7 Ways to Make a Homemade Dehumidifier

Have you noticed yellowish or dark spots on the walls? Maybe it's because of humidity. Apart from identifying its origin, it is a good idea to place a homemade dehumidifier in certain spaces to help reduce or prevent the consequences.
7 Ways to Make a Homemade Dehumidifier
Leidy Mora Molina

Reviewed and approved by the nurse Leidy Mora Molina.

Last update: 18 March, 2023

You can buy a commercial dehumidifier, but why not try a homemade alternative? Not only are they more budget-friendly, but they’re also environmentally friendly, as they don’t consume electricity.

So, if you’re looking for a way to combat this problem at home, read on. Take note of how to make a homemade dehumidifier!

Problems caused by humidity at home

Whether it’s home or office, the relative humidity level should be between 30% and 50%. However, there are some reasons why this percentage can rise. The main ones are condensation and seepage.

In either case, the consequences are diverse. Objects can be affected, as well as people’s health.

In this order of ideas, among the problems associated with a higher humidity level are the following:

  • The quality of you sleep can be affected.
  • It feels warmer inside the house.
  • Paint cracks, lifts, and falls off.
  • There’s a greater presence of fungus and mold.
  • Stains appear on the walls and ceiling.
  • Bad smells occur in the environment and stored clothes.
  • Furniture, clothes, and other objects can be damaged.
  • There’s an increased risk or symptoms of respiratory diseases (asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis).

What is a dehumidifier and how does it work?

There are several ways to combat high humidity in indoor spaces. Of course, the first thing to do is to identify the cause. You should determine if it’s a condensation problem, if there’s a leak in the roof when it rains, or a leak in a broken pipe.

But sometimes, we find ourselves in naturally humid environments, such as basements or closed spaces without air circulation, among others. Then, it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier.

This is a device that extracts part of the humidity present in the environment. It works similarly to an air conditioner, although for other purposes.

The process is as follows:

  1. Humid air from the room enters the device.
  2. It passes through a cooling coil, condensing.
  3. It then reaches a disk, where a desiccant absorbs the moisture.
  4. The extracted moisture goes into a water reservoir.
  5. The air is heated before being returned to the environment.

Different types of dehumidifiers are available on the market. The choice depends on the size of the space in which it will be used.

The drawback with these devices is that, in addition to their cost, they increase electricity consumption. They must remain on constantly.

Deshumidificador comercial.
Commercial dehumidifiers represent a significant investment of money at the beginning and having them on.

How to make a homemade dehumidifier: 7 practical ideas

Apart from the devices mentioned above, you can make a home dehumidifier using natural products. Besides being less expensive, they do not increase the electricity bill. Let’s see what the alternatives are.

1. Make a homemade dehumidifier with charcoal

According to a study conducted at a university in Peru, activated charcoal can be an option to control mold, as well as high humidity levels. Its porous structure favors absorption. In addition, it neutralizes bad odors.

To make this homemade dehumidifier you will need the following materials:

  • 1 plastic soda bottle (empty) or 1 can or jar (can be coffee)
  • Charcoal (enough to fill half of the container)
  • 1 knife or 1 screwdriver

The procedure is very simple: just make a hole in the container and fill it halfway with charcoal. Then, you should place in a place where there’s humidity. It’s recommended to change the charcoal regularly (every 15 to 30 days).

An alternative to making this homemade dehumidifier is to use small fabric bags (it can be burlap or jute). In this case, the pieces of charcoal should be smaller. You can place them in different corners of the house or hang them on door handles.

2. Use coarse salt

Salt is another element widely used to combat humidity problems. Preferably, coarse salt can be used, which in addition to its applications in the kitchen, helps to absorb the water vapor present in the air.

You need the following:

  • Coarse salt (100 to 150 grams)
  • 1 empty can (without lid) or 1 bottle (must be clean)
  • Piece of cloth (it can be an old sock)

To make this homemade dehumidifier, you must follow a procedure similar to the previous one:

  1. Make some perforations in the can base (not many). In case you use a bottle, you can cut it in half and place it upside down, in the shape of a funnel, making a hole in the lid.
  2. Place the cloth and add the salt.
  3. Place the homemade dehumidifier in a space where there is humidity.

However, you must place it in such a way that the air circulates – that is to say, that the bottom holes aren’t covered. The salt should be replaced every week or after 10 days and at least 3 times a month.

In research conducted in Panama to test construction materials, it was found that sheets built with natural fibers, combining coconut tow, rice starch, and coarse salt, help reduce relative humidity.

3. A homemade dehumidifier with baking soda

In addition to the many uses for household cleaning, you can use baking soda to make a homemade dehumidifier. The process is similar to the two described above, although it is preferably done with gauze sachets.

