Don't throw out those desiccant packets! Silica gel sachets can be reused and re-purposed in so many ways and I bet you can find at least one useful way to use them around the house in this list.
Silica gel is often found in store bought products from handbags, shoe boxes, furniture, food products, and even your vitamin and medicine bottles, and there are many surprisingly simple ways to reuse them.
These little sachets are basically incredibly porous sand, and absorb up to 40% of their weight in moisture and condensation that can damage so many items. (Actually it ADSORBS, not ABSORBS - read about the differences here if you want to get technical and annoy your friends) I'm just going to stick to absorb, because it really doesn't matter what you call it.
Moisture, humidity and condensation doesn't only damage things we might want to buy, it can damage things we already own.
This is really useful information for anyone that hates to throw things away - If you are aspiring to a zero waste lifestyle, you may have heard the 5Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and be trying to apply them to your everyday life. If so, then you will really love to hear that these NEVER have to be recycled or thrown away.
As you would expect, over time, they do lose their effectiveness, but you can refresh them by simply baking them in your oven for around 10-15 minutes at 150 Degrees Celsius (or 300 degrees Fahrenheit). The moisture ADsorbed will dry out and the silica sachets will be as good as new.
Before we get into all of these great ways to use them, please Keep these away from kids and pets who may attempt to eat them. They aren't poisonous, however, If consumed can cause major issues due to their nature of absorbing moisture, and some do contain other ingredients. So find a safe storage place.
Another rule I like to stick to is, any silica gel sachets that came with food items, can be kept for using with edible items. Personally, I would avoid choosing a sachet that came with a pair of shoes to be reused to keep my cookies fresh. There is no real evidence to say this is a bad idea, but I prefer to do this and assume that food silica sachets don't contain extra additives that could be harmful.
How to Reuse Silica Sachets Around the Home
Silica Gel In The Bathroom
Bathrooms are one of the most common places to find humidity and condensation and it is unavoidable, unless you prefer not to wash. You may not realise that this can be effecting the items in your bathroom cabinet. You will still need to use your exhaust fans and crack open the windows from time to time, but give these a go too:
>Got a safety razor? Keep silica sachets with your razor blades to prevent rust
>Place a few in your makeup bag to ensure powdered items stay fresh and unaffected
>Keep your Bath bombs and bath salts dry and maintain their fizziness longer
>Place a few silica sachets underneath your mirror and on your windowsill to prevent fogging and mist
>Stop your Nail scissors, tweezers and eye liner sharpeners rusting or tarnishing
>Place some in your bathroom cabinets which are prone to humidity and condensation
>Keep a few sachets with items such as cotton buds, toilet paper, spare soaps and shampoo bars or whatever else you are stocking up on
>Pop silica gel into your travel pill box to keep vitamins and medicine fresh
>Use in travel toiletry bags for any small spills
Uses for Silica Gel Sachets in the Laundry
Just like the bathroom, we tend to use lots of hot water in the laundry and if you have a dryer, the temperature can fluctuate creating humidity, try these tricks with silica gel:
(My laundry powder container - see, no clumps)
> Store several in your towel cupboard to capture dampness
>Throw a sachet into your Washing powder container to prevent clumping. (stick it to the lid if you are worried about it accidentally going into the washing machine)
>Keep silica in your Laundry cupboards and stop musty odours
>Silica sachets can help keep your Linen press fresh too
Kitchen Uses for Silica Gel Sachets
There are so many ways to reuse these sachets in the kitchen, here are a few you can start doing today.
>Store several desiccant sachets in the base of your benchtop utensil holder, to absorb excess moisture on wood and bamboo implements
>Add into any Kitchen drawers that is prone to heat changes, like next to the dishwasher
>Store with dried Herbs to maintain freshness (they can help you dry your own fresh herbs too)
>Prevent dry items like Epson salts and bicarb soda from clumping by sticking a silica sachets to the lid so it doesn't get accidentally scooped up
>Add one or two sachets to keep dishwashing powder from clumping (or stick to the inside of the lid)
>Stop homemade Pet treats getting soggy
>Keeps Bread fresh and mould free, especially if you store it in plastic bags or containers
>Store with homemade crackers or cookies to keep the crunch longer
>Keep tea leaves and ground coffee fresher and moisture free
> Keep some with your Steak and Cutting knives to prevent rust spots
Using Silica Sachets in the Bedroom & Closet
Wardrobes, drawers and items kept in the bedroom can become musty and stale. If you live in a tropical climate, you might also be battling with humidity and those silica gel sachets will be super helpful.
