Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tips for dehumidifying your house

Today I came across an article about some "eco" ways to dehumidify your home (J), which is helpful advice should you be dealing with the oppressive Japanese summer.

This is a topic that's been covered before; I know Ashley has written up some tips for surviving the rainy season and using bamboo charcoal. So those links are worth checking out. For some additional ideas, here are the basics of what the Japanese article suggests:

1. Use newspapers, unglazed pottery, or washi (Japanese paper)

Newspaper is something I was aware of and have tried as a water-absorbing device. Scrunching up old newspaper and stuffing it into wet shoes is a surprisingly effective way to dry out damp footwear (Yoshie was skeptical about this one when she visited me once, but was pleasantly surprised when I turned out to be right). Apparently lining the floor of your closet or the bottom of your drawers with newspaper can aid in dehumidification of your home.

Using washi or shoji paper in a similar fashion also helps absorb humidity. This helps explain why they were used in older homes in Japan. Though they are pretty terrible for insolation, the papers serve to absorb humidity, which would have helped at a time when there were no air conditioners and ventilation and absorption were probably the most effective ways of dealing with the heat.

Unglazed pottery is something that wouldn't have occurred to me, but I guess it also absorbs moisture from the air, so having some pots around for decoration could serve a dual purpose.

2. Charcoal, and not just the "good stuff"

The "good" stuff.

If you search around, you can find activated charcoal or bamboo charcoal for sale. These work well not only as deodorizers, but as moisture absorbers, as well. If you ever use charcoal for camping or BBQing, you can recycle that as your own (non-store-bought!) activated charoal. Some people use these charcoal "remains" as fertilizer, but if you want to, you can rinse them off and redry them in the sun, and then use them to dehumidify your house. You'll probably want to keep the charcoal on a piece of cardboard or paper, or better yet in some kind of open container that you can cover with a paper "lid."

3. Baking soda isn't just for deodorizing

Another deodorizer that can be used as a dehumidifier, as well. As with the charcoal, having a large amount of baking soda makes this more effective. If you like, you can spread it around on a cloth or on some cardboard, but it's probably better to have the baking soda resting in a container with paper or non-woven cloth over it as a cover. Then place in a closet or in a corner somewhere.

If you want something a little more fancy (both in appearance and effectiveness), you can pour the baking soda into an unglazed pot. Fill it about halfway, and if you like you can even tie a bow or doily around it to be extra fancy. The accessory is not recommended for guys as it can compromise your maleness.

There you have it. If you have any other ways of dealing with the humidity, let us know. Doesn't even have to be "eco!"


  1. Do containers of baking soda & charcoal have to be covered to dehumidify properly (e.g. the unglazed vase filled with soda)? Because that seems rather counterintuitive; does the cover not prevent air, and the moisture to be removed, from getting to the soda/charcoal?

    1. Somehow missed this comment - sorry about that!

      Yeah, I wouldn't seal any container with the stuff inside. If it's a shallow vessel, I'd recommend *some* kind of light, breathable cover, like paper maybe, if you have pets or it's in a place where it might be knocked over. But I just say that so you can avoid baking soda or charcoal spilling out. You're right that you do need exposure to air.

  2. I'm glad to find your blog. I had no idea that salt can be used as dehumidifier.I'll try this in my home. Thanks