Whilst we’re not going to suggest eating these guys, we can safely say that throwing away the little silica gel packets found in all types of product packaging is a big waste!
The reason the sachets feature in the first place is silica gel’s miraculous ability to absorb moisture from their surroundings. Up to 40% of its own weight in water! Goods are frequently transported halfway around the world on container ships or stored in damp warehouses for months before sale. So you can see how this absorbent feature would be of value.
Non-toxic, non-flammable and chemically unreactive, you won’t be taking any risks by reusing these around the house; though we do have to emphasise “DO NOT EAT” or open the packets. Sometimes the silica gel can be mixed with less-friendly substances.
1. Tuck into your camera bag
Let’s be realistic. If you’re out and about in the British summertime with your camera, chances are fairly high that at some point you’re going to get rained on.
Putting a damp camera back into a damp case could easily damage delicate electronics or fog up your lens. Storing a couple of silica gel packs in your camera case will help to prevent this.
2. Rescue a water-logged phone
If you’re lucky and managed to retrieve your phone after it went for a swim, you might be able to get it working again if you can dry it out quickly and effectively. Remove the battery, sim card, and memory card. The leave the phone overnight in a container or airtight bag with several of these silica gel packets.
3. Keep mould away from precious documents
Whether you need to protect the deeds to your house or a lifetime of family photograph albums – put a few silica gel packets into sealed storage boxes to stop damp from wreaking havoc on paper goods.
4. Stop rust from invading your toolbox
Two or three silica gel sachets at the bottom of your toolbox will keep moisture at bay when stored in the shed… and the rust which accompanies it. Also helps stop rust getting to razors in bathroom cabinets!
5. Dry flowers
Not everyone has an airing cupboard these days, yet you can still dry flowers easily for DIY pot pourri or decorative crafts by adding your flowers to a sealed container with some silica gel packets.
6. Store seeds safely
Ever carefully collect seeds from your favourite annuals only to find in the spring that they’ve sprouted grey fluff or otherwise mouldered away over the winter? Don’t lose hope – chuck in some fresh silica gel packets next time to thwart that dastardly mildew.
7. Keep camping gear from getting musty
Rucksacks, tent bags, sleeping bags and other fabric camping equipment can easily get damp and nasty if not thoroughly aired before storage. Luckily, putting a few silica gel sachets in with your gear will help prevent a nasty surprise next summer!
Be aware – though silica can absorb up to 40% of its own weight in water, there will come a time when it becomes saturated and stops working. If you’re storing precious items in long term storage, don’t rely on the silica gel indefinitely. Check the containers on a regular basis for damp or mould and swap the silica gel packets for fresh ones when you do.
Can you think of any other ways to use silica gel packets around the house? Or do you know any other clever tips for reusing stuff that’s usually thrown away? Share your thoughts and ideas with us here or on Twitter and Facebook!