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Ame_Evil's avatar

What can I put at the bottom of my cupboards to stop them getting wet?

Asked by Ame_Evil (3033 points ) May 28th, 2010

I have a problem with a couple of the cupboards in my kitchen where the bottom surface appears to get wet, particularly at the back. This is a rented house, (as I am a student) and isn’t well built – the back of the cupboard faces the outside and our insulation sucks to be frank.

Obviously I don’t want it to get wet as I want to keep cardboard boxes of food like rice.

What can I put on the bottom of the cupboard to stop it getting damp? I don’t want to have to keep cleaning the bottom every few weeks. Was thinking of a towel, but thought that it might be a bad idea with absorbing lots of moisture.

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19 Answers

Primobabe's avatar

You could use some big rubber trays, such as these: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/256958524/Big_rubber_Tray.html

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I would think some kind of open lattice wood rack of minmal height would be the best solution. \this would allow the moisture to evaporate while keeping carton boxes dry. You may want to consider putting a thin layer of rigid styrofoam insulation at the back of the cupboards with a polyethylene vapour barrier on the warm side.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Wait a minute…

If your cabinets are getting wet from weather and other events that occur outside of the structure then there’s nothing magic that you can line your cabinets with to prevent them getting wet. You need to have intact walls and roofs, and no ice dams (in the winter) or other occurrences that allow water to seep inside the house. You need to fix the walls and or roof. (“Bad insulation” won’t allow the inside of the house to get wet. In fact, properly applied insulation has a ‘vapor barrier’ which functions to keep the water vapor in the house air… to stay inside the house. If the insulation gets wet it loses its ability to insulate. Insulation will not prevent, nor is it intended to prevent, water from entering the structure.)

Furthermore, your problem (your landlord’s problem if it’s a rented house) is far greater than “wet cabinets”. The wall behind or above this cabinet is no good, apparently, and that could mean big structural problems to the place, far greater than damp Rice Krispies.

ragingloli's avatar

Also, wet walls almost always means mold too. The spores could severely damage your health. The wall needs to be fixed.

anartist's avatar

Have cabinet bottoms epoxied and put thin disposable layers of cork atop them to collect moisture [or a modern synthetic that accomplishes the same thing].

Primobabe's avatar

@CyanoticWasp and @ragingloli Everything that you say is true, but @Ame_Evil, a tenant, is looking for a short-term answer, not for a long-term solution. Really, your comments should be forwarded to the landlord who’s collecting rent for such disgusting conditions.

dpworkin's avatar

Landlords can be sued in landlord-tenant court if they fail to perform. This sounds like a failure of performance.

perspicacious's avatar

There is nothing; you should demand your landlord investigate and correct. You should not store any food in such a damp area. There is a possibility of mold too. Call your landlord.

lilikoi's avatar

I would not keep boxes of cereal and other food stuffs that need to be kept dry in that space.

Even if you lay down a rubber mat or throw some towels in there, it is going to be humid in there. Indeed, conditions like that are ripe for mold growth.

I lived in a shack when I was a student (yeah it is easy to recommend legal action, and perhaps even desirable to pursue it, but the reality of it is it is probably more trouble and cost than it is worth and if you are getting super cheap rent – far below what you’d pay anywhere else – then you have to worry about getting evicted for [a] complaining to loudly / being disagreeable or [b] because the place gets condemned).

It is a good idea to notify the landlord that this is happening as it can lead to bigger, more expensive problems down the road for them. If making them fix it is not an option, just don’t use this space. Or maybe you could get a huge box of these or a dehumidifier to use in conjunction with a make-shift solution to stop water from coming in.

wilma's avatar

The land lord is responsible for fixing the problem, but…
If you do not tell the landlord about the problem, then you might be held responsible for damage to the structure. You must inform the owner in a timely manner of this kind of problem. He/she can’t fix it if they don’t know about it.
If you have already reported the problem, then the owner is responsible.
As for storing food where there is moisture present, I would avoid that if at all possible.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would store only items that cannot be damaged by moisture – cans maybe, or dishes, but put them on a dish rack or trays

susanc's avatar

Not dishes, because the mold can contaminate them. Cans – good idea. And by all means report this. He quite definitely is not going to get a new roof/siding/insulation for you, but you’ll be on record (send him an email, you can’t fake the dates on them) as having tried.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Make sure he’s aware of the problem because the damage to his investment is profound if not addressed. That aside, is there a wall inside the kitchen where you can put a bookcase and store your food on that? You most definitely do not want to be storing food goods in a damp environment; the opportunity for mold to develop is significant in a damp environment. It poses a health risk.

Theby's avatar

You need to contact your landlord to address the problem. This dampness could be harmful to your health especially if there is any mould in the cupboard. In the interim you can buy sachets of sillicon to place in the cupboard. They absorb the dampness.

SmashTheState's avatar

As others have pointed out, the moisture will cause mold (if it’s not already present) and you really don’t want food exposed to it. My suggestion as a stop-gap solution would be to get some styrofoam coolers and use them to hold your stuff in those cupboards. With the lid on, it’ll be reasonably water-proof and it’ll keep the mold spores from getting in. Also, in the mean time, you should probably wash the cupboard out with bleach to keep the mold to a minimum.

jazmina88's avatar

also, try some of the liner, like used under rugs. It has holes and kinda rubbery.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

You could transfer all of your dried foods into plastic storage containers or glass jars.

Ame_Evil's avatar

I am not entirely sure what is going on with that cupboard. There isn’t any mold in it, and this sort of “dirt” or whatever it is seems to come from the bottom of my cans. I can probably show a picture when it builds up again, but I just decided to clean the thing out once a month. Gives me a chance to reorganise anyway. But may buy a sort of plastic box to stick everything in.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Primobabe a short term answer to “keeping my cereal boxes dry” when the walls aren’t weather tight is like jumping from Titanic and wondering if the water will damage your shoes. You’ve got bigger problems than your “short term” concern; you need to refocus.

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