I’ve been looking around for natural methods to combat humidity for those days when the air-conditioner fails….or in places where it isn’t used.
For instance, AC isn’t as popular in Europe as it is in the United States.
That’s for a variety of reasons – including greater environmental awareness, better built homes, and popular fear of illness from constant exposure to cold air. Many Europeans think air-conditioning makes you sick.
AC is also a lot of maintenance and expense.
So, finding a way to get humidity down without becoming dependent on a complicated mechanical device has got to be attractive to anyone with a survivalist bent.
There are several well-known natural methods to reduce humidity, but they still take quite a bit of effort and not all the ingredients are easy to come by in developing countries.
One of them requires hanging cheese-cloth (or gunny, burlap, or jute) bags of rock-salt from the ceiling, with buckets beneath to catch the water as it drips down.
Rock-salt is a desiccant, which means it extracts the moisture from the air until it is water-logged itself.
If you’ve ever had a salt-shaker that got clogged on humid days, you know how that works.
By the way, the solution to moisture in salt-shakers is simple – throw in a few grains of raw rice. They’ll absorb moisture in the shaker and keep your salt dry.
If rock-salt (salt with large crystals) is unavailable where you live, you can also spread table-salt in pans and leave them on counters or shelves. Table salt will absorb some atmospheric moisture until it’s too wet do absorb any more. After the salt becomes water-logged, it can still be heated, dried, and reused.
Other dehumidifiers include baking soda , silica, and charcoal briquets. They do well as desiccators, but they’re not cheap in many places and they need to be replenished…or, in the case of silica, heated for reuse.
I’ve never tried salt or silica this way, so I don’t know if it actually has an appreciable effect on the humidity inside a house that’s worth the effort and clutter of pans and bags all over the place.
A simpler and more aesthetic method would be to grow indoor plants that absorb humidity.
At first, this seems counter-intuitive, because most plants add to the moisture content of the air.
If you live in an arid area, humidifying plants can be very useful.
That’s besides all the other proven benefits of house plants – purifying the air, improving mental focus and general health, speeding up healing, and making it easier for you to breathe.
Still, there are a few plants that reduce humidity or at least balance it.
1. The Peace Lily, which needs watering just once a week and sucks in moisture from the air the rest of the time.
2. The Reed Palm, which also purifies the air.
3. English Ivy, which you can hang from the ceiling out of your way, where it will reduce humidity and take care of airborne mold.
4. Boston Fern, which balances the humidity in the air, in addition to reducing it.
5. Tillandsia (also known as air-plant), which doesn’t even need a root system to absorb water an nutrients from the atmosphere.
The catch to this list is that when I researched the names of plants that add to humidity indoors, three names on this list – the peace lily, the English Ivy, and the Boston fern – showed up on the list of humidifiers as well.