If you're experiencing mould or damp problems in your home, you're probably trying every method under the sun to dry out your living spaces and wardrobes.
While dehumidifiers have been shown to be an effective way to reduce condensation and limit the impacts of persistent dampness and mould, they can also be expensive. The models we've reviewed cost anywhere from $120 up to $839, and there's also the electricity costs to factor in, too.
If you have a damp issue but can't quite stretch to spending hundreds of dollars on a dehumidifying appliance, you may have considered picking up a significantly cheaper moisture-absorbing product such as DampRid from your local supermarket or hardware for less than ten bucks.
But, how effective is a quick supermarket buy in dealing with dampness? CHOICE experts put DampRid to the test by measuring its moisture-absorbing capabilities against some dehumidifier appliances. Here's what they found.
What is DampRid?
DampRid is a moisture absorber that uses calcium chloride crystals to absorb excess moisture in the air. The liquid that collects in the DampRid container can be disposed of by either flushing down the toilet or down your sink. Other brands of moisture-absorbing products that you'll find on supermarket and hardware store shelves include Hippo and DampFree. For the purposes of this comparison, however, we looked specifically at DampRid.
DampRid comes in refillable and disposable containers and claims to last between 45 days to six months depending on the product type.
Does DampRid work?
Yes. CHOICE household products expert Chris Barnes says, "We put a DampRid container in a sealed test chamber about the size of a closet with 80% humidity and a fan for air movement. Within three days, DampRid reduced humidity to 43% and collected almost half a cup of water."
But is DampRid as good as a dehumidifier?
"While DampRid is nowhere near as rapid or effective as a good dehumidifier, it almost works the same as a poor-performing dehumidifier," says Chris.
We know you want the dry details, so you can read how DampRid fared in a mild 65% humidity test against all the currently available dehumidifiers in our review.
- DampRid removed 2g of water from the air per hour.
- The worst dehumidifier in our latest review removed 11g of water from the air per hour.
- The best dehumidifier removed a mighty 388g of water from the air per hour.
When you consider that the DampRid Refillable Moisture Absorber costs around $6.50 versus $139 for the worst-rated dehumidifier in our CHOICE reviews, the Hysure T8PLUS thermo electric dehumidifier, it seems like a decent low-cost option for treating occasional or low-level damp problems (even if you have to buy a few of them).
For serious ongoing dampness problems, though, a good dehumidifier is likely to be a better investment.
When to use DampRid or a similar moisture-absorbing product
While the best dehumidifiers on the market will give you almost instant dehumidification, absorbing hundreds of grams of water in just an hour, DampRid can do the trick (albeit more slowly) in some cases for a fraction of the price. "If you have low-level dampness in small or confined areas of your house, or just want to keep your closets dry, DampRid and equivalent products are not a bad solution. They are cheaper and they work, just at a slower pace," says Chris.
However, for serious dehumidification in homes with severe mould and dampness, you'll need to consider your home's damp-proofing and ventilation, and/or buy a good-quality dehumidifier.
If you have low-level dampness in small or confined areas of your house, or just want to keep your closets dry, DampRid and equivalent products are not a bad solutionCHOICE expert Chris Barnes
Is DampRid toxic?
The active ingredient in DampRid is calcium chloride, a commonly used chemical in household products. The product should always be used following instructions and should not be ingested, inhaled or come into contact with eyes or skin as it can cause irritation. It should also be placed out of the reach of children and pets. The product could become hazardous if used off-label (such as if people have prolonged or constant exposure to the product).
Tips for using moisture-absorbing products such as DampRid
- Moisture-absorbing products will not absorb standing water, only moisture from the air. If you need to extract water from a car or enclosed space, use a pump or wet-dry vacuum.
- Open doors, windows and vents to allow proper circulation and air flow.
- Use in conjunction with fans to speed up drying (this is likely not suitable if you are using the moisture-absorbing product in an enclosed space such as a wardrobe).
- Moisture-absorbing products will need to be replaced more often in high-humidity conditions. Check regularly.
- Ensure you keep out of reach of children and pets, and avoid contact with eyes and skin.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.