15 Obvious (or are they?) Ways to Increase Humidity in Your Home

Humidifying the house with a crock pot

House humidity is very important for your health. Dry air can cause skin irritation, nosebleeds, and respiratory problems. Dry air can cause static electricity that causes clothes to cling together or even spark when they rub against each other. 

Many people don’t know how to humidify their house so here are some tips on how to increase humidity in a room easily in wintertime and save energy at the same time! 

What is considered low humidity in a house...and how do you measure it?

According to a study by Arundel, Biggen, Sterling and Sterling, "The majority of adverse health effects caused by relative humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%." 

When humidity levels drop below 40%, the risk for allergic reactions, asthma, respiratory infections and dry skin all increase.

Humidity in your home can fluctuate significantly depending on how much heat you use. Whether it's a wood stove or a radiant heating unit, heat drives moisture out of the air.

To monitor levels, consider getting a humidity monitor. You can find inexpensive ones built into thermometers, or fancy smart ones that send real time info right to your phone!

Don't vent your dryer inside

I know it's tempting...there's all that heat and moist air going right outside. But folks at International Residence Code get all prickly at the thought. According to code:

"M1502.2 Independent Exhaust Systems

Dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall convey the moisture to the outdoors."

So that settles that.


Use a drying rack for clothes

Why not save energy (or gas if that's what powers your dryer) and set up a clothes drying rack in front of the wood stove? Letting your clothes air dry will add humidity to the room rather letting it escape out of the dryer vent.

Let Bath Water Cool Before Draining

After dabbling around in the tub and playing with your rubber ducky, leave the bathwater in the tub until it's cool. Water will evaporate more quickly when warm, so let it sit and increase humidity levels until it's cool, then drain it. (So that you can immediately scrub the tub leaving it nice and shiny!)

Open the dishwasher before the dry cycle

Set a timer to alert you to the end of the dishwasher rinse cycle. (Because face it, you'll be wrapped up doing other things and you'll forget!)

Instead of using up electrical energy to heat the drying elements on the dishwasher, open the dishwasher door after the last rinse cycle and before the drying cycle and let that steamy, warm air out into the kitchen.


Let your dishes air dry

Instead of using the dishwasher to wash dishes, (or if yours is 10 years old and doesn't work anymore...or you're OLD SCHOOL and never got one) put the wet dishes in a dish rack and let 'em drip dry.

Or...if even clean dishes left out raises the hackles of your OCD, dry the dishes then hang the dishtowel out in front of the wood stove to dry.

Cook dinner in the crockpot

Double (or triple!) the benefits on this one! Add extra broth to your slow cooker, crack the lid to let some steam escape, and let dinner simmer away all day while you're at work. Come home to a savory-smelling kitchen, a delectable dinner, and a humidified house!

Humidifying the house with a crock pot

Put damp towels out to line dry

Adding moisture with a drying towel

I don't know about you, but the towel racks in my bathroom don't provide a lot of room for airflow. So moisture levels in towels slowly evaporate...

To speed the process and get more moisture to the air in to other parts of the house, string up drying lines or hang them them over the stair railing.

Use a stove steamer

Fill that old (but cool, rustic looking) cast iron tea kettle on the wood stove and let it do it's thing 24-7! If it's got an enamel lining, though, be sure to fill it frequently to avoid cracking the lining.

Not only are you adding more moisture to the air without having to do much, you have boiling water ready for tea and hot chocolate water!

Add houseplants

Plants continuously release moisture to the house. They transfer water from the soil out through the leaves through "evapotranspiration."  Say that 10 times fast. I dare you.

Anyhoo, houseplants can work away as little humidifiers for you adding greenery, oxygen, and much needed moisture.

However, you do need to remember to water them...so follow the recommended water levels for your species of plants.

You might even consider spritzing the ones that like it!

And while you're at it...

Spritz a spray bottle

Fill spray bottles with water and spray it to add extra moisture to those particularly dry rooms. You should most definitely sashay around the house imitating Julia Childs as you do so...wine optional.

Use spray bottle with a fine mist setting and avoid spraying too much and soaking the floor. Or your spouse.

Place bowls of water on windowsill

Simply setting out bowls or glasses of water on the windowsill will help raise the humidity level around the house. Putting a metal or ceramic bowl on the windowsill exposes them to sunlight which increases evaporation level.

If you really want to double up the moisture released in your entire home, consider a water garden pot. Not only will the natural waterfall add moisture but the plants, too, will help.

Shower with the bathroom door open

Your spouse will like this one...might even raise humidity levels in the relationship! Either way, a hot shower creates high humidity in the bathroom. Why limit it to one room? Keeping the door open allows you to release moisture into the rest of the house.

Instead of turning on the bathroom exhaust fan, use a regular box fan or house fan with the door open to push this moist and warm air out to other rooms as well.

Use essential oils diffuser

Essential oil diffusers by themselves aren't effective ways to raise humidity. They really only use water vapor as a way to carry the oil molecules. 

However, combination humidifier / diffusers can help with low humidity while adding the fragrance of lemongrass, lavender, or other soothing scents to your home.

Cook Long Simmering Meals on the Stove

Fall and winter are great seasons stovetop cooking. Soups, stews and sauces and are great ways to combat dry air. 

Firing up Grandma's spaghetti sauce recipe or Uncle Joe's famous chile and letting it simmer all afternoon on the stove adds to the home's humidity, takes off the winter chill, and gives the house a welcoming aroma.

Drink tea instead of coffee

Tea requires you to boil water. When you heat water for coffee, you tend to gently warm it. Whether or not you keep that kettle of boiling water on the wood stove all day or just a pot of water in the morning, a proper cup of tea will help raise your home's humidity. 

Use a humidifier

Of course the easiest way to add moisture in your home is to use an actual humidifier. But, it's too obvious and does cost money...that's why I put it last!

If you've tried all the other tricks and you still find that your skins dries out and maybe it's hard to sleep and breathe in the dry air, then adding moisture with an appliance designed for just a task might be the way to go!


In the northeast, it's a challenge balancing humidity in your home. In the summer, it's too moist. The doors swell and you have to be on the lookout for mold and bacteria growth. In the winter, the heat sources and your heating system itself seem to absorb moisture and drop indoor humidity. 

Using a variety of ways to raise the moisture level in the air can help with dry skin and respiratory challenges!

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