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"Where better to care for the soul than in the details of our daily lives?....The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought... An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul, to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination where we find value, love and union with the world around us. As mystics of many religions have taught, that sense of rapturous union can give a sense of fulfillment that makes life purposeful and vibrant." ~ Thomas Moore.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DIY DampRid NON Disposable and Cleaner Air *Updated

*I have an update about the damprid hangers below, very important.
**and correction about the 'odor coming out of me' was wrong, realization today.

Hello Lovelies.....

This will be of concern for people who live with old house smell, mold, humid climates like me, etc.

I have a big project I've been working on, as I have finally after 15 years in this house declared war on the musty smell. I've just come to terms with that "musty smell'' thing, and that it was not just a seasonal thing, but a constant perennial thing, and a most unwanted guest.
The rains are here this season and as it would be in any sub tropical climate, it is very humid. Most of us struggle with keeping the inside home air clean, and I was too. I was using essential oil diffusers which helped, no chemicals, good circulation etc, but recently I realized in a very harsh way, it was not enough. Hence the war declaration.

I have worked tirelessly all of my life to be clean, inside and out, and to have my environments clean inside and out. I am pretty good with this especially using all natural helpers from Natures ingredients, so I'm chemical free. People come into my house, wherever I live, and always say how lovely it smells, both clean and pretty with natural essential oils. And I am always complimented on how good I smell too. Mind you this issue I'm reporting here is not something others detect, only me. However, I myself would smell that old house smell when I go out and am on line in a store or something and this really really really freaks me out!!! I always believed it was on the clothes and I'd wash them, but it seems it was not enough.

Recently I had housemate turn up the heat on the hot water heater so I can take hot baths again, and wow, how Ive have missed those! I was taking baths too infrequently especially the epsoms which are great for pain and inducing sleepiness. But the work involved in getting the water hot was not worth it. I even had to boil pots of water. Just not enjoyable. But now with the heat turned up, the water is very hot, too hot, but its great.
What happened when I took that hot bath, put me in a place of self disgust though and from that moment I declared WAR on this house and mold and humidity.
We do not see mold in the house and when John was building the walls in etc, he said he didn't see anything and the roof is new. It is mostly outside I smell it, and only when its damp, but its enough to get into the house. But what I didn't realize was that it got into me. And this is when I freaked. That hot bath was wonderful but when I came out, I could smell the musty odor coming out of me and I totally almost lost my mind.

**Also, I realize that the odor was not coming out of me, but that after profuse perspiring in a hot cleansing bath, I could detect the scent in the house. I realized this today after using my far infrared sauna and walking back into the house, I then detected "that smell". It is faint, but there still.

Needless to say, since I cannot simply move out of my own skin, and cannot move out of this house today or even tomorrow. I had to declare to do something about this once and for all, because nothing in nature is non negotiable.
I got online and researched again and read and read and researched for days about what people do in homes that have that musty smell and how to get rid of it, and I found some things and this is what I'm doing for a week now and so far there are improvements and I can only imagine it getting even better since I have gone all out in this war.
Get some tea, coffee or wine folks, cause I'm going to give you the lowdown.


Charcoal, Calcium Chloride, Clay:

I found out about charcoal and its uses which are mostly understood and applied creatively in Asian countries. I also learned clay is used in industry and for kitty litter to absorb moisture both from direct contact and in the air. We know that salt absorbs moisture and holds it, converts the moisture into water which can then be discarded. But specifically calcium chloride is what is used for this moisture problem specifically.

Charcoal absorbs because of its micro-porosity which is able to both absorb moisture when it is damp and hold it but it will release it when the environment is dry, which is why in Japan they lay bags and bags of charcoal beneath their floorboards when building a home because the charcoal is a great medium for its elasticity in application and ability. In Asia they also found it helps when cooking, they actually use charcoal in a pot of rice to cook and for many other things. Charcoal whitens teeth and cleans and deodorizes and I've been using it for teeth and yes it does whiten! Its been used historically to purify water and keep tanks of fish clean. Its an ancient and natural and powerful all green and multipurpose ally in life. Never be without it, and if you're not using it, find ways to!

 A really interesting video on how much the Japanese make and use charcoal.

I also discovered clay is used for moisture issues but didn't find non industrial people who use it on a ''large'' scale as I am planning, but I will be the maverick, I'm sure. (anyone who knows different let me know!)

And the salt is calcium chloride which is henceforth cc, is used to melt ice and is readily available in large bags for cheap, but only in those northern places that get snow. Here in the south, you can find some in pool supply places for the swimming pools, but it is usually twice as expensive and I don't like getting ripped off or paying more for the same ingredient just because it is marketed differently.

