Humidifiers are devices that increase the humidity in a room. The natural humidity in a room can vary because of several reasons; the weather, indoor heating, people breathing, etc (did you know that the average person exhales around 200 milliliters of water vapor per hour whilst they’re awake?)
Ideally, a home should have a humidity level of around 45% - if it dips below this it becomes too dry which can worsen a wide range of health conditions such as respiratory illnesses and skin problems.
But reaching and maintaining good humidity levels can be challenging, especially if you live in cool, dry climates. This is why we have created a list of ingenious ways you can quickly and easily humidify a room, without the need for an expensive humidifier.
Create your own fan humidifier
You’re going to need:
- Drinking glass
- Long skewer
- A small fan
Push the skewer through the sponge and then lower the sponge into the glass, the skewer should hold the sponge in place.
Fill the glass with water until the lower part of the sponge is covered.
Place a fan behind the set-up and turn it on low, the airflow should be facing toward the center of the room so that the water vapour circulates around the room.
Be careful not to place the water too close to the fan or anywhere it could be knocked over, water and electricity can be a deadly combination.
Make your own Humidifier
Cook on the stove
Did you know that cooking on your stove is a great way to increase the humidity of a room? This is especially true when boiling items such as pasta, potatoes, or rice. As the water boils, some will evaporate into the air, turning into a vapor that will mix freely with the air in your home.
Boil more water
In a similar style to the above but without the effort of actually having to cook anything! Boiling a container of humble water is one of the fastest and easiest ways to add moisture to a room. All you need to do is take a pot or a pan, add a good amount of water, turn on the stove and let it boil! You can step things up a notch by adding a splash of essential oils to make the air even more soothing and effective – eucalyptus to help clear airways or lavender for relaxation.
Flowers in a glass vase offer an effective and beautiful way to naturally humidify a room. We tend to place flowers in prime sunny positions and the heat added to the water in the vase from the sunshine speeds up the evaporation process.
Real flowers will obviously work perfectly, but if you can’t bear the thought of them dying then this trick will even work with fake blooms! It’s the water in the vase that’s creating the water vapor as opposed to the flowers themselves.
- Take a sponge and give it a good soak in a bowl of water
- Give the sponge a gentle squeeze to remove most of the excess water
- Place the damp sponge into a plastic bag – a zip seal food bag would be ideal, but you could also use one from a supermarket
- Puncture the bag with plenty of holes and place it in the room you would like to humidify
Invest in plant power
Plants increase the moisture in the air through a process called evapotranspiration.
This process happens when water from the soil makes its way up through the roots of the plant, through the stem, and up to the leaves (transpiration). This water is then evaporated into the air through stomata which are the pores on the leaves.
According to recent research, Spider plants are one of the best houseplants for increasing humidity. These are hardy little plants that will grow quickly and easily, even if you haven’t got the greenest of fingers! For increasing humidity, they’re best kept in hanging pots and the soil should be kept damp but not soaking.
Place water bowls around the house
If you don’t fancy leaving pots and pans of water boiling away in your kitchen, then why not utilize the power of the sun instead?
On sunny, warm days, grab a few bowls of water and place them onto windowsills making sure the curtains are open. The water will naturally warm the bowls of water and evaporate the liquid into the air at a slow and steady pace.
Put damp towels on heat vents
Placing a damp towel on a heat vent will quickly and efficiently improve the humidity of a room. However, you should never place damp towels over an electric heater as this could pose a fire risk.
Placing small damp towels over the blades of a ceiling fan will also increase the humidity of a room, although always make sure the ceiling fan is switched off.
Use a spray bottle
Consider investing in a spray bottle that sprays a very fine mist, the finer the better.
At several points throughout the day fill the bottle with water and spray a small amount into each room of your house. Take care not to spray too much as you could damage carpets, furniture, or bedding by soaking it.
Shower or bathe with the door open
Who doesn’t love to get hot and steamy in the shower?
Well, you can now make these pamper sessions even better by leaving the bathroom door slightly open to allow the steam to travel into other rooms in your house, giving them a boost of humidity in the process.
Bonus points for adding an aromatic aromatherapy shower steamer – humidifying your house has never been so fabulous!
Don’t pull the plug
If you are more of a bath person, don’t worry you can still put your relaxation time to work. Once you’ve finished soaking in the tub, don’t immediately pull the plug. If you do, you’ll be losing valuable home humidifying ingredients.
Instead leave the plug in place and the water in situ, allowing it to cool completely before emptying it. All of that water vapor will be released into the atmosphere, making your home healthier in the process.
Dampen your curtains
Remember that spray bottle from earlier? Well, you’re going to put it to use again, although this time you won’t just be spraying water into the air, you’re going to aim the water at your curtains.
Make sure it’s a sunny day and again remember not to make them completely soaking, just a light misting to make them slightly damp will be enough. If you don’t have a spray bottle, then you can use your hands to flick a small amount of water onto them.
To help the water evaporate into the room, open your windows and allow the air to blow through the curtains.
