How do you dry out a damp apartment?

February 10 2014 | offbeatbride
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
moister removerI need some help with my housekeeping. My husband and I have just bought a lovely flat on the ground floor. Unfortunately, we have moved from living over a store, with constant heat warming and drying our flat all day. The ground floor unit is rather cool and definitely a bit soggy in the bathroom.

Any advice for drying out a place (apart from heaters), or keeping mould away?

My family and my little flat thank you! -Alyce

Our first piece of advice is to cruise over to Amazon and invest in some moisture absorbers which can be little canisters like the Household Moisture Absorber Tub with charcoal (pictured above). There's also the aptly named DampRid and Dri-Z-Air products. Ooh, or check out the Eva-dry wireless mini dehumidifer for a more tech-y solution.

Do any of our Homies have experience with any of these products, or have you invented your own way to de-damp your home?

  1. Buy a de-humidifier! Our bathroom exhaust fan was not working and the mildew was taking over, despite my valiant efforts to fight it off. We bought a de-humidifier on Amazon and it was like night and day. We accidentally bought one meant for a basement, so it was extra powerful. I don't really see a drawback to that, but it was more expensive than one meant for a smaller bathroom-sized space.

  2. I live in an extremely humid place (year round, even in winter). Our solution is to run dehumidifiers constantly – the electric bill might be a little higher, but it beats having all of our things mold.

  3. In my experience, your best bet for getting rid of moisture in a consistantly damp space is to invest in a good dehumidifier. There are lots of options on Amazon that you can get delivered this time of year. Although, most hardware stores don't carry them all year round. We have a finished basement that is about 350 square feet. We got a full-scale dehumidifier for about $150 and it solved our moisture problem and got rid of the musty smell in a few days time. If you have the funds, invest in the real thing!

  4. We've used DampRid in our windowsills but it didn't make a huge difference. The bucket would fill with water but there was still condensation on the windows. This winter we've tried to keep the heat on more, but I think we'll be getting a dehumidifier soon — I'm tired of cleaning mold from the windowsills.

    • Yes, in my experience, DampRid helps, but really it's best for smaller areas or rooms, like helping to reduce moisture in a closet, or a very small room. For a whole apartment (even a small one), you're probably better off getting a dehumidifier, rather than having to continually buy more DampRid bags, as they will fill up pretty quickly and you may or may not notice much of a difference.

      One other thing: those DampRid bags smell kinda weird. You may not mind it, but it took me a while to get used to it when we used them.

  5. In addition to buying a dehumidifier, do a quick wipe down your shower walls after every shower- they don't have to be dry, but a little friction prevents mold from taking hold (and helps with soap scum too). We have tiles around the shower, so we use a little mini squeegee.

    If you can, hang your towels to dry in a larger room with good air circulation.

  6. We lived in a SUPER damp ground floor apartment for about 6 months and dealt with this constantly! My advice:

    *Get a BIG dehumidifier — we were lucky in that our landlord had a 5 gallon one, but buy something that can hold a lot of water. this one holds 3 gallons. We kept the big one in our bedroom and kept a smaller one in the bathroom.
    *Run your bathroom fan constantly — even if you're not in there or no one is washing. Our landlord initially said to run it one hour before a shower, during the shower, and one hour after but that didn't do much. We got in the habit of leaving it on all the time.
    *Don't buy into the hype about these tiny renewable wireless dehumidifiers — in my experience, they don't work and don't last long.

    Best of luck!!

    • For about 6 months, I was breaking out & itchy, feeling confident that I had bed bugs, my doctor thought I had scabies (EW. I don't even like saying that word!). Turns out it was just a reaction to mold caused my moisture. We got a dehumidifier (Soleus brand, around $140). LIFE CHANGING.

    • I wish we had a bathroom fan (or a kitchen vent hood with a fan) to run in this apartment. We live in a old apartment in the Pacific Northwest with no ventilation other than opening the windows and using a ceiling fan located in the living room. The condensation is pretty serious if we don't have the heat on or the windows open all the time. The moisture levels are good for our dry skin, so I'm hesitant to get a dehumidifier. I might consider it though.

      Also, I've had a number of bathroom fans that got really noisy or broke if I ran them for too long. Did you run into any of those problems when running it all the time?

  7. I definitely agree with the others–a dehumidifier is a must-have. We have a damp basement and it makes a huge difference. Because we got sick of constantly emptying the reservoir, we actually hacked ours by propping it over the utility sink and installing a little hose so that it constantly drains into the sink. I also use the water on my garden plants.

    I've also heard that electric towel warmers can really help keep your towels dry and fresh, rather than damp and musty.

  8. I can offer some advice!
    Get a nice dehumidifier, as other have said.
    Make sure to open the windows every day for at least 15 minutes, unless it's raining.
    Open the doors of your closets for a few hours every few days, especially if they are located in a perimetral wall. If you have furniture you use to keep your clothes and shoes that you can move arount, place them on the internal walls.
    The most important thing: if you can manage your heating system, set it so as the temperature in the house never goes below 17°C, even if you're not at home or are in another room. A house gets cold much faster than it heats up and the sudden change of temperature is terrible for humidity.
    Good luck, it's annoying battle to fight 🙂

  9. If it's wet, look for the source of the damp, and see what you can do with caulking, insulation or other barrier methods to keep the water out in the first place.
    In addition to a dehumidifier (or for while you're waiting to get one) run a household fan to move the air around. Moving air doesn't feel as stale and languid as still moist air.
    Liberally use conditioning agents on your wooden furniture, flooring and walls – like Pledge or Old English wood polish. (Some of the more gentle brands also work nicely on leather furniture!)

  10. Our house is 160 years old – that means it has zero insulation, a dirt-floor basement, and all modern conveniences were late additions well after initial construction. This place is damp! Last fall, I recognized that we had a mold issue in and near our bathroom. While trying to clean the mold, I also was forced to recognize we had awful organizational and cleaning skills. I had to take everything out of the closet and wipe all surfaces with vinegar or bleach, so I was forced to *see* all of the stuff we no longer used but shoved into the back of the shelves. I threw away or Freecycled tons of stuff from our bathroom and kitchen. It turns out that less stuff = more air flow = less mold. Additionally, I've overcome my belief that vinegar cleans all things and now spray diluted bleach on the bathtub grout once a month.

    While I can't afford to fix the moisture issues in my crazy old (rented) home, I can say that better cleaning and organizing makes it much more manageable.

  11. My husband, who is an electrical engineer, says that a heater will only make your problem worse. He also says that the problem with a dehumidifier is that water accumulates in the bottom of a pan in the unit that collects the water and the next time the area is heated the water will release yet again. He thinks that the solution to your problem is to completely remove the moisture from the air by installing a vent. Good luck with that. Hope that helps.

  12. In the warmer months your A.C. will help. It dehumidifies as part of its design. You may not need to run dehumidifiers all year depending on how cool you like it inside in the summer.

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