Plastic-free ways to tackle humidity // のーぷら 家の湿気対策

When I had left Japan to go to the UK for two weeks, it was still pretty chilly here. And then I got back, and bam! Humidity had hit full-on. 
We had some random mold on the kitchen top, the air was heavy, and washed clothes were forever not drying.

The most “common” way to tackle humidity in the house this is to buy one of these (photo below) plastic-ridden items in a drugstore or supermarket. You have to replace this whole "dehumidifier" / 除湿剤 every so often, when they’ve collected enough water from the air. They may contain charcoal-derived materials, calcium chloride powder, jelly-like beads that suck the water up and expand. 
While the content varies, it is nonetheless a wasteful thing to chuck this kind of brick of single-use plastic away every time...!

Dehumidifier in Japan - plastic



Here are 3 alternative ways to dehumidify your room without single-use plastic*
そこで… プラスチックフリーで部屋を除湿する方法を三つご紹介します

*it is up to you to source a plastic-free version of these alternatives, though!

  1. Salt // 塩

  2. Newspaper // 新聞紙

  3. Charcoal // 炭

1. Salt
One of the simplest ways to collect humidity is to use salt – also known as sodium chloride. As mentioned in the introduction, calcium chloride can be found in some of the store-bought single-use dehumidifiers. The difference is that calcium chloride presents more of a health risk that sodium chloride, even if the risk is still considered low. If calcium chloride is inhaled, it can cause irritation to the lungs, and contact with the eyes or wet skin can cause irritations and/or burns.

Plastic-free way to take away the humidity – Japanese summer

Initially I did this, but the water had nowhere to go, so I changed to the below...!


Place a mountain of salt in a sieve and place that over a dish so that the water can collect underneath. In the photo I have Himalayan pink salt not because I am fancy, but because I accidentally spilled half the bag on the floor and had to find a way to use it... *sob*

Once the plate is wet, instead of chucking the salt away, place it in a clean and dry frying pan, and dry it out over medium heat for a minute or so, shaking the pan lightly to move the salt around. It will be ready to collect more moisture once it's been dried.


2. Newspaper
I don’t read printed newspapers these days, but the trash disposal area of our apartment always has lots of neatly stacked ones that people want to throw out. Newspaper is great for places where moisture collects in a concentrated way, rather than for example a large room that is generally just quite moist.

You can lay newspaper underneath your bedsheets so that it sucks up the sweat moisture overnight. We sweat during the night even in the winter, so you can guarantee to be sweating it out during the summer time! This helps keep the bed more hygienic too, as less bacteria is trapped in the bedsheet itself. It does make a bit of a rustling sound...

You could also place lightly balled up newspaper inside shoes to suck out moisture, or place some underneath clothes in your drawers. This way the moisture collects in the newspaper rather than the drawer itself – with nowhere for the moisture to go, it would either damage the drawer over time if it's wood for example, or the moisture is retained in the clothes, leading to mold etc. 

Once you feel that the newspaper has lost its crispness (but it won't be visibly soggy most likely!), you can simply smooth it out and dry the newspaper in the sun, to be reused again.


3. Charcoal

Charcoal is super popular right now, as it has many applications.
One classic zero waste hack is to keep a stick of charcoal (I recommend bamboo for this, as it is harder and doesn't flake as much as other wood materials) in water, as it is said to remove impurities such as chlorine from tap water. 

In terms of humidity, for bamboo charcoal for example, Greenyarn says: "As bamboo charcoal contains lots of pores and almost contains no moisture; it is effective in reducing humidity. When the humidity in the air is less than the bamboo charcoal, it will release moisture in the air humidifying the room."

Place a bunch of charcoal in a basket, and leave it out. It looks nice as interior decoration, too, and works great in larger areas like rooms unlike newspaper being best for specific places like closets or beds. 

Usually it's best to dry it out in the sun after about half a year, but in the summer in Japan, I'd recommend drying it in the sun once a month, just in case!
I ordered mine off Rakuten (would've been better if I had gone to a bamboo manufacturer or store in person, but unfortunately I couldn't do that this time) – I requested for the packaging to be plastic-free, but it came in one plastic bag. Not the best, but also not the worst. 



So, those are the three plastic-free ways to reduce humidity at home! I hope you found them useful! If you know of any more, let me know by commenting on Instagram! @noplasticjapan


いかがでしたか?プラスチックフリーの家で湿気を取る方法でした。他の方法など、ぜひインスタグラムでコメントして教えてください! @noplasticjapan



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