>Keep shoes fresh and dry
>Prevent musty smells in clothing and storage Drawers
>Pop a few in your jewelry box to prevent tarnishing
>Place in the bottom of handbags when not in use
>Store a few sachets in your Gym bag to combat moisture and odours
>Useful for keeping seasonal clothes including winter slippers, hats, scarves and gloves fresher for longer
Electronics and Silica Sachets
Basically storing these with any electrical and computing items will help deal with unwanted condensation, humidity and moisture that could ruin or damage equipment.
>Keep those 1980's Cassettes and video tapes in better nick
>Add silica gels into your cable storage boxes to collect moisture
>Pop one into your Camera bag to prevent lens fogging or any humidity
>Deal with mobile phone dampness (this won't work if you have dropped you phone into water though)
>Keep them with your spare batteries
>Storing one in you Ear phone case, especially great if you use them while exercising, the sachets can absorb extra moisture
> Store silica with any electrical and battery operated devices that may be exposed to humidity and moisture
General Uses for Silica Around the Home
These are just some of the many ways you can use silica around the home, the list is endless and i'm sure you'll come up with your own brilliant ideas too. If you have evaporative air-conditioning, then some of these will be important during summer.
>Remove those musty smells from old books
>Keep Photos and photo albums moisture free
>Store in your Seed collection containers to preserve them longer
>Useful for Drying Flowers and storing them moisture free (see mine in the pic above)
>Add a drop of essential oils and use as a scented freshener
>Pop a few inside your door snake
>Insert into Cushions, just remember to remove before washing
>Pop a few silica sachets into your Display cabinets
>Store with Board games
>Silica can help keep the Blade on Pencil sharpeners in good condition and prevent rust
>Medicine cabinets and First aid kits that are prone to temperature changes
>Behind picture frames to absorb any moisture that may damage your art
>Prevent rust and tarnish in your Sewing box and needles
>Keep your yoga mat fresh and sweat free
>Pop one in with your matchboxes and candles to keep them dry
>Prevent condensation on inside windows anywhere in the house
>Slot between the fly-screen and your windows to stop condensation
Silica Sachets for Items In Storage
If you live in the humid tropics or anywhere that is prone to extreme temperature fluctuations then you'll want to be using silica gel sachets everywhere to protect anything in storage.
>Place with important papers and documents to maintain their condition
>Keep Kids art works from being damaged by moisture
>Any Storage containers that may get moisture, especially if exposed to heat variations
>Christmas decorations like play dough and clay ornaments you want to keep dry
>Party decorations, especially paper and plastic that can become easily damaged
>Protect Wrapping paper, cards and tissue paper
>Store a few silica sachets inside Suitcases and travel bags
Shed uses for Silica
>Store silica gel in Tool boxes and with tools to prevent them rusting
>Keep a few with spare nails and screws in the shed
>Protect Fishing hooks and jags
>Great for Tents, camping gear and sporting equipment to prevent musty smells and condensation
>Inside gardening gloves that may get sweaty and smelly
How to use Silica Gel In your Car or Camper Van
>Put on the dashboard and around windows to prevent interior fogging
>Add a few to the Glove box to keep it smelling fresh
> Add a few drops of essential oil to make a DIY air freshener
>Store in key areas around your camper van, especially in the off seasons, to keep it free of musty odours
If you HAVE been throwing these little packets out for years, don't dwell on it. You didn't know what you didn't know!
Just make sure you start keeping any silica gel you find and get creative with new ways to use them.
Spread the word to your friends and family too, there's no reason millions of these should go to landfill each year. If they don't want to reuse them, ask them to save them up for you.
These sachets can be used anywhere you want to prevent moisture or musty smells. If you live in a humid environment these are incredibly useful. When collecting them, be sure to save them up in a jar and not leave them out to soak up moisture in the air. They will lose their effectiveness over time and as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, all you need to do is bake them in the oven.
If you have more suggestions, share them in the comments below.