So I found between these three things, and hours and hours and hours of reading peoples experiences, watching youtubes, DIY's etc......the clay, the charcoal and the calcium chloride which is the ingredient in DampRid, I have three weapons against this problem.
These were going to be Environment Control, something I'd not done before.

But first I had to find out if those things would work inside this house for my problem and to help clean the air enough to remove whatever was inside my body as well. (enter silent scream)

The Test:

First and most important DampRid is non toxic and doesn't have any fumes it gives off and is septic safe. Here is a good link for questions about calcium chloride, the ingredient in DampRid
I bought a couple of DampRid products to test this cc product inside closets, to see if it attracted the moisture that kept mold and musty smell in the air (gosh I even hate those words!!!), and after a day or so I did see the moisture being trapped, the water collected and the 'smell' lessen. Good! But I wanted more, because I was not only going to trap this from inside the house but also to get rid of this on the outside, where I smell the ''smell'' by a certain area of the house by the chimney wall. This where the plan gets a bit complicated and there is a small detail I've not yet worked out, but its coming, I can feel it :D

 I bought a package of 3 hangers from walmart for closets.             

Now these work very fast I realize, as all three hangers within 48 hours have water in the bottom pocket, whereas the containers still do not have water. However the hangers come with a strong fake scent. The top part is filled with the cc and the decorative side >>>>>>>>> is porous, which attracts the excess moisture which then drips down into the bottom half where it stays.
*And this is the update. I do like the convenience of having these on hangers and the company says when the salt in the upper part is finished, then you just "throw it out"....and I say DO NOT throw it out. You can definitely empty and refill these.

You can snip a tiny cut in the upper portion of the water part, (suggestion marked by black arrow above) dump that out, and snip a tiny cut in the upper portion (also marked by black arrow) and stick a funnel in there and simply use the DampRid refills to refill the upper part. You do not have to keep buying these and throwing them out, how ridiculous is that. I've already dumped out the water and refilled the top portion of one and put it in my car. I prefer these refilled as they do not have the strong scent the hangers come with which are overpowering and chemical smelling. So once they are finished, I dump out the water, use the refills to refill the hanger top and can hang these anywhere.

So I know the DampRid, or calcium chloride works. But now I need to get a sh*tload of it, both to keep in the house to replace it constantly as I realized in this house it is not just a seasonal disorder shall we say? but a perennial one, and I need some for use on the outside, without getting wet from rains which is the detail I've yet to work out.
But I was going to use and utilize any and every weapon that is available to me. War, remember?

The Plan:

Once I had the inside plan complete, I started to work on the outside plan but I also needed to get the housemate on board because this is his house and I have only so much $ to spend. So I sat him down and explained the problem. Mold is a problem dude!!! He still doesn't get it because it hasn't affected him in a way that puts him 6 feet under. He only understands things that impact one with blood or death. Moving on. However, he did see my um ahem, 'concern', and knew he should cooperate quick.

I eventually found online a 25lb bag of calcium chloride for $20.00 total. I ordered it. I (john) also went out and got 6 more of those DampRid things for their containers because they were only about $5 for 2 of them at Lowes and I needed the containers because I didn't find another cheaper or prettier way of doing this another way. I don't keep plastics in the house. So these will be refilled.
I certainly didn't want to be buying all kinds of things that need constant replacing, this is not only expensive but is not sustainable. I abhor the disposable mentality and I look for ways to not only avoid that type of thing but to reuse, recycle and repurpose, but those containers were going to get a makeover if they're to stay in this house. I only need to buy more large bags of the calcium chloride.

As for CHARCOAL, there is one company that is very popular if not a bit gimmicky, and I bought one of those bags to test and it works, but its not strong enough. In other words, it works but I need much more it.  

This info from their site:
With simple maintenance the Moso Bags are reusable for up two years! Most common air fresheners, in addition to being ineffective, don’t last more than 45 days. Once a month, place your Moso Bag outside. The UV rays from the sun will clear out the pores of the bamboo charcoal, making it ready to absorb again. After two years as an air purifier, the Moso Bag makes a wonderful addition to your garden. Simply cut open the Moso Bag and sprinkle the bamboo charcoal into the soil, where it helps plants absorb moisture and nutrients. This completes its lifecycle as a product that comes from the earth and ultimately gives back to the earth.
I love that charcoal is all natural and lasts 2 years. But at $10.00 each I'd make it myself, sooooooooo......I made a few with some charcoal I had for terrariums, and bought more from the pet shop.....

The one on the right above is one I had when I was making terrariums here, and I made 3 charcoal bags from this and placed one in my car........ I had this burlap like fabric and sewed it up and added seam binding ribbon for closures, but the charcoal inside in a tighter weave linen fabric, then inserted into the burlap and tied.........


