uses for silica gel packs

Silica Gel Packets (dessicants)
Many uses of silica gel packs and how to use them properly

How to use silica gel packs.
You know those little dessicant packets you find tucked away in
your new shoes? You know those packs that say "do not eat"?
These are silica gel packs and they are valuable to preppers
because they help keep your gear safe from moisture, mildew,
mold, and corrosion.

Silica gel packs are different from
oxygen absorbers! Learn the
difference and learn some awesome uses of these dessicants in

What's the purpose of silica gel packets?
The purpose of silica gel packets is to "a
dsorb" (yes,
the 'd' is there on purpose). Inside the gel packs are little
beads, which a
dsorb moisture, so stuff won't rust or get

dsorption is an adhesion of a thin layer of molecules. It's
confusing because it seems like the same word absorption
(with a "b"), but adsorption is different. With a
dsorbtion, it's
like the water sticks to the beads and keeps it there, unlike
the word absorption which just spreads the moisture around.
Through the process of a
dsorption, the molecules adsorb 40
percent of its weight in water and wicks away the moisture.
This is a concept really helpful for preppers because there are
so many applications for use.

Top Uses for Silica Gel Packs
The main use of silica gel packets is to
dsorb moisture and keep things dry. Silica gel packets are
great for so many things! Some of the many uses for silica gel
packs include:

#1: Protect ammunition and firearms.
Probably the primary purpose of silica gel packs for preppers
is to protect ammunition and firearms. These little
powerhouses are ideal for storage with your ammo and
firearms as one little silica
gel can hold half its weight in

  • Firearms. Be sure to tuck some silica gel packs with
    firearms in storage. Your a rifle, pistol, or other portable gun
    will benefit because the silica is a rust inhibitor. Living in a
    humid environment makes this a necessity for a prepper!
    The silica gel packs can act as a dehumidifer for gun safes,

  • Ammo. Wherever you store your ammo (especially in
    large quantities) be sure to include silicagel packs. It will
    help prevent corrosion and will help extend the shelf life
    of your ammo. - Have you ever come across some old
    ammo and the casing had green spots on it? That's
    caused by moisture and silica gel packs would have
    helped. Sometimes ammo cans even come with dessicant,
    as is the case with the ammo can, immediate right.

#2: Keep razor blades lasting a long time.
The damage to razor blades is moisture. If you make it a
regular routine to wipe your razor blades after use and then
store them with silica packs , you'll help wick away the
moisture and keep your razor blades sharp and ready for
next time. This is one of the more ususual uses for silica gel
packets. Incidentally, you can also use vodka or rubbing
alcohol to clean and dry out the razor blades so that they
don't get rusty.

#3: Save a wet cell phone.
Communications are vital to preppers and while we have ham
radios, two way radios and emergency weather radios, we
usually start with a cell phone. If it gets wet, your cell phone
could be toast, but not if you know how to rescue your wet
cell phone with silica gel packets (dessicants).

You can also use rice to help you rescue a wet cell phone. As
well, the Bheestie Bag, right, can help you save your phone if it
becomes wet, but it's costly and it looks like it's nothing more
than a mylar bag with silica beads inside. Preppers could easily
make a cell-phone saving bag, using ordinary prepping stuff:
  • Mylar bags
  • Silica gel packets to wick away the moisture.

#4: Tuck in a fishing box to dry your flies and more.
Your tackle box is bound to get wet or build up
moisture, since you're fishing in a moist
environment. Silica gel packs have a "hygroscopic"
substance that's a drying agent. Hydroscopic means
that it tends to absorb moisture from the air.

With silica gel packets you can dry your wet fishing
flies, keep your lure and hooks in pristine condition.
Put them directly where the hooks are so that the
water and the rust that comes with it doesn't spread
from one hook to another.

Above shares an enthusiasm for using silica gel packets in
the tackle box.

#5: Keep tools from rusting.
Another way to use silica gel packs if you're a prepper is
tucked inside your toolbox. The dessicants help prevent items
in your toolbox from rusting where ever you stash your
toolbox, like a cold or damp basement or garage. Go ahead
and stash packets with your favorite wrench, screwdriver,
pliers and socket set to keep your tools as rust-free as

Nails and screws constantly in use are also quick to rust, if you
place the silica gel packs in the toolbox with your nails and
screws you won't be screwed with rust!

