DIY Humidifier – How to Humidify a Room Without a Humidifier

Create a DIY humidifier to humidify room.
DIY Humidifier – How to Humidify a Room Without a Humidifier
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

As a reader-supported website, we're able to keep it free. Buying something through a link on this page might earn us commissions. Thanks for that.

Sleeping in a dry atmosphere in your bedroom can be detrimental to your health. If you are waking with a dry mouth and throat, the air in your bedroom will likely dry. Dry air can be caused by the heating being ratcheted up a degree or two, or for those of you who use air conditioning, you will find the cooler your bedroom, the drier the air will be.

Adding humidity to a bedroom can be a challenge, and how do you know if you have enough or too much humidity in a bedroom? In this article, we will explore the possibilities for you to add humidity to your bedroom with a humidifier.

Let's get into it.

Is humidity in a bedroom healthy?

There is a need to have humidity in your home, the range should be 30-50%, but for most of you, this is a hit-and-miss calculation unless you have a hygrometer. You can check if the humidity level is low quite easily.

It is a simple test. Take a glass of water and a couple of ice cubes to the water, and place the glass in the bedroom. If you see condensation forming outside the glass, you have humidity in your bedroom.

What happens if your bedroom is too humid?

Too much humidity can have detrimental effects on your health, so you should strive to reach a happy medium when it comes to humidity levels.

You all know how humidity in mouldy showers and bathrooms can affect the bathroom decor, with mould growing in hard to get to places. The humidity in the air will form water on the walls. It's the same in your bedroom. Due to the relative temperature, spores can quickly occur.

You can have structural issues with walls if the problem is not addressed, and when it comes to health, your respiratory system is going to be impacted.

What happens if the air is too dry in a bedroom?

Dry air in the bedroom is bad news. You may be waking through the night with a dry throat. Your skin becomes itchy as moisture is drawn from the surface of your body.

The mucus membranes dry out. They are our first line of defence against viruses and airborne bacteria. Allergies become more prevalent and severe.

Does air conditioning cause low humidity? Yes, air conditioning strips the moisture from the air. In cold conditions, the air is very dry. If you work in an industry where air compressors are used, you will know that water and air compressors are not good for each other, so they fit refrigeration units to the compressor to pull the humidity from the air.

Some viruses can't survive in average humidity, so having a certain percentage of humidity in your bedroom is a real advantage.

Are there negatives to using a humidifier in my bedroom?

Yes. Humidifiers in your bedroom are great when they are new, but after a short time, the humidifier can become contaminated with water with bacterial growth.

A humidifier not sanitised regularly can become a ticking time bomb as it billows out moisture into the bedroom with living bacteria.

Inevitably you will inhale this humidity in the bedroom, and you can develop flu-like symptoms and much worse, such as pneumonia.

Humidifiers in infants' bedrooms have been associated with fatalities from an aggressive form of legionnaires disease.

Can a humidifier damage a room?

Humidifiers can cause irreversible damage to the walls in your bedroom. Many innocently sleep with humidifiers in their bedrooms, unaware that they are loading the room's humidity to almost a point of saturation where the air will meet its dew point.

At this stage, condensation starts forming on the bedroom walls, being drawn into the wall until the wall is the perfect breeding ground for microscopic spores that cause mould in the bedroom.

Invariably the bedroom walls will start to become black. This is mould.

Here are some of the symptoms of black mould in your bedroom:

  • Sneezing when you wake is an allergic reaction to the mould.
  • Itchy eyes, mouth and nose and lips.
  • Sore eyes that stream with water.
  • Persistent runny nose.
  • Nasal congestion, blocked nose.

If you suffer from respiratory ailments or asthma, you can expect:

  • Chest tightness.
  • Shortness of breath. Wheezing and coughing.

The walls in our homes are absorbent with wood supports for structural stability. High humidity levels in the bedroom could, over time, affect your home's structural stability.

How do I know if I need a humidifier in the bedroom?

