By Cathy from West Newton, PA
Damp Rid is a very simple product. It is mostly made of anhydrous calcium chloride. The chemical is what they call deliquescent, meaning that it absorbs so much moisture from the air that it dissolves. There are many chemicals that do this, but some are more dangerous than others. Calcium Chloride is pretty safe, but it does heat up when exposed to water. In large amounts, it could cause burns and irritation.
You might be able to get calcium chloride through a chemical company, but the potential problem of making your own is that of storage of the unused material. It will have to be stored in smaller completely airtight containers.
The thing that makes damp rid a more user-friendly product is its packaging, which comes in many forms. The essential part is to have a receptacle that exposes the product to air, but lets it drain so the saturated stuff gets out of the way.
I've purchased the dry product in the refill bags and put it in recycled yogurt containers. Simply take a short container (like the kind cottage cheese comes in), poke holes in it, fill it with the crystals and place that into a larger yogurt container to catch the liquid.
I was thinking of another solution to the moisture problem. The little packages of drying agent that are often found in medicine bottles are filled with Silica Gel. These little beads are actually quite effective in removing moisture.
The advantage Silica Gel beads have over Calcium Chloride is that they do not dissolve. They can also be reused if heated to remove the absorbed moisture. Some even come with indicator colors that change when they are saturated.
Silica Gel can also be comparatively economical to purchase. In fact, there are several cat litters made out of it. Just do a search for "silica gel cat litter," and I'm sure you'll find many brands.
I would just get some and make packages of them using porous neeting, cheesecloth, or other material, and hang them throughout your space.
You might even be able to make bags out of wire window screen and reactivate them from time to time by putting them in a low over.
As others have said that Damp Rid is Calcium Chloride., If you have some of that chemical in dry form, it's easy to construct a gadget which circulates air over the stuff, and collects the liquid that it turns into.
What hasn't been said is that Calcium Chloride is very easy to acquire, and is fairly inexpensive. Specifically, many brands of ice melt pellets - Qik Joe, Prestone Driveway Heat, Peladow, Pellets of Fire, and Safestep 7300, for example -- are all pure calcium chloride.
As an added bonus, all of these are much cheaper, per pound, than Damp Rid refills.
According to Google's shopping page, Qik Joe costs $7 for 10 pounds, $11 for 20 lbs, $22 for 50 lbs, and $65 for 100 lbs. The cheapest Damp Rid refill costs $3.65 for 2.5 pounds... that works out to $1.46 per pound, or $14.60 for 10 pounds.
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Does anyone know how to make homemade Damp Rid? I am going to store some things in my crawl space under my house, which is insulated and the floor has thick plastic covering the dirt.
Is there a recipe for homemade Damp Rid?