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If you’ve been burning through a bottle of shea butter lotion a week, you already know that winter sucks moisture out of the air. The drier the air, the lower the humidity, which causes a number of irritations like dry skin and susceptibility to cold and flu germs. Dry air can also damage your home, causing extra dust, cracks in wood floors and furniture and damage to electronic equipment. Fear not! Low humidity levels in your home are easy to fix.
1. Measure your home’s humidity. If you’re getting shocked every time you touch a doorknob, or the water in a flower vase needs to be filled every day, your home’s humidity is likely too low! To measure the humidity level, we recommend purchasing a hygrometer, which costs around $20 and is sold in most drug and grocery stores. For optimum comfort, your home’s humidity level should be around 45 percent during the winter months. However, this can vary depending on climate (check to see what your home’s indoor humidity level should be with this calculator).
2. Purchase a humidifier. If the humidity level in your home is below 30 percent, it’s a good idea to purchase a humidifier for your home. You can find these at any store that sells home goods, and they cost anywhere between $20-$60, depending on the size and strength of the humidifier. If you’re waking every morning with a scratchy throat, place your humidifier in your bedroom!
3. Use natural evaporation. If you don’t want to spring for a humidifier right now, distribute shallow dishes of water around your home. The best place to put the water is near radiators, heating vents or sunny windowsills. The heat will help the water evaporate and this will help add moisture to the air.
4. Hang your clothes to dry. Every little bit of moisture will help your home, even if it’s coming from damp clothes! As they dry, the moisture will be released into the air. Bonus: Air-drying your clothes will lower your electricity bill because you won’t need to run the dryer!
5. Add some houseplants. Plants naturally release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration (that’s a fancy way of saying water vapor comes out of their leaves), so they're a great, natural way to add a little humidity. Make sure you take good care of your new houseplants!
Be careful not to add too much humidity to your house – high humidity levels can have negative effects on your home health, too. If you notice fogging or condensation on your windows, your home is probably too humid. In the summer months, when humidity levels are higher, it’s a great idea to consider getting a dehumidifier for your basement to prevent mold and mildew growth.
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