And because I read on amazon that charcoal even adsorbs negative electromagnetic pollution I keep one by my computer, no picture sorry, I have a bag here...........and one in the fridge. I just put the charcoal in an organza bag which you can get at Michaels in all colors and sizes, and added a suction hook to hold it. They're very lightweight.

I made another bag out of the charcoal from the big grill stuff, and this also went in the fridge. 

I find this charcoal from wood in larger pieces is more effective than the small rice size pieces that come from the Moso bags or the size in the aquarium charcoal. I will investigate further why this is so.

The container on the left below by API is a far cheaper one for $11.00 I just picked up to make more bags.

Lowes and Walmart both carry this brand of natural untreated charcoal used for grilling.

These are going to go into baskets around the house, and the larger bag will be used to disperse outside when I figure out that small detail about how to keep it out of the rains.

I bought 4 baskets from Walmart with liners to contain the fine charcoal powder from the wood,  to keep the charcoal in. They have gone into the bedrooms. (sorry for blurred pics)

I also picked up from Dollar Tree, for one dollar each, natural kitty litter made of Fullers Clay....... because clay also is used to adsorb moisture and control odors in a very powerful way. I will somehow use this outdoors as well. Both the untreated kitty clay and charcoal are also good for the soil, so when they breakdown organically, the soils are enriched.

I now have the charcoal baskets, the containers of cc in every room and closet, including my car and my sauna and the shed.
I think I have the inside of the house covered.
And after a week what I have learned is that the calcium chloride is fastest at absorbing the moisture which feeds the mold which causes the odor, and so I wanted alot more of that real quick.
The 25 lb bag came today, and that is what I'll be using to refill those small containers of DampRid AND which I'll be using to make much larger ones for outside use.

These smaller ones from Lowes they say are disposable but I will not be doing that, I simply fixed them up. I originally just put one into a white lacy container I got from IKEA, fit perfectly and I didn't have to see the plastic container.

But I had to buy more of those DampRid containers because they have a 2 layer system, which has a smaller strainer container that holds the cc and as it collects water, the strainer part allows the water to fall into the base container, which then gets disposed of and I didn't find a quick way of duplicating it, so I simply bought 6 more.

I fixed them up with some scrapbooking paper I had around, glued it onto the container with elmers, and painted the blue lids a grey color I had, and now they don't offend me at all, and I can keep them for as long as I need to and keep refilling them with the 25lb bag. No DISPOSABLES.

see original DampRid container         


and these are how they look now.......... 

I put one in my bedroom to show you how it looks now, but it is not staying here, it will be moved.

So this is what is happening so far. The 'odor' is down which to my logic means the mold is down??.........and to test this I have NOT been using my essential oil diffusers with a Thieves Blend to purify the air but I think the scents were masking it too not just killing the mold which was the point of using it.......... and when I go out and come back in I do the sniff test and I can tell it is already working. When I am outside the musty smell is down by around 50%.  In the house is about 50% better and it is still humid here. So I am only 50% done.

I still need to distribute the cc, the clay and the charcoal outdoors when I have the energy, which I do not lately, but it will get done. Today we closed up the fireplace opening from outside.

I have taken a hot bath again this morning and thank you LORD, I did not get any whiffs of the unpleasantries, only the natural clean ones I do like, sighhhhhhhhhhhhh!......

So will keep you posted on further updates to this very important topic and how to remediate mold, smells, moisture, how to literally make clean air naturally and to detox ones own body from the local air.

oh! oh ! ..... Great Tip!:

on the same vein as purifying air, I am also more seriously looking into purifying water and I must add here that I have learned that many people are using Vit. C, ascorbic acid to add to the bath water to neutralize the chlorine in the water! All you need is a teaspoon per 100 gallons of water and a typical bath is around 50, so it is said, but many are reporting softer skins, less itchiness, less everything bad, and these are also by kids who have no idea of what is being done to the water so there is no placebo affects. And I have added this Vit C to my bath this morning. I did in all actuality feel my skin was much softer too, it was quite enjoyable. Also I will be looking into a shower head dechlorinator also. I'm just so literally sick and tired of being polluted by the chemicals of madmen and mold. lolol.....why that sounds funny I have no idea.....lolol.

Stay tuned.

Sharing this with A Delightsome Life

and with The Charm of Home

and with Rooted In Thyme


  1. Sorry about your problem with the odor, tenacious little little creatures. Another masker is vanilla straight from the bottle at least until you have them on the run. You are the research paper queen as far as I am concerned, good for you.well continued good luck.xx

    1. well its a problem millions around the world have, only I am not going to accept it anymore. I AM going to get rid of it outside so there is no more problem inside. I work too hard for clean to live with this. And "research" is what I do, but don't talk about on this blog, but I'm good at it. :D

  2. Serena, what a great post and this is fascinating re the charcoal. I hope it continues to do the trick for you. Mold is nasty stuff! Mimi xxx


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