If you’ve purchased a new bag, clothing item, pair of shoes, or even something perishable, you may have noticed little packets thrown inside. They read: “Silica Gel, DO NOT EAT, THROW AWAY.” You could throw them away, or you could reuse them to keep your home products dry and free from damage!
These silica gel packs are put in retail products because they help protect items from moisture or light water damage that can often be found in warehouses and stock rooms. These packets draw out moisture, dehydrating and dehumidifying the air around them. This keeps your new purse from cracking, discoloring, or flaking before you receive it.
This mini-dehumidifier can save your clothes, jewelry, electronics, food, books, and knick-knacks from moisture-related damage that can come from humid spaces.
Want to keep your herbs and spices fresh throughout the seasons? A silica gel pack can remove any excess moisture to keep your herbs and spices in the dry environment they need in order to last and maintain their potency.
Don’t put the gel pack directly in your food, though. Tape the packet to the bottom of the container’s lid, so it sits directly above the food and can trap moisture as it seeps in—before it even hits the herbs!
This also works for pet food, seeds, cereal, flour, and other open food sources throughout your kitchen that could spoil from exposure to moisture in the air.
Clothes can easily be discolored or damaged in humid environments—and this risk is doubled in storage. If you have leather shoes and jackets, these can especially stiffen, warp, and break when exposed to too much moisture in the air.
Protect your clothing, shoes, and handbags by placing silica gel packs in shoeboxes, garment bags, and throughout your closet. There is no risk in using them—the more you have, the more humidity they can soak up, and the more they will protect your clothes! Don’t let your favorite leather jacket decay.
No matter how often you clean the clothes in your gym bag or laundry hamper, they can still hold that gross smell! You can spray and douse the bag all you want, but that odor can still linger. Throw some silica gel packs in the bottom of the bag or hamper to help soak up that rotten-smelling moisture.
When you put sweaty clothes into your gym bag or laundry hamper, the gel packs can suck up the wetness before it even begins to stink up the bag. Plus, moisture breeds bacteria. A dry environment won’t expose your clean clothes (that you may put into your bag for transport) to those same gross, sweat-ridden germs.
(Hide a few silica packets around your teenager’s room for a similar effect.)
We’ve all experienced that gut-wrenching feeling when you go to put on a piece of jewelry and find that it looks dirty, dull, or even rusted. This tarnish is caused by moisture particles in the air chemically reacting with the particles in your jewelry. Putting a few silica gels in your jewelry box can help remove humidity and slow down this tarnish process. Put a pack in your silverware drawer to protect your flatware as well.
This also works to protect your favorite tools. Rust comes from oxidation, which occurs when metal is exposed to the air for long periods of time—and humidity strongly speeds up this process. Your tools especially rust quickly because they are often kept in wet and humid places like garages, basements, and attics. Putting gel packs in your toolbox can help prevent the rusting process by removing excess wetness in the air.
No matter how expensive, razors seem to rust in just days after use, right? This is because the steam from your shower fills up your bathroom, locking in moisture that can rust your razors (in the same way it can rust your tools).
Rather than leaving your razors open in the shower—where water and steam will eat away at the metal—keep them in a sealed jar filled with silica gel packs. You can even put the razor into the jar right after use (while it’s still wet); the silica gel will eat up the moisture and the bacteria, and your razor head will be de-sanitized and last a lot longer!
If you’ve ever been to a library, you’ve seen (and smelled) the wear and tear that moisture can cause on paper. It can wrinkle and crinkle pages—like books and photographs—and it can even cause an old, moldy smell. When a paper is exposed to moisture, it soaks up those water particles, causing the paper to curl, bend, discolor, and stink.
To protect your photos, photo albums, and books from damage, place silica gel packs on bookshelves or in your album boxes! These packets will remove excess moisture before it can attack your favorite sentimental memories.
Always drive safely—and dryly! Keep your car’s windshield clear of fog and cabin moisture using a silica gel pack! Place a few packs on your dashboard for constant de-fogging, no matter the season.
Dropped your phone in the pool, toilet, or a sink? After you’ve wiped it clean, you still need to get the moisture out of the inner workings of your phone (so you won’t need to buy a new phone). Some people use a bowl of rice to draw the moisture out of their phone, and this usually works—but it’s a waste of an entire bowl of rice.
Instead, separate out your phone, battery, and SIM card. Put them in a Ziploc bag with two silica gel packets and leave overnight. The silica gel will draw out all the excess moisture from your phone, and you should be able to turn your cell back on in the morning with minimal damage!
Silica gel packs are a “free,” simple way to protect items throughout your house from the moisture that comes with changing seasons, storage areas, and home HVAC units. So the next time you find one of these packets hidden away in a coat pocket, use it to dehumidify, deodorize, and defog!