There are tell-tale signs that the air in your bedroom does not have enough humidity for you to sleep soundly. They are:

  • Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. Your skin will start to dry out and become flaky and itchy if your humidity levels are off in your bedroom.
  • A dry nose shows small nose bleeds where the mucus membranes have become too dry. You can also experience general nasal congestion through the night that forces you to breathe through your mouth, causing a dry mouth and throat.
  • Are you getting static shocks? Humidity dispels the natural electrical charge around us.

Is humidity good for the lungs while sleeping?

People with allergies and asthma benefit from humidity in the air. The bronchial passages become less irritated, making breathing easier. This is also true for children with breathing difficulties.

Here is where things become complicated. Water vapour inhaled from a humidifier that is not clean is worse than breathing dry air regardless of your allergies and asthma.

The bacteria and virus in the dirty humidifier can be the perfect storm to trigger a severe bout of respiratory problems.

How do you humidify your bedroom without a humidifier?

Humidity control in bedrooms is not a new issue. Your grandparents and their parents would have faced the same issues as you do today but with less available technology to address the situation.

Here are some inspiring ideas that are practical and old school but work effectively.

1. Back to basics

Add a simple water bowl to your bedroom for effective humidity control. It's almost self-regulating. The hotter and dryer the bedroom, the more evaporation will occur. 

Humidity can still be an issue if your bedroom is on the cool side. Cool air strips moisture from the atmosphere. You will still achieve a level of evaporation to place the correct humidity in the air your breather.

Are there any caveats to using a water bowl in your bedroom for humidity control? Only the standard safety issues, keep the bowl on a flat level surface and away from electrical outlets. 

It may seem obvious, but change the water daily and clean the water bowl thoroughly.

2. Leave the shower door open

This will only work if you have an ensuite bathroom in your bedroom. If you have a steamy shower, then leave the bedroom door open and when you finish the shower, leave the door open. The steam and moisture from the shower will fill the bedroom with moisture. 

It's another way of bypassing problematic bedroom humidifiers that can be detrimental to your health.

It is a good way of killing two birds with one stone. You vent the moisture from the ensuite to the bedroom and prevent mould build-up in the ensuite shower.

This may not be a solution if you are in the depths of winter and your bedroom is on the cool side of the temperature spectrum, as condensation could build on the bedroom walls.

If this is the case, regulate the amount of moisture entering the bedroom with the door to the ensuite wide open for max moisture and ajar for a small amount of humidity.

3. House plants

House plants can indeed draw moisture from the air, which is excellent if you have excess humidity, but they can also add humidity to the bedroom. Just be the very nature of compost. Watering the houseplant is not recommended to provide sufficient evaporation for humidity, bringing with it some of the compost elements. It is not a great solution.

However, you can add a gravel tray and add water to the plant from there. The gravel tray will also help regulate the humidity of the bedroom.

Alternatively, you could add a wide neck vase of fresh flowers to your bedroom, this would have the same effect as the water bowl, but you have the addition of beautiful flowers in the bedroom.

4. Nature's humidifier

Placing bowls of water and vases in kid's bedrooms for humidity may not be the best idea as little fingers can cause a lot of mischief, so if you need to add moisture to a child's bedroom, you could use a sponge. It's natural. You can regulate how much water you add or how little is needed to prevent spills.

A natural sponge is possibly the best proposition say over a manufactured sponge that has chemicals in the manufacturing process,

The sponge should absorb enough water and give up its continents in a regulated fashion over the course of the night. It's an excellent solution for any bedroom but for kids. It's safe.

Where to place the sponge in a bedroom? If you have air conditioning, place it in a space away from the cool air stream, maybe in front of a fan. If you have a warm radiator, place it close to maximise the initial evaporation.

5. It doesn't have to be boring

A simple glass of water is going to add humidity to your bedroom, but a simple glass of water is somewhat dull and making your bedroom a haven of rest is also essential.

There is always a creative way to jazz things up. Why not add some decoration to your glass of water? It could be delicate botanical fronds or even slices of fruit, and it's not going to affect the evaporation rate, so have fun with your water containers, bowls, glasses or spongers.

