I am sure you have many of these Silica Gel packets from a new purse, shoes, headache medicine, beef jerky or any other random item. I just received a couple in a new purse yesterday, and I think of them more as a pain, and inconvenience. Especially when I turn my back for 2 seconds and my kitten has somehow pulled one off of the counter and is tearing it to bits. After my initial panic attack from trying to figure out if my cat had eaten poison, I immediately looked up on the internet to see if I needed to rush her to the vet.
Fortunately, everything I read said that somehow Silica-Gel is not toxic to pets – cats or dogs. Which is weird since it seems everything is toxic to animals, but I guess not this. However, it is toxic to humans to please keep an eye on your kids or babies. Oh, and my kitten Sophie is fine, in case you were wondering.
So since I seem to have these around, I wanted to see if there was any use for these packets that could be used to help me for other things. I found quite a few uses. So I was excited to share with all of you!
Keep Underwater Cameras Dry – Waterproof cameras are super fun but sometimes the condensation can end up damaging the camera or leave a fog streak across your lens. Stop this from happening by storing a packet or two of silica-gel packets in the camera case or with the camera. It will dry all of the excess water out.
Dry Out A Wet Cell Phone – This one is much needed knowledge. How many times have we accidentally dropped our phone in some water like a pool, toilet or the kids or yourself spilled a drink on your phone? It always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here is how you can fix it fast. Remove the battery and any memory cards from the phone, then toss it in a bowl filled with silica gel packets (dry rice will work, too, in an emergency). Leave it there at least overnight before powering it on again.
Stop Camera Condensation – As a blogger, I take my camera everywhere. It is a must for most of us ladies nowadays. Here is a great photography trick to stop lens or camera condensations. If you’re taking your camera out into the cold, it can face serious condensation when you bring it back into a warm room. Remove the battery, memory card, and lens if applicable, and place the camera in a bowl of silica gel to suck up the moisture.
Extend the Life Of Razor Blades – Oxidation and moisture is the reason that razor blades fall to pre-mature dulling. A good tip is to keep a Tupperware half full of silica gel near by and after shaving, blot dry your razor and store the razor in the closed Tupperware that has 4 -5 silica gel packets.
Dry Makeup or Travel Bag – If you toss a few packets of silica gels into a Ziplock bag, it has enough water and moisture fighting ability to withstand any spills.
Keep Fabric Dry – If you like to sew, or use fabric for craft projects, keep a few of the silica packets with the fabric in a plastic or Ziplock bag to keep the moisture out.
Wet Vacations Clothes – Sometimes when we go on vacation, there is swimming involved. Most of the time we are enjoying the water up until the vacation is over. The worst is putting wet clothes in your suitcase. Put your clothes or wet towel into a bag with a bunch of silica gels and it will help to remove some of the moisture. The more gel packets the better.
Protect Your Photos – Put silica gel packet in the boxes where you store your photos to keep them safe and dry.
Protect Silver – Moisture can lead to tarnish and corrosion on silver and jewelry. Slip a silica gel packet in your silver chest or jewelry box to keep those items tarnish free and looking great!
Keep Luggage Dry – These tiny packets can do a great job of keeping luggage dry. You can simply toss a few silica gel packets into your luggage to keep it moisture and odor-free. This could really help to extend the life of your luggage.
Gardening – If you save your own seeds for planting next year, storing them so they don’t mold is important. Add a silica gel packet to your container, making sure it’s airtight. Store the different seeds in small envelopes and then put them all in an airtight container together with the silica gel packet. You only need one per shoe box-sized container.
Pills and Vitamins – You will often find Silica Gel packets enclosed with packets of dried foods, pills, and vitamins. This is because moisture can lead to mold, decomposition, and spoilage of these items. Storing these items with a packet of Silica Gel can help preserve their freshness. Vitamins and pills are often stored in bathrooms, a very humid environment. Moisture can get into the container each time it is opened, which can lead to any coatings being prematurely dissolved.
Protect Documents – Protect personal papers and important documents by putting some gel in a baggie wherever these are stored.
Flowers – If you love to dry flowers, these can be used in a cinch to help the process go faster. Store in a paper bag with the a couple packets.
Windows – If you notice that the windows in your house seem to have formed some condensation in between panes, store some packets on the sill to absorb that moisture. (Careful of your children with this one.)
