Crafting a DIY Humidifier: Harnessing Humidity

By: Evan Scoboria, Last updated: June 16, 2023

Maintaining a balanced indoor humidity level is essential for many reasons, from preserving the health of your wooden furniture to creating a comfortable living environment. While many commercial humidifiers are available, there's also the option to create your own DIY humidifier using simple materials you may already have at home. It's an appealing, cost-effective solution that not only helps to increase moisture in the air but also encourages resourcefulness and creativity.

Cast Iron Pot Humidifier

This guide will walk you through the process of crafting your very own DIY humidifier. We'll delve into how humidifiers work, the common household items you can utilize, and step-by-step instructions for constructing various DIY humidifiers. We'll also provide tips on maximizing the efficiency of your homemade humidifier and important safety precautions to consider. Whether you're an avid DIY enthusiast or simply looking for an economical way to enhance your home's humidity, this guide is designed to help you easily navigate the process.

Understanding How a Humidifier Works

A humidifier operates on a simple principle: it adds moisture to the air to increase the humidity levels. This is typically done through the process of evaporation. The humidifier heats or uses ultrasonic vibrations to turn water into vapor, then expelled into the room. As this vapor mixes with the room air, it raises the humidity level.

A DIY humidifier essentially does the same thing but in a simpler way. It uses the natural process of evaporation to add moisture to the air. For instance, placing a damp sponge or a pot of water near a heat source can serve as a basic humidifier. The heat causes the water to evaporate, releasing moisture into the air and thus, increasing the room's humidity.

While the process may seem straightforward, understanding it is crucial as it is the foundation for creating your DIY humidifier.

DIY Humidifier Ideas

Creating your own humidifier can be surprisingly simple, with most designs using everyday household items. Furthermore, it allows you to cater to your needs and preferences, from the humidifier's size to its placement in your home. In the following sections, we'll present various DIY humidifier ideas with step-by-step instructions.

Boiling Water and Using Containers

Boiling water is one of the most straightforward methods to increase your home's humidity. The steam that rises from the boiling water increases the moisture content in the air, thereby increasing the humidity. This can be particularly useful in dry winters when indoor air becomes excessively dry due to heating.

Here's how you can use boiling water and containers to increase the humidity in your home:

  1. Boiling Water on the Stove: Place a large pot of water on your stove and bring it to a boil. As the water boils, it releases steam into the air, increasing the humidity. You can enhance this effect by adding aromatic herbs or essential oils to the water for a pleasant scent.
  2. Steam from Shower: Another way to use the power of steam is to take advantage of your daily shower. When you shower, allow the bathroom door to remain open, letting the steam travel into other parts of your home.
  3. Containers of Water near Heat Sources: Place bowls or containers of water near heat sources, such as radiators or heating vents. The heat will cause the water to evaporate, adding moisture to the air.

Please remember, when using methods using boiling water or heat sources, always exercise caution to avoid burns or potential fire hazards.

Using these simple methods, you can effectively increase your home's humidity without needing a commercial humidifier. This not only saves you money but also allows you to make use of items you likely already have at home.

Utilizing Houseplants

Houseplants are well-known for their air-purifying abilities. NASA conducted a study in the 1980s that revealed certain houseplants could filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. More recent research also shows that indoor plants can, to a certain extent, help reduce carbon dioxide levels.

In addition to their air-purifying qualities, many houseplants also contribute to the humidity of a room. They do this through a process known as transpiration, and here's how it works:

  1. Water uptake: The plant absorbs water through its roots from the soil.
  2. Transpiration: The water moves through the plant to the leaves, evaporating from the surface into the surrounding air.
  3. Humidity increase: This release of water vapor into the air increases the room's humidity.

Types of Plants to Use

Turning to houseplants is a fantastic choice in the quest for natural humidity. Not only do they brighten up a room with their beauty, but they also release moisture into the air through a process known as transpiration. Here are a few options:

Spider Plants

Spider Plants: These plants are easy to care for and do well in various lighting conditions. They're great for beginners and are known for their air-purifying qualities and humidity-boosting abilities.

