How to Dehumidify a Room Naturally
We live in a cabin on the south end of Quadra Island, located off of the east coast of Vancouver Island, which is just off the west coast of Canada. Our climate is balmy and beautiful, though liberally sprinkled with rain and wind, for approximately eight months of the year. The winter months are cold and damp to us west-coasters, and these are perfect conditions for humidity to rise in our home.
Wet Home Environment? Cheap Alternatives and Home Remedies
Due to our geographical location and climate, we've had to find ways to dehumidify our rooms and house with cheap, natural and portable moisture absorbers. You can forego buying expensive moisture controls like moisture fans, portable electronic dehumidifiers (energy-efficient models can be expensive), AC units (cold evaporator coils can be expensive to repair) and heat pumps.
In this article, we will discuss the following:
- How to get rid of humidity in a house or room naturally
- Natural and homemade dehumidifiers: rock salt, DampRid, Dri-Z-Air and baking soda
- What causes moisture buildup
- The signs of humidity and moisture problems
- The consequences of humidity (health and home damage—electronics, warped floors, peeling paint, etc.)
Ideally, the humidity indoors should be kept between 30% and 50% for optimum climate control.
Natural Ways to Dehumidify a House or a Room
If you discover that you have humidity and you don't want to invest in a dehumidifier, here are four different solutions that are cheap and easy.
1. Rock Salt
I have tried this rock salt method for removing moisture and it works for me. Rock salt will pull moisture out of the air and decrease humidity.
How Well Does Rock Salt Work?
Rock salt is highly effective for dehumidifying. Rock salt or NaCL is a hygroscopic material, meaning it both draws and stores water and works much like an electric humidifier. It's natural, non-toxic, cheap, easy to find and easy to work with—not to mention, no electricity is needed!
- 2 five-gallon buckets
- 1 bag of rock salt
- Using a drill, put a couple dozen holes in the sides and bottom of a bucket.
- Place this bucket inside the other intact (not drilled) bucket. Pour rock salt into the top bucket. Place the buckets in the area to be dehumidified.
- As the rock salt pulls moisture from the air, it will collect in the bottom bucket. Dump liquid and replace rock salt in order to continue dehumidifying the area as necessary.
DampRid is a product that will control high humidity in your home or greenhouse. It comes in a hanging packet, as a bucket or as a spreadable powder. As the crystals absorb the moisture, they harden and turn into a solid mass.
The white crystals are calcium chloride. This chemical compound is composed of calcium and chlorine and can be generated by limestone. The crystals are typically white or colorless, but small amounts of mineral deposits can cause the crystals to take on a faint rust color.
How Well Does DampRid Work?
DampRid is an easy product to find in most home repair and hardware stores and is not too hard on the pocketbook at $5 or less. This product is nice because you are able to monitor its effectiveness visually, which makes it extremely user-friendly. It is also self-contained, so no messes. If you are curious to see a thorough demonstration of how DampRid works, watch the video below.
Video: DampRid Dehumidifier Reviews
Dri-Z-Air is another cost-effective product easily found in most hardware and/or big box stores. The crystals in Dri-Z-Air absorb excess humidity in the air.
How Well Does Dri-Z-Air Work?
Dri-Z-Air is highly rated on major sites like Amazon and contains a nontoxic salt—calcium chloride. No electricity is needed for this product and each individual unit will work well for a 10' x 10' space. To use, you simply empty the crystals into the provided container (made of recycled plastic) or make your own, and store it somewhere unobtrusive. Simply dump the liquid in a toilet or the sewer (it is non-toxic brine) and replenish.
- Line a colander (plastic is best) with vinyl screen and fill it with Dri-Z-Air.
- Place the colander in another larger bowl or bucket. As the crystals pull water from the air, it collects in the bottom container.
- When all crystals have liquified, pour out the contents of the bowl or bucket and repeat with more crystals if necessary.
4. Baking Soda
For a cheap, homemade, energy-free, easy fix for room humidity that will help to reduce moisture levels, try baking soda. Simply place an open bowl of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) anywhere that you have moisture problems—including cabinets and cupboards.
How Well Does Baking Soda Work?
Baking soda is a great alternative to store-bought products, though less effective than rock salt. It does well for smaller spaces like closed cabinets and cupboards. This kind of setup does require occasional stirring once the baking soda begins to absorb moisture from the room. This is an all-natural, cheap, effective choice for small spaces like closets and bathrooms.
How to Use a Hygrometer to Monitor Indoor Humidity
You will need to and place it in the room, greenhouse, closet or garage, wherever you need to monitor the humidity. A hygrometer is a meter that measures the moisture in the air. They can be purchased for ten dollars or less at most big box stores, hardware stores and such. You will find them in the hardware aisle. Hygrometers usually come coupled with a thermostat, as temperature plays a big part in the humidity level in the room. purchase a hygrometer
What Is Relative Humidity?
