Photo: How to reuse silica gel packs

To prevent mould and mildew, add a few silica gel packs to your tent bag or camping gear bin. (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

Don't throw out silica gel packs found in vitamin bottles, packaging for electronics and leather goods — even seaweed snacks! Instead, reuse them to combat excess moisture in your home.

Watch this video to understand how silica dries things out.

Six ways to reuse silica gel packs

Spice it up

Do you get a workout shaking clumped chili or garlic powder? Toss silica gel packs into spice jars and sugar and salt containers.

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Dress it up

Add a few packs to dresser drawers and storage bins of seasonal clothing.

Camp it up

To prevent mould and mildew, add a few silica gel packs to your tent bag or the bin where you store camping gear.

De-stink it up

Got damp running shoes or stinky hockey gloves? Throw a gel pack in each one.

Sparkle it up

Prevent tarnish by tossing a few gel packs into your silverware drawer or jewelry box.

Snack it up

Reusing resealable plastic bags to store snacks and baking? Add packages of silica gel.

Caution: Never ingest silica gel packs or the contents. If you find one that's damaged, dispose of it.

Note: I have not recharged these packs but did I find instructions on eHow.

Where else do you think these moisture wickers could make themselves useful?

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

June 22, 2015

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Aug 10, 2016
3:18 PM

Before discarding silica gel packs, cut open and empty the contents to prevent an entire pack from being swallowed, lessening the chance of an animal getting poisoned, if it searches through trash in a landfill for food and finds a discarded desiccant or silica gel packets.

Jul 12, 2015
10:32 AM

I keep a few in a ziplock bag to have on hand in case my phone or any electronic finds itself in water. Said to be the best for recovery. Dry phone completely with a towel and seal in a bag with silca packs.

Jul 06, 2015
10:12 AM

I use the packs to store my sugar. I put the paper bag of sugar into a plastic bag and then add 2 or 3 silica packs and tie the top closed. Prevents the sugar from getting hard and lumpy, especially during the humid months of summer. I’ve also added to seasonal storage as you suggested. Works extremely well :)

Jun 26, 2015
7:47 PM

Put it in a Ziploc with our 100 year old family bible, so far so good, that was 5 years ago

Jun 24, 2015
5:32 AM

They are great inside musical instrument cases. I offer them up to customers at my guitar shop. They’re also good in tool boxes for preventing rust.

Jun 24, 2015
2:19 AM

If you get your watch wet and the glass fogs up put it in a sealable plasticbag with a few of these bags. Same if your phone gets wet it sometimes can save it if you are lucky.

Jun 23, 2015
9:37 PM

My stepfather puts them in his tool boxes and drawers out in his wood working shop. The seaweed ones with a little oil on them are best, because oil is generally good for metals.

Jun 23, 2015
7:55 PM

I collect them for my tool boxes, keep tools from rusting.

Jun 23, 2015
7:08 PM

I make big batches of kale chips for my toddler and we toss these in the tupperware to help keep them crisp!

Jun 23, 2015
7:01 PM

On the subject of telephones: Vacuum the phone to remove as much water as possible before placing in silica gel. DO NOT blow into the phone!! You will just drive the moisture deeper into the electronics. And whatever you do, if you drop it in the water, don’t try to see if it still works!! You could easily damage components working at micro volt levels. Remove the silica gel after 24 hrs (and take a stiff drink for the withdrawal symptoms) dry the silica and put it back in for a few hours. Do the microwave test and if it is hot, it means there was more moisture. dry it and try another few hours. At the price of a phone (and its carbon footprint) patience is needed!

Jun 23, 2015
6:51 PM

Whoa there!! First, you might tell people how to ‘dry’ out the silica gel!! Silica can absorb great quantities of moisture, and if you should put an article that’s dry in with a moisture-laden silica gel, you will transfer moisture FROM the gel to your article until a humidity equilibrium is obtained, thus defeating your purpose. The microwave is good to test moisture content. Put the silica in there for thirty seconds, and if it comes out hot (careful!) it is full of moisture. If it is barely warm (remember, microwaves only heat water molecules) it can be considered dry.
Drying in the oven at 150 degrees is the best, providing you open the door occasionally to exchange the moisture-laden air for dyer air

Jun 23, 2015
3:47 PM

I put a couple of the packets in my recycling cupboard and it controls any moisture/odours in there. Also, every time I find a silica gel packet in a new product, I store it in an old plastic container (out of reach of children). If my phone ever gets wet, I now have a container FULL of silica packets… it’s surprising how quickly I have collected many of them!

Jun 23, 2015
2:13 PM

seed savers can use them with the seeds they save

Jun 23, 2015
10:14 AM

i use them in my car in the winter to remove moisture from my windows

Jun 23, 2015
10:03 AM

I throw them into my camera bags when doing traveling. Keeps my gear clear of moisture.

Jun 23, 2015
8:48 AM

The cylinder ones often have screw tops. I have emptied one or two for storing small earrings.

Jun 23, 2015
8:24 AM

I keep a big emergency one in an old peanut butter jar in case my phone gets wet. Pulls the water out better than rice!

Jun 22, 2015
12:17 PM

Because I grind my teeth at night, I have to use a (plastic, unfortunately) night guard. The dental hygienist recommended cleaning the guard with chemical laden over-the-counter product. No way!

The guard gets stinky, even after brushing with toothpaste and occasionally soaking it in vinegar. Then I experimented with putting a few little gel packs into the night guard container (after it’s been cleaned and dried). Works!

Question: What’s the best way to regenerate the tiny little packs?

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