The small bags, which seem stuffed with tiny salt grains, are in fact filled with silica gel – a chemical desiccant. This is a substance that can absorb and hold moisture. Due to its porous surface area, a single bead can absorb up to 40% of its mass in water. That is why we find them in many products that can be damaged by water. They are perfect for reuse and, even if toxic, the only caution you should take is to keep them out of the children’s reach as to them from swallowing it.
There are many uses for silica gel beads and as a proper prepper you should know exactly how these small, white pellets will sustain your prepping efforts.
30 Uses for Silica Gel
- Keep your seeds dry – Your pantry should contain generous amounts of various seeds from vegetables and fruits alike. They are a great source of vitamins and their preservation is essential for long time survival. In order to guarantee them dry storage, place a few packs of silica gel in and around the containers where you store your seeds.
- Prevent medications from spoiling – If you are taking prescription medicine or just regular vitamins, it is crucial that you keep them dry. Place some silica packs in the bottle and your problem is solved. This tip is especially useful if, like most people, you keep your aspirin in the bathroom cabinet.
- Keep your razor blades sharp and shiny – Using a razor blade multiple times is not that big of a deal, more so if it’s made from good quality material. However, even these blades tend to gather rust in the long term. To prevent that, place the razor into a Tupperware box and add some silica gel bags to it.
- Dry out your cellphone – We’ve all been there: browsing randomly on our smartphone and a millisecond of clumsiness sends our precious device to the bottom of the swimming pool, a puddle, or even the toilet bowl. It may seem like everything is lost, but actually, there is a very simple solution to getting your phone working again. Take out its battery and memory card and place it in a box with plenty of silica gel packs. Leave it there overnight and the next day it should function properly.
- Maintain freshness of your pet’s food – It doesn’t matter if you have a dog, a cat, a parrot, or all of them together. Buying bulk food is always a cost-effective solution. The only downside is that over time, the food pellets might get soggy. By adding silica gel to the bulk bags you can keep the food fresh and dry for a longer period of time. The only thing that you will have to remember is to keep them out of the scoops you add to the serving bowl.
- Protect important documents – An experienced prepper knows that storing important documents is just as crucial as storing food or water. Having legal papers in poor condition can get you in trouble when you least expect. To avoid this situation, keep a few silica gel bags in the drawer where you keep legal contracts and other important files.
- Keep your silver shiny – The biggest problem with silver jewelry is that it attracts moisture and gets covered with a sleazy layer of corrosion. In order to keep it from tarnishing, add a silica gel pack to your jewelry box. The same tip is effective for your silverware drawer, as well.
- Keep your windows from getting condensation – During the colder months of the year it is common for glass windows to become covered with condensation. This happens when there is a bigger difference in temperature than usual between your house and the outside weather. To prevent your windows from permanent damage, keep a few silica gel bags in your windowsills.
- Maintain your tools rust-free – A true prepper keeps tools handy. It is one of the reasons why a toolbox is rarely closed. However, this often leads to many utensils developing rust, which destroys them over time. To keep the humidity in the toolbox at the lowest level, place some silica gel among the tools and you will never have to worry about them rusting away.
- Protect your shoes from getting muggy – There is a good reason why we find a couple of silica gel packs with every new pair of shoes we buy. Most of these items are either completely made from leather or contain small patches of it. Leather is one of the most absorbent materials used in wearables and without the silica gel the shoes would attract a good deal of humidity while being in storage. To protect those pairs which you rarely wear, keep them in their original boxes without removing the silica gel that came with them.
- Keep your camera clean – Most photographers know that handling a camera in diverse weather conditions can create condensation on the lens, which further damages the device. To clean a camera in these conditions, remove the battery and place some silica gel together with the camera in the bag where you usually hold it.
- Perfect protection for underwater cameras – Speaking of cameras, if you possess one which is capable of functioning underwater, repeat the same steps used for a normal camera as soon as you return to the surface. This will keep away any moisture that could remain around the equipment.