Use your dishwasher
Dishwashers use a lot of water and energy to operate, especially during the final drying cycle, so why not save some of that energy and humidify your home at the same time?
After the final rinse cycle has completed, open the dishwasher door to allow the steam to escape and allow your dishes to air dry instead.
Ignore the tumble dryer
Yes, we know the tumble dryer is quick and convenient but it’s doing nothing to improve the humidity of your home.
Leaving your freshly washed but still wet clothes to dry indoors is an excellent way to naturally increase moisture levels. As the clothes dry, they’ll release the moisture back into the atmosphere.
You can invest in an indoor drying rack which you can move around from room to room or a wooden clothes dolly that can be suspended from the ceiling of your laundry room.
Buy a fish tank
Fishkeeping is a great hobby and watching fish can be a calming and peaceful way to spend time. However, aquariums have the added advantage of increasing the humidity levels in your home.
Evaporation is a part of the cycle of an aquarium and if you have a large aquarium you might find the humidity can reach other rooms in your house. Sometimes, in fact, aquariums create too much humidity and need to be covered over.
Use an indoor water feature
Indoor water features such as waterfalls or fountains not only look good, but they also create a peaceful ambiance whilst improving the humidity levels in your home. Unlike traditional humidifiers, you don’t need to constantly refill your fountain, the water in an indoor fountain will simply recirculate.
In addition, an indoor water feature can make the air in your home healthier and purer by releasing negative ions that neutralize positive ions caused by pollutants such as dust and dead skin cells.
These water features can be purchased relatively cheaply from home décor stores or online shops such as Amazon.
Health benefits of humidifying your home
- Reduce the spread of germs
- Prevents dry skin
- Prevents dry hair
- Relieves allergy symptoms
- Relieves asthma
- Loosens congestion
- Alleviates snoring
- Prevent sinus headaches
- Help avoid cracked and chapped lips
How to measure humidity
By far the easiest way to measure humidity levels in your home is by using a hygrometer, which is a device that will measure both the temperature and moisture in the air. There are a few different types of hygrometers available, but they all work in a very similar way.
These use hair or string to measure the moisture content in the air. The hair will expand when it comes into contact with water vapor and this expansion is used to calculate the humidity
These use sensors to measure the moisture content in the air and will usually prove to be more accurate than mechanical hygrometers.
The ice cube method
The ice cube method is simple and manual and will give you a basic idea of humidity levels in your home. All you’ll need is a glass of water and 2-3 ice cubes.
Place the ice cubes into the glass of water and wait a few minutes. After around four minutes, check the glass. If the glass has condensation forming or dripping off the outside of the glass, then the humidity levels in that room may be too high. However, if there is no condensation at all then they may be too low.
Wet and dry bulb thermometers method
This method will give you a slightly more accurate measure of the humidity levels and all you will need is two glass thermometers.
Leave one of the thermometers just as it is – this is your dry bulb.
Wrap moistened cotton wool around the bottom of the second thermometer and secure it with a rubber band – this is your wet bulb. Make sure the water you moisten the cotton wool with is room temperature.
Place both thermometers side by side on a piece of cardboard for 5-6 minutes. After this time, take the temperature readings from both thermometers and subtract the wet bulb temperature from the dry bulb temperature to find the depression value.
Once you have the depression value, check an online humidity chart like this one here to find your humidity level.
Keeping the humidity at an optimum level in your home will help to keep you and your family healthier and more comfortable.
There are so many tasks and functions we perform every day that will help to naturally increase the humidity levels in our homes that there’s usually no need to invest in a costly home humidifier. Making use of the products and facilities we already have is usually enough to create good amounts of water vapor through the process of evaporation.
How can I raise humidity without a humidifier?
There is a multitude of ways you can raise the humidity in your home without having to invest in a costly humidifier, these include:
· Placing bowls of water around a room
· Showering with the door open
· Leaving the bath water in the tub until it has cooled completely
· Cooking on your stovetop
· Leaving flower vases on sunny windowsills
· Keeping houseplants, especially spider plants
· Drying your clothes indoors on racks rather than in the tumble dryer
Is 30% humidity too low?
The ideal humidity level in a home should be around 45%. Humidity levels of around 30% could lead to dry skin and nasal passages, increasing the potential for influenza and respiratory illnesses.
What are the symptoms of low humidity?
Some of the common signs of low humidity include:
· Frequent nose bleeds
· Chapped lips
· Dry, itchy skin
· Dry, itchy eyes
· Cold and flu symptoms
· Static electricity
· Cracking wood and furniture
· Itchy throat
· Asthma flare-ups
Can a bucket of water humidify a room?
Yes, a bucket of water will humidify a room but without adding the right conditions this process will be extremely slow.
To maximize the effectiveness of the bucket of water, you could place the bucket over a warm air vent or on a sunny windowsill. You could also drape a small hand towel over the edge of the bucket and place this in front of a small fan, this will help to circulate the water vapor around the room.