In spite of a very mild Chester County winter, windows are still closed and the heat is running. That is how the humidity starts to take a drastic drop. You’re certainly well acquainted with the unpleasant effects of a dry home: chapped lips, sore throats, dry skin and nasty shocks every time you take off a sweater. Low humidity can even irritate your sinuses or give you a bloody nose. Horizon Heating Services of Southeastern PA recommends an ideal home humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. Find out the indoor situation at your house using the weather channel’s humidity meter.
Many home improvement specialists recommend solving a low humidity problem by adding moisture to the air with a humidifier. However, humidifiers are costly and extremely difficult to maintain. The mold that can develop from using a humidifier can become much more of a hazard than the dry air you seek to improve. The Mayo Clinic claims that a dirty mist from a neglected humidifier can trigger or worsen asthma and allergy symptoms.
Increase moisture without a humidifier:
- First, nudge your temperature setting to the left! The more you use artificial heat, the drier the air will become.
- Add moisture back into the air: Because a humidifier essentially boils water and evaporates it into the air, you can create your own humidifying “devices” throughout the day. When cooking, leave boiling pots uncovered to allow steam to diffuse throughout the kitchen. You can also leave containers of water in each room to evaporate slowly during the day. Hang some of your laundry indoors to dry or hang up wet towels in the driest rooms of the house.
- Consider a dryer vent trick: If your dryer is on a main floor, the result will be similar to a steamed up bathroom that happens when you take a shower. An indoor dryer vent kit is simply a plastic bucket with a filter attachment that recirculates heat and captures the vent discharge.
- Natural room sprays can add slight hydration to a room by reducing static electricity on linens and curtains and freshening up the air.
Prevent dry skin:
- Face and body: Purchase nutrient-rich oils like coconut or jojoba and rub them directly on your skin or pour some olive oil in your bath. Simple Organic suggests a few natural remedies for dry winter skin with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.
- Lips: Try lip balms that don’t contain parabens or petrolatum like Hugo Naturals or Burt Bees. When you’re at home, you can use the oils on your lips too.
- Put moisture back into your body as often as possible by drinking more water!
Reduce static electricity:
- Skip the dryer sheets. Chemicals in dryer sheets can pose a respiratory health risk when heated and released into the air. To combat that annoying static cling, the National Geographic’s Green Guide recommends adding either a quarter cup of baking soda or white vinegar to the wash cycle. Either one will soften clothes; vinegar addresses static cling.
- Use natural sheets: Seek out products scented with essential oils like Seventh Generation’s lavender sheets or try a newer non-toxic invention called reusable dryer balls.
- Separate clothing types – Ever notice how the most dramatic shocks in your laundry usually come with a polyester tag? Synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic, rayon and polyester don’t play nice with cotton in the dryer. The combination of the two is often the cause of the static cling. Dry them separately or line dry indoors for a double benefit of less static and more moisture in the air.