Solutions for Closet Humidity
Closets are often small, warm spaces with poor lighting and air circulation. As a result, it is not uncommon for a closet to develop a problem with humidity. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, a humid closet can actually become a serious issue since the increased moisture can quickly lead to mold and mildew, which not only grow on the walls and shelves but on clothing and other stored items. Fortunately, there are several ways to combat humidity in a closet so you can protect your belongings and prevent a more serious problem from developing.
One of the easiest ways to get rid of humidity in your closet is to add a small dehumidifier. A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air to create a drier environment. The most typical model uses a refrigeration unit that contains an exposed cold coil. A fan draws moist air over the coil so it can be condensed and the condensed moisture is released through a drain or collected in a container that can be emptied. For a closet, choose a smaller model so you can still access your clothing, shoes and accessories while it is in operation.
Another way to reduce the humidity in your closet is to install an exhaust fan in the ceiling. A small bathroom-sized model is usually adequate for an average-sized closet. Purchase a fan that can be programmed to turn on and off throughout the day so the air circulates even when the door is shut. The moisture-laden air will be forced out around the door so the closet loses some of its humidity.
In a small closet, a strong light may be sufficient to dry out humid air. A ceiling mounted fixture that can house a 60- to 100-watt bulb can help heat the air in a smaller space and remove moisture. The drawback to this method is that the light must be run continuously to effectively dry the closet so it is not an energy efficient practice.
A box of ordinary baking soda is a simple, inexpensive solution to your closet's humidity problem. Place an opened box on a shelf or the floor of the closet. Just as it absorbs odors in your refrigerator, the baking soda absorbs moisture from the air and helps create a drier environment for your closet. It will also remove any musty odors that plague the space.
If you grill in the summer and a have a leftover bag of charcoal, it can help with a humid closet as well. Like baking soda, charcoal is a highly absorbent material, so it can help remove moisture from the air. Add several briquettes to a piece of cheesecloth or small mesh bag and place it on your closet shelf. You may also hang the charcoal from a hanger or hook if it is more convenient.
- University of Missouri Extension; How to Prevent and remove Mildew, Home Methods; Wanda Eubank.
- University of Missouri Extension; Dehumidifiers; Fred. M. Crawford
- This Old House; The Principles of Smart Closet Design; Duo Dickinson.
- "Gagazine"; Nine Practical Household Uses for Charcoal; Kimberly Lim; September 2010
Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
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