When air reaches its maximum holding capacity, we being to notice the humidity. More vapor means higher humidity—this is what we "feel."
Relative humidity levels describe the amount of moisture in the air at a certain temperature versus the amount of moisture the air can actually hold:
- Relative humidity: The percent of water vapor in the air relative to the temperature and the amount of water vapor air can hold at that temperature.
- Absolute humidity: The amount of moisture or water vapor in the air.
Keep in mind that warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Even at the same absolute humidity, the humidity will be lower in warm air than cold air.
How to Determine Relative Humidity
Relative humidity can help us also determine the rate at which water will evaporate. In hot, dry areas, evaporation is fast compared to cold, wet areas. Cold air has less capacity to hold water vapor than warm air, so cold, wet conditions lead to slower evaporation and more condensation in the home.
To calculate relative humidity, you will need the following measurements (g/m3 is gram-per-cubic-meter):
- Measurement 1 or M1: g/m3 water vapor in the air
- Measurement 2 or M2: g/m3 maximum moisture in the air at a given temperature
[M1 (g/m3) ÷ M2 (g/m3)] × 100 = % relative humidity
You may also chose to simply purchase a cheap hygrometer for 10 dollars. In addition, some advanced thermostats will report and control indoor humidity by heating and cooling your house and maintaining room temperature.
What Causes Humidity in a Home?
Poorly ventilated bathrooms
Rain and roof leakage
Steam from cooking or ironing
Inadequate window seals
Leaking pipes (sinks and toilets)
Laundry machines (dryers)
Signs of Humidity Problems in a House
- Condensation on the panes of windows and doors
- Spots of mold growth in corners or on the ceiling
- Musty smells
- Puddles or wet spots in basements, attics or crawl spaces
- Allergies (cough, dry eyes, watery eyes)
Do you live in a wet place?
Where we live, being surrounded by such lush greenery and plants creates even more opportunity for high humidity in the home. When I am not careful, I find myself mopping puddles of water and condensation off of the insides of windowsills. We keep the wood stove burning 24 hours a day during the winter months. One of the reasons, of course, is to keep us toasty warm, and another reason is because heat assists in keeping our living space dry and humidity down.
Was your house built to prevent and repel moisture?
Ours wasn't. It is constructed with wood and covered with shake. It sits close to the ground perhaps a foot from the soil with no solid foundation. There is also no vapor barrier, plastic or otherwise, between the floor and the ground in one of the bedrooms. This causes moisture to condense under anything that may be laying on the floor—clothing, dog beds, those kinds of things.
Condensation also forms under beds and dressers—places where there is little or no circulation. Rooms particularly prone to trapped moisture include basement rooms (may require the installation of a sump pump), attics, crawl spaces and poorly ventilated bathrooms.
Are you seeing water damage?
Humidity can compromise the structural condition of your house. It is important to control the humidity in your home to protect your investment. Too much moisture and condensation can cause damage to window sills, skylights, dark closets and small rooms because of collecting and pooling water in places with poor ventilation.
All in all, this is a very unhealthy and unsafe circumstance to have inside of one's home, especially for health reasons. High humidity is a breeding ground for molds and mildews. Breathing in mold spores, even dead ones, can cause many health issues for humans.
Health Reasons for Controlling Humidity
The word "humidity" refers to the amount of water in the air. Many organisms thrive in moisture and can cause reactions in humans with allergies. Optimum indoor humidity is between 30–50%.
Too high a temperature will create too much humidity, potentially growing mites, molds and other nasty fungi. All are significant indoor allergens. Mold is especially harmful and toxic to humans. Grey mold grows on the surface of dirt in greenhouses if the soil becomes too damp and humid. Too low humidity coupled with low temperatures will also cause mold and mildew.
On the flip side, too low humidity is not good for humans or plants either. Low humidity causes dry skin and hair, static electricity and dry mouth while sleeping. All of these things can be avoided by choosing one or all of these four easy and cost-effective ways to lower the humidity.
Health Issues Caused by High or Low Relative Humidity
Rashes (heat rash)
Eyes, nose, throat irritation
Dry or chapped hair, skin, nails
Throat and nose irritation
Damp Home Environment Survey
How do you deal with humidity in your home?
Video: Balancing Humidity Levels in Your Home
- What Is Relative Humidity, and What's an Ideal Level for Your Home? | Molekule Blog
Ideal relative humidity is important for health and your home's condition. If too high, mold may grow, while too low can be problematic. Find out what is best.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Does Damp Rid have to be replaced in a dish, etc., immediately when all the crystals have turned to water?
Yes, in order to keep dehumidifying.Helpful 20
© 2012 ShyeAnne