8 Ways to Add Moisture to the Air Without a Humidifier

updated Dec 16, 2023
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When the air in your home is being heated during the cold winter months, it can get pretty dry and uncomfortable. Humidifiers are great for keeping the air in your home healthy, but there are other things you can do to help add humidity to your space when the air’s drying out your skin, furniture, and woodwork.  

From air-drying laundry to cool gadgets you can buy, there are ways to add moisture to your home’s air in the winter. Keep reading for some of our favorite tips. 

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Air dry your laundry.

Set up a drying rack in your bedroom and lay out damp clothing to dry overnight. You’ll save energy by not running the dryer, and add more moisture to the air, all while adding the fresh scent of laundry to your room. This works in the bathroom too! 

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Set out bowls of water.

In the same way that you might decorate with bowls of fruit, try decorating with bowls of water. Place a few around your house and the water will evaporate into the dry air. One step further, if you have radiant steam heat: place a water bowl on top of radiators to heat the water and aid in evaporation.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Use your bathtub.

If you ever take baths, leave the water in the tub after you’ve finished bathing. Letting it sit and cool completely allows more moisture to evaporate into the air than when you’re showering. Note: We don’t recommend leaving bath water unattended if you have small children.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Cook on the stovetop.

Cook on the stovetop. Not only is this a cozy practice during cold winter weather, it also releases moisture into your home’s air. If you’re cooking something that can be done either on the stovetop or in the oven, opt for the stovetop when the air is dry. The oven dries the air out even more, but the stovetop adds much-needed moisture.

(Image credit: Kontrol)

Buy an alternative product.

There are a few products out there that simulate humidifiers by producing steam but aren’t electric. This attractive option from Amazon includes two ceramic orbs that rest on individual bowls to add moisture to the air naturally. It’s as simple as pouring water over the orbs. Or, you could use a stovetop steamer or even a tea kettle to help get rid of excessively dry air.   

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Use your appliances. 

Beyond using a humidifier, Kelsey Hei, filtration and indoor air quality specialist at 3M, says you can add moisture to the air naturally by taking advantage of existing evaporation happening in your home. “An easy way to add moisture to the air in your kitchen and bathroom is to open your dishwasher after running and leave your shower door open after a hot shower to let the steam escape to other rooms,” she explains. Not only can that add some of that humidity back into your home but it can also help those appliances cool down faster. 

Add to your plant collection. 

Having houseplants can also be very helpful to add moisture through the process of transpiration, Hei says of the process in which moisture from a watered plant evaporates. Although you want to be wary of too much of a good thing. “The ideal humidity level for home spaces is between 30-50% as too much humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth,” she warns.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Tom Hoerup

Use your vases for more than flowers.

If you don’t like the look of bowls of water being set out around your house try adding more moisture discreetly by adding a few empty vases of water around your house. As it evaporates it will put more moisture in the air while not taking up as much space as those bigger bowls do.

Re-edited from an original post by Regina Yunghans published on 2.1.10-NT