7 DIY Homemade Dehumidifier Options For You To Try Out

Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell

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Holly Curell

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Humidity can cause a lot of expensive damage to your home and belongings.

However, buying a dehumidifier also carries its own cost, and if you don’t have a major dampness problem, you might be reluctant to purchase one.

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to because there are some great homemade dehumidifier options!

In this guide, I’ll show you how to reduce humidity in a room naturally, and explore some of the best DIY options out there.

This will let you battle humidity without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaways

  • Desiccant materials such as Silica Gel, Charcoal, Rock Salt, Baking Soda, Moisture Absorbed Crystals and even certain plants can be used for making cheap DIY dehumidifiers.
  • The benefit of DIY dehumidifiers is that they are cheap to make, do not require electricity, and aren't impacted by temperature.
  • The disadvantage of DIY dehumidifiers is that they are not nearly as effective as electric dehumidifiers, take a long time to work, and do not have the controls for setting desired humidity levels. 
How does a dehumidifier work

How To Make A Homemade Dehumidifier Yourself!

1. Silica Gel

Silica gel is probably the most common desiccant material in the world, and it’s widely used in packages and clothing to keep excess moisture away.

It’s highly hydrophobic and can hold 30-40% of its own weight as water, making it an efficient material for absorbing excess moisture from the air. [1]

Silica gel is a great material to use in your own DIY dehumidifier because it’s cheap and efficient.

You can gather up little packets of silica gel or buy it in larger packs from a store. If you buy larger packs of silica gel, it often comes with a moisture indicator.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get a jar and make a few small holes inside the lid. The easiest way is to use a drill, but you can use a hammer and nail (or other tools) instead.
  • Line the inside of the jar with silica gel.
  • Screw the lid back on and place it in a small room. If you need dehumidification in a larger space, you’ll need a bigger container and more silica.
  • Leave the silica gel to work and check on it every few days. As it captures moisture, it should expand.
  • When the silica gel has expanded (usually after a few weeks), you should either replace it or bake it in an oven for 1-2 hours. This will remove the moisture.
  • You can then use it in the jar again for dehumidification.

TL;DR: Silica gel is one of the most common desiccant material that you can find in the market. These can be left in humid areas to remove moisture over time.

2. Rock Salt

Rock salt is the most popular material for a DIY dehumidifier because it’s natural, cheap, and readily available.

A rock salt dehumidifier will also require very little maintenance.

This is a useful homemade dehumidifier in larger spaces because the salt actively attracts water vapor, lowering the humidity relatively quickly.

A rock salt dehumidifier works well in bathrooms, garages, or even greenhouses, which naturally have more moisture.

To create your rock salt dehumidifier, you’ll need to:

  • Grab two 5 gallon buckets and use a drill to create holes in the sides of one bucket.
  • Place the bucket with the holes within the other bucket.
  • Fill the top bucket with rock salt. The more rock salt you put in the bucket, the more moisture it will be able to absorb.
  • Leave the rock salt DIY dehumidifier in an area with high levels of excess moisture.
  • Water will start to collect in the bucket and drip through the holes into the bottom bucket. Check the water levels regularly and empty the buckets as needed.
  • Over time, the rock salt in the homemade dehumidifier will start to dissolve. Check this every time you empty the buckets, and top up the top bucket with more rock salt as needed.

TL;DR: You can create a DIY dehumidifier using some buckets and rock salt which naturally absorbs moisture.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a household essential and works well in a homemade dehumidifier.

It’s often sprinkled over carpets or furniture to dry them out, but if you use it in slightly higher quantities, the hygroscopic qualities will lower the moisture levels in the space.

The advantage of baking soda is that it’s cheap, so it’s perfect if you want to make your own dehumidifier on a budget.

It can also help to neutralize bad smells by reacting with the chemicals in the air, so it’s also a natural air freshener!

The disadvantage is that baking soda DIY dehumidifiers only work in small spaces and work well as moisture absorbers in bathrooms, closets, or cars.

How to dehumidify bathroom

They aren’t as effective in basements or garages where the indoor humidity can be very high.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get a small bowl, bag, or box that will fit in the space.
  • Fill the container or containers with baking soda and leave uncovered, so the natural drying properties of the baking soda allow it to absorb moisture.
  • Leave the device in the space for a few days.
  • As the baking soda begins to pull moisture out of the air, it will slowly harden. Once the baking soda is completely hard, it means it has absorbed too much moisture, and you should replace it.

TL;DR: Baking Soda is a common household item which can be used to make very cheap DIY dehumidifiers for small spaces.

3. Charcoal

Charcoal is another popular material for a DIY dehumidifier.

It will naturally remove moisture and lower the relative humidity levels, similar to baking soda, because the excess water in the air is literally drawn to it.

Plus, this natural dehumidifier can remove bad odors from the air too.

Charcoal is great for homemade dehumidifiers because it’s cheap and easy to find.

The downside is that it won’t lower the indoor humidity in large or very damp spaces and is only effective in small rooms.

