Why Are Hotel Rooms So Dry? How To Increase Humidity

Frequent travelers can relate to this — you get to your hotel, get the keys from reception, and then excitedly open your room’s door. You’re all eager to plop on the bed already, but something feels off, and then you realize that it’s too dry. How can you increase the humidity in your room?

Hotel rooms are so dry when humidity levels are lower than the ideal 30% to 50%. This may be because of the winter season, dehumidifiers, or too much heating. To increase humidity, try using a portable humidifier, opening a window, or putting a bowl of water near the heater.

This article will discuss why a hotel room would feel dry, what factors led to it, and some hotel room hacks you can use. So let’s get started.

Why Hotel Rooms Are So Dry

Hotel rooms become dry when humidity levels are too low. Humidity is the measurement of the amount of water vapor or moisture the air can hold, and the less moist the air is, the more dry the room feels.

There are many measurements of humidity, such as absolute humidity, relative humidity, and dewpoint, but one of the most frequently used is relative humidity.

While absolute humidity tells you the exact amount of water vapor in the air, relative humidity indicates the amount of moisture compared to the highest amount the air can hold. For instance, if the air can hold 100 grams (3.53 oz) of air, but it currently has 80 grams (2.82 oz), then the relative humidity is 80%.

What makes relative humidity important is that it also considers temperature. Thus, ideal outdoor and indoor relative humidity levels may differ.

English Conversation About Hotel

Low Relative Humidity

Ideally, indoor rooms should have a relative humidity between 30% to 50%. Lower levels may lead to very dry rooms that are not only uncomfortable for you but may also lead to disadvantages for your health.

But what could lead to such low relative humidity levels? Let’s talk about that in the next section.

Why Do Hotel Rooms Get So Dry?

Hotel rooms get so dry because of the inside temperature and outside climate conditions. For instance, excessive air conditioning and heating can lead to lowered humidity. Closed windows and dehumidifiers may also contribute.

Closed Windows

Some hotels have their windows shut tight, making it nearly impossible to open them. Other times, it may even be against policy to open them. While they may protect you against cold, dry air, they’re a disadvantage when they trap in the dry air instead.

It may also prevent warm, humid air from coming in, which could have prevented the low humidity conditions.

Excessive Air Conditioners

Air conditioning condenses water vapor from the air as it works, thereby lowering humidity levels. This, in turn, makes the room feel dry. Excessive air conditioning is frequent for hotels in tropical areas or other places where summers can be too hot. While this makes it nice in hot climates, it can also make your hotel room a little too dry.


The hotel may also be using dehumidifiers. These are used to prevent the room from being too humid and mold from growing. However, since they reduce humidity, they also make the room feel dry.

If you find that your room is too dry because of this, you might want to carry a portable humidifier with you, such as this MistAire Travel Cool Mist Water Bottle Humidifier from Amazon.com.

It is small enough to pack in your bag, without being bulky, and it fits a normal water bottle in it. When the bottle is empty, the humidifier automatically shuts off.

Too Much Heat

Heat encourages condensation, which is the process of turning liquid into gas. Thus, when you turn up the heat, you also encourage the water vapor in the air to turn into liquid, thereby reducing humidity. To combat this problem, try putting a bowl of water near the heater to encourage steam to evaporate into your room.

Seasons and Weather Conditions

Cold air carries much less water vapor than warm air. Thus, winters are associated with cold and dry weather conditions. If outside air during this season enters indoor areas, this leads to dry air filling in the indoor spaces.

Also, if the place is just arid, it may lead to the hotel room being dry, so the local climate conditions may affect hotel rooms also.

These are just a couple of reasons why your hotel room can feel too dry. It may also be because the place is too hot, the heating and cooling systems are too inefficient, or other various reasons.

Disadvantages of Dry Hotel Rooms

Aside from being uncomfortable, what’s wrong if hotel rooms get too dry? Let’s take a look at other issues of dry hotel rooms.

Airborne Illnesses

Dry air allows airborne pathogens to survive longer and better, thereby increasing the chances to catch illnesses.

In general, enveloped viruses survive better in low humidity conditions. Examples of such viruses are those that cause Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza. Also, dry conditions can dry out nasal mucus, which keeps pathogens from invading your body.

Nasal Congestion and Dry Body

Dry air doesn’t just make you feel dry, but it actually makes your body dry. As your body loses water, your lips get chapped, your mouth feels dry, your throat is sore, and your nose gets congested.

Aside from that, your eyes lose moisture, making them dry and blink more often. Your skin may also suffer from eczema and become itchy and scaly.


You can get nosebleeds when the room gets too dry because the membrane inside your nose can get cracked. When this cracked membrane gets irritated, it causes your nose to bleed. If you find that this happens to you every winter, you might try bringing with you your own portable humidifier.

Worsens Asthma and Other Respiratory Conditions

Staying in a dry room may not be a good idea for people who have asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. It can dry out your respiratory tracts, which can make people cough.

Worse, it aggravates these respiratory conditions.

These are just a few things that can happen to you when you stay in a too dry hotel room. However, is there something you can actually do to prevent these?

Tips To Increase Humidity

There are a few simple things you can do to prevent hotel room dryness. These tips help raise humidity levels, which means adding moisture back to the air.

Use a Portable Humidifier

Today, many hotels actually have on-hand humidifiers. Ask at the reception desk if they have one that they could lend. Often, they’re happy enough to let you borrow it during your stay.

