Don't let humidity dampen your life in your Japanese home!
When you think of Japanese summers, you may think of beautiful yukata, delicious watermelon and spectacular firework shows to enjoy over this season, but with the heat comes extreme humidity that also can put a damper on your household or living space.
This article will give you some handy tips and advice on what to be aware of and how to effectively create a non-damaging, drier and comfortable environment for your home.
Humidity, why is it an issue?
For those from non-tropical countries or who grew up in dry climates, humidity or moisture in the air creates a sauna-like atmosphere, especially in Tokyo, which means not only is it hot but the air is very, very wet and heavy.
Where a normal solution may be to open the window for air or just use AC to cool things down, there's still the problem of the humidity which can damage your clothes, walls and bathroom/kitchen with mould.
Lots and lots of mould!
Humidity starts to build alongside the rainy season in
Most advice you'll hear is to purchase a dehumidifier machine but if that seems slightly out of reach, here are some cheaper options for you that also can help a lot.
1: Air out your closets and hang your heavy coats, clothes to dry outside before rainy season begins.
Clothes that aren't frequently washed or worn over the winter and spring are more prone to getting affected by mould over the summer, especially leather items or suit jackets. Be sure to keep closets not too crowded and pack away heavy clothes in your suitcase or oshi-ire (traditional Japanese closet) if you have one.
2: Set your air conditioners to 'dry'（ドライ） or 'dehumidifying'（除湿） setting instead of 'cold'.（冷房）
Most Japanese AC's that are equipped in most properties should have the dehumidifying setting which really makes a difference to the air indoors and is more effective in cooling down a room and staying cool for longer once you've turned it off. If you have the option of choosing the temperature as well, about 24℃ or 25℃ would be ideal and it will be kinder to your electric bill too!
3: Make sure of all the various portable humidity absorption products
Small humidity absorption containers
These come in both regular size with a capacity of 800ml or charcoal stones used to also tackle musky odours (great for your shoe closet spaces). It can take up to 3 months for one of these containers to fill to maximum capacity. Of course the more you use, the drier the area will become, so adjust as you need.
Humidity absorption sheets and sachets
Clothes are also at risk of being damaged by mould from the high humidity in
The pockets can be placed in drawers between your clothes or in futon bags that you've stowed away for the summer. Versatile and compact, you can place these almost anywhere! There are hanging types too for wardrobes.
'Shikke kyuushuu' would be the keyword you would be looking for. You can buy these products from many large chemist stores but also in your local Daiso (100 yen) or in Tokyo Hands. With so much variety to choose from, they were very well worth investing for your closed spaces and keeping your home comfortably dry and free from mould.