Peace Lilies

Peace Lilies: A popular indoor plant, the Peace Lily thrives in medium to low light, releasing much moisture into the air and helping purify it.

Areca Palms

Areca Palms: These tropical plants can grow quite large but are excellent for increasing humidity. They need a lot of light, so they're best placed near a window.

Boston Ferns

Boston Ferns: These plants love humidity, making them great for bathrooms or kitchens. They can be more demanding in care, requiring a consistent watering routine and a cool environment with high humidity and indirect light.

English Ivy

English Ivy: This plant is known for reducing airborne mold, making it an excellent choice for increasing humidity and improving air quality.

Please regularly water your humidity-boosting plants and keep them in the right lighting conditions. In return, they'll reward you with cleaner, more comfortable air.

Care Tips for Plants

Caring for plants might seem daunting initially, but it can be a rewarding experience with the correct information. Here are some tips to ensure your leafy friends thrive:

  1. Understand the Light Requirement: Each plant has unique lighting needs. Some plants need plenty of sunlight, while others do well in lower light conditions. Please always research the light requirements of your plants and position them right in your home.

  2. Water Wisely: Overwatering is a common cause of plant death, and it's essential to understand the watering needs of each plant. Some plants prefer their soil to dry completely between waterings, while others prefer moist soil.

  3. Maintain Humidity: Many indoor plants come from humid environments, so they thrive when the air isn't too dry. You can increase humidity by misting your plants, placing a water-filled tray near them, or using a humidifier.

  4. Feed Them Right: Plants need nutrients to grow. Use a suitable plant fertilizer and follow the instructions for how much and how often to feed your plants.

  5. Keep an Eye on Temperature: Most houseplants prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing them near drafts, heat vents, or air conditioners.

  6. Regularly Check for Pests: Indoor plants can still be attacked by pests. Please check your plants for signs of pests like mites, aphids, or whiteflies.

Remember, plant care is a learning process. Don't be discouraged if a plant doesn't thrive right away. With patience, you'll learn what each plant needs to flourish.

Repurposing Household Items

In the spirit of sustainability, several household items can be repurposed to serve as DIY humidifiers. These methods are effective and help reduce waste, as you're giving a new lease of life to things that would otherwise be discarded. Here are a few examples:

Wire Hanger Humidifier

One of the most ingenious ways to create a DIY humidifier is by repurposing a common household item: the humble wire hanger. Here's a simple guide on how to do it:



  1. Shape the Hanger: Begin by unfolding the wire hanger and reshaping it into a circle or oval. The goal is to create a frame to hold the cloth or towel.

  2. Attach the Cloth: Next, take your cotton cloth or towel and attach it to the wire frame. You can do this by cutting a hole in the center of the fabric and threading it onto the wire or by simply draping it over the wire and securing it with clips or ties.

  3. Place Over Water: Fill your container with water and place it where you want to increase humidity, such as near a heat source. Rest the wire frame with the cloth attached to the container, ensuring the fabric dips into the water.

  4. Let it Work: As the water heats up, it will evaporate from the container and be absorbed by the cloth. The warm air in the room will cause the water in the fabric to evaporate, increasing the humidity in the room.

This wire hanger humidifier is a perfect example of a DIY solution that is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly. Plus, it adds a touch of rustic charm to your decor. Happy crafting!

DIY Fan Humidifier

Another clever way to create a DIY humidifier involves using a household fan. The idea is to encourage evaporation by circulating air over a moist surface. Here's how to set up your fan-based humidifier:



  1. Prep Your Tray: Fill your tray or shallow container with water. The tray should be large enough for the sponge or cloth to lie flat but not so deep that the sponge is fully submerged.

  2. Place Your Sponge: Lay the sponge or absorbent cloth in the tray, allowing it to soak up as much water as possible.

  3. Position the Fan: Set up the fan to blow air directly across the sponge's surface. This will encourage faster evaporation as the moving air carries away the moisture that the sponge releases.

  4. Turn it On: Switch the fan to a low or medium setting. You should notice increased humidity as the fan blows air over the damp sponge and into the room.

Please regularly check the tray's water level and add more to ensure the sponge stays moist. This simple setup can effectively increase the humidity in a small room or area of your home, making it more comfortable during dry seasons. And the best part? It's an excellent way to repurpose items lying around the house.

