A dry home might be the main culprit. Or to put it more precisely, dry air inside your home.
During the winter, as the temperatures outside drop, we turn on our heaters, and heating up our home comes with a price. Not only financial, but also health-related.
Heaters dry out the air in our home, resulting in some seriously annoying (and, sometimes, potentially dangerous) problems, like dry skin, sore throat, teary eyes, or even increased allergy reactions, asthma, and so on.
Obviously, a humidifier would be a logical solution to the moisture problem.
Purchasable vs home-made
However, sometimes there are different reasons why buying a humidifier would only mean more trouble. If you have a small child, or pets, having a humidifier that boils water somewhere within reach is a recipe for disaster, and cranking it up during heavy winter can mean higher energy bills.
There are alternatives, ways to create your own, natural air humidifiers that are cheaper, simple to use and very often as effective as the machine you contemplated investing in.
Let’s just take a moment to analyze what a humidifier actually is. It’s a machine that sends moisture into the air of a room, by launching mist (tiny droplets of water) or steam (the vapor into which water is converted when heated, forming a white mist of minute water droplets in the air).
The concept is very simple; you just need to get some water back into the air.
So before you decide to throw some money in a humidifier’s way, you might want to consider some of these alternatives:
A glass of water on the heater
If you have a flat top heater in your home, wide enough to place a glass of water on it, this is the most simple, very effective and easy way to humidify your home. Glass is fairly resistant to heat, and it won’t break on your heater (unless it’s heated to the extremes, which is rarely the case, considering it’s so close to people, pets and furniture that can easily catch fire). All you have to do is put a glass of water on top of your heater and let the water evaporate.
What’s good about this method is that you can also invest in a small bottle of essential oil, thus giving your room a cool aroma that even has some medical benefits.
Start with only one glass, and if you notice little difference, add another one.
The sponge humidifier
If you don’t like the idea of placing anything on your heaters, or simply don’t have a flat top heater, there are other methods of humidifying your home. One of the more popular methods is the sponge humidifier.
What you’ll need is a large car-washing sponge, a plastic freezer bag, and some scissors. First use the scissors to punch a few holes in the bag. After that, soak the sponge in warm water, and then squeeze it to remove any excess water from it. Make sure the sponge is wet, but not dripping. After that, place the sponge in the punctured bag, and place it wherever you want, in the room that needs humidifying.
Re-soak the sponge once a day. You can also put the sponge in a microwave for 45 seconds, in order to kill any bacteria that might be forming inside.
Hot shower humidifier
As we know, humidifiers work by sending steam back in the air, and what better way is there to produce steam, than a hot, hot shower? Basically, what you want to do is keep the bathroom doors open while taking a shower, and make sure you do it with fairly hot water. That way, the water will evaporate, creating a good amount of steam that will find its way into the dry aired room.
Plants can moisturize your home through a process called transpiration. That is, as Wikipedia puts it, the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from aerial parts, such as from leaves, but also from stems and flowers.
What that basically means is that, the water you use to water the plants will eventually return to the air through the leaves of the plant, naturally and healthy.
You can also place your plants on a wet tray to raise the humidity around them. Fill the tray with water so it touches the bottom two centimeters of the plant’s pots.
A bowl of searing hot water
If you’re looking for a quick fix for your living room, a bowl of searing hot water can be a quick, natural and effective way to humidify your room. Place a bowl of water on the stove, and wait for it to start boiling. After that, seal the bowl, wait for a few minutes for the steam to gather, then take the bowl to the room that needs humidifying and open it. A lot of steam will instantly rise up into the air, humidifying your room in an instant. What’s especially convenient about this method is that hot water kills all bacteria, meaning you don’t have to fear catching a cold or flu.
Spray water on curtains
Do you know those spray bottles that you use to apply various cleansers? Well, stop throwing them away after you’ve used up all of it. Once the cleanser is spent, clean the spray bottle, and use it to spray water on your curtains until they get damp. Let them slowly dry out, and they will help create a more humid atmosphere.
If you’re the kind of person that likes mixing business with pleasure, getting an open fish tank might just be the method for you. Not only will the open fish tank increase humidity in your room, it will also create a cool atmosphere by simply having fish in your room! And if you combine it with a few houseplants, you’re getting a natural, simple and effective way to both show off some character, and humidify your home.
What not to do:
Don’t try to humidify your room by drying clothes on your radiators and other heaters. You might think the concept is the same – but when you send moisture back to the air through clothes, you don’t have any control over the water coming back – and that’s a perfect environment for the spread of mold, bacteria and different viruses.
All other methods have the possibility of cleaning your water and adding antibacterial supplements, so refrain from using wet clothes as means of humidifying your room.
Having the right amount of humidity in your room can completely change your perspective on winter days. But getting the *right* amount of humidity is not an easy task. That’s why you can invest in a hygrometer, a small device that measures the amount of humidity in a room.
According to Mayo Clinic, optimal amount of humidity for any room is anywhere between 30 and 50 percent.