/ Sustainability

What do you do with old silica gel packets?

You shouldn’t throw old silica gel packets away – they can be really handy for jobs around the house. What are your tips for making use of them?

The latest Which? video on making use of silica gel packets has inspired plenty of debate, tips and comments on the best ways to repurpose them:

Our top tips are:

♻ Leave a couple of packs in your tool box to prevent rusting

♻ Place some in your gym bag to stop your clothes from getting smelly

♻ Put a couple on your window sills to capture excess moisture

♻ Protect documents and photos by putting some packets next to where they’re stored

♻ Place with seeds in storage to keep mould at bay

♻ Keep them next to your razors in a container to stop them rusting

Your silica gel tips

In addition to those, commenters on the Which? Facebook page chipped in with a few of their own:

“In the car as it helps with moisture inside – as it gets condensation in certain conditions” – Claire

“Mine are kept in my watch box, yes, some of us still use mechanical wristwatches” – Paul

“Use mine in my storage boxes in the loft, draws out any moisture” – Elaine

All this has inspired me to ask: what are your tips? Do you make use of old silica gel packets? If you didn’t before, do you think that will change after seeing the video and reading the tips?

Do you repurpose silica gel packets?
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Let us know in the comments.

Eugene says:
21 February 2022

Silica gel is excellent for helping to control humidity in closed containers. I used to use a self indicating type in Dessicators in the Lab. But remember that the gel needs regenerating maybe monthly. Just heat in an oven set at 110°C for half hour.

The important point is, as you say, to use silica gel in a closed container, Eugene. A desiccator is most useful when used with a pump to create a vacuum, which speeds up removal of moisture. If you have something like a watch or phone that is damp or wet inside, a vacuum desiccator is quicker and more effective than silica gel on its own. Unfortunately few of us have access to a desiccator and vacuum pump.

Being type 1 diabetic, I have blood testing strips. These come in a small container which has a compartment in the lid containing tiny granules, I don’t know what they are but presume they protect the strips from moisture. On using up all the strips, I tip the granules into a clean empty yoghurt pot, add to as I use more strips, and place on each end of my window sills.

Phil Bestjan says:
22 February 2022

It is important to remember that silica gel can only absorb a relatively small amount of water before it becomes saturated and will no longer be effective.
Fortunately this can be rectified by regularly leaving them on a baking tray on a hot radiator overnight to dry them out.

Revd Peter Davies says:
22 February 2022

Excellent for keeping hearing aids dry in their overnight container!

Mr & Mrs Marjoram says:
23 February 2022

I put them loose in our washing detergent cupboard under the kitchen sink.

I slip them into the housing I use for my underwater camera when scuba diving just incase. I also keep them in my camera case to prevent dampness damaging my cameras.