During the cold winter months, we rely on our heating systems to keep our homes warm and safe. But that hot air has a way of extracting moisture from the air, causing heated spaces to feel dry and uncomfortable.
Cracked skin, stuffy noses, and headaches can result, and house plants, woodwork, and furniture can suffer. While store-bought humidifiers will rectify the issue, they’re expensive and drive up energy consumption. Give these DIY humidifier ideas a shot instead.
Use the stove
For an effective DIY way to add moisture to the air in your home, turn to your stove. By heating a kettle of water or boiling a pot of water for pasta, you’re causing evaporation. As the water evaporates, it turns into vapor and mixes freely with the air in your home. Allow the water to boil for a few minutes for the best results.
Be sure to keep an eye on the water’s level so you don’t end up heating an empty vessel, and don’t leave your stove unattended.
Bonus: If you’re just boiling water for the moisture, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil will make the house smell fresh.
Plants, plants, plants
While withered house plants might be one of the first signs of dry air, they’re also one of the best ways to improve air quality without much effort. While plants produce water vapor through transpiration, it’s rarely enough to notice. What they can do is improve the overall air quality and increase oxygen generation, making breathing in a dry house a bit easier.
The shower solution
One of the best DIY humidification resources is your shower. By showering with an open door or opening the door right after a shower, the moist air from the bathroom can permeate the house for an instant humidity boost. Just be sure to leave the exhaust fan off; otherwise, you’ll be pushing all of that humidified air outdoors.
Place containers of water on heat sources
For a DIY humidifier trick as old as time, try placing pots or bowls of water on or near heating sources. For wood stoves and hot-water radiators, place a sturdy ceramic or metal pot directly on top. If you have to move the pot, be sure to use well-insulated potholders or heat-resistant gloves as the pot will become very hot.
For wall vents and wall-mounted electric heat registers, a bowl of water on the floor beside them will do the trick. Regardless of the source, the heat will cause the water to evaporate, putting valuable moisture in the air.
Give your dryer a break
Throwing wet laundry into the dryer may be convenient, but it’s not helping you solve your dry air issues. Instead, try hanging laundry on a drying rack in a central place in your home. As the clothes dry, they’ll release moisture into the air, making the house feel more comfortable and creating a pleasant scent.
The sun’s rays and a decorative vase
If you have a favorite vase, you can put it to good use as a humidifier. By filling the vase with water and placing it on a sunny windowsill, you’ll be able to take advantage of the sun’s natural evaporation power.
As the sun warms the vase and the water each day, the water evaporates into the air, creating a practical, low-maintenance DIY humidifier. Just be sure to replenish the water when necessary—typically a couple of times a week.
Hit the pet shop
Adding an aquarium-dwelling friend or two to your home is a fun way to add some much-needed moisture to your air. Whether it’s a large tank full of tropical fish, a goldfish in a bowl, or a small aquarium for a box turtle, humidity is bound to escape from the tank and into the air surrounding it. For lidded tanks, removing the lid or opening the flip-down lid for a few hours each day is necessary for humidity to escape.
The idea is that any large source of water, whether heated or not, will produce some humidity as the water begins to evaporate.
Add a water feature
For a relaxing DIY humidifier idea, place a small indoor water feature on a countertop or table. The tiny waterfalls and bubblers will introduce water into the air. And the sound of running water has been proven to be relaxing, so this DIY humidifier actually serves more than one purpose.
How to make a homemade humidifier
You can also make your own humidifier in a few easy steps.
- Waterproof basin or plastic tub
- Bath towel
- Small fan
- An old kitchen chair
- Face the chair toward a wall, within reach of an electric outlet.
- Place the tub so that it’s positioned by the back of the chair
- Fill the tub with a few inches of water
- Dampen the towel and place one end in the water and the other over the back of the chair
- Place the fan on the seat of the chair, face it toward the towel, and set it to low
As the towel wicks up water from the tub, the fan will blow air across the damp surface, quickly increasing the surrounding air’s moisture content. Beware that a moist towel can wear down the finish on a kitchen chair, so it’s best to use an older chair.
You don’t have to use all of these DIY humidifier tips to make your home more comfortable. Just one or two may do the trick on days when your house feels particularly dry. You should be breathing easier in no time at all.