Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do You Plan to Use a Humidifier this Winter?

I'm thinking about buying a humidifier. I keep hearing how awesome they are from friends who have one. According to AllergyBeGone.com, humidifiers:
  • Help prevent winter infections, and alleviate the symptoms of cold, flu, and asthma attacks by keeping the mucous membranes that protect your respiratory airways moist. Proper humidity also helps relieve sinus pains and dry, sore throat.
  • Help prevent dry, itchy skin and chapped lips.
  • Prevent wooden objects (furniture, musical instruments, hardwood floors) from cracking and warping.
If you'll be using a humidifier, you'll need to clean and disinfect it weekly to keep bacteria and mold from thriving and spreading about your home. Jillee shows us how at her superfun blog, One Good Thing. I suggest skipping the bleach and using hydrogen peroxide as an alternative, of course.

Adorable children's humidifier at Magic Beans.

Of course, I worry about the environmental impact of adding another appliance to the mix. According to Sylvane, in-duct humidifiers are the least expensive to run and most energy-efficient humidifiers to use in the long-run, but I'm a renter so that's really not going to happen. 

Thankfully, there are ways to increase indoor humidity without using a humidifier.
  • If it isn't cold outside, open a window, especially on rainy days.
  • Keep the bathroom door open during and after showers and baths.
  • Rest a baking pan or pot full of water on radiators to create steam. (I got this trick from my mom!)
  • Hanging laundry to dry is another great way to add some humidity indoors. 
  • Houseplants, and their damp soil, are great sources of indoor humidity. 
  • Open the dishwasher once the dishes are cleaned. This allows dishes to air dry and spreads some juicy steam throughout the kitchen.

Do you plan on using a humidifier this winter? Do you have a humidifier that you love? Have any other ideas for keeping humidity up indoors?

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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