- Preserve old books – Not everybody loves the smell of an old book. Actually, many old volumes have been stored in terrible conditions and developed an equally bad scent. To get rid of the awful stench, place it in a bag with silica gel and very soon the odor will be gone.
- Dry flowers faster – Many people like to dry flowers and keep them pressed or in boxes. If this is one of your hobbies, then here is a tip that will make you even more passionate about it. Break some silica gel packs and pour the beads over the flowers that you want to dry. This method will result in a faster process of dehydration and the petals will also maintain their natural, slick colors.
- Protect engines from moisture – If you have seasonal vehicles such as snowmobiles or ski jets, then you know just how important their maintenance is during those months of inactivity. When storing them for summer or winter, take the carburetor out and place one silica gel pack inside. This will keep the humidity from damaging it.
- Dry your wet clothes – If you come home after a long walk in the rain there is no better way than to store your dampened clothes than with a few silica gel packs carefully placed in their pockets or inside the fabric.
- Preserve Christmas decorations – We only use Christmas ornaments once a year. Keeping some silica gel in the same box will make them look as new every time you take them out.
- Dry the fishing flies – This is a great tip for fly fishermen who usually have to deal with waterlogged flies. Before going fishing, take some time to crush a few silica gel pellets and store the powder in a small jar. As soon as you find that your fly is overused and soaked, put it in the jar and mix well. In just a few seconds the fly will regain its freshness.
- Protect your weapons and ammo – Careful storing of weapons and ammunition is essential for any gun owner. Put some silica gel bags in the ammo box or the gun cabinet to keep ammo viable.
- Boost your garden – If you have a small vegetable garden but you find it hard to acquire the necessary compost, pour some silica gel pellets into the ground. This will help the natural growth of plants and keep rodents away.
- Save your windshield wipers from overuse – Driving in cold weather can cause that dreadful condensation to form on your windshield. This issue not only affects the glass, but also the wipers which tend to be overused and damaged in this situation. Throw some random bags of silica gel near the windshield to prevent condensation.
- Preserve old photographs or collectibles – By adding a pack of silica gel to the box of old pictures, they will maintain the colors vivid for a longer period of time. This also works for Polaroid photos and even memorabilia like basketball trading cards or just regular postcards.
- Prolong the Jack-o’-lantern’s life – Ever wondered how your neighbor’s Halloween pumpkin lantern lasts all through the winter, while yours rots even before Thanksgiving? The secret is not that complicated. All you have to do is to pour a few silica gel beads into it and all the moisture will stay away from the pumpkin flesh.
- Protect your hearing aid – If you live in a damp climate, your hearing aid might suffer damage from the constant exposure to moisture. To prevent this, store your device into a box with silica gel bags every night.
- Keep your gym bag odor free – The awful odors that sometimes come from your gym bag are actually the result of bacteria forming on the fabric. With just a few silica gel packs thrown in there you will never have to worry about opening that bag in public again.
- Maintain your makeup – Keep just one small silica gel bag in your makeup box and you will never have to deal with cosmetics that could easily be ruined by moist conditions.
- Create your own potpourri – If you are tired of buying new potpourri fragrances every month, you should know that there are cheaper and more effective solutions. Take some silica gel beads and crush them to a powder. Next, mix them with essential oils and store in small, open jars placed around the house. The scent will last for months and you will never have to worry about buying potpourri ever again.
- Preserve your kitchen spices – When cooking, steam can get inside your spice cabinet and destroy them completely. In order to prevent this, tape some silica gel bags on the container tops. Make sure they are not pierced so that no beads will fall inside.
- To keep your luggage dry – One of the worst nightmares that can happen during traveling is to have your spare clothes damp and even moldy due to humidity. With just a few silica gel packs placed between them, you will never have to experience soggy shirts.
- As an ant repellent – One of the less known uses for silica gel is its effect against household parasites. If you are struggling to get rid of ants inside your home, just locate their nest and pour some crushed silica gel beads into it. In only a matter of days your house will be ant-free.
So, there you have it! Now, you know 30 situations in which silica gel will come in handy. Do you have your own use for this amazing substance? If so, share with us your secrets in the comments below.