These are placed in the corners of damp rooms, in drawers or closets. Not only is it effective in combating humidity, but it deodorizes and creates an environment that inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

4. Use chalk

This is a homemade dehumidifier that is very simple to make and use. All you need is a few chalk chalks for writing on whiteboards, either white or colored. Put them in a small bag made of tulle or gauze – i.e. a fabric that breathes.

Close the bag tightly. You can add a string for hanging.

This serves to combat humidity in the closet, preventing clothes from smelling bad; it can also be used in the car. As in the previous cases, you should check from time to time to see if you need to change the chalks.

5. A homemade dehumidifier with calcium chloride

Calcium chloride or calcium chloride is a type of salt used in the food industry for processed and pre-cooked, canned, and preserved foods. It’s also used to treat wastewater and is an ingredient in the manufacture of paper pulp and polymers.

You can make a homemade dehumidifier with calcium chloride. Use the industrial type, which has greater absorption properties.

Follow these steps:

  1. Take an empty plastic soda bottle and cut it open.
  2. Add calcium chloride up to half of it.
  3. Place a piece of tulle or similar fabric to cover the bottle. You can use a rubber band or ribbon to secure the fabric.
  4. Place the container in the corners where there is a concentration of moisture.
  5. Empty the container when you see that it has become filled with water.

The good thing about this homemade dehumidifier is that you can keep the chloride, leaving it to dry in the sun, to reuse it. However, over time it loses its properties, so it will be time to change.

Studies show that this compound can be used effectively, along with activated carbon and silica gel, for cooling and dehumidification systems, driven by low-temperature heat, proving to be an efficient absorbent.

6. Use rice

Maybe you didn’t know that, in addition to being a great accompaniment to your dishes, you can use rice to eliminate moisture and odor from cabinets by combining it with other ingredients we already saw.

You just need the following:

  • Baking soda
  • A container without lid
  • Plastic film
  • Tape or string
  • Coarse salt
  • Rice

Put in the bowl some baking soda, the rice, and the salt, in equal proportions. The amount you need will depend on the humidity level and the space. It could be a cup of each of these ingredients. Mix well.

Then, cover it with the plastic wrap, fix it with the tape or string, and open several holes. Place in the place where you need to regulate the humidity. Every so often you should check how humid it is, to replace the mixture.

7. A homemade dehumidifier with plants

Besides helping you to decorate and brighten up the environment, there are indoor plants that absorb humidity. Among the varieties that best fulfill this function are the following:

  • Cactus
  • Ivy
  • Mint
  • Spider plant
  • Calathea
  • Ferns
  • Tillandsias
  • Carnation of the air
  • Bamboo palm
  • Peace lily
Lirio de la paz es un deshumidificador casero.
The peace lily contributes to absorbing the humidity of the environment.

Other measures to combat humidity

Apart from these home dehumidifiers, there are some tricks to get rid of humidity at home, which you can apply and which are quite effective. Take into account the following recommendations:

  • Do not store wet towels inside the house. If possible, always let them dry outdoors.
  • Open windows and doors every day, including closet doors.
  • Separate the furniture from the walls in order to let the air circulate.
  • When you paint the walls, add a little lime to the paint.
  • Spray vinegar in the corners where humidity accumulates to avoid the formation of mold.
  • Watch for leaks and plumbing leaks and correct them before moisture reaches other spaces.

The effectiveness of homemade dehumidifier

Home dehumidifiers like the ones just described have certain advantages. They’re also natural, easy to make, don’t consume energy, and are eco-friendly.

However, they’re not as powerful and only effective in small spaces and corners. So, if you have a major humidity problem, apart from identifying and attacking the cause, you may need to buy and use a device.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ardusso, L., Neffen, H., Fernández-Caldas, E. et al (2019). Intervención ambiental en las enfermedades respiratorias. Medicina (Buenos Aires), volumen 79(2), 123-136.
  • Flórez Zambrano, A. (2021). Araracuara: manual de supervivencia urbana. Bogotá-Colombia: Cangrejo Editores.
  • González-Serrud, S., Bernal, A., Chung, A., & Marín, N. (2022). Fabricación de láminas construidas a base de fibras naturales que absorben humedad relativa del entorno. Revista De Iniciación Científica, volume 8(2), 7-16.
  • Hernández F., J., Pérez Ushimaru, I., Sinuiri Santi, G. et al. (2021) Bolsas purificadoras de carbón activado de bambú – Bamboo Dry. Santiago de Surco-Perú: Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC).
  • Tso, C., & Chao, C. (2012). Activated carbon, silica-gel and calcium chloride composite adsorbents for energy efficient solar adsorption cooling and dehumidification systems. International Journal of Refrigeration, volume 35(6), 1626-1638.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.