Humidity can be brutal. It can be tough to work in, live in, or sleep in. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can also be a catalyst for mold or fungus in homes. This article will give you a plethora of ways to reduce humidity in your home.
Dehumidifiers can be expensive. Whether you experience high humidity year-round or only during certain seasons, there are some other great options for reducing humidity. These include everything from using exhaust fans and line-drying clothes to keeping a basket of charcoal around.
This article will break down over ten ways to lower the humidity in your home without needing to purchase a dehumidifier. You don’t have to do them all. Just select one or a few that work best with your lifestyle.
High humidity can significantly affect your comfort level. And it also increases the chances of mold or fungus growing in your home. Here are 19 ways you can lower humidity in your home without purchasing a dehumidifier.
1. Open Windows
It may seem a little counterintuitive to open windows when it is humid out, but keeping the air moving can prevent humid air from settling in your home.
Moving air is almost always better than stagnant air, especially where humidity is concerned. Opening windows can help a home feel less humid, even if the humidity is still quite high.
There are strategic ways you can maximize the effectiveness of an open window.
First, don’t think it has to be opened all the way–a nice crack will do.
Second, you can utilize the wind by opening windows that face in the direction the wind is blowing.
Third, prioritize opening windows in areas of your house that are more likely to be humid, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
2. Utilize Ventilation Fans
Fans have a similar advantage to opening windows. They enhance home ventilation by keeping the air moving and preventing it from sitting stagnant in your home.
Several different types of ventilation fans can be used to reduce humidity. They include:
Ceiling fans can be lifesavers in humid weather because they can get air moving across an entire room and from the top down. Even having a ceiling fan on the lowest setting can keep the airflow a bit more refreshing, especially in bedrooms when you are trying to sleep.
Efficient air circulation throughout the room is necessary to lower humidity.
Don’t forget about exhaust fans! They are likely built into your appliances and installed in your bathrooms as well.
The purpose of exhaust fans is to pull air out of the room or area they are located in. Be proactive in using them: turn them on before you need them, and keep them running until you are done in the kitchen or bathroom.
A few key things to decide when picking one out include the size of the [bath]room, the amount of air it moves, how quiet the fan is, and how much energy it uses (is it Energy Star?).
In areas of your home without ceiling or exhaust fans, good old-fashioned standing plug-in fans will get the job done. Not only can they be used in areas of the home where there are no other fans, but they can also help with the general airflow of the home.
Because they can be moved anywhere, standing fans can be used in conjunction with open windows to encourage airflow when there is not a lot of wind.
3. Turn On The AC
If you don’t have air conditioning, then you can brush past this section. If you do, though, it is a great option to reduce indoor relative humidity.
Air conditioners pull humidity out of the air while they are cooling it. Even if you don’t have the air conditioner set super cold, it will still have a dehumidifying effect on the air.
These can be expensive to run in hot and humid climates, but in most cases, once the air conditioner has gotten the room or home to temperature and reduced the humidity, it is more manageable for it to maintain the temperature and humidity levels.
4. Put Your Plants Outside
Your indoor plants might be beautiful, but they increase the humidity in a home.
In general, plants are good for your indoor living space air quality, and a healthy indoor environment. However, they do release some moisture into the air, which can contribute to elevated humidity in your home.
5. Line Dry Your Laundry Outside
This is another small thing you can do to reduce humidity in your home. It helps to line dry your laundry outside. If you currently line dry your laundry indoors, you should see a pretty big difference in moving your laundry outside.
When you line dry your clothes inside, all of the water in the clothes has to go somewhere, so it goes into the air. This can be a blessing in extremely dry areas, but for already humid areas, it just adds to the amount of water in the air.
If you use a clothes dryer that vents to the outside, make sure the vent is sealed tightly so that none of the moisture escapes back into your house.
One sleek and minimalistic way to do this is to use a retractable outdoor clothesline, so it’s basically hidden without a string running across your deck or yard when not in use.
6. Take Cold(er) Showers
Hot, steamy showers produce just that: steam. This can put a lot of unwanted humidity into the air. In most cases, the steam released by hot showers stays in the air for long, raising humidity levels.
To keep the humidity lower in your home, you can take short, cool showers to minimize the effects of shower water on the humidity. It may be refreshing to turn that shower down to a colder temperature in the heat of the summer, anyway!
When it comes to showers, just remember every little bit counts. So if you normally have a long, blisteringly hot shower, turn it down to warm and knock a few minutes off. You should still feel the effects of the change on the humidity.
7. Check Your Rugs
Fun fact: rugs can be a source of humidity in a home. They hold in moisture and can even get moldy or grow fungus. Luckily, a simple sniff test should alert you to any moisture issues on a rug.
Give it a smell, and if it smells musty or damp, you can either get it dry-cleaned or simply replace it.
Rugs likely won’t be the main source of humidity in your home, but coupled with a few other ways to lower humidity, having them cleaned or replaced could have an impact.
