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Published on Aug 4, 2022
Anyone who has ever purchased a pair of shoes, or a handbag has promptly thrown away the silica gel packet that comes with it.
You may be surprised to learn that those little packets have a couple of handy household uses. Check out our favourites.
Check out our favourites.
Silica gel packets contain small grains that are silicon dioxide in solid form. It is a drying agent that is able to draw in water molecules through the paper packaging.
Manufacturers often place packets of these in certain foods and commercial products to avoid damage and spoiling and to draw moisture through the paper packaging.
In fact, according to How Stuff Works, silica gel can absorb about 40 percent of its weight in moisture and can take the relative humidity in a closed container down to about 40 percent.
Did you know that silica gel packets can be stored at the back of your linen cupboards or even Tupperware drawers to keep musty smells at bay?
They’re also very handy if you have unpleasant smells around the home, in areas such as under the sink or in the bottom of the garbage bin (before you put the bag in) to reduce odours.
You can actually keep silica gel packets safely in a sealed environment for around 18 months; just be sure to keep them well hidden from pets and small children.
Unfortunately, items like razors can deteriorate quite quickly, so you may be replacing them much more often than you’d like. This usually happens due to the excess moisture present in the shower or wherever in the bathroom you store it.
You can prolong the life of your razors by placing them on a silica gel packet whenever they aren’t being used. The packet works well here because it absorbs extra moisture and, in turn, prevents rust.
Another great idea is to place some of the silica gel packets in your toolbox to also keep these items free from rust.
It’s never pleasant opening up a gym bag, particularly if it hasn’t been cleaned out in a while. Items such as dirty clothes, sweaty clothes, socks and stinky shoes create the ideal environment for bacteria and odours to thrive.
We recommend storing a few silica gel packets in your bag to soak up moisture and keep the interior clean and fresh. It’s worth noting that you should try to keep the packets as dry as possible, to save the beads from escaping into the bag.
It’s not a great feeling. Your phone slips out of your fingers and slowly falls into a pool, a full bath or worse yet, the toilet. It may be possible to revive your phone, however, with the help of silica gel packets.
All you have to do is simply separate your battery from the phone, gently wiping any excess moisture with a cloth, preferably microfibre if you have it.
Pop the phone, its battery and the silica gel packets into a zip-lock bag (something like a sandwich bag will do the trick), close it up and leave it overnight.
You shouldn’t use the beads without their packaging, however, as the smaller items may get trapped in your phone’s crevices or ports.
Things such as cameras and laptops can be very susceptible to moisture. Utilising the powers of silica gel wherever you store your electronics, or with them in their cases/covers can protect them from damage and wear and tear.
Silica gel packets can help you protect items such as birth certificates and other documents by placing one or two packets into the filing cabinet or wherever you keep your records.
Older photographs can be protected with silica gel too. The packets will stop the prints from sticking together or from discolouring.
Foodstuffs such as seeds, spices, herbs and even pet food can be kept fresh by storing them with silica gel packets. They’ll stop food from going stale but could also help to prevent mould and mildew growth.
Most silica gel packets usually include a warning to "throw away" the sachet. While it isn’t necessarily toxic, the gel beads inside the packet can be a choking hazard as they don’t break down in the body. We recommend keeping them in their packets at all times and away from small children and your pets.
If you’re leaving packets in cupboards or drawers, tape them down to deter any prying hands.
You should also note that silica gel packets will stop working after a while, as they become full of the moisture they’ve absorbed and, therefore, lose their effectiveness.