6 Ways to Humidify Your House (Without a Humidifier)

Are your clothes clingy in all the wrong ways this winter? Are allergies worse than usual? Kids taking far too much pleasure in zapping each other with a well-placed static electricity discharge? A dry house is probably to blame. During the winter months, low humidity becomes an issue in many homes, leading to these problems and others, including nosebleeds, dry skin and increased susceptibility to colds and flus.

Although humidifiers are often an easy fix, they can be costly to purchase and running them day and night can send an already high winter energy bill soaring even higher. I’m forgoing the expense of a humidifier this year as I explore other solutions.

Before investing in an expensive humidifier to resolve dry air concerns, consider these green and low-effort strategies for adding moisture to the air in your home.

Get houseplants. Transpiration is the process by which moisture evaporates from the leaves and stems of plants, adding much needed humidity to the air in your home. A dry home can be tough on houseplants as the battle for humidity wages, so be sure to keep them well watered.

Vases in sunny places. Place water-filled vases on sunny window sills. The sunshine will slowly evaporate the water, releasing moisture into the air.

Stovetop cooking. Increase your stovetop cooking to take advantage of incidental moisture release. Switching to a teakettle instead of relying on the microwave to heat your morning cup goes a long way.

Leave the door open when showering. When taking a nice, steamy shower, leaving the door open is an easy way to add a little extra moisture to the air in surrounding areas. If baths are more your bag, don’t drain the tub when you get out. Instead, wait for the water to cool first to take advantage of the residual heat to add a little humidity to the air.

Bowls of water on registers. This is probably the most effective of these humidity-boosting tips. Place metal or ceramic bowls full of water on heat registers or radiators to push humidity into the air. You may be surprised by how much water is released during cold months when the furnace is going full tilt.

Clothes drying racks. Use a rack to dry clothes at room temperature instead of tossing them in the dryer. It takes a little longer, but the moisture released into the house by drying clothes is an effective way to give the humidity in your home a much needed boost.What if you’re left high and dry on the road instead of at home? Try this on-the-go travel humidifier featured on DIY Network’s I Want That.

19 Responses

  1. nikie says:

    Love the idea of adding Downy to make it smell good! http://alphabet1.fr

  2. Janet says:

    I use a ceramic planter on a corner table in our bedroom which holds about 2 quarts of water, has virtually eliminated excessively-dry skin [even nosebleeds in the winter] for us and seems to last a few weeks before needing to be filled again. However, the bowl often seems to develop a darkish, patchy something on its walls below the water level. Could this be mold? I put only water in the bowl, no bleach or anything else, and even though it is not at all smelly or musty, am worried that this could be mold. I clean the planter very thoroughly when this happens, with boiling water and a strong cleaner. Any ideas? Thank you.

  3. Dreamplanter says:

    My house is dry in the summer from the air conditioner and we have not had any rain for a few months.

  4. new year says:

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  6. Thanks for your informations. Good ideas. Thanks, luzviminda

  7. Trish says:

    We used a tin baking dish on a heater during the winter. Discovered the hard water messed up the tin. I like the vase idea. Thanks!

  8. Stan Miller says:

    Thanks for those humidifying tips! Namibians – our Aranos sits in the far-off South-East – really NEEDS such tips but we're lucky probably never(?) to reach your humidity with our Kalahari semi-desert dryness around; our rains came late but thankfully at last.

  9. Michelle says:

    I got mold/mildew on my windowsills one winter because of the condensation that forms on windows when using a humidifier. It can damage woodwork and walls. It cleaned up easily with a commercial cleaner. After that I tried to remember to open the curtains and blinds every day to let the water evaporate and dry out. I also put a towel on the sill to absorb the water. Then I hang it up to dry in the bathroom.

  10. Martha says:

    I live in a finished basement, so vents are all on the ceiling. But since I live alone, I went to the hardware store, got some S hooks and a couple small metal pails, filled them with water (and a touch of Downy to make it smell nice when it circulates) and hung them from the vents! Direct air flow and they work great!

  11. Coni Szemis says:

    I put pretty clear bowls with stones filled with water on shelves and coffee side tables on the one side of my house that have ceiling heat ducts, and pretty bowls of water, laid on the heat register, on the other side of my home… no more died lips and skin….

    • kathie adamson says:

      thank you so much! Just before I read your review, I was about to purchase Aqua Stone humidifiers!
      Kathie Adamson

  12. princess says:

    great post thank you!! Going to get a few more plants!

  13. Jbd says:

    HEAT vent. Sorry

  14. Jbd says:

    I sometimes hang a damp towel a few inches away from the hear vent to add humidity in the winter.

  15. Luzviminda Cothran says:

    Thanks for your informations. Good ideas. Thanks, luzviminda

  16. Laurie_March says:

    THIS IS AMAZING. #thatisall


About Mick Telkamp 


A former Midwesterner living in North Carolina, I write about my adventures in backyard chicken-keeping and suburban homesteading over at HGTVGardens, and my exploits in the culture of Southern cooking ...

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