Traditional dehumidifiers have used calcium chloride to collect moisture from the air. This chemical is a dangerous substance to have within your home. In fact, it can cause damage to property and people due to their properties.
What is Calcium Chloride?
Calcium chloride is a salt, also known as calcium salt, is edible by people in small amounts. It is often used in canning and pickling as it has an extremely salty flavor and can help preserve food. However, it is also classified as a severe irritant for the eyes in lab settings.
The Hazardous Risk and Potential Health Issues
Calcium chloride is a chemical used in some do-it-yourself dehumidifiers. Nevertheless, it presents several health issues that consumers should be aware of in the future.
Some powered dehumidifiers rely on fans to circulate air over calcium chloride salts, exposing the air to minimal amounts of this chemical. Unfortunately, over time exposure to calcium chloride and its dust can cause lung damage, as well as other respiratory issues in the nose and throat. It can cause skin irritation and contaminate clothing.
The US National Library of Medicine (NIH) summarizes their warning against the use of inhaling the air around calcium salt:
Don’t Use Calcium Chloride Dehumidifiers in Vehicles or Gun Safes
Using calcium salt for storage or your car isn’t a good idea, either. Whereas table salt is somewhat corrosive to metal, calcium chloride is exceptionally so.
Calcium chloride makes a poor dehumidifier for gun safes due to the extremely corrosive properties of the salt. Overall, the salt eats away at the metal and rusts any metal inside the safe.
When seeking boat or RV dehumidifiers, it’s a good idea to avoid calcium chloride for the same reason. While many marine surfaces are resistant to corrosion, extended exposure, or an unknown spill, can quickly present a problem.
A Safer Alternative: Silica Gel Dehumidifiers
In contrast to calcium chloride salts, silica gel is a safe dehumidifier that is incredibly effective at removing unwanted moisture from an environment. Furthermore, dehumidifiers that use this desiccant can be useful with and without air circulation. Unlike Calcium chloride, that usually requires air to be circulated over the chemical for the most effective dehumidification.
Ventilation can release calcium chloride dust into the air.
Previously, you may remember seeing silica gel after buying new shoes, clothes, or even receiving a package at home. While silica gel is not safe to eat like calcium chloride, it is much safer to inhale. Not only does it not rust metal like calcium salt, but it also wicks moisture from the atmosphere more effectively at the same time using less material.
Because they can be smaller and do the same job, silica gel dehumidifiers can fit in small spaces. Moreover, it’s possible to reuse silica gel dehumidifiers.
Powerful and Compact Mini-Dehumidifiers
Mini dehumidifiers can be plugged into the wall or operated without batteries, which can be placed nearly anywhere without the health risks associated with calcium chloride. The added benefit is that the device removes the moisture stored in the gel so you can use it again and again.