9 Unusual Ways for Using Silica Gel Packets
Silica gel is a desiccant or in other words, it is a drying agent. It is used to absorb moisture and condensation from the surrounding environment. It is an extremely effective and cost-efficient way for businesses to keep their products fresh and dry for customers during storage and shipping processes.
You have probably come across silica gel packets countless times throughout your life. They are often found in shoe boxes, shipped clothing, pill packaging, beef jerky packs and so much more! Oftentimes they end up in the trash because consumers don’t realize the true value that they hold. Before you throw out the next package you see, take a look at these incredible uses for silica gel beads around your home.
1. Protect Your Electronics
Electronics, in general, should be kept a safe distance away from any potential sources of water in order to prevent irreparable damage. However, it’s not always avoidable, many of us have at one point unintentionally submerged our phones in water (whoops!). Additionally, not many people think about the effect that humidity and moisture in the air can have on their electronic devices. The effects of water/moisture in electronic devices can be devastating but luckily with a little help from silica gel beads we can take one extra step to protect our gadgets.
- Save Your Wet Phone – We have all heard of putting your wet phone in with rice. However, silica gel is known to be more effective at sucking out moisture. Stick your device directly into a container/bag with as many packets or loose beads as possible and wait 24-48 hours before attempting to turn on your phone.
- Camera Lens Condensation – Place silica gel packets in with your camera, lenses and other equipment to minimize the effects of condensation and remove moisture caused from the changing temperatures that come along with the job.
- Headphones – Whether you’re just taking a walk on a hot day or you regularly use your headphones for working out, it is inevitable that they become a little sweaty. Place some silica gel packets in your headphones and in the case to help draw the moisture out.
2. Protect Your Important Documents
When it comes to important documents and valuables such as birth certificates, tax information, old photos, scrapbooks and even collectibles (sports cards, postcards, paper money) it is vital that they stay in good condition. Depending on where these items are stored, they can become victim to humidity & moisture damage and sometimes become musty. Silica gel can help keep your important documents safe and in pristine condition.
- Important Documents – Place a few packages of silica gel beads directly in the folder/filing cabinet/plastic bag or wherever your documents are being stored. (For important and hard to replace documents such as birth certificates, social insurance numbers, etc. we recommend placing them in a sealing plastic bag with silica gel packs and then also placing them in a fireproof box for emergency preparedness)
- Photos/ Photo Albums/ Scrapbooks – Consider placing silica gel packets in the sleeves/in between pages and throughout the storage containers of these items to help keep moisture out and prevent them from becoming damaged.
- Collectibles – Whether you collect hockey cards, Pokémon cards or paper money you want these items to be kept in pristine condition. It is always recommended to have these items laminated for the best protection, but silica gel can also be used to help keep boxes and areas dry/moisture free to prevent and minimize any type of damage.
- Rid “Musty” Smells From Books – Old books can sometimes get a musty smell if they’ve been stored incorrectly in the past. Place them in a plastic bag with some silica gel and leave it for a few days to once again enjoy a fresh smelling book!
3. Protect Your Seasonal Items
Seasonal items are the types of things you take out for a couple weeks/months at a time and then put into storage for the rest of the year. These can range from winter items to summer items and also include holiday related items. Because they are packed away for such long periods of time, they can easily become susceptible to moisture build-up and mildew smells. Place a generous amount of silica gel packs with your seasonal items to keep them dry and fresh for your next use.
- Camping Gear – Camping gear is important to put away dry in order to prevent any growth of mold/mildew. However, sometimes even if you put it away dry it can still be exposed to moisture from humidity and other factors. Take precautions and put silica gel packs in to absorb any moisture that may be existing or find its way into your gear.
- Seasonal Clothes & Footwear – Summer clothes, winter sweaters, jackets, boots and other gear are really only needed for certain seasons of the year. Protect them from mold and other bacteria by adding silica gel packs in your storage containers for safe keeping. Add 1-2 packs in between each piece of clothing, or more for larger garments.
- Luggage, Bags & Purses – Keep your suitcases smelling fresh for your next vacation by adding some silica gel packs inside when they are not in use. This helps prevent extra moisture from building up inside your bags and eliminates potential musty smells.
- Christmas & Holiday Decorations – Keep your Christmas ornaments, Halloween costumes and other decorations fresh by adding silica gel packs in the storage containers in which they are kept.
4. Protect Dry Foods & Pet Foods
Although silica gel in itself is not edible, it can be safely used with food products to help combat moisture and prevent items from becoming stale or sticking together. (Be cautious when reusing silica gel packs, you have not personally purchased as some of them are not FDA approved to be in contact with food and/or drugs. Below are some examples of where silica gel packets can come in handy in your kitchen.
- Coffee – If coffee is exposed to too much humidity it can easily become stale. Tape a pack (or two) of silica gel beads to the top of your coffee can lid to keep your coffee moisture free and fresh.
- Crackers / Bread Crumbs – Keeping silica gel nearby these types of products will prevent them from absorbing too much moisture themselves and prevent staleness.
- Spices – In high humidity environments spices can easily absorb too much moisture and start to stick together and become a solid mass. Avoid this by adding silica gel packs to your spice bags or containers.
- Medication – Many types of medicine will already include a silica gel pack, however if there is not one present, you should add one! It helps keep your medicine fresh and prevent it from absorbing moisture.
- Pet Food – Tape some packets of silica gel to the top of an airtight pet food container to keep your furry friends’ food fresh and tasty. This will prevent it from becoming stale before your pet can enjoy every last bite.
5. Protect Metals From Rusting
Moisture is one of the most common causes of rust. This means if your metal is kept in humid environments, they can easily become rusted and lose value or even become unusable. Save your metals from rusting by using silica gel packets where possible.
- Tools – Protect your valuable tools by adding silica gel packs into your tool boxes, tool kits, and tool chests. They can help pull excess moisture out of the air and keep it away from your tools to prevent rusting.
- Screws / Nails – Throw a few packs of silica gel in with your nails/screws/bolts/nuts and other metal materials in order to absorb moisture and prevent rusting.
- Fishing Equipment – Fishing materials are bound to get wet given the nature of the sport, apart from properly drying your gear before putting it away you can throw in some packs of silica gel to absorb extra moisture and keep your hooks and lures shiny.
- Razors / Shavers – When not in use keep your razors in a container that has a layer of silica beads or silica gel packets in order to prolong the life of your razor and prevent it from rusting.
6. Seeds & Flowers
Silica gel as we now know is an excellent way to absorb moisture from the surrounding areas and items. They are so efficient that they can even be used for gardening in more ways than one!
- Seed Storage – If you keep a stockpile of seeds for your planting seasons you should know the importance of keeping them dry. Silica gel packs can help reduce the humidity and moisture in the environment and keep them ready for next year’s planting season.
- Preserving Flowers – Fresh cut flowers are beautiful but often short lived. However, they do not have to be! Preserve flowers from special occasions like weddings and anniversaries by using silica gel. Pour your silica gel beads directly into a container (one with an airtight lid) the layer should be about 1.5 inches thick. Place your flowers snuggly into the container face up and add more silica beads on top of them (don’t fully cover). Close the container and leave anywhere from 3-7 days depending on the type of flower.
7. Jewelry & Silverware
Tarnish in jewelry and silver materials is not uncommon. However, with the proper care it can be significantly delayed and give your pieces a much longer life. Most importantly is to store your valuables in a clean, dry environment that is preferably airtight.
- Jewelry – Adding silica gel packs to your jewelry box can help absorb moisture in the air and prevent your jewelry from tarnishing quickly as humidity and moisture are one of the main causes of this issue.
- Coin Collections – Placing your coins in an airtight container with some silica gel packs can help avoid toning in your collection caused by moisture and will keep them dry.
- Silver Goods – Similar to jewelry, if you place your fine silver alongside some silica gel packets you can lessen the likelihood of tarnish over time.
8. Moisture Prone Areas
We have already talked about the types of materials that are often stored away for months/seasons at a time that are prone to becoming victims of moisture, mold and musty smells. However, it’s typically caused by the location in which they are being stored. Certain areas of your home are more prone to humidity and increased moisture levels. Although it’s hard to prevent an entire area from these types of conditions with the use of just silica gel, there are some other tips to help keep your belongings safe.
- Basement/ Crawl Space – Take a look around your basement area and make sure that anything stored that is susceptible to mold/ moisture is protected from these elements. Protect them with a sufficient amount of silica gel and consider airtight containers to minimize any effects. You can also consider dehumidifiers and other tools for the space.
- Attic/ Loft – Similarly, the attic areas are often hot and humid spaces that can result in damage to your belongings. Preventing this area from experiencing these conditions is preferred but take a look to see where silica gel can also be used for extra protection.
- Garage/ Shed – Take a look at the belongings stored in these areas and use silica gel where it can be effective.
9. Combat Fog & Condensation
The amazing moisture absorbing powers of silica gel make it a great fighter against fog and condensation. There are several different locations in which these packages can be used including:
- Car – Keep a couple packages of silica gel on the dashboard of your car to minimize the fog/condensation that often arises on your windshield. Although this will not completely eliminate the problem, it can greatly reduce the effects.
- Bathroom – Tired of foggy mirrors after your shower? There are many different ways to prevent your mirrors from fogging up and silica gel packages are one of them. They can help absorb excess moisture from the humid bathroom air and reduce the formation of fog on your mirrors.
- Windows – For the same reasons, silica gel packages placed on window sills around the house can help to minimize the condensation on your windows caused by humidity and temperature changes.
* Important * Recharging Your Silica Gel
Silica gel has so many great uses around the house and can protect so many of your important and valuable items from damage caused by moisture and humidity. However, it is important to note that silica gel packs can become saturated and lose the ability to absorb moisture. It is crucial that you change out these packages as needed to get the maximum benefits.
Luckily, silica gel is reusable! You just need to “recharge” your silica gel beads by drying them out. This can be done by following the instructions below.
- Preheat the oven to 120°C (250℉). Be careful not to reach or exceed 175°C (350℉) as it will cause your silica gel to become ineffective.
- Place your silica gel beads on a foil lined baking sheet (you can leave them in the packs or empty them out onto the tray).
- Bake for 1.5 hours for every 850 grams (30oz) of silica gel beads. If they are color changing beads, you can dry until they fully return to their original color.
- Once cooled, store in an airtight container until ready to use. This can be repeated as necessary, over 100 times!
Looking To Buy Silica Gel Packets For Your Home Or Business?
While collecting silica gel packets from your packages and other purchased belongings is a great way to save them from the landfill, it can take a long time to get enough for your needs. In order to start reaping the benefits of these moisture absorbing packets in your home today, you can purchase high quality silica gel packages right from The Packaging Company! They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 0.5 grams right up to 10 grams. Visit us today to learn more.