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.

*Some links are affiliate links that help us support the blog when you purchase. We include them as a reference but there’s certainly no pressure from us on one product or another.

How To Lower Humidity Without A Dehumidifier

High humidity can significantly affect your comfort level. And it also increases the chances of mold or fungus growing in your home. Here are 14 ways you can lower humidity in your home without purchasing a dehumidifier.

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. Having windows opened 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.

Utilize Fans

Fans have a similar advantage to opening windows. They keep the air moving and prevent it from sitting stagnant in your home. Several different types of fans can be used to reduce humidity.

Ceiling Fans

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.

Exhaust Fans

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 after you are done in the kitchen or bathroom.

Home Depot usually has a lot of great options in stock for local pickup or shipping. A few key things to decide when picking one out includes 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?). You can check out what they have here.

Standing Fans

In areas of your home where there aren’t 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.

Photo of a woman sitting in front of an electric fan smiling, with her hair blowing back. Moving air helps lower humidity.
Don’t underestimate the value of a simple, portable fan.

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 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. Air conditioners 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.

Put Your Plants Outside

Your plants might be beautiful, but they increase the humidity in a home. In general, plants are good for indoor 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.

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 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 sort of sleek and minimalistic way to do this is to use a retractable outdoor clothes line, so it’s basically hidden without a string running across your deck or yard when not in use. Here is the most popular (and affordable – under $20) one on Amazon that I can find at the moment, with 3,500+ reviews:

Take Cold(er) Showers

Hot, steamy showers produce just that: steam. This can put a lot of unwanted humidity into the air. To keep the humidity lower in your home, you can take short, colder 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.

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.

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.

Photo of a basket full of charcoal sitting on grass with a red Christmas bow tied to the handle. Charcoal can absorb moisture and lower humidity in your house.
If Santa sends you a message, you can just pretend he gifted you a dehumidifier. Does the bow make it prettier? You decide.

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.

Also called a “moisture absorber”, you can buy these on Amazon. For a 6-pack and under $20 (at the time of this writing), this one is a pretty good option to remove moisture or humidity out of different areas around your house:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great dehumidifier. You can simply purchase some and put it in a bowl in the area that 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.

Check The Filters In Your A/C & 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.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Ok. I’ll bite. Half of your article refers to circulating air or pulling in outside air. Turning on a ceiling fan will move air for sure but does nothing to reduce the humidity level. If my goal is to reduce indoor humidity, turning on fans does nothing. If the outdoor temp is the same as indoor temp but outdoor humidity is 85% and indoor humidity is 65%, opening windows is also the wrong move. Running a vent fan would be wrong as well. The vent fan would exhaust indoor air to the outside and cause the more humid outdoor air to be drawn inside. 50 to 60% humidity is the max you should allow indoors to prevent mold and mildew growth. I can understand running the vent fans during shower and cooking times where excess humidity is created and needing removed but any other time you’re considering bringing outdoor air inside your home, careful thought and knowledge of indoor and outdoor temp/humidity conditions need to be known and understood. Having a ceiling fan move air across your skin will make you feel cooler so the higher humidity level could become tolerable but does not remove any moisture from the air. In fact, running a ceiling fan could make the problem worse in certain scenarios where it blows warm, moist air from the ceiling down to a cool floor surface increasing condensation and promoting mold growth. Dehumidifiers and air conditioning are some of the most effective methods. HRVs can help but they have to be used intelligently. Shower stalls should be air tight boxes that keep all the humid water vapor inside the stall while you shower. After the shower is over, leave the stall closed up till the shower stall cools to room temp then open it and allow it to dry. Indoor humidity is actually a much more complicated issue than most believe. Air sealing a home does wonders for energy consumption. Older, drafty homes are almost a lost cause when it comes to maintaining indoor humidity levels. The leakier the home is, the easier it is for humid outdoor air to enter. Making a home as tight as possible also makes it easier and cheaper to control indoor humidity levels. The amount of water vapor a given volume of air can hold doubles for every 20 degree temperature rise. That means that one cubic foot of air at 80 degrees can hold twice as much water vapor as air at 60 degrees. So when you look at your indoor/outdoor temp/humidity gauge, understand that opening windows may or may not be the smartest move. Just because it says the outdoor humidity is lower, doesn’t exactly mean that it is. If it’s 80 degrees outside and 60 degrees inside, careful consideration should be given to humidity levels because you’re not comparing apples to apples. 50% humidity at 80 degrees is still more water vapor than 60% at 60 degrees. Knowing and understanding this relationship will greatly improve your decision making abilities when you’re thinking about opening or closing windows. I highly recommend getting several indoor hygrometers and monitor the humidity levels inside various places in your home. Watch how quickly your indoor humidity reacts to major changes in outdoor weather conditions. Colder air is dryer than warm air. When outside air temps drop sharply, how long does it take for indoor humidity levels to drop? And vice versa when it begins warning up outside… How long till indoor humidity increases? It’s a loose indication of how tight your house is and/or how well it’s vapor barrier performs.

  2. Thank you for your very informative info. Through trial and error I’ve found everything you posted to be true. Also high humidity in your home will make you feel irritable, sleepy & fatigued. Believe me I can attest to that. Running my AC and leaving it on fixed the problem. I feel so much better now. Thanks again from Ohio. 🌞🌞🌞

  3. That’s right. Dirty or clogged air filters can cause extra humidity in a home. You should change air filters every 90 days. Of course, that can change if your home is located in a dusty or wet climate, if you have pets or if your system is old.

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