it. The downside of using fans is that they can be noisy.
Other Ways to Reduce Humidity
Are you experiencing high humidity in your home and don’t know where it is coming from? Here are some of the major causes of high humidity in the home and actionable steps you can take to lower it:
Cooking or Boiling Water
Boiling a kettle, cooking, or boiling water on the stove can increase the humidity level in your home. As the water evaporates, it would humidify the house. This is why the heat in the kitchen is sometimes intense, making the environment uncomfortable to stay in.
In addition to dampening your home, this can also make your kitchen cabinet warp and start falling apart after some time.
Consider cooking outside on your patio or running the exhaust fan in your kitchen for longer periods.
Your ventilation system plays a key role in the quality of the air in your house. If you have bad ventilation, then the quality of the air in your home will be poor. No or poor ventilation will cause stale air and other issues like the development of unwanted pathogens.
However, if your ventilation is good, there would be adequate airflow, and this will enhance the quality of the air in your home. Poor ventilation also leads to high humidity in the home, as the steam from cooking and showering will have no place to go.
When the steam from cooking and showering has no place to go, it would result in the development of mold. The air you breathe will also be contaminated with dangerous mold particles. Good ventilation helps to prevent this issue, as it reduces stale air and improves air circulation.
So check your ventilation. Are there certain rooms that have fresher air than others? Then you may need to open or close certain vents to strategically disperse the air more evenly. Or maybe it’s time to replace the filters on your HVAC or have it serviced. Also, don’t forget to cross-ventilate your home frequently.
When gas heaters burn gas to produce heat, they make some water vapor and combustion pollutants. A flued gas heater comes with a chimney or flue that sends the water vapor and combustion pollutants out of the house. Unflued gas heaters do not have this feature, and they release everything into the house directly. This can also happen if the flue is clogged or faulty.
The burning of gas always produces water vapor, and this can cause wet surfaces and high humidity if there is no adequate airflow in the room. This creates the perfect environment for the growth of molds and house dust mites.
The bathroom is the most humid place in the home, and just taking a shower can release moisture in the air. When moisture mixes with the air as water vapor, it will start making contact with cold surfaces, which are visible as droplets on windows and mirrors.
The level of moisture in the air will be determined by the hotness of the water. In addition to misting up windows and mirrors in your bathroom, this can also result in the development of mold in your bathroom.
Dehumidifiers are hard to place in bathrooms if there is not enough room or floor space. An Eva-Dry silica gel plug-in is a great solution for small bathrooms.
Removing Indoor Plants
Certain indoor plants have gained a favorable reputation for cleaning the air in your room. While they certainly can do that, they actually make one component of indoor air quality worse – humidity!
If you water a plant with a cup of water, it will evaporate 97% of that water back into the room’s air.
Indoor plants increase the humidity in a home, so removing them can help.
Is It Important for Me to Control Humidity?
It is highly essential for you to control humidity. In addition to being highly uncomfortable, high humidity can have some effects on your health as well as your home’s overall structure. Here are some reasons why you should control humidity:
Increase in Microbes
Microbes, also known as germs in the common vernacular, are what cause infections. A humid, warm environment enhances the growth and development of some organisms. Such conditions help them to spread quickly. Reducing the humidity level in your home will help to keep these organisms at bay.
Mold does not only make your home uncomfortable and less inhabitable, it can also affect your health and overall well-being. It can trigger allergies and cause other issues such as nausea, headaches, and red eyes. You should avoid any situation that would result in the buildup of mold in your home.
You should control the level of humidity in your home and make sure it is between 35 and 60 percent relative humidity (RH). Even better – if you can keep it below 50% just to make sure. This will help to keep mold at bay while providing you with a healthy environment.
If you are having itchy skin, chances are there are dust mites in your home. The dwelling places for dust mites are mattresses, pillows, upholstery, and carpets. Humid conditions make the perfect environment for these microscopic pests, as they not only require organic compounds to thrive, but also require water.
Keeping the humidity of your home low is the best way to keep dust mites at bay.
Dehumidifiers do a great job of dehumidifying a room and keeping mold and moisture at bay. However, the truth is that they can consume a lot of energy, which can ramp up your electricity bill.
Fortunately, there are several other things you can use to dehumidify your home instead of using a dehumidifier. Hopefully these ideas can help you bring your home’s humidity levels under control.
And if you’d still like to get a dehumidifier, here are our recommendations to help you find the one that works for you.