Bulk Pet Food – Have you noticed that if you buy a big bag of pet food, it can get soggy? Store your kibble in a bin and tape some silica packs to the bottom of the lid.
Foggy Windshield – Stash some packets away in your car, especially on your dashboard. This will help maintain a clear windshield and leave it less foggy during times of high humidity.
Pumpkins – Protect your pumpkin from mold. Remove the top of the pumpkin. Take a silica bead and embed it into the interior of the pumpkin. Don’t stick the bead in so far that it changes the appearance of the pumpkin’s exterior. When applying the beads, use 3/4 grams of silica for every 100 cubic inches of pumpkin.
Tip: If your silica gel packets don’t seem to be working any more, put them on a cookie sheet in a 100 degree oven for an hour to recharge! When you’re not using the packets, keep them in an airtight container to protect them from surrounding moisture.
[email protected] says
This is not a very good idea. Sorry for saying that, but this silica gel packs MAY (not every has)contain a poison stuff, which helps against molding. Can’t find the webside I read it on…
Christina Arnold says
She didnt tell u to eat them….0.o
Ai KoB says
Pam Mulveny says
Pam Mulveny says
This comment has been removed by the author.
Girls, let’s t as ke thevpositive side of the message from the lady, n not add like politicians more of nothing, we r good fot that wasting time, the advice is appreciative thank u deeply n please forgive the ignorance of others
Silica gel is essentially the same thing as quartz. SiO2. Completely harmless stuff. HOWEVER! Some companies who make the stuff add in another chemical to indicate whether it has absorbed too much moisture and needs to be thrown out or heated to drive the moisture out. Its these chemicals that can be nasty.
(The reason its different from plain quartz sand is it originally comes in the form of sodium silicate. The sodium is just burned off and you end up with chemistry that now loves to absorb water.)
The gel can hurt your pets
They absorb moisture
My dog ate one and I had to make him vomit before they swell up
Hurt your pets if your pets eat it… Or more exact is if you leave it out where your pets can eat it… So don’t leave it out!
SERIOUSLY??!! You’d have been more accurate saying: “I kinda remember someone, somewhere, saying SOMETHING that should cause panic over either this or some other product…I have no idea what I am talking about, but just wanted to share my unreasonable, uninformed opinion about nothing.”
@Nancy LMAO correct you are!
Erin Kennedy says
I guess you could look at it that way, if you want to be negative Nancy – oh wait….fits the name I guess.
darshani danushika says
to ood me
Douglas E Davis says
Called Poussin control back in the early 90 s and they advised me nothing to worry about. Drink water and watch for dehydration.
My son ate some back in the 1990’s. I called poison control and they said not to worry.
Of course you can’t remember the website.
Helen Lange says
Silica is a mineral like magnesium, chloride or sodium. Is it safe to ingest it?
Erin Kennedy says
I wouldn’t. Just like that episode from “seinfeld” where Jerry’s girlfriend’s step-mother had some on accident in the salsa at a mayan store that Kramer accidentally dropped in there. She had to go to the hospital and felt “all dried out inside.” Lol!
I thought I read the same thing, but couldn’t remember where. So, I went in search of… I found this information from a poison control center. They say that not only are the silica gel packs non-toxic, but they advise to throw them away immediately, because 1) they are not food; 2) because they are a choking hazard for children and pets. Hope that helps. :)
My Thirty Spot says
Thanks for the info ladies. I also mentioned that in my intro. I am glad to know they are non-toxic, but you should only use these if small kids and pets are not able to get to them. It is up to everyone’s discretion if they want to use these tips or not. I just wanted to find some uses for them that are helpful for DIY.
Great tips! I get these in everything I purchase it seems…good to know some uses for the little buggers. Thanx alot, love your blog! – oh..and also, I do not have any kids but I do have a cat..I’ll use them responsibly and I’m sure I won’t have a problem.
So these packs have an indefinite life span? I can keep “recharging” them and they will remain absorbant? If so, that is really cool…
Mr. Green says
Silica gel does not have an infinite lifespan. It can be recharged and last for quite some time, its capacity to adsorb lessens after awhile and eventually new silica gel will be needed to replace the old.
Blue silica gel is the type of silica gel that is toxic, orange and white silica gel is not toxic, so those are the safest to use.