Unconventional Methods

Several unconventional or "outside the box" methods exist to create a DIY humidifier. Here are a few ideas that you might consider:

Use a Fish Tank or Mini Aquarium

Fishtank for Humidity

Having a fish tank or mini aquarium at home can serve a dual purpose - it provides an aesthetic appeal and can act as a natural humidifier. The water in the aquarium evaporates slowly over time, increasing the moisture content of the air in the room.

Here's how you can use this method:

  1. Choose the Right Aquarium: Choose an aquarium that fits your needs depending on the size of the room and the amount of humidity you want to add. Remember, the larger the surface area of the aquarium, the more evaporation will occur, and thus, more humidity will be added to the room.

  2. Place the Aquarium Correctly: Position the aquarium in the room where you need increased humidity. However, avoid placing it in direct sunlight, which can cause excessive algae growth. Also, be aware of the weight of a filled aquarium and ensure the floor or furniture it's placed on can support it.

  3. Maintain the Aquarium: Regular aquarium maintenance is required to keep the fish clean and healthy. This includes feeding the fish, cleaning the tank, and regularly checking the water's pH and nitrate levels. Healthy fish will contribute to the tank's overall evaporation and humidity production.

  4. Use an Aquarium Heater: If you're keeping tropical fish, you'll likely already have a heater in your tank. The heat will increase the evaporation rate and thus improve the tank's effectiveness as a humidifier.

While a fish tank or mini aquarium can increase the humidity in a room, keep in mind that it won't have the same output as a dedicated humidifier. It's also important to remember that fish tanks require regular maintenance and care for the well-being of the fish.

As with other methods of increasing humidity, ensure the additional moisture doesn't lead to dampness or mold growth. A hygrometer can be used to keep track of the humidity levels in your home, with an ideal range being 30-50%.

Finally, aquariums add a calming element to your home decor while helping to improve air quality. Just remember, the primary purpose of an aquarium should be to provide a suitable environment for the fish, with its humidifying benefits being a secondary bonus.

Shower with the Door Open

Shower for Humidity

Showering with the door open is a simple and effective way to increase the humidity in your home, especially during the colder months when the air can be particularly dry. The steam generated by the hot water from the shower can spread into the rest of your home, effectively increasing the moisture in the air.

Here's how you can use this method:

  1. Take a Hot Shower: The first step is to take a hot shower. The heat from the water will create steam, increasing the bathroom's humidity.

  2. Keep the Door Open: Leave the bathroom door open while you shower, allowing the steam to spread into the rest of your house. If you're concerned about privacy, keep the door slightly ajar or use a shower curtain or screen for coverage.

  3. Close Other Doors and Windows: To maximize the effect, close doors and windows to other rooms. This can help to keep the moist air in your home instead of letting it escape outside.

  4. Keep the Fan Off: If your bathroom has an exhaust fan, keep it off during and after your shower to allow the humidity to build up and spread.

Remember, while this method can temporarily increase the humidity in your home, more is needed to maintain an optimal humidity level over time, especially in larger spaces. This method is also more effective in smaller homes or apartments where the moist air can more easily spread to other rooms.

In addition, while increasing humidity can be beneficial, too much moisture can lead to problems like mold growth. It's essential to strike a balance and aim for a humidity level of around 30-50%. Consider using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity in your home.

Finally, be cautious when moving on slippery surfaces post-shower, and ensure that the moisture does not damage any sensitive items in your house, like electronics or paper products.

Benefits of a DIY Humidifier

A DIY humidifier can offer several advantages compared to using a commercial humidifier.

Health Benefits

Several health benefits are associated with increased humidity and cleaner air, particularly respiratory health. Here are a few ways that utilizing houseplants as natural humidifiers can help you breathe easier:

  1. Reduced Dryness: Dry air can lead to dry skin, throat, and nasal passages, which can be uncomfortable and exacerbate certain conditions like asthma or allergies. By increasing humidity, plants can help alleviate these symptoms.

