Eight Ways to Use Silica Gel Packets
Have you ever wondered why you find those tiny little packets labeled “Throw Away” and “Do Not Eat” when you purchase items such as a purse, shoes, or even food? While they may seem annoying or wasteful when you find them in a shoe box or at the bottom of your purse, these little packets actually serve an important purpose and can also be repurposed. These little packets contain a substance known as silica gel and they are very effective at reducing moisture and humidity within a small space.
Contrary to its name, silica gel is actually a dry solid that absorbs and holds water vapor. Silica Gel is typically found in “bead” form with the beads being contained by a porous packet material allows the beads to freely absorb moisture in the air. The packets themselves are also very efficient at absorbing moisture and are made from sodium silicate, a highly porous substance capable of absorbing up to 40% of its own weight. These packets are commonly found in products that may be affected by excess moisture or condensation including food, footwear, and apparel.
While silica gel is biodegradable and non-toxic, often times the packets contain materials that do not biodegrade over time, which is a great reason to repurpose these pouches for another use.
Here are just a few tips on how you can use silica gel packets around the house and in your everyday life.
Cameras: Camera gear can be an expensive investment. Protect your camera and lenses while reducing lens fog and streaks by placing a couple packets in your camera bag.
Cell Phone Water Damage: If you have ever had to replace a cell phone due to water damage, you know that it can be an expensive process. The next time you drop your cell phone, iPod, or other electronic device in the water, try using silica gel to dry out device. Remove the battery and memory card and place your device in a small zip lock storage bag with loose beads or packets of silica gel. Leave it there overnight before powering it back on.
Drying Flowers: Wish your flowers could last forever? Now you can save your everlasting memories with silica gel. Maintain the flower’s color and shape by covering the flowers with loose Silica Beads while they are still vibrant and firm. The silica gel will dry them quickly leaving their color and shape. Make sure that the flower is fully dry before you start the drying process. If there is a drop of dew left on the flower the gels will stick and could possibly ruin the flowers.
Fabric and Leather Protection: Keep your shoes in tip-top shape by storing them with silica gel packets. These packets will help preserve your shoes and make them last longer by absorbing the moisture that builds up inside of them.
Gardening: There is nothing worse than having to buy new seeds after you find out your old ones have sprouted mold. You can save your gardening seeds and your money by placing your seed packets into an envelope along with a silica packet and placing them in an air-tight container to preserve your favorite seeds for next year’s garden.
Hunter Safes: Prevent moisture and rust and protect your guns and ammunition by placing a few packets in your gun safe. Silica gel will help absorb any moisture that might be trapped in your safe to not only save your guns, but also save you money in the long run.
Razor Blades: Does it seem like you are replacing your razors more often than needed? Oxidation and moisture is the main reason that razor blades fall to pre-mature dulling. Keep a Tupperware container nearby and after shaving, dry-off your razor and store it in the closed Tupperware along with 4 -5 silica gel packets. This will not only save you money on expensive razors, but you’ll also get a better shave!
Silver: Keep your silver shining like new! You can slow down the tarnishing of your silverware, silver jewelry, and tools by tossing a couple packets in the drawers or chest where they’re kept.
Reduce, Reuse, and Repurpose!
By saving silica gel packets, you will be doing your part to reduce waste, and with so many uses out there for these little packets, it is never difficult to find a way to repurpose them.
If you suspect the silica gels are not working anymore, restore them by putting them on a cookie sheet in a 100 degree F oven for an hour. This will help to dry out the beads so they can be reused over and over.
Next time you see one of these packets, be sure to hold on to them - you can store your silica packets in an airtight container when you’re not using them to keep them dry. Not only will these save you money in the long run but you’re also helping the environment by recycling these packets into good use.