Don’t throw silica gel packets away – reuse them! Here are 20 clever desiccant silica gel uses for around your home. So smart!
Silica gel packs come in so many things! Food containers, clothing, vitamins, even online book orders. I never know when a silica gel packet is going to drop out of a purchase and onto the floor.
I’ve actually got quite a stash of them, and I’ve never been sure what to do with them . . . . until now. Instead of throwing them away, I’d like to share some ideas with you – clever silica gel uses as opposed to throwing them the circular file.
About Desiccant Silica Gel
Before we get into those, I wanted to share the most frequently asked questions about this desiccant. If you’re interested in the uses, simply scroll past this section. Otherwise, I hope these are helpful to you!.
What is silica gel?
It’s actually not a gel – but a solid form of silicone dioxide (SiO2). If you want to get technical, its primary usage is to “adsorb” moisture, holding it on the surface (rather than dissolving it). Those little packets are used as desiccant, or for drying. Silica gel is basically a cousin to sand.
Is it dangerous to touch silica gel?
The warnings on the package are scary, but it’s not dangerous to touch it at all – at least the clear kind, which is what I always find in the packets. If you eat it, you’d likely be fine. The desiccant would pass through your system.
The reason the warnings are so bold is so that it doesn’t get in the hands of children who think it’s a candy packet (it’s a choking hazard), or so you don’t mistake it for Splenda and put it in your coffee. Just because it’s non-toxic doesn’t mean you want to eat it.
Can silica gel packs be reused?
Absolutely! Silica can adsorb up to 40% of its own weight. Once it stops being effective, place it into a 250°F oven for 1-2 hours to use it again. You don’t want to put the packets in the oven; the beads should be removed and placed into an oven safe container before baking.
How long do silica gel packets last?
My research shows 1 – 3 years before they need to be recharged. Having said that, the humidity of your environment will determine how long they last.
How do you dispose of silica gel beads?
If you’re going to reuse them, no need to dispose of them. I couldn’t find any limits as to how many times they can be reused. Having said that, if you want to get rid of the gel, you should rip open the packets so no one mistakes them for Splenda before throwing in the trash.
Silica Gel Packets Uses
Next time you consider throwing the packets away, save them instead. Keep on reading for some great ideas. Have you thought of any of these?
Save Your Phone
I don’t know about you, but my phone has gone into the toilet (and I mean literally – it was an iPhone 5S). If your phone is exposed to any moisture, try placing it in a bag with silica gel packets first. I’ve known many people to save their phone this way!
Keep Condensation Off Camera Supplies
A camera is very sensitive to moisture. If you store your camera supplies in a moist area or like to do any underwater photography in cases, silica gel packets can come in handy for keeping them dry.
Extend the Life of Razor Blades
Moisture can cause blades to dull quickly. After shaving, dry off your razor and store in a plastic container with silica gel. You’ll get more use out of your razor.
Keep Travel Items Dry
Remember that last trip to the beach? Clothes don’t necessarily come out of the luggage smelling great. Store silica gel in your luggage to keep the moisture at bay. This works especially well for toiletries.
Keep Gym Clothes Smelling Fresh
I know that I often times leave dirty items in my gym bag unintentionally. If you keep silica gel in the bag, it can help keep musty orders at bay.
Protect Photos from Damage
Moisture can warp, stain, or otherwise ruin photos. If you keep them in the garage, attic, or another area exposed to any humidity then silica gel can save them. Simply place the packets in the same box.
Save Basement Storage
If you’re my age, you my have VHS tapes, old cassette tapes, drawings from your childhood – and you don’t want them damaged. Put all those items together in a box with several packets to ensure that they are protected (plus keep them off the floor in case of flooding).
Fishing Supplies Stay Dry
Are you a fly fisherman or woman? Then there’s one thing that’s for certain – your supplies are going to get wet. Even when you let them air dry or remove all the water, that are nooks and crannies that may hold moisture. Add some silica gel to your fishing storage to make sure it doesn’t take over.
Makeup Bag Woes
Makeup bags hang out in the bathroom, which obviously is exposed to lots of moisture. If you like particularly hot showers, that can make the situation worse! Keep packets in your makeup bag to help prevent clumping.
Coffee Jar Clumping
Just like makeup, ground coffee can clump, especially with moisture. Use a dessicant in your coffee jar or even in the bag of grounds to keep that from happening. Just be sure to keep your eye out so that packets don’t end up in the machine.
Keep Fabric Dry
This is one of my favorite silica gel uses! If you are a crafter or a seamstress, you know that fabric (if stored for too long) can get a musty odor. Storing with silica gel can help keep your favorite fabrics from getting stinky.
Save Your Gardening Supplies
Keep your tools from getting rusty or your seeds from getting moldy with silica gel. Make sure to store smaller gardening items and seeds in an airtight container with the gel.
Preserve Pet Food
This is one of those silica gel uses that saves a lot of money! A huge bag of pet food with any moisture in it can get soggy at the bottom. I always keep a few packets of silica gel at the bottom to prevent that from happening.
You can slow down the process of tarnishing and avoid rust all together by storing silica gel packets with your silverware. You definitely won’t have to clean them as often!
Toolbox Rust Prevention
Tools sitting in the garage are exposed to moisture, and as a result can be subject to rust. Tools aren’t cheap, so prevent or slow that rust from happening by adding gel packets to your toolbox.
Real Pumpkins Stay Fresh
You’ve seen what can happen when a pumpkin goes sideways – and in certain environments it doesn’t take that long for a real pumpkin to start molding. Silica gel packets are awesome for keeping those jack o’ lanterns lasting longer. Because there’s nothing grosser than a mushy pumpkin . . . seriously!
Prevent Old Book Smells
If you’ve been in a library you know how musty old books can smell, especially in the encyclopedia section (those have been around a long time!). The musty smell is typically caused by moisture, so adding a dessicant can help reduce the smell.
PS – the gel works for important documents too.
Dirty Clothes Hamper Smells
If you have a house full of people, reducing the smell from a hamper can be even more important. Use gel packets to help with the stink.
Keep Laundry Detergent from Clumping
If you use powdered detergent, you’re well aware of how clumpy it can get, even in the best of conditions. A few packets of silica and you’re going to prevent that from happening. Then you won’t be using all your might to scrape detergent out with the scoop – won’t that be nice?
PS – get some cool laundry hacks!
Keep a Car Free of Excess Moisture
I live in the northwest, and that means it rains. I also have older cars . . . and some of the seals just aren’t what they used to be. On days with a particularly hard rain it can get musty inside my wheels, so that’s when some packets can come in handy.
What are your favorite desiccant silica gel uses? Let me know in the comments! I’d also love for you to visit these other posts: