Humidity can make your home really uncomfortable through the seasons. Hot summer days feel even hotter with increased humidity. Likewise, the winter air feels wet and clammy. While a dehumidifier is usually the most effective solution to excess humidity, not everyone feels the need to buy one. Dehumidifiers can be costly, and most of them use a lot of electricity. If you’re one of these people, you may have come here to find how to remove humidity from a room without a dehumidifier. There are a few natural ways you can try to help reduce moisture in the air throughout your home, but first you must understand why you need to control humidity in the first place.
Why You Need to Control Humidity
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Relative humidity refers to the actual amount of water in the air compared to the maximum amount it could hold at a given temperature. As the air temperature increases, the air is able to hold more water molecules.
A high relative humidity means the air cannot absorb your sweat since it is already saturated with moisture. That’s why high temperatures feel even hotter when humidity is high. Turning on your air conditioner can help reduce humidity as it cools down the air, but more humid air makes this job harder for your air conditioner and heavier on your pocket. Conversely, cold and damp air makes it seem almost impossible to keep yourself warm.
Aside from causing discomfort, high humidity makes for an environment susceptible to mold and mildew growth. Mold thrives in moisture and produces spores that travel through the air. Touching mold or inhaling mold spores may cause allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin irritations. It can also lead to allergy-induced asthma attacks.
When mold finds a damp surface in your home, it will start to grow and spread as it feeds on organic material, which can cause severe damage to your walls, furniture, carpeting, and other belongings.
High humidity is also an ideal environment for other allergens such as dust mites. They like moist locations like your mattress or pillows where you sweat and breathe. Dust mite waste products can trigger allergy symptoms similar to hay fever.
Moisture itself can also damage your garments, food items, and other personal belongings, as well as your house structure. It can lead to paint peeling off, wood rotting, and metals rusting. To prevent any of these problems, it’s important to maintain humidity levels between 30% and 50% in your home.
How to tell if your home is too humid
Some homeowners may not notice they have a humidity problem until it’s already caused a lot of damage. Here are some common signs you need to watch out for.
Humidity Levels Above 60% RH
The most obvious indication of a humidity problem in your home is consistently high levels of humidity measured by a hygrometer or another device. Anything above 60% can be considered too high. These conditions either feel cold and clammy or hot and sticky. If you live in a place with humid climates or in a small apartment with poor ventilation, you can expect high indoor humidity levels. Some household activities may raise humidity levels for a time, but if it rarely goes down to 40–50% RH, then that may be a sign of a bigger problem.
Condensation on Windows
When damp air comes into contact with a colder surface, such as windows, walls, glass, or other metal surfaces, condensation occurs. You’ll notice droplets of water or fog on the cold surface. Condensation is an early sign of excess moisture in your home. Check your basement and bathrooms for condensation.
Mold may be hard to spot right away since it grows in cold, dark, and moist places that are usually out of sight. If you notice a musty smell coming from your attic, basement, or crawl space, then this is a sure indicator of mold growth due to excess humidity. In extreme cases, you’ll find visible mold growth on wall corners, under the bathroom sink or toilet, or beneath your carpeting. Mold appears in different colors, they can look like black spots on the wall, or fuzzy, white powder on wood and fabrics.
Water Stains and Damage
In severe cases, you may find water stains or damp spots in your walls and ceilings. You may also find cracks in drywall or gaps between the floor and baseboard. If water starts to pool in one area, then it may be best to consult an expert to find the source and the best solution before it causes greater damage.
If you or anyone in the house suffer allergic reactions whenever they’re at home, it may be a sign of excess moisture. High humidity creates a haven for common allergens such as mold and dust mites.
How to Remove Humidity From a Room Without a Dehumidifier
Finally, here are some proven ways to dehumidify a room naturally.
Keep Your Room Ventilated
The first and easiest step in reducing humidity levels is to maintain proper ventilation. During the day, keep your windows and doors open to let the air flow freely. This can be very effective if the humidity outside is lower than that inside.
Improve the Air Flow Using Fans
If you’re wary of leaving your windows open, use fans to circulate the warm, stale air in your room. This also keeps moisture from accumulating and speeds up evaporation. Although, there must still be a way out for the damp air to exchange with fresh, cool air. Instead of opening a window, get an exhaust fan which releases the damp air from your room and lets in fresh air from the outside. It can be great for bathrooms and bedrooms.
Take Shorter, Colder Showers
Taking a bath or using the shower releases excess moisture in the air. Water droplets form as the air hits a cold surface such as the bathroom walls, mirrors, or windows. When you take a shower with hot water, steam forms and raises humidity in your room as you come out of the bathroom. To minimize the excess moisture produced, try to keep your showers shorter and colder if possible. Open your bathroom windows or turn on the exhaust fan during or after you use the bathroom to prevent moisture build up.
Dry Your Clothes Outside
Avoid hanging your wet laundry indoors. Moisture from the clothes evaporates into the air and increases humidity levels. The longer your clothes remain damp, it will start to get a musty smell that can be hard to get rid of. The best solution is to hang your laundry outside, but if this isn’t possible, you can also use a dryer or fan to speed up drying.
Absorb the Moisture
If you still have moisture problems, then it’s time to remove it directly instead of just preventing it. Use natural desiccant materials to absorb moisture from the air. One of the oldest and most common chemicals used for this purpose is calcium chloride, a salt crystal you can purchase from home improvement and hardware stores. However, prolonged exposure to calcium chloride can cause skin irritation, lung damage and other respiratory issues.
Another common desiccant that may be a safer alternative is silica gel. You’ll find it in tiny packets inside boxes or containers of packaged goods such as vitamins and dried foods, and other objects like shoes and bags. Instead of throwing them away, you can save and reuse them in your home. Just drop a packet or two into your gym bag or kitchen cabinet to keep your things fresh and dry. Silica gel can absorb up to 40% of its weight in water, which means 100 grams of this material can remove as much as 40 ml of moisture from the air. And it does all of this without any impact on the temperature.
If these chemicals are hard to find, there are other alternatives you can easily get from your kitchen pantry. One of these is by using charcoal briquettes. Put them in a bowl and place it where you have moisture problems. It’s great for a humid closet and a small basement or attic. As an additional benefit, charcoal also removes odors naturally, making it extremely useful in eliminating moisture and odors in bathrooms.
A natural dehumidifier that’s even easier to find is rock salt. It is a hygroscopic chemical which attracts and absorbs water. Another common product used as an alternative dehumidifier and deodorizer is baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. When dissolved in water, this household staple can easily remove tough stains, clean difficult surfaces, and neutralize foul odors.
Fill a bowl or bucket with your chosen material and place it in the humid space. Check the containers once or twice a week and stir the substance when clumps start to form. Throw the water away as soon as it collects.
Repair Leaks or Cracks in Your House
Before you make your DIY dehumidifier, it’s important to find the root cause of humidity in your house. If you have holes or cracks in your walls due to either poor construction or natural deterioration, then your house may be prone to high humidity. Warm air can seep through these areas and enter your home. If you have leaks or burst pipes, water will pool and cause severe damage. Find a professional to examine your home and solve these problems first.
To keep your entire home safe and comfortable for everyone, it’s important to maintain optimal humidity levels between 30% and 50% RH. While a dehumidifier appliance is highly effective against high humidity and its harmful effects, there are many natural alternatives that can help remove humidity in your home without a huge impact on your expenses. Their effectiveness will vary depending on the size and dampness of your room. Most of them are safe and easy to try, but you must still take caution especially if there are children or pets around.