13 Wildly Clever Ways To Reuse Silica Gel Packets - Off-Grid

13 Wildly Clever Ways To Reuse Silica Gel Packets

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You may have noticed that when you buy vitamins / supplements, beef jerky, seaweed or numerous other items, there is normally a packet of silica gel with the words “do not eat” written upon it. Typically we throw these away – without realizing just how useful silica gel can be in numerous situations. Silica gel is a desiccant, meaning it absorbs water. Like other absorbent substances, silica gel has the ability to take in or soak up liquids. Silica gel is a very porous mineral which naturally absorbs water molecules. Companies / corporations use silica gel to protect packaged foods, shoes, and other vulnerable products from humidity, mold growth, and other environmental factors that may cause spoilage.



1. Save Your iPhone.
If you drop your phone in the sink, you may be at a loss for a probable solution that doesn’t involve shelling out another $500 for a new phone. We found from reading scientific studies that silica gel might actually save an iPhone or Smart Phone from water damage. If you look online, you will most likely find an article informing you to put your phone in a bag of rice. This has been shown to work in certain circumstances; however, silica gel is much more effective because it is much more absorbent and therefore much more likely to prevent moisture from affecting electronic devices. [1]

Note that if the phone has come into contact with salt water, it should cleaned as soon as possible to prevent corrosion damage.

If your phone is dropped in an unsanitary place such as a toilet, it is advisable to use a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol to disinfect it. This should be done as soon as possible, prior to attempting to revive the phone via the silica gel method we described.

2. Keeping A Camera Dry
Silica gel can be very useful for preventing moisture from damaging your camera. If you use your camera underwater, in protective casing, this tip might be especially useful: stash a couple of packets of silica gel between the camera and the underwater casing. It can also help prevent the lens from fogging.

3. Protect Your Photos
To avoid damage from water spillage or humidity, simply place a packet of silica gel wherever you store your photos.

4. Engines In Storage
Surprisingly, silica gel packets can also be used to keep airplane and other engines dry while in storage. As printed in Popular Mechanics magazine, an anonymous pilot stated “I fly ultralight aircraft and use silica gel in my engines (snowmobile engines converted for aircraft use). I put the gel in old plastic 35-mm film canisters. I drill holes in the canisters smaller than the beads so they don’t come out, and I put one inside each carburetor intake to help keep moisture out of the engine while it is in storage during the winter. This helps keep the bearings from pitting and the internal parts of the engine from rusting. Snowmobilers could benefit from this during the summer while their sleds are not being used.” [2]

5. Razor Blades
We also learned from Popular Mechanics that silica gel can be used to improve razor blades. Razor blades can easily oxidise, and silica gel packets can be used to absorb residual liquid— therefore preventing the instance of premature blunting of the blade. Who would have thought that silica gel packets can help you obtain a cleaner shave? We didn’t, but now we know and we are ecstatic to have this handy trick up our sleeves: simply store one or two silica gel packets in your shaving kit, which will prolong the life of the blades and save you countless $ in the future! [1]





6. Prevent Mold In Garden Seeds
When storing seeds for the next harvest, add a silica gel packet to the container you keep them in. This will help to keep the seeds fresh and mold-free. [3]

7. Travel Tips
Silica gel is useful for keeping luggage dry. Just place a couple of silica gel packets in your suitcase, and avoid damage to your belongings from moisture or changes in temperature when traveling. Similarly, you can keep the packets in wardrobes where, especially in winter, they will help your clothes stay dry and free of mildew. [4]

8. Cassette Tapes, Videos, and DVDs
Silica gel packets can be used to preserve the lifespan of cassette tapes, videos, and DVDs. Although many people do not keep their old tape collections, existing archives become ever more important to preserve well as they are more difficult to replace.

9. Windshield
Silica gel is useful for maintaining a clean and clear windshield. Just stash several silica gel packets in your glove box or a safe place in your car and this will assist with keeping a clear windshield and preventing fogging in damp / wintry conditions. [5]

10. Dried Flowers
To speed up the process of drying a bouquet of flowers, just put them in a paper bag with a few silica packets. [6]

11. Avoid rust and tarnishing of silverware / silver jewelry / tools
Place a silica gel packet in your jewelry box, silverware drawer, or tool kit in order to avoid the occurrence of rust and slow down the process of tarnishing.

12. Lockers and Gym Bags
Keep a silica gel packet in your locker or gym bag to keep your change of clothes, shoes and other belongings from smelling musty or foul.

13. Keep Linen Closets Fresh
Keeping a silica gel packet in your linen closet is a cheap, easy way to keep your linens smelling fresh and clean.

Toxicity warning

Silica gel packets usually bear a warning regarding their toxicity, i.e. “Do Not Eat”. It is important to pay attention to this warning, because silica gel is toxic to the human body and also can be lethal if consumed by animals/pets especially dogs and cats. This explains the reason for the “Do Not Eat” warnings listed on the packaging. When unpackaged, silica gel beads resemble tapioca beads (which are edible and used in recipes i.e. tapioca pudding) so we advise that you make sure you take extra caution when saving and storing silica gel packets. Keep them out of the reach of small children and pets.

References:

[1] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4228433
[2] http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tips/clever-uses-for-silica-gel
[3] http://www.theruststore.com/Silica-Gel-FAQ-W40C2.aspx
[4] http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/hang-on-to-silica-gel-packets-for-these-three-tech-tips-180983
[5] http://www.mnn.com/local-reports/illinois/local-blog/how-to-reuse-silica-gel-packets
[6] http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cook/downloads/9206.pdf

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13 Wildly Clever Ways To Reuse Silica Gel Packets
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1 Comment

  • By Belinda, May 15, 2014 @ 12:40 am

    I keep some in my hubby’s toolbox.

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