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Nine Ways to Repurpose Silica Gel Packets

Repurpose those useful silica gel packets instead of throwing them away. 

Silica gel packets are those little packets that say “Throw Away,” and “Do Not Eat,” that we find with various household items that we purchase. Silica gel packets come with items of clothing like leather and even food items like pepperoni. In fact, here are some of the common items where you can find silica gel packets:

  • Medicines
  • Chemicals
  • Surgical and electronic instruments
  • Automobile industry
  • Document storage
  • Garments
  • Leather
  • Food products
  • Containers

Silica Gel

Silica gel packets absorb and hold water vapor. Because silica gel packets are odorless and absorb moisture, they keep our purchases from spoiling, molding, or degrading because of unwanted humidity. You can find silica gel packets in almost anything that would be affected by an excess of moisture or condensation. Our first instinct is to throw these little packets away, but repurposing silica gel packets can actually help you with regular household items.

1. Become an Electronics Superhero
Maybe you’re a photography junkie or technophile. Cameras, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches are all expensive items. Use silica gel packets to keep your valuable technology safe. Store some silica gel packets in your camera bags and with film (if you still use standard film) to absorb moisture after snapping photos in cold weather or wet conditions. This will help keep your lens from fogging or streaking (to protect against humidity, you can also keep them with photos by tucking them into the backs of frames).

Repurposing silica gel packets can also help you dry out your electronic items like cell phones after they’ve had an accidental meeting with water. Without turning the device back on, pull out the battery and memory card and leave overnight in a container filled with several gel packets.

2. DIY Air Freshener
Make your own potpourri by repurposing silica gel packets. Simply cut the package open and saturate the beads with essential oils. Set in a bowl or baggie and let the little beads do their thing.

3. Save Paper Documents
Protect important personal paper documents and photos by storing them with bagged silica beads.

4. Banish Rust
Store a few silica gel packets in your toolbox or a container holding your razor blades to prevent rusting. You can also slow the effects of tarnishing by using the gel in jewelry boxes and with silverware.

5. Ditch the Mothballs
Tuck some packets in the pockets of clothes, especially leather goods such as coats, shoes and handbags, to help preserve the fabrics and materials while they’re waiting to be worn in your closet. You can also store silica gel packets in your luggage while you’re traveling or have luggage in storage.

6. Gardening
If you garden and you harvest your own seeds for the following year, place the silica gel packets with seeds while you store them for the winter. Doing this helps thwart mold from grown on the seeds. You can also use these silica gel packets to dry help dry flowers.

7. Save the Pet Food
To avoid those big bags of kibble from getting soggy, store dry food in a bin and tape silica packets to the bottom of the lid.

You can also disperse the beads throughout cat litter (if the brand doesn’t already) to put its absorption properties to the test. This will result in fewer litter changes and so, better bang for your buck.

8. Windshield Defogger
Place some silica gel packets on the dashboard of your car. This will help maintain a clear windshield during times of high humidity. Doing this also works just as well in the corners of your windowsills to dissipate condensation.

9. Lockers and Gym Bags
Keep some silica gel packets in your locker or gym bag to keep your change of clothes, shoes and other belongings from smelling musty or foul.

Repurposing silica gel packets can help you do your part in reducing waste. There are so many ways to use these packets, and it’s easy to find a way to repurpose them to help extend and protect the longevity of household items.

Typically, a silica gel packet absorbs water (about 40 percent of its own weight) and loses its effectiveness. However, silica gel packets can be reactivated and reused repeatedly. You can restore your silica gel packets by placing them in the oven at 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie for an hour. This will help to dry out the beads so they can be reused over and over.

Waste Connections Memphis is your local leader in responsible waste disposal and educating the community on responsible recycling and repurposing practices. If you have questions, contact Waste Connections Memphis today by emailing us, clicking here.


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