DIY – Humidify Your Home this Winter
Humidify your home without spending a dime!
Colorado has officially welcomed its first snow flurry!! I know so many people that despise winter, but I am NOT one of those people. Bring on the shorter days, snow flurries, and hot chocolate. The snowier, the better!
I DON’T love everything about winter, though. For starters, I could do without the dry air.
Dry air can literally increase your chances of getting sick…What the F*%#!
I grew up in northern Illinois, so dry air was totally foreign to me. But, when I moved to Colorado last winter, I had to adjust quickly. I could not figure out why I was constantly feeling groggy and sick. I would wake up at 1am with coughing fits because my throat was the Sahara Desert. Every. Single. Night. For weeks.
My coughing fits almost made me forget about my dry, itchy skin (ugh). I tried drinking more water because that’s the cure for everything, right? Welp, it didn’t do much – I was still feeling like crap and now also running to the bathroom every 30 minutes. Not helpful.
I have a weird thing with sickness…When I feel a little under the weather – tired, headache, stuffy nose – I will complain all day (seriously, I’m such a baby). But, when I realize that I’m actually sick, I will deny it until my dying day. I will be in bed with a fever and deny that I’m sick – no joke.
Well, my constant coughing on the phone was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My parents were sick of the interruption during our Facetime calls, so they sent me a snazzy humidifier for Christmas. I got the hint.
This year, I have already noticed the dry air creeping in and I am ready for it, guns a’blazing!
I’m pretty proud that I haven’t had to use my electricity-sucking humidifier yet this year. I’ve been using a few natural tactics to up the humidity in my home and I think it’s working! Even more importantly, I haven’t gotten sick yet.
Aside from beating sickness this winter, here’s another neat-o fact about dry air. High humidity can make lower temperatures feel warmer. Seriously. So, 65°F with high humidity feels the same as 70°F with low humidity. (That’s why Florida feels lit the pits of hell during the summertime – humidity!)
But, in the winter time, high humidity will make your home feel more warm and cozy. Yay! So, grab some hot cocoa, cuddle up with your hunny, and turn on a good movie – without being interrupted by a coughing attack.
For more, check out How Sustainable Living can Improve Your Life.
House plants to increase humidity
Crazy plant mom at your service! Not only are plants super cute, but have you ever heard of transpiration? If you’re a science nerd, like me, maybe.
Here’s the deal – plants release water into the atmosphere through transpiration (basically, evaporation occurring on plant leaves.) Water is absorbed through the roots and travels up the plant before settling on the leaves. From the leaves, it becomes water vapor and floats around in the air.
So, as you can imagine, having more plants in your home will increase the humidity in your home through…yup, transpiration. You can easily eliminate dry air by having a few plants throughout your house – the more the merrier!
Setting plants near each other in your home will increase the humidity in that area. Is your bedroom the driest room of the house? Sleep easier by placing a few plants throughout the room. ZZZZZzZzZzzzzz……
If you’re loving these mindful tips – check out Why Journaling is the Ultimate Self Care Practice.
Hang your clothes to dry
Any time that you allow something to air dry, it’s a zero waste win. Not only clothes, but dishes, too. Allowing items to air dry means that the water is evaporating into the air. Sustainable AND a great way to naturally humidify your home!
Air dry your dishes
Instead of running the “heated dry” cycle on your dishwasher, open the dishwasher door instead. Now, you’ll have to be careful not to trip over it, but it will quickly add some humidity to your home. The steam from the washing cycle will be released and wet dishes will dry quickly. Quick and easy.
Let water cool to room temperature
It’s almost too easy if you typically wash your dishes in the sink. Once the dishes are done, let the water in the sink cool to room temperature before draining it. This also goes for boiling water – let it cool before dumping any excess. Warm water evaporates more quickly than cold water. Every little bit counts!
Make tea in an open pot instead of a tea kettle
Easy peasy, right? More surface area means that more water will evaporate into the air. Hello, humidity! Depending on how often you cook on the stove, or make tea, this could be your top way to beat dryness.
Craving more sustainable kitchen tips? Read up on how you can Prevent Produce Waste.
Shower with the door open
Let that warm, shower steam spread through your entire home.
Funny story – when I was a kid I used to lock the door to my bathroom when I showered. For some reason, my parents were NOT cool with this. So, they told me, a seven-year-old, that if there were (God forbid) a house fire while I was showering, I would be trapped in the bathroom. So, my options were to continue locking my door and burn alive…or stop locking the door.
Yup, that’s what they told me – a seven-year-old. Trapped in a tiny space while my house is on fire?! Hello no! To this day, I still shower with the bathroom door wide open. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Want more? Check out how to transition to a Zero Waste Bathroom!
Place a metal/ceramic bowl over vents
Full disclosure, I haven’t tried this – I don’t have vents on the ground at my current apartment. I have seen this done in other homes, though. And, I imagine it works really well. Hell, if I leave a cup of water near my bed for a few days it will completely evaporate. Placing water in a hot area will surely do the trick.
So, fill a metal or ceramic bowl with water and place it over an air vent. The water will slowly evaporate into the air PLUS when your heat kicks on, the evaporation process will be put on over-drive!
Reseal your windows & doors
You don’t want your nice, warm, humid air to escape though the cracks, right? Right. We can probably agree that having a good seal on your windows/doors is important for many reasons – keeps the warm air IN and pesky bugs OUT. But, if you do have a broken seal in your home, you’ll notice it when the temperature drops.
As far as doors go, weather stripping is super simple. You can find weather stripping at Lowes, Home Depot, or if we’re being honest – you’ll probably check Amazon first. Here’s some great Amazon options for weather stripping your door and sealing your windows.
Windows are a bit trickier – the best way to reseal is on the outside of your home. You’ll want to caulk where the window meets the exterior siding. This may be a project for the weekend but it’s one and done! Another option is to weather strip your windows. This seems a little tricky, too, but I’m sure it’s worth it.
Ensure that you have a solid seal on all the cracks and crevices in your home. It can cut down on your heating costs, too. Win, win, win!
If you’re looking for more money saving tips, pop on over to The Best Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps to save you hundreds each year!
If all else fails, just buy a damn humidifier
This seems like the most obvious answer, but humidifiers are pricey and breeding grounds for bacteria. You can’t opt for a cheap humidifier, either, because you’ll have to replace it every month (experience is a betch).
I had to add this tip because dry air can truly increase your chances of getting sick. If you’re already sick, and can’t seem to get over it, you need a quick way to add some moisture to the air. A humidifier may be just the ticket. And, your health is worth it.
Do your research, though – it will cost you a pretty penny to ensure your humidifier isn’t causing more harm than good (the warm, moist chamber is bacteria heaven).
Overall, the natural ways to humidify your home will do the job and won’t promote bacteria growth. Water evaporates quickly when you do it yourself AND it doesn’t stay trapped inside a chamber (as it does in a humidifier). So, there’s not an environment for bacteria to thrive.
I think you might be surprised at how quickly your clothes and dishes will dry in the winter weather, too! Get ahead of the cold weather and start humidifying your home NOW.
It’s amazing how often health, sustainability, and saving money go hand-in-hand. Always a pleasant surprise. Let me know what works best in YOUR home to beat dry air. Do you have a favorite humidifying hack that I didn’t mention? Please share!
Traveling this winter? Check out my Eco Friendly Travel Tips or pin it for later.