Don't Sweat It; This Is How to Deal With a Humid Bathroom

If you live in an older house or apartment building, like I do, there's a good chance your bathroom doesn't have a ventilation fan. Though candles and incense have helped me cope with one of the side effects of that unfortunate situation, it wasn't until summer hit that I realized the other annoyance: humidity. On hotter days after a shower, my towels stay soaking wet, and condensation from the toilet tank leaves puddles on the floor. And humidity isn't just annoying; in the long run, it can cause serious health and home problems like mold.

If you do have a fan, the best way to reduce humidity in your bathroom is, of course, to run it, preferably before you start your shower and then for about 20 minutes after. Same thing applies if you have a window you can open. But if your bathroom is lacking ventilation, never fear. There are plenty of other ways to reduce humidity, even if you can't remove it completely. Try out these different methods to dehumidify your bathroom to find one that works best for you.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you don't have a bathroom fan, there are plenty of ways you can replicate its effects with a dehumidifier. You might be familiar with humidifiers during dry summer weather or when you get sick. As the name implies, dehumidifiers are the opposite of humidifiers — they work to remove moisture from the air, rather than add it. Dehumidifiers come in all shapes, sizes, and types, and they are one of the simplest ways to dry out a room like your bathroom. Standard models are plugged into the wall and have water tanks that you'll occasionally need to drain. There are also self-contained products like DampRid, which feature moisture-absorbing materials such as crystals and are disposed of once they've absorbed all the water they can. Whether you prefer a classic dehumidifier that requires occasional emptying or a hands-off product you don't have to keep an eye on, there are plenty of dehumidifiers out there that can take the place of a bathroom fan. If a dehumidifier isn't the right choice for your bathroom, whether for space, electricity concerns, or otherwise, there are a few other hacks you can try to keep your bathroom dry.

Consider Switching Up Your Shower Routine

One simple way to deal with humidity is to create less of it. Hotter water creates higher humidity levels, so taking shorter showers with colder water is an obvious solution. Unfortunately, it's not necessarily the most practical if you're not looking to make any major lifestyle changes or if your bathroom holds on to hot, heavy air for hours, regardless of the type of shower.

Leave the Door Open

One of the easiest options to reduce humidity is to expand the space in which the humidity is trapped. Depending on your roommate situation, leaving the door open while you shower will allow more of that damp air to escape (even if it makes for a colder exit!). Using a ceiling fan to distribute humidity after you shower can help, too.

Remove Sources of Moisture

Another strategy is to remove any additional moisture from your bathroom; after all, it's not just the air that holds onto water, there are other culprits, too. Drying your bath towels outside of the bathroom might not match your decor, but it helps both the towels dry faster and the bathroom dehumidify. Because towels hold moisture, they eventually release it into the air, which makes your bathroom more humid. And same goes for your bath mat or bathroom rug (in fact, the CDC recommends avoiding the use of carpet in your bathroom, to prevent mold from growing). Keeping the hand towel outside might be tricky, of course, but doing this with the larger towels can make a big difference. Or if you are like me and usually let your beach-day bikini drip dry in the shower, you might want to explore an alternative spot for it on humid days.

Wipe Down Wet Spots

One effective option that requires a bit more elbow grease is actually wiping down the wet spots that occur in your bathroom. Common offenders include condensation that collects on the toilet tank, shower walls, curtains, mirrors, and windows. When you physically remove extra water that's hanging out in your bathroom, it can't evaporate into the air later, which means less humidity. For example, squeegeeing the condensation from your shower walls sends it down the drain, rather than letting it stick around to evaporate later on. You can also wipe down wet surfaces with a towel, but just make sure you use a new towel that isn't getting stored in your bathroom, otherwise no water is actually removed from the room. Turns out wiping off your mirror to do your skin-care routine after you shower has benefits after all (beyond making you feel like the main character in a rom-com, that is)!

Try Adding Houseplants

Want a more fun and stylish option? Houseplants! Some plants, like ferns, absorb moisture through their leaves, which makes them a perfect choice for humid bathrooms. You can think of them as a natural dehumidifier that just so happens to look adorable, too. Just make sure you're using houseplants that remove humidity rather than add it, as some plants can actually introduce more moisture into your bathroom through evapotranspiration (a fancy way of saying that if you need to water them, some of that water can escape back into the air).

Regardless of the humidity situation in your bathroom, I hope these tricks can help you defeat the damp!