It’s often used in small basements, bathrooms, or offices.

Here’s how to make a charcoal dehumidifier:

  • Get a large can with a lid and clean it out thoroughly. Leave it to dry.
  • Punch holes in the lid of the can and a few on the side too.
  • Put the charcoal inside the can and secure the lid on top.
  • Place your charcoal homemade dehumidifiers in the rooms where you want to remove moisture from the air.
  • Leave the dehumidifiers there to reduce moisture levels, and check them every few weeks. As the charcoal starts to collect water, it will eventually clump together, and that’s when you’ll need to replace it.

TL;DR: Charcoal not only removes moisture but also bad odors from the air. This is an excellent and cheap natural dehumidifier.

4. Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is one of those common household chemicals that sounds more complicated than it is.

It’s another name for salt. Usually, the salt is used to grit the roads and melt ice when it snows.

The properties of calcium chloride make it one of the best homemade dehumidifier compounds because it literally absorbs water in any format. [2]

It can absorb up to 300% of its weight in moisture, so it’s typically used in industrial settings, but you can use it in your own homemade dehumidifier for large rooms.

Here’s how to make your calcium chloride dehumidifier:

  • Find an old sock or piece of fabric and a large bowl.
  • Wrap the calcium chloride inside the fabric or sock, and tie it shut.
  • Hang the sock or fabric in the room you want to dehumidify and position the bowl underneath.
  • Over time, the calcium chloride will dissolve into salt water as it absorbs extra moisture. Once this happens, you’ll need to change it out for new salt.

TL;DR: Calcium chloride is one of the most potent moisture absorber. While it is used in industrial settings, you can use it to make a DIY dehumidifier at home.

5. Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer

Coffee creamer, or coffee whitener as it’s more commonly known, has a surprising use – it makes a great dehumidifier.

It has natural properties and a hydrophilic nature, allowing it to absorb water very quickly.

This is why coffee creamer can sometimes clump in your coffee if you’ve put too much in.

Coffee whitener is cheap and lasts forever, so it’s a very inexpensive way to dehumidify a room. [3]

It will only work in small areas, and you shouldn’t use it in a very humid basement, but it’s a good choice in a small bathroom, office, or bedroom.

Here’s how to make a coffee whitener dehumidifier:

  • Find a medium/large bowl and fill it with coffee whitener.
  • Place the bowl in a room where you want to collect the moisture in the air.
  • Leave it to dehumidify for a few days, and then check on it. The coffee whitener will start to solidify and clump. It will have absorbed enough water, and you should replace it.

TL;DR: Non-dairy coffee creamer is hydrophilic in nature, meaning it can absorb moisture. However, it is useful only for small spaces.

6. Moisture Absorber Crystals

Moisture-absorbing crystals are hygroscopic compounds specifically designed to attract water from the environment around them.

They’re typically made from calcium chloride, but every brand is different.

Now, these aren’t technically homemade, but they are inexpensive and available on Amazon.

They have a good level of efficiency and come completely ready to go with no hassle, so if you need to guard small or medium-sized rooms from condensation, excess moisture, mold, and mildew, they’re perfect.

They also release a nice smell as they dissolve, giving you an air freshener with a dehumidifier.

For the best results with these crystals, you should look at the specific instructions, but here’s a general guide for assembling this dehumidifier:

  • Your moisture-absorbing crystals usually come in a plastic container or bucket, which has a basket and several holes in the top.
  • The crystals in the plastic container will start to harden as it absorbs water from the air and create a solid mass.
  • They will then begin to dissolve, and the liquid will travel through the holes into the bottom container.
  • There, the crystals will continue to dissolve until the bottom of the container is filled with liquid. This could take a few days.
  • Drain the liquid from the bottom bucket/container, then top up with more crystals from the bag.

TL;DR: You can buy specific moisture absorbing crystals which are essentially made from calcium chloride as an effective DIY dehumidifier. They are potent and can even work for medium sized rooms.

7. More Plants

Plants take in water through the leaves and then down into the roots, and eventually, the water is used up, or it just collects safely in the soil.

They can effectively remove humid air from inside your home while improving indoor air quality.

However, you need to pick the right plants to act as natural moisture absorber.

They need a certain temperature to survive and enough light to grow (so a basement may not work).

how to keep basement dry without dehumidifier

Most plants can’t thrive in very humid conditions, so you must purchase the right ones to help control damp conditions.

Here are the top 10 plants to use:

  • English Ivy
  • Spider Plants
  • Peace Lily
  • Orchids
  • Tillandsia
  • Ferms
  • Snake Plants
  • Begonias
  • Palms
  • Bamboo

All the plants above will work in your bathroom, office, living room, or bedrooms. All you need to do is set them in the space and look after them.

ACLAB Note:

Just bear in mind that the plants’ primary job isn’t to manage humid conditions, so they won’t be as efficient as some other DIY dehumidifiers. However, they can massively improve your overall indoor air quality. [4]

TL;DR: Certain plants can help absorb moisture from the air. Make sure you buy the right ones for the right place.