Fun article by the way.
I put these little packets in my rolling tool box drawers to prevent rust on my tools…
White chalk works for your tool box too.
They would be great for your Gun case in humid climates . My husbands rifle tends to get rust on it because its so humid here. TY for the idea.
My Thirty Spot says
Thanks for commenting and the great tip! That is really good to know!
I put them in my skate bag, to absorb moisture from sweaty skates & pads.
I thought that too. I may have to stock up ad I have 3 skate bags
I used to work in a factory which received LARGE rolls of aluminum for making pots & pans. To keep the rolls free of moisture, silica gel packs where inside each roll. Our company had no use for these packs and were just thrown away. These packs were about 10″x 4″ and 3″ thick. After asking, I was able to take a few home for use in home safe. Parents had a safe which had gotten moisture in it which ruined money, deeds & many items of value. Always throw these packs into a safe!
william nolan says
the headlights on the car are always misting up so i will put a couple off packets in to see if it works
What good ideas! I like to re-purpose items and this is one more for the list. I am going to start by adding a pack to my toolbox. Thanks for all the ideas… both in your article and other commenters.
I save them all year long and toss them in my totes with my holiday decorations
Lindsay Perez says
I crochet and I have many, many cabinets full of various yarns. I put the packs in there to prevent moisture. I also put them into all my camera cases, and all of the tool storage containers, and tool ,boxes in my shop. They’re wonderful little things, and free too…that makes them just about perfect. :) Oh, no kids, and no pets in my home!
Might be neat to crochet around a few of the packets as it would deter kids or pets from eating them .Might be a good resale item.
Geraldine Valles says
I remember watching Billy the Exterminater on tv he said if you grind them up in a coffee grinder and to water place in a spray gun and spray on bushes and plant that it would keep the BEES AND WASPS AWAY.
Geraldine Valles says
And it will also kill them
We need all the BEES we have. PLEASE don’t do this. They are our pollinators. Without them we are in MAJOR trouble.
wasps eat pests off your plants and bushes. very stupid idea to be going to war against bees and wasps. leave them alone and they will tend to leave you alone.
Another tip for silica is to use this when planing new plants or newly germinated seeds or cutting to induce root growth. It is like Willow juice from Salix ie. salicylic acid or silica.
Just because two words sound similar does not mean that they are interchangeable.
I wonder if this would work on potato bugs before they get their hard shells.
I use them in my spice containers, also in sugar and salt so they don’t clump up
My son has several in his gun case. Also, I have read that you can put some inside your jack o’lanterns to keep them from going mouldy so quickly.
Xssy Commons says
I use these small packs of silica gel in the non-airtight containers I keep my home dehydrated fruits and veges in.
Gwen Stagers says
Billy the Exterminator also used them for roaches. cut a small slit in the bag and place them in your cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. Had a friend who tried this and it really worked. It dries them out and they die, they also carry it back to the nests.
Super article plus the comments will keep these out of my trash from now on. Love it!!
I use them in the gun safe to keep moisture from rusting the guns
For those worried about poison in them don’t worry. My youngest chewed on a pack so I called Poison Control. There is nothing bad in them, no poison. So they are safe. The warning on the packet is to just tell us they are not edible.
Sandra Kinney says
I think the main thing is they could be a choking hazard for children and pets.
Sandra Kinney says
…and another commenter said the blue ones are toxic.
This is the same stuff they sell in craft department for drying out flowers. Its sold with a use, just as well keep the free for other uses!
Great for ammunition storage.
I drop a couple of packs into my big box of washing powder to help prevent clumping.
They are great for putting in Christmas cookie tins when you store them empty to prevent rust.
Noel Flauta says
Informative….Thank you so much!!!!!
More power to you….
can you buy these anyplace or do you just have to collect the from things they are in?
As a construction worker I’m constantly looking for ways to prevent monkey butt during the summer heat. So I had the sandwich maker sew 3 to 4 packets to the inside of all my boxers to help keep the humidity low enough to prevent the dreaded swamp butt. Sure, she complained at first (each packet had to be custom placed for optimal performance) but in the end she thanked me for giving her something to do. Great article, keep up the good work!