  2. Improved Respiratory Function: The added moisture in the air can help keep the respiratory tract moist, which is essential for maintaining effective respiratory function. It can also help to reduce symptoms of colds, coughs, and sore throats.

  3. Air Purification: Many houseplants are effective at removing toxins from the air. They absorb these toxins through their leaves and roots, and some plants can even break these toxins down and release them back into the soil as harmless byproducts. This can help to create a healthier breathing environment in your home.

  4. Reduced Stress and Improved Mood: Besides physical health benefits, having plants around has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. This could indirectly improve respiratory health by promoting deep, calm breathing.

  5. Better Sleep: Some plants, like the Snake Plant, also release oxygen at night, contributing to better air quality and, therefore, better sleep.

  6. Reduced Blood Pressure: There is evidence that indoor plants can help reduce blood pressure, possibly due to their calming effect. Lower blood pressure can lead to better overall health, including respiratory health.

Remember, while houseplants can contribute to a healthier indoor environment, they're not a replacement for medical treatment or other forms of air purification if those are needed. But they can certainly complement these treatments and contribute to a healthier, more comfortable living space.

Economic Benefits

When it comes to humidifying your space, opting for a DIY solution can have several economic benefits:

  1. Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of a DIY humidifier is that it is generally cheaper than buying a commercial humidifier. You often can use materials you already have at home, saving you from purchasing an expensive device.

  2. Lower Energy Costs: DIY humidifiers typically do not require electricity, unlike many commercial humidifiers. This can lead to significant energy savings over time.

  3. Maintenance and Replacement Costs: Commercial humidifiers often have filters that need to be replaced regularly, adding to their total cost. On the other hand, DIY humidifiers can be made from easy-to-clean materials and do not require expensive filters.

  4. Longevity: With proper care, DIY humidifiers can last for a long time. Unlike a commercial unit, which may become obsolete or stop working, a DIY humidifier can often be easily repaired or components replaced cheaply.

  5. Cost of Humidity Control: In some climates, maintaining the proper humidity levels can be challenging and costly. With a DIY solution, you can adjust your humidifier to your specific needs, saving you money on other humidity control solutions.

  6. Reduce Health-related Costs: By improving the air quality and humidity levels in your home, DIY humidifiers can help alleviate symptoms related to dry air, such as dry skin, dry eyes, and respiratory issues. This could save you money on health-related costs.

Remember, while DIY solutions can save money, they may be less powerful and efficient than commercial products. Depending on your specific needs, a commercial humidifier may still be the best option.

Environmental Benefits

Opting for a DIY humidifier instead of a commercially produced one can also have several environmental benefits:

  1. Reduced Energy Consumption: DIY humidifiers often don't require electricity, which can significantly reduce energy consumption. Lower energy usage saves on costs and reduces your carbon footprint.

  2. Reuse and Recycling: DIY humidifiers often utilize materials already available at home or easily accessible. This promotes the reuse of items and reduces the need for new materials, decreasing waste production.

  3. Less Manufacturing Impact: Commercial humidifiers are produced in factories that consume energy and direct emissions. By opting for a DIY solution, you reduce the demand for these products and, therefore, the environmental impact of their production.

  4. Fewer Chemicals: Some commercial humidifiers might release harmful substances into the air during operation or contain parts that are hazardous when disposed of. DIY humidifiers, especially those using natural materials, can be a safer alternative.

  5. Less Waste: Commercial humidifiers often require regular filters or replacement parts, leading to additional waste. DIY solutions can usually be maintained with less waste production.

  6. Long Lifespan: DIY humidifiers can often be easily repaired or parts replaced, which may give them a longer lifespan than some commercial units. This reduces the need for replacement and, therefore, the environmental impact of disposing of old units.

It's important to remember that DIY humidifiers have several environmental benefits. Still, they might be less efficient and effective than commercial humidifiers, especially in larger spaces or areas with dry air. Depending on your specific needs, a commercial humidifier might still be the best option.


Making a DIY humidifier is a fun, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly solution to dealing with dry air in your home. With a dash of creativity and a sprinkle of ingenuity, you can improve your comfort while embracing the satisfaction of a successful DIY project. So roll up your sleeves, and start crafting your way to a more humid and comfortable home environment.