8. Have A Basket Of Charcoal
I know it might not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing to have in your home, but charcoal does a really good job of absorbing the moisture out of the air.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything special. The charcoal you would use for grilling works perfectly, but coconut shell charcoal is less apt to disintegrate and make a mess.
The best thing about charcoal? It is very affordable and can have a significant impact for up to three months before it needs to be replaced.
9. Build A Rock Salt Dehumidifier
Rock salt dehumidifiers are pretty cool and simple to make. This link has great DIY instructions for making a rock salt dehumidifier (plus a few other recommendations).
If you make it, you will be able to see the water that is pulled out of the air, which makes it a fun science project.
10. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great dehumidifier. You can simply purchase some and put it in a bowl where the humidity is high.
Rock salt and charcoal are more effective in larger areas, but for smaller rooms or areas of a home, baking soda does a great job of pulling moisture out of the air. Additionally, it can pull moisture out of the air for a while before it needs to be replaced.
11. Check The Filters In Your A/C And Furnace
If you are running an appliance like an air conditioner or furnace (cold places can be humid too!) and there is still a lot of humidity in the air, check the filters on your unit.
If the filters are old or have build-up on them, then they won’t be effective in pulling humidity out of the air.
Keeping your air conditioner or furnace healthy by changing the filters can not only help reduce humidity but also extend the life of your units.
12. Invest In Some Cat Litter
Yes, you read that right. Silica-based cat litter is very good at pulling humidity out of the air. It acts in a very similar way as baking soda does.
The cat litter itself is designed to absorb moisture, which is why it clumps when a cat goes to the bathroom. An added side effect is that it will also pull moisture out of the air.
13. Keep Surfaces Dry
Moisture can accumulate on surfaces such as windowsills, bathroom tiles, and countertops, increasing indoor humidity. Keeping these surfaces dry helps prevent excess moisture from entering the air.
Keeping your indoor surfaces dry directly reduces the source of moisture that contributes to indoor humidity. Therefore, you’ll notice a noticeable difference by wiping down and drying these surfaces regularly.
14. Fix All The Leaks
Leaky pipes, faucets, and roofs can introduce moisture into your home. Excessive moisture will raise the humidity level of your indoor air. Therefore, you should fix any leaks as soon as they occur.
Unfortunately, it might be challenging to notice minor leaks, especially if you’re a busy person who spends less time at home. However, you can look for signs like high water bills, wet spots, and stained walls.
The argument is that you can significantly lower your home’s indoor humidity by eliminating any humidity sources.
15. Make Use Of A Vapor Barrier
A vapor barrier is a material, such as plastic sheeting, installed in walls, ceilings, and floors to prevent moisture from seeping in from the outside. It helps maintain a controlled indoor environment.
Generally, moisture flows from a highly concentrated region to a lowly concentrated region. In this case, moisture will likely flow from outside (high concentration) into your home (low concentration) if you don’t have a vapor barrier.
The effectiveness of installing a vapor barrier is based on the fact that it forms a physical barrier that prevents outside moisture from entering your home.
16. Cover Your Cooking Pots When Cooking
When cooking, the vaporization from the food enters the air, introducing more moisture. However, when you cover cooking pots with lids while cooking, it traps steam and moisture inside the pot, reducing the amount of moisture released into the air.
While this is a moderately effective approach, it can help reduce humidity spikes during cooking. However, it may not have a significant impact on overall indoor humidity.
17. Install Weatherstripping
According to the Department of Energy, weatherstripping is essential for sealing air leaks around movable building components. These components include interior doors and windows.
Besides improving a home’s energy efficiency, weatherstripping prevents outside humidity from seeping into your home by creating an airtight seal. This helps maintain a consistent indoor environment, including humidity levels.
Proper weatherstripping is a highly efficient way to lower humidity levels and fluctuations.
18. Remove Carpets
While this may seem odd, it’s one of the best ways to lower humidity without a dehumidifier.
Carpets can trap moisture, dust mites, and allergens, contributing to higher indoor humidity. As a result, removing carpets and opting for hard flooring surfaces like wood floors can significantly reduce humidity levels.
19. Invest in a Hygrometer
Invest in a Hygrometer to monitor indoor humidity levels. This device will help you track changes and identify specific areas that may require attention.
With a Hygrometer, you’ll notice a spike in your home’s humidity instantly and take the necessary actions before it’s too late.
From hanging clothes out to dry to baskets of charcoal, there are a lot of ways you can effectively reduce humidity in your home without needing a dehumidifier.
An important thing to remember is that no single thing, except for maybe an air conditioner, will have an instant effect.
It may take some experimenting with some of the different options before you find the right balance that fits your lifestyle and your needs, but it will be worth it when your home is more comfortable and healthier, too.
For other factors affecting humidity levels, you may check out our articles on Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) systems and Does Insulation Help Control Moisture & Humidity?