My daughter somehow found a pack of this n swallowed some of the beads…I immediately called poison control because I was always told they were poisonous, however the lady from poison control told me they are not toxic the only thing to worry about was choking on them. My daughter was fine to my relief. Just thought I would share.
Denise Buchanan says
Since they kill bees, roaches and wasps I wonder about stink bugs. Will have to try it
Another use/tip is if you keep a fireproof safe, to keep one or two in there with your important documents because FireSafes are airtight and tend to retain moisture.
They work in fireproof files as well. And, if you already have a problem with mildew on your documents adding the gel packets will remove the moisture and mildew.
Since I have no extras, with so many good ideas I think I will run out and get me some of these. The ones I have are all in use.
You can buy safes now that have a built in De-humidifier. Thanks to all the comments here, I think it’s worth the extra cost! =)
Do you mean 100 degrees F or C? Thanks!
I take the bags or the little round containers of silica gel and put it in all of my jewelry boxes and containers that store jewelry to keep it from tarnishing..It has worked for me for 2 years now..
Yo Dadi says
While I am not a woman, I am in my 30’s and I do enjoy being cheap as I possible can whenever I can, anyway, from the very first couple of sentences to the non-stop debate in the comment, I wanted to offer these, all the ideas given here seemed so awesome they feel like no-brainers after you hear them, but many have a question of the safety of the preservative silica packets, first, its futile to argue about it because at the end of the day, different companies handle them differently and a big company can end up making baby food toxic, it happens all the time, but if you want to still use this ideas in the exact same way, commonly called “Crystal” cat litter is nothing more than a proven safe version of these silica crystals, and also can be purchased in larger volume cheaper, and some are even scented, but who wants to smell like cat litter even clean cat litter, anyway there is unscented, but it is the same silica stuff, but is made with the specific intention of being non-toxic to not only animals but humans too, and with a larger volume who knows what else you might come up with, (now I randomly ended up here so this statement might not be valid) but with all that dehydrating silica that’s safe and non-toxic, im sure you will come up with a whole nother blog post thingy about a bunch of new stuff, anyway just trying to increase the peace, make love not war and all that, and remember Peace, Love, and Nappiness, and, SOOOUUULLLLLLL!!!!!
Miss Cellany says
Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t thought of the silica cat litter, but you’re right it’s essentially the same stuff (without the toxic compounds added to indicate when the silica has lost its effectiveness).
senior citizen says
After reading all comments, it seems reasonable to use in a closed container with your hearing aids at night to remove moisture. Moisture is a real problem for hearing aids. Even though I’m a Senior, I find
the suggestions useful!!!!!
I also like to drop one or two in my spice jars. It keeps the spices from clumping!
Shalee Albrecht says
After reading all the good uses for the silica gel packet’s and for me the round anti moisture thing’s included in many vitamin container’s instead of the packet’s, I wanted to share my favorite use for both. I use it for my powdered incense to keep it from clumping but more importantly as an herbalist I use them to protect my dry herb’s from moisture problem’s, mold, mildew etc. I just toss a couple of either the packet’s or the round one’s in with the my jar or container that I keep my medicinal herb’s in and wow, they last forever (not literally of course but they last a lot longer than they normally would) the medicinal quality also last’s longer due to the lack of moisture . Of course always check just like any medication and use with caution again just like any medication.
Hi, Sheppers here. I’ve just had a read of the above article and can’t help but draw the conclusion that all 17 clever ways ( plus one additional bonus clever way ) are all essentially 1 clever way to use Silica Gel, keeping things dry.
Admittedly my version of the article would be somewhat shorter, but would deliver the same content in less than a common or garden ‘tweet’.
BEES AND WASPS
Silica gel is non toxic. It can be s cooking hazard but it is not poisonous, I work for poison control.
Shelley Fenstermacher Hornick says
I use them in my husband’s Igloo lunch box since it always has moisture in it, works great.
I bought a scarf at a craft show that was advertised as a “cool scarf.” You soak the scarf in water and wear it around your neck to keep you cool while working outside during summer months. You can “re-soak” it as necessary and even soak it in ice water to really keep cool. The active ingredients in the scarf are the silica pellets. They expand when wet, however, once the scarf dries it shrinks to its original size and can be reused. Very clever. I’m assuming that 5-10 packets of silica pellets are necessary to make this type of neck scarf.
steve e says
I use them in my gun safes.