However, if you’re a frequent traveler, jumping from one hotel to another, buying one may be a practical investment. There are different types of portable humidifiers, some of which cost as low as $16.

Types of Humidifiers

There are two main types of humidifiers: console and portable. However, in this case, we’re more interested in the portable humidifier. For the latter, you can get an ultrasonic or evaporative humidifier.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

Ultrasonic humidifiers are one of the most common humidifiers used by many people. It has a water reservoir and a vibrating diaphragm. It works by letting out water droplets using ultrasonic vibrations.

Once out of the humidifier, these droplets become water vapor, contributing to the relative humidity.

These may also be cold mist humidifiers since they do not use heat to turn liquid water into water vapor. They’re better options for those who travel with kids since there are fewer risks of burn incidents, which I’ll discuss in the evaporative humidifier section.

A drawback of ultrasonic humidifiers is that the water droplets they release may not evaporate immediately. This may cause them to condense on floors and surfaces, causing damage to wood and allowing mold to grow.

Thus, use them with caution.

Evaporative Humidifier

Evaporative humidifiers are also a popular humidifier of choice. Unlike ultrasonic humidifiers, which release water vapor, these work by evaporating the water first and then releasing it as a steam of water vapor.

They’re often known as warm mist humidifiers because they use heat to make steam.

However, some evaporative humidifiers today no longer need heat to turn water into vapor. This is why some of them may also be sold as cold mist humidifiers.

If you prefer an evaporative humidifier, consider the cold mist ones, especially if you have children. Warm mist humidifiers are often associated with burn incidents as people and kids would touch them while hot.

Tips for Using Humidifiers

First, choose a humidifier that suits you. Some may be too large but work well, while others may be small but need to be refilled more often than you want. As a frequent traveler, consider your needs.

Once you get a humidifier, keep it clean. Change the water often and clean the reservoir or tank. If not maintained properly, mold and bacteria may grow on them. You won’t want a moldy humidifier.

Drain and clean them before storing them. If you won’t use them for a long time, throw out all the water first. Throw away used parts as well, like filters. When you use them again, clean them first.

Open a Window or Close It

Opening a window may not be a good idea during the winter because then the air is dry. Otherwise, however, cracking a window open may let in the warm, humid air. This displaces the cold air in the room and improves humidity.

Meanwhile, if the air outside is already too dry and cold, shut your windows. This may help keep the dry air out, and you can use other hacks to keep your air inside more humid than the one outside.

Fill a Tub or Bucket With Water

While you sleep, you may want to let water stand inside a tub or bucket overnight to help reduce dryness. Water will then evaporate, thereby increasing humidity. If you’re using a bucket, place it near your bed for better effects.

If you’re filling the tub, set the water to the hottest level that it has, and let the steam rise.

Run a Bath

If the room feels too dry, you may consider hopping inside a shower and taking a bath. Letting the water run for quite some time adds moisture to the air, improving humidity. This thereby makes the room feel less dry.

However, the effects are pretty short-lived, and the dry feeling may soon come back.

Hang Soaked Towels or Clothes

Get a spare towel or extra clothes, soak them, and then let them hang. This is an easy trick you can do to improve humidity, although the effects may also be short-lived. For better results, it’s recommended to hang some near you. However, make sure you catch its drips to avoid damage.

Use Nasal Gel or Saline Spray

Nasal gel and saline spray help keep your nasal passages wet. Saline sprays are usually a mix of water and salt only. This keeps them from getting cracked, thereby reducing nosebleeds. You may get them from nearby drug stores.

If you find that you can’t handle these items, try putting your face over a bowl of hot water and let the steam get into your nasal passages.

Use a Hot Pot or Coffee Pot

Fill a pot with water and let it boil. If you can, keep the lid open or prop it up with a spoon. This allows the steam to go out and fill the room. After boiling, you can also fill cups with hot water and put them around the room. Or you could put a bowl of hot water near the heater to make the water evaporate faster.

Put On Moisturizing Lotion and Lip Balm

There are many lotions and lip balms you can get at a nearby drugstore. They are affordable and can give your skin and lips some relief. Get the moisturizing kind while you’re at it. Carmex or Chapstick tends to work best for your lips. As for lotion, try getting the natural kind with natural fats. These moisturize your skin better than the other kind.

Stay Hydrated

Dry conditions dehydrate your body. Make sure to drink as much water as possible to prevent chapped lips, dry mouth, and all the things I’ve mentioned above. Drink some juice also for variety and flavor.

If you find that you can’t tolerate that much water, or you can’t stand the flavor of hotel water, try adding a few drops of water flavoring to make it tolerable.

Importance of Keeping Ideal Humidity Levels

Balance is essential, even in humidity. While in this article I talk about the importance of preventing low humidity levels, it’s also important to emphasize that you shouldn’t stay in the ideal range and not go beyond it.

Too high humidity levels make you feel humid and stuffy, which is also not comfortable. Aside from that, it encourages mold to grow.

Final Thoughts

Lower humidity levels make a hotel room dry. Excessive dryness can lead to problems like illnesses, congestion, nosebleeds, dry body, among others. It’s vital to prevent these complications.

Simple hacks like hanging up wet clothing or filling tubs and buckets with water may be a quick and cheap fix for these situations. However, for frequent travelers, getting a personal humidifier may be more practical.


Recent Posts