DampRid vs Dehumidifier – How to Reduce Humidity in an RV

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There is nothing worse than the feeling that everything in your RV is a little damp, especially your sheets and pillows! But, sometimes the weather is just hot and humid and running the AC isn’t enough to remove the humidity from the air inside your RV. So, what’s the best way to reduce the humidity? Is it by using Damprid or a dehumidifier in your RV?

We keep DampRid in our RV year round to help reduce the moisture in the RV. But I’ve seen this question about moisture in an RV come up time and time again and it made me wonder what would be the best way to reduce the humidity in my RV.

So, of course, I did a little research to find the answer to DampRid vs Dehumidifier – how to reduce humidity in an RV. The quick answer is that a dehumidifier works better in a large open area with a lot of air exchange, like an RV. And DampRid works better in a smaller closed off area with restricted airflow, like a closet in an RV.

What are the Causes of Humidity in an RV?

There are many factors that can cause humidity or moisture to increase in an RV. Most people are aware that the general humidity in the air outside can increase the overall humidity, like on a hot sultry summer day in Florida. But there are other factors that can increase the humidity level in your RV too. They are:

  • Breathing – every time we breathe out we increase the humidity inside the RV. It’s just like being in a car and watching the windows fog up. All that humidity comes from just breathing.
  • Cooking – when we heat up our food moisture is released into the air.
  • Showers – when we take a shower the steam increases humidity.
  • Cleaning – when we wash the dishes moisture is released into the air from the hot water
  • Drying Clothes or Towels Inside the RV – If you hang clothes or towels to dry inside your RV the moisture is released into the RV
  • Automatic Dishwashers – For those awesome Class A’s out there, dishwashers heat the water and steam and moisture are released into the air during the drying cycle

All of these factors create moisture and in turn increase the humidity levels inside an RV. So, be sure to keep your RV properly vented in addition to using DampRid or a dehumidifier.

What is DampRid and How Does it Work?

DampRid is formulated to remove moisture from the air which can prevent excessive humidity, mold, and mildew. It contains a non-toxic, inorganic mineral salt called calcium chloride along with sodium chloride, and potassium chloride. It looks like larger crystals of rock salt. Calcium Chloride is also used to melt snow and ice because it does less harm to concrete than salt.

The way DampRid works is the calcium chloride crystals attract and absorb the moisture in the air. The moisture collected on the crystals forms water droplets that drip into the bottom of the container. You can place a container in your RV and watch for the bottom to fill up with water. Then, empty the container and replace it with a new one. A large tub size container can typically last for about a month depending on the humidity inside an RV.

Is Damprid Safe Around Children or Pets?

DampRid contains calcium chloride, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride. These crystals are non-toxic and all natural, according to DampRid’s website. But, you need to know that DampRid may cause irritation if it comes in contact with your eyes or skin, and it shouldn’t be inhaled. If you become exposed quickly rinse with soap and water. Because Damprid can cause irritation some folks prefer not to use it around children or pets.

I’ve used calcium chloride many times as an ice melt on my driveway and I’ve had it all over my bare hands. All that ever happened to me was that my hands felt dry after I was done spreading it around. I then washed my hands with soap and water and had no side effects whatsoever. My dog and cats never seemed to be bothered by it either.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

Dehumidifiers reduce humidity by removing moisture from the air. There are two methods dehumidifiers use to remove moisture from the air, but we will focus on the most popular one, which is refrigerant based dehumidifiers. So how does a dehumidifier work?

The way a  refrigerant-style dehumidifier works is very simple. It works just like a cold glass of ice water on your kitchen table. The ice water in the glass is colder than the air outside of the glass and condensation forms on the glass. The water drops that form on the outside of the glass don’t come from the water inside the glass. The water drops on the outside of the glass come from the water vapor in the air (aka humidity) around the glass. When the warm air touches the cold glass the moisture in the air sticks to the outside of the glass and makes the water drops.

The same exact thing happens in a dehumidifier. There are coils filled with a refrigerant that are colder than the air inside the RV. So when the air passes over the colder coils the moisture sticks to the cold metal coils and forms water drops. The condensation then drips into a reservoir or holding tank at the bottom of the dehumidifier. You then need to empty the holding tank every day so it doesn’t overflow.

Which is Better: Damprid or a Dehumidifier?

The answer is that a dehumidifier is better than Damprid in an RV. There are two primary reasons for this. The first is that in order for any dehumidifier to work you need some air flow. Damprid creates no air flow but a dehumidifier does. And second, the volume of air in an RV is too much for Damprid to be effective.

However, Damprid is great to use in areas inside an RV where airflow is restricted. For example, Damprid would work well in closets or under dinette bench seating where there is no air flow or ventilation.

Tips to Reduce Humidity in an RV

  • Use the exhaust fan when taking a shower or cooking
  • Cook outdoors if possible
  • Don’t air dry clothes or towels inside the RV
  • If the weather is dry open the windows
  • Run the AC in hot weather
  • Raise the air temperature in cold weather
  • Run a fan to keep the air moving
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Use DampRid

Related Questions

1. Does Running the AC Reduce Moisture in an RV?

Yes, running the AC will help to cool the air and cool air can’t hold as much moisture so the humidity will go down. However, if you open the door to the RV often, cook inside the RV, wash the dishes and then take a shower it will be very hard for the AC unit to keep up with the amount of moisture introduced into the RV. This is why most folks need a dehumidifier to help reduce humidity.

RELATED READING: For more info about running the A/C in your RV or Travel Trailer check out our article called Can I Run the RV A/C While Driving?

2. Can I Drink the Water Produced by a Dehumidifier?

Absolutely not! The water produced by a dehumidifier is clean but it’s not clean enough to drink. You can use it to water house plants but it is not suitable to water your vegetables or anything you might consume. Although the water looks clean it may contain lead, copper, aluminum, or zinc from the metal parts within the dehumidifier. It may also contain mold because the water in the holding tank is stagnant. Unlike distilled water, which is made sort of the same way a dehumidifier works, the water is not boiled first, which would kill bacteria and other pathogens.

Do you have any thoughts about how to reduce humidity in an RV? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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6 thoughts on “DampRid vs Dehumidifier – How to Reduce Humidity in an RV”

  1. We use both Damprid and the Eva-Dry dehumidifier. We’ve had a better winter mostly because of the dehumidifier/Damprid combo!

    • Hi Christine,
      That is great info!
      Thanks for sharing!

  2. We live in a humid climate. When we are not on the road, we keep the Damp-rid in the closed rv. On the road, we use the dehumidifier. I was amazed at how well the Damp-rid worked to remove the water. I will however add a second container to the rv in future when not in use, simply because the airflow is restricted as you said. It just makes more sense. Thanks for the excellent info.

  3. It might be worth mentioning similar benefits for boat interiors.

    • Hi Dave,
      You just did!
      I have never owned a boat so I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to make boating recommendations. I try to stay in my lane and only share things I have done or products and services I have actually used myself.
      I would guess humidity could be a big problem on a boat but I really don’t know.
      Thanks for your comment.


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