Greetings folks, I’m having difficulty understanding how a few small bags of silica gel could possibly work in anything but an air tight sealed container. In the context of gun safes, tool boxes, camera bags and whatever other containers used that are not completely air tight, its just not possible that a few small beads could mop up the amount of moisture that would pass through the container during humid weather. If you stand a glass of cold water on the table during humid conditions the sides of the glass and the table under it will become saturated in seconds; this is an example of how much moisture air is capable of holding. As most of the world’s population are situated reasonably close to coastal areas some degree of exposure to humidity will be unavoidable, so the silica gel solution, as used in non air tight containers will sit on the scale of usefulness as somewhere between a placebo and an imaginary friend, or in other words, not always completely effective in all situations.
I use silica gel packages from seaweed packages to put in with my gallon jars of dehydrated fruit. I bought a 36 pack from costco just the other day. I take out the silica gel from each package, wipe them with paper towel and put them into a jar with paper towel whcih will draw moisture from the packets. In one gallon jar of dehydrated apples, pears or plums I use 2 packets. This will keep tgem dry and mold free :)))
Silica gel is an abrasive and can be used to kill ants and cockroaches by leaving the powder across their trails and where they run. It gets in their joints, abrading them so the insects dehydrate. Beads would have to be ground to a powder to get them to work, for which a mortar and pestle could be used, or two spoons, or a couple of good flat rocks. They should clean up safely.
Arnold Palmer says
Clever tips! I’ll suggest that, for most of these applications, you’ll probably want to use more silica gel than can be realistically scavenged from shoeboxes and bags of beef jerky. If you’ve come to the same conclusion, Amazon has you covered. Do a search for ‘silica gel desiccant’ or something like that. It’s quite cheap!
Silica gel is a vitreous (i.e. glassy) form of silicon dioxide. Silicon dioxide has numerous applications, finding uses in everything from kitty litter to fiber optic cabling. As a food additive, its ability to absorb moisture makes it a useful anti-caking agent for powders prone to clumping. Be sure to get food-grade silicon dioxide (often sold as a powder) if you plan to eat it!
There seems to be some debate in the comments regarding the toxicity of silica gels. I did some reading up and wanted to share my findings. First and foremost, plain silica gel (and other forms of silicon dioxide) is completely non-toxic if eaten. It won’t swell up in your pets/children or anything like that. The packets say “do not eat” because they’re choking hazards, and sometimes also because the gel wasn’t produced with any intention of meeting the high standards we set for “food-grade” materials. The desiccant in your beef jerky, though, should be perfectly edible (though I’m not sure why anyone’d want to eat it).
That said, powdered forms of silicon dioxide can be harmful to your lungs if inhaled (especially on a chronic basis), and can irritate your eyes as well. This is because the fine particles are abrasive (kind of like microscopic shards of glass).
Additionally, sometimes an indicator dye is added to the gel so that it changes color as it absorbs moisture from the environment and becomes saturated (to indicate when it needs to be replaced). Cobalt based dyes usually change from blue to pink and are quite toxic. Methyl violet dyes start orange (not violet!) and either turn green or become colorless, depending on the particular dye used. These dyes are also toxic, but less so than the cobalt salts.
Lastly, there is one additional type of silica gel desiccant in regular use. It’s silica alumina gel, which is a lemony yellow color. It’s harmless if consumed – just like plain ‘ol silica gel – and is most frequently employed in certain industrial and scientific applications.
These are all great ideas! I featured this post on my Facebook page, The Hack Yak, that is for my Communications class at BYU-Idaho. Thanks for great content I can share! ?
Erin Kennedy says
Thanks Jolene! Happy you enjoyed it!
well with all what I read I think I understand everything about silica gel thank you all.
Jullie robert says
Yeah, it is great, you can easily buy it from Amazon.
Anybody tell me how to the silica gel, I got in my h2o unbreakable water bottle,
some come in sealed plastic packets. does it work?
Erin Kennedy says
Yes! Yes it does.
Knowledge is power!
U took your time to research and share…
Thanx…jst ignore the negative comments…
Michael Lee says
Before reading this article, I never knew how useful that silica gel packets are. I live somewhere with high humidity and so they could be helpful in so many ways. Starting tomorrow, I am going to try and put some in my car to see if my windshield isn’t foggy.