Living With Allergies

How to Make a DIY Humidifier When You're Feeling Congested

A photo of a humidifier filling a home with mist.
Photo by Mariana Rascão via Unsplash

If congestion is one of your allergy symptoms, you’ve probably been told to get a humidifier—and for good reason. A humidifier, well, humidifies the air, and that extra moisture helps break up the mucus that keeps you congested. That’s why, depending on where you live, you may have noticed your congestion isn’t quite so bad in the summer, when the air isn’t quite as dry as it is in the winter.

While humidifiers for allergies are the easiest way to battle dry air in your home and the congestion that comes with it, they can be pricey, especially if you live in a large space. Plus, you might want the benefits of one today but won’t be able to get to a store or have one delivered right away...

Don’t fret! It turns out there are plenty of DIY hacks to increase your home’s humidity, often with supplies you already have.

Here’s how to get rid of dry air in your home without a store-bought humidifier.

How To Make Your Home Humidify Itself

First, let’s talk about how to humidify a room without a humidifier.

1. Turn on the stove

Heating water creates vapor that adds moisture to the air. So if you spend a lot of time in your kitchen or a room nearby, this could work for you.

  • Step 1: Fill a kettle or pot with water.
  • Step 2: Heat it on a burner over high heat.
  • Tip: Don’t leave your stove unattended, and make sure to either remove or refill the kettle or pot once the water has evaporated.

2. Use your shower

Shower with an open door or open the door as soon as you’re done to make the adjacent room more humid.

  • Step 1: Turn your shower up to your desired temperature (or as hot as you feel comfortable with).
  • Step 2: That’s it!
  • Tip: Make sure the bathroom window is closed and any fans are off so the steam has no place to go but out the bathroom door and into nearby rooms.

3. Use your in-home heating

Did you know heating sources like radiators are the perfect place to create humidity?

  • Step 1:Fill a bowl or pot with water.
  • Step 2: Place it on or near your home’s heat source (such as a radiator, a fireplace, or a wood stove.)
  • Tip: Always use glass, ceramic, or metal bowls or pots so you don’t have to worry about the heat warping them.

4. Skip your clothes dryer

Looking for a reason to cut down time on your laundry routine? Hanging wet laundry will help boost the moisture in the air.

  • Step 1: Set up a drying rack (or multiple racks, depending on how much laundry you have).
  • Step 2: Hang your clothes in central areas of your home, like the living room.
  • Tip: If your congestion is worse at night, save your laundry for right before bed and hang the wet clothes in your bedroom.

5. Invest in houseplants

Plants are a great way to increase the humidity in your home, especially if you group a lot of them together. (Just be sure to skip any plants that might aggravate your allergies.)

  • Step 1: Take the plants you have and divide them up in your living room, bedroom, and anywhere else you want to increase the moisture in the air.
  • Step 2: Figure out the right watering schedule and make sure you don’t under- or over-water them.
  • Tip: You can grow some plants—like pothos, which are great air purifiers—directly in water, rather than soil, which is even better for adding moisture to the air.

6. Use your decor to your advantage

Decorative vases don’t have to just be decoration!

  • Step 1: Fill up your vases with water.
  • Step 2: Place them in the sunniest spots of your home, like window sills or a table or desk near the window. (The sunlight speeds up the evaporation process.)
  • Tip: You can leave the vases empty or put flowers in them. Just remember to opt for fake flowers if real ones aggravate your allergies, or if you want to keep your costs down.

Imagine a world where you don't worry about the air at home

Click below to get started!

How to Make a DIY Humidifier

On top of those humidity hacks, you can also build a homemade humidifier.

1. The chair method

You can easily replicate the effect of a store-bought humidifier with a plastic/waterproof tub, a bath towel, a small fan, and a kitchen table chair.

  • Step 1: Set the chair near an electric outlet, so it’s facing the wall.
  • Step 2: Position the tub by the back of the chair.
  • Step 3: Add water to the tub until it’s a few inches full.
  • Step 4: Wet the towel (not so much that it’s dripping) and drape it over the back of the chair so that one end is dipped in the water.
  • Step 5: Set the fan on the seat of the chair so that it’s facing the towel and turn on the low setting.
  • Tip: It’s best to use an older chair or one you don’t care too much about, because the moisture from the towel can damage the finish.

2. The hanger method

Here’s a similar DIY humidifier you can build, if you want something a little simpler.

  • Step 1: Fill a bowl or pot with water.
  • Step 2: Bend a wire clothes hanger and wedge it into the bowl or pot so it creates an arc
  • Step 3: Hang a damp washcloth or hand towel over the hanger so one end dips into the water.
  • Tip: You can also incorporate the fan from the previous DIY humidifier, or use a desktop fan.
View medical disclaimer
Get allergy tips and tricks straight to your inbox.It’s not just what you treat with, it’s also how. Learn how to make the most of your meds, avoid common treatment mistakes, and find just what you need to feel your absolute best.
Everyone experiences allergies differently, which is why you need something unique.Through a short quiz, we’ll learn about your symptoms and treatment history. Then we’ll personalize an Allergy Pack with just the right medications for you.