Dampness is a common problem in homes, especially older ones.
When walls, moulding, or carpets are damp for a long time they can start to grow mildew, which not only smells bad but can cause some serious health problems from breathing in the mould spores. Mildew and damp can also damage furniture and upholstery, and, all in all, it’s a problem that should always be dealt with swiftly.
What Causes Damp?
Older homes are more susceptible to damp because they usually have solid walls instead of pine framing with a covering of plaster. They’re also, well, older, and damp or rotting spots often have a long time to build up before they become noticeable. Damp can get in through windows, floors, walls, the roof, doors, and leaky pipes. Usually you’ll notice a damp patch at the spot where the water is getting into the house, making damp relatively easy to fix if you know the right methods. What are those methods, you ask? Actually, there are several home remedies for damp using just a few simple ingredients. We have some home remedies to help with the damp!
Silica gel may sound like something that would be tough to find, but it’s actually available in quite a few places, and it’s very economical. You know those little packets that come in vitamin bottles and shoe boxes that say “Do not Eat”? Those are filled with silica gel, which is extremely good at pulling moisture out of the air.
A lot of cat litter brands use silica gel as the main ingredient, so you can just do a Google search for ‘cat litter silica gel’ to find the brands, then head over to the neighbourhood supermarket.
Silica gel beads can also be purchased from major hardware stores by the tub. It is great because you can reuse the little beads by heating them to pull the moisture back out.
To use it, make little bundles of silica gel with a porous cloth, such as cheesecloth. Put these in areas where you’re noticing damp, or just hang them around the house by the walls and in corners to keep it from creeping up on you. If the silica gels aren’t working anymore because they’re too saturated, stick them in the oven on low for about 10 or 15 minutes to make the water evaporate.
Calcium chloride is the main ingredient in commercial Damp Rid, but the name brand stuff can be pretty expensive. You can make your own pretty easily using materials from a hardware store for a fraction of the price. Calcium chloride is a desiccant, which means it pulls moisture right out of the air. It’s available in raw form at most hardware stores, just ask one of the salespeople where you can find it. It’s pretty safe to handle, but you should still try to keep it out of reach of animals and children.
To use it, take an old yoghurt container or something similar and punch a few holes in the lid. Pour about 10cm of calcium chloride into the container, then put the lid back on and put it where you have been seeing damp. You’ll have to change the calcium chloride every few weeks or as soon as you notice water pooling up on the bottom of the container. When calcium chloride gets wet it can get hot, so be careful when you’re emptying the container.
Yes you read that right – plain old chalk. Bunch together say 10 – 12 sticks and fasten with a rubber band. Hang in areas where damp resides – such as in shoes or in a wardrobe.