Is A DIY Homemade Dehumidifier Effective?

A homemade dehumidifier can be effective, but they are usually not as effective as regular electric dehumidifiers.

They tend only to be useful in small spaces and can’t manage very high levels of humidity.

Homemade dehumidifiers all work similarly and offer a few key benefits:

  • They are very cheap to make and take virtually no maintenance.
  • They work silently.
  • They don’t need to be emptied or plugged into any drain system.
  • No electricity costs.
  • They aren’t impacted by temperature and won’t freeze over.
  • Some materials can also act as an air freshener by removing bad odors.

However, there are also some disadvantages:

  • They tend to only work in small rooms or spaces. They definitely can’t be used as a whole-home solution.
  • There’s no fan to direct airflow like an electric dehumidifier, so it takes much longer to work.
  • There’s no air filter and they won’t remove pollutants from your home.
  • They won’t deal with very damp areas.

If you have some small rooms with medium humidity levels, a homemade dehumidifier can protect you from mold, mildew, and dampness.

They can be particularly useful during winter when temperatures plummet because there’s no risk of them freezing over either.

However, if you have a larger humidity problem, an electrical dehumidifier is the best device to keep you cool and comfortable in your home.

TL;DR: A DIY homemade dehumidifier is great for small spaces but they are not as effective as electric dehumidifiers. They are also not feasible for areas with very high humidity. 


5 Other Ways To Fight Humidity At Home

diy dehumidifier

Provide Ample Ventilation

Ventilation is the key for controlling and preventing humid conditions.

By opening doors and windows, you can direct the humid air out of your home where the moisture can safely evaporate without causing moisture issues.

Try to create airflow through your home, which keeps cool air coming in and lowers the heat levels.

Proper Use Of Fans

If you don’t have many windows you can open, you can use fans instead.

These can direct the humid air out of your home and prevent moisture from forming in the first place. Fans can also lower the heat levels to prevent condensation.

You can use professionally installed ceiling fans, an AC system, or a set of portable fans.

Using them in conjunction with dehumidifiers will give you the best results.

Replace Furnace/AC Filters

Air conditioners primarily deal with heat but can also manage humidity by bringing cool air into your home.

Your AC filters will pick up a lot of pollutants, and over time these can become blocked.

Cleaning or replacing the filters for the device (preferably every few months) will help you maximize airflow and minimize humidity.

Check For Leaking Pipes

Humidity can come from many different sources, but if you’re experiencing very humid conditions frequently, you need to check your pipes.

Leaking pipes will cause damp conditions and can promote the growth of mold and mildew throughout your home.

Check for any leaks and repair them so you can stop the source of the moisture, not just manage the symptoms.

Dry Your Clothes Outdoor

If you dry your clothes indoors, then all the moisture will end up right back in your air.

This can raise the humidity and cause excess moisture in your home.

Moving your wet clothes outdoors is a simple way to make your home drier and prevent humidity from forming.

TL;DR: In addition to making DIY dehumidifier, ample ventilation for removing excess moisture, replacing and keeping your HVAC filters clean, checking for water leaks, and drying your clothes outside can all help improve indoor humidity levels.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What Causes High Humidity In The Home?

Higher humidity levels are typically caused by poor ventilation, as this allows warm, damp air to sit in your home. This is particularly prevalent in the hot summer months.

Humid conditions can also be caused by the weather and environment outside, leaks in your home, drying laundry inside, or just taking hot showers for too long.

What Material Absorbs Water The Best?

Silica gel is one of the best materials for absorbing moisture from the air. However, calcium chloride, salt, charcoal, and other natural materials also have strong absorption properties.

You can even use kitty litter!

Does Rice Work As A Dehumidifier?

Rice is hygroscopic, so it can be used as a dehumidifier.

Still, when wet rice is in areas of low humidity, it will release the water back into the air, so it can potentially remove water vapor and then release it straight back again. 

This is why it isn’t used as commonly as a desiccant dehumidifier.

Why Does Humidity Go Up At Night?

Humidity goes up at night because the temperature falls. Cold air can’t hold as much water vapor as hot air, so all the moisture gathered during the day is released.

Humidity can have a big impact on your sleep quality, so it’s important to keep it within optimal levels.

Did You Find Your DIY Dehumidification Method?

Unless you have a major humidity problem, you don’t need an expensive electric dehumidifier.

In most cases, you can protect your home from dampness by simply hanging a bag of moisture-absorbent material in the room.

Just make sure you use the right material and remember that a homemade dehumidifier won’t remove humidity as quickly as a purchased dehumidifier.

Hopefully, this guide has introduced some workable options and given you some useful tips on how to dehumidify your home at a fraction of the cost. 

References: 

  1. https://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/hydrophilic
  2. https://www.aquadryuk.com/blog/faq/anhydrous-calcium-chloride-drying-agent
  3. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/coffee-whiteners-arent-food/
  4. https://www.lung.org/blog/do-houseplants-really-improve-air-quality
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

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Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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