DampRid is a product designed to remove moisture from the air, which helps prevent excessive humidity as well as mold and mildew. It consists of a non-toxic inorganic mineral salt called calcium chloride that naturally absorbs moisture from the air. Mold requires moisture, a lot of moisture, to grow. By keeping the amount of moisture in the air below 60 percent, DampRid can help prevent mold from growing in your home.
Calcium chloride looks like large crystals of salt, similar to rock salt. It is found in many commonly used products, including deicers used to melt snow and ice in winter. It is sometimes added to swimming pools and aquariums. It is sometimes used as a food additive, to firm up canned vegetables or tofu, although there is disagreement about how safe it is to consume calcium chloride in food. It is even injected as a medical treatment for some conditions. The moisture-absorbing qualities of calcium chloride are why it is used in DampRid, however.
The crystals absorb moisture from the air. When the crystals become saturated with moisture, they release the moisture into the bottom of the container. All you have to do is put the container of crystals in the corner of a room and then keep an eye on it to see when the bottom of the container is full of moisture. You empty the container and then replace it with a new one when the bottom is full of water. How long that takes depends on how much moisture is in the air, but one container might last a month.
The DampRid crystals only start pulling moisture out of the air when the humidity reaches 60 percent or greater. This prevents the air from getting too dry while still inhibiting mold growth, since mold is unlikely to grow when humidity is lower than 60 percent.
You’ll probably need a container of DampRid for each room in your home if moisture and humidity are an issue in the whole home. In a large area like a basement, you might need a couple containers.
It’s safe for most people to use, although some sources recommend not using it if you have small children or pets in the home. The manufacturer says it is non-toxic and that if children or pets put it in their mouths, they won’t swallow it but will spit it out due to the bad taste. However, our research found that calcium chloride can cause skin irritation if it comes in contact with the skin and the International Labor Organization (1) recommends wearing gloves when handling it. Calcium chloride can cause burns in the mouth and esophagus, as well as effects like stomach pain, vomiting, low blood pressure, weakness, irregular heartbeat, mental disturbances and even coma if swallowed, so we agree it is best not to risk it if you have small kids or pets in the home.
The manufacturer recommends not putting DampRid on metal or leather surfaces, as calcium chloride can damage those materials if it comes into contact with them.
While DampRid will reduce moisture in your home and thereby help to prevent mold, we think a good dehumidifier does an even better job. DampRid only removes moisture from the air immediately around the container, so for a large room, you would likely need multiple containers. A dehumidifier circulates air around the room removing moisture, though, so it works over a much larger area and does a better job.
A dehumidifier does cost more, at least initially, but will most likely save you money over time since a good dehumidifier will last for years while DampRid and similar products must be replaced frequently. A dehumidifier is safer to use in a home with pets or small children, too. Here is more information on choosing the best dehumidifier for your home.
While a dehumidifier is a great way to prevent mold in your home, it won’t get rid of an existing mold problem. If you think you have a mold problem in your home, we recommend consulting with a mold remediation specialist. Mold remediation specialists frequently offer free in-home consultations and will come to your home, inspect for mold, provide a written estimate for the cost of mold removal, and offer advice about how to prevent mold problems from developing again in the future. There is no cost to you and no obligation, so we recommend taking advantage of this free expert advice even if you plan to deal with the mold problem in your home yourself. To find experienced mold remediation specialists offering free in-home consultations in your area, just follow the link.
(1) ILO: Calcium Chloride