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19
Nov

How to Add Humidity to Your Dry Home

by Tiffany in A Green Home

dry skin in winter

Do you feel that yet? The dry winter weather that gives you chapped lips and uber dry skin?

In the winter, the air gets very dry and cold, and forced-air heat can make the air inside our homes uncomfortably dry. That kind of desert-like air can be hard on our bodies, drying skin and mucus membranes, making us more susceptible to colds and other respiratory ailments. Super-dry air can also damage the structure of your home, causing cracks in drywall and gaps in floor joints (dryness causes wood to shrink). And the static electricity is just plain annoying.

Increasing the humidity in your home makes it feel warmer (remember how much hotter the summer weather seemed when it was humid?). A house that feels warmer means you won’t be as inclined to turn up the thermostat, thus saving on energy costs.

So how can you humidify your home without purchasing a humidifier? There are economical ways to increase your home’s humidity. Here are some ideas and tips for moisturizing your house.

1. Re-think your laundry routine.

Vent your dryer inside. I mentioned this a few weeks back and boy does it ever work!! Not only does it make the house more moist (foggy windows and all) I find myself needing to use the furnace much less.

For under $20, you can purchase a simple kit from that will enable you to vent your dryer inside. The moist, hot air from the clothes-drying process will get put back into your home, and the kit catches the lint in a water-filled plastic cup.

-Hang your laundry indoors

Wet clothes dry quickly in the warm, dry air of a heated home. And the moisture that evaporates out of them will be put into the air, humidifying your home. You can use drying racks made for the indoors, or hang clothes from your shower curtain rod. You’ll save electricity by skipping the dryer, too.

2. Turn down the heat

While it’s tempting to crank up the thermostat, consider putting on an extra layer or a thick sweater instead. The more you use artificial heat, the drier the air will become.

3. Water

When you are cooking, leave boiling pots uncovered when possible to allow the steam to diffuse throughout the kitchen. Also, leaving an open pot of water in each room will increase humidity simply by evaporation. Make tea in a tea pot frequently. Drinking lots of it helps too. ;)

4. Open the bathroom door

When you finish your shower (or during your shower if you don’t mind the lack of privacy or the chill), open the bathroom door and don’t run the bathroom fan. After drying off, hang your wet towel up in another room to dry.

5. Vaporizers

Far cheaper and easier to maintain than a humidifier, the same vaporizer you use when you or a family member has a cold can be used to humidify your home. You may already have one on hand.

6. Water those plants

Use a spray bottle to mist your houseplants, and keep them watered (they will need it in the dry air). Be sure you have a dish under each plant, so the water that runs out can be left to evaporate.

These are all relatively small things you can do, but they can have a big impact on your health and your finances. Have a comfy winter!

See also: Natural Remedies for Dry Skin

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

14 Comments

  • http://www.franklingoose.com sheri

    These are really good tips. I thought it wasn’t safe to vent your dryer in the house so that is a great idea!
    I can’t believe dry skin has already set in!

  • http://www.blog.babyganics.com Evan

    Thanks for this post. Very informative. My daughter complains much about it.

  • Melinda S.

    When using the oven….I have a teapot with water in it that sits on the left back burner….it gets warm and gives out some moisture.
    Also….when the dishwasher is in drying mode, I stop the cycle and open the door to let the air vent out.

  • Keith Wilcox

    Excellent, excellent suggestions. I would never have thought to vent a dryer indoors. Didn’t even know there were conversion kits for it. I live in Boulder CO and it is very very dry this time of year. I’ve been trying to turn the heat down, but it’s still very dry. We have humidifiers running. I guess you’re right that a vaporizor is a more economical option.

  • http://steepingtea.blogspot.com Katharyn

    We plugged in our two crock pots, filled them with water, and left the lids off. It’s not as effective as boiling water on the stove but over time it’s been very helpful. Each day I change the water (that’s left).

  • Jessica

    Great list. I also like the idea of opening the dishwasher during the dry cycle that Melinda had. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Noelle

    Great tips – especially #6. Plants also release moisture from their leaves through transpiration, so the more indoor plants the better!

  • http://www.momscheatsheet.com Grace

    This is great! My husband and I are really feeling the dry air here, and we bought a humidifier. Sure, it’s helpful… but these natural ways are awesome! I’ve been doing things (like closing the bathroom door during a shower, and keeping lids on my pots) than I can easily change. Thanks for the tips!

  • mary

    I found that simply by using a clothes drying rack inside my house made a world of difference. My daughter tended to get bloody noses in the winter. So I have started to dry all my laundry in her room while she is at school. I am happy to say that the nose bleeds have been drastically reduced.

  • Lynda

    In regards to using the dryer for moisture….my daughter just bought one to use in her high rise apartment & instead of using the kit that was mentioned over the vent she just puts a nylon stocking over the end of the vent with an elastic to hold it on. Then checks it each time to see if it needs changing. Hasnt had a problem yet…

  • Dnkraus

    I would NEVER vent my dryer in my home….way too dangerous.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

      Not unless you have a gas dryer. Its not dangerous at all if you use electric.

  • Boniigean

    Before I even read this my mother used to let the dryer vent indoors for a cheap way to heat our basement. She still does.

  • john

    Hi,

    I sell Ultrasonic mist makers that are great for raising the humidity in your home. They are really easy to use and are much better performers than the big box stores. Check them out at TheHouseofHydro.com

    Good Luck!
    John