If you've purchased new shoes, a purse, or even a package of pepperoni lately, you probably came across silica gel packets.
Silica gel packets are used to absorb moisture in a variety of products. The gel attracts and absorbs water vapor, which reduces the growth of mold and mildew. They're non-toxic, but definitely not meant to be ingested. It's an incredibly handy system, but what are you supposed to do with all those little packets aside from throwing them out?
Most of us simply toss silica gel packets in the trash, but we've found 17 clever ways to use them around the house. From drying out a cell phone to preserving holiday ornaments, these are life hacks you can really use. Best of all, they're free!
1. Dry out a cell phone.
The next time you drop your phone in a puddle or (gasp!) the toilet, put it in a plastic bag with some silica gel packs. A little rice won't hurt either.
2. Keep your makeup bag fresh.
Mildew can ruin your makeup bag, but worse, it can ruin your expensive makeup. Throw a few silica gel packs inside your cosmetics bag or box to ensure things stay fresh.
3. Protect valuable silver.
One reason that silver rusts is oxidation, which doesn't work without moisture. Silica gel packs will slow down this tarnishing process.
4. Protect important documents.
Don't let your important documents rot. It's rare that you need to pull out your lease, marriage license, or birth certificate, but you want them to be intact when you do. Simply toss a few silica packs into wherever you store them.
5. Clear up camera condensation.
If you take pictures in the rain, you may want to store your camera that evening with some silica gel packs. Although the lens may appear clear, water can gather within, ruining it over time.
6. Store your underwater camera.
It goes without saying that underwater cameras get wet, and although they are built for this purpose, they can also fall prey to smeared, ruined lenses. To avoid this, pack away with a few silica gel packs.
7. Maintain fresh crafting supplies.
If you do a lot of crafting, particularly with fabrics, add some silica gel packs to your storage space to keep things fresh.
8. Make razor blades last longer
Like silver, razor blades rust due to oxidation. Slow this process down with silica packs.
9. Fight mildew on wet clothes.
In the summer, we have wet pool clothes; in the winter, our gear is wet from snow. If you have to pack up wet clothes to head home, wrap them in a plastic bag to combat mildew and throw in some silica packs.
10. Keep your luggage fresh.
When your trip is over and it's time to store your luggage, toss a few silica gel packs inside before zipping up. This will keep it from smelling musty the next time you're ready to travel.
11. Save seeds for next year.
The seeds you are saving for spring won't be any good if they are exposed to moisture. Get next year's garden started right by storing your seeds with silica gel packs.
12. Dry out flowers.
Dried flowers are beautiful and can be used for a variety of art projects. If you want to speed up the drying process, put them in paper bad with a few gel packets.
13. Extend the life of bulk pet food.
Buying pet food in bulk gets the most bang for your buck, but it can also go bad before your pets have the chance to eat it all. Pour food into an airtight container and tape a few silica gel packets to the lid to preserve freshness.
14. Fight window condensation.
Are steamy windows blocking your picturesque view? Place a few gel packets in the windowsill to clear things up in no time.
15. Keep a foggy car windshield clear.
A few silica gel packs thrown onto the dash can go a long way in clearing up foggy windows on cold mornings. However, if you live in an extremely cold environment, you may want to take things a step further by filling a sock with kitty litter for the same effect.
16. Keep pills and vitamins fresh.
No one wants to swallow a funky pill or vitamin! Keep them fresh by taping a silica gel packet to the underside of the lid.
17. Preserve holiday ornaments.
Holiday ornaments only come out once a year and are vulnerable to all kinds of rot and mildew. To keep them dry and fresh for decades to come, be sure to store them away with silica gel packets.