6. Air dry laundry

If we have one thing in common, we all have laundry to dry, and wet laundry that has been rinsed well is full of moisture that is ideal for adding humidity to a bedroom. Any indoor clothes dryer is good enough to use in the bedroom.

If your room is hot, you may need to add more humidity to make the bedroom's temperature tolerable. You could hang wet towels when wet, not dripping wet, creating pools of water on the bedroom floor.

To speed up the evaporation process from the towels or clothes, you could place a fan to blow warm air across the fabrics.

7. Don't empty the bathtub

If you prefer to conserve resources as much as possible, then after you have your daily bath, leave the water in the tub. It will add humidity to the bedroom (if it is ensuite).

A wider surface area will evaporate much quicker than, say, from a glass of water. Warm water evaporates faster than cold water, and most bath water is warm, so take full advantage of the water that will otherwise be sent down the drain.

Scents in the bath will evaporate, but that should be fine. If they are oil-based, they will sit on the surface and not evaporate.

Is there a caveat to this way of bringing the humidity levels up in your bedroom? If you have a young family, a bathtub full of water could be a temptation and a hazard to small kids.

8. Find a new purpose for candle warmers

Most of you have one gathering dust or burning a few drops of your favourite essential oil. But with a good clean, this is the perfect way to add humidity to your bedroom quickly.

The water reservoir will take some time to evaporate with a candle. You can use it when you go to bed, extinguish the candle before you sleep, and let the natural evaporation process take over.

It's an excellent way to address a problem quickly, but having candles in the bedroom can be hazardous so never leave a burning candle unattended.

We all have drapes in the bedroom, which are great at absorbing moisture and are always very dry. Spraying your drapes with distilled water (avoid mineral stains) is a way you can add a regulated release of moisture in the bedroom to increase humidity.

There is no need to saturate the drapes. A gentle misting of water will be sufficient to add humidity.

How do I increase humidity in my bedroom without a humidifier?

There are many ways, so let's recap:

  • Air Dry your clothes in your bedroom during the daylight hours. If needed, add a wet but not dripping towel and use a fan to blow air across the fabric surface, speeding evaporation.
  • Go back to basics and do what your grandparents did. Use a bowl of fresh water in your bedroom and allow it to evaporate to increase humidity.
  • A vase of flowers will add humidity as the water evaporates for the vase on the structure of the flowers. Make sure the water is changed daily. Flower water can get funky very quickly.
  • Place water dishes near a heat source for fast evaporation.
  • If you have an ensuite, leave the door open when you shower or bathe. The steam and vapour will increase the humidity levels in the bedroom.
  • Conserve water. Leave your water in the bathtub overnight to evaporate, and leave the ensuite door open.

Does water evaporate overnight?

There is evaporation. Even when temperatures are low, as low as 1℃, water will still evaporate, it is slower, but it is happening.

Evaporation is a phase transition. Any transition that changes water to vapour requires a heat source, which can be ambient heat. The process is called sublimation.

If there is insufficient heat, there will not be a phase shift.

Is it true that a glass of water will evaporate in a bedroom?

Under most circumstances, a glass of water will evaporate in a bedroom. However, if the room is 100% humid, evaporation will not occur. The glass of water does help hydrate the room, so it's a great quick tip, however, it's not as effective as a humidifier.

Will water evaporate at 60℃ in a bedroom?

Water evaporation does not begin at 60 degrees and occurs at all temperatures. Water evaporates even at 0° C. However, the volume of water vapour produced by this evaporation grows with temperature, reaching a vapour pressure equal to air pressure at 100°C. 

Final thoughts

Balancing humidity levels in your bedroom can be challenging, but the truth is that too much, and too little humidity can be detrimental to your health.

Using a humidifier can be fraught with problems. Cleaning these units to satisfactory standards is difficult and takes time and energy. You can achieve much the same outcome by using basic techniques to elevate the humidity in your bedroom.

An attractive bowl of water with a flower floating on top is a great way to add decor and humidity to your bedroom.

If you have kids with allergies, it could be from humidity levels in their bedrooms. Take all precautions when placing water in a child's bedroom to avoid spills and slips.