#6: Help store seeds.
We already discussed keeping your tools from
rusting and that includes gardening tools. If you're a
gardener, then you'll appreciate the usefulness of
silica gel packs for seed saving too.

Silica gel packets will help prevent mold from
forming on the seeds you save. Silica gel packets
with your sealed seed packs will help wick away
moisture from your seeds.

#7: Keep silver beautiful.
Preppers love stashing away silver for the day when
cash is not accepted and only precious metals will
do. Keep your silver collection in pristine condition
with help from those little silica gel packs.

The silica gel packets will help wick away moisture
so they won't degrade or tarnish. The tarnish is
actually a layer of corrosion.
Doing this won't necessarily increase the value of the
silver, but it will preserve the collectible value. You
might also decide to keep your silver in plastic bags,
because it's the moist air that can degrade them and
having them in plastic bags with the gel
packs will keep
your silveware or coins looking good.

#8: Store important documents better.
Treasured marriage and birth certificates, copies of deeds,
insurance policies, wills and power of attorney, even
passports, vehicle registrations and immunization records
could benefit from being stored with silica gel packets.

Preserve your historical family photos and documents or store
your favorite vintage and heirloom books for future
generations to enjoy.

#9: Keeps pills and vitamins fresh.
Silica gel packets can help keep vitamins,
prescription and non prescription medicines fresh.
The slightest bit of moisture can degrade them, but
when you tuck away the dessicants you'll help
prevent moisture in the air from ruining them.

#10: Keep your dried meats dry!
While oxygen absorbers are often used with food, silica gel
packs are used less frequently, but they are used for dried
meats, like beef jerky or dog treats.

Why use silica gel packets for dried meats?
You can use silica gel packs as a drying agent for jerky.
Moisture would ruin beef jerky. It prevents oxidization, so the
beef jerky doesn't go rancid.

You'll also may find silca gel packs occasionally tucked with
spices and dried fruits for the same reasons.

There are many other uses for silica gel packets. Just about
anything that needs to be rust free and moisture free can
benefit from silica gel packs.

Important information about Silica:
The warnings are clearly labeled, "Do NOT eat," and "Throw
away" because they can present a problem in the throat of a
small child or animal if eaten, according to the
Center. Do no be mislead, because they are toxic in the
long run.

While it is non-toxic in the short run, it's important to know
that silica may cause lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, and
airways diseases in the long run. It may also cause Silicosis,
an irreversible but preventable disease caused by exposure to
silica dust.

Again, the biggest danger is that kids may mistake the packets
for food and choke on the substance! Another concern is that
dogs ingest them. Don't store silica with food. Instead choose
oxygen absorbers.

  • WARNING: Silica is a known toxin: cobalt chloride, which
    is a known toxin Just keep silica gel packets out of reach
    of children who may think they are seasoning of sorts.
    Remind children that they are toxic and not for eating!

Concerned about a child or dog who has ingested silica gel
If you have concern of ingestion: Call the American
Association of Poison Control Centers at 1.800.222.1222
There are two kids packets and you'll need to know which has
been ingested:
  1. Granular silicic acid resembles sand
  2. tiny gel beads. Silica gel is non-toxic (not poisonous) if

The main concern is the package that says "DO NOT EAT"
  • it's not a food (and kids often mistake it for food and
  • it could be a choking hazard (because the granules, or
    beads may become lodged in the throat of a small child or

Finally, don't reuse silica gel dessicant packs!
You should not reuse silica gel packs. Here's why you
should not re-use silica packets....

While generally preppers are a thrifty bunch and have a
"make do or do without" attitude, when it comes to silica gel
packets, the old ones may no longer be functional because
they've become saturated. While it's possible to reactivate the
packets by heating them in an oven, it's just easier to use
fresh packets.

What's more, silica gel packs are inexpensive, so do what the
packet says, "throw away" after use!

What is silica gel? How does silica gel work?
What's the purpose of those "do not eat" silica gel
packets? Preppers often wonder about silica gel
packets and the difference
between oxygen absorbers.
It's really very simple...

Silica is a chemical derived from silicon dioxide. It's essentially
the same stuff used to make glass (sand and quartz);
however, the blue ones have added chemicals making them
toxic. Below is a well-done explanation of silica gel from Brain
Stuff, which explains how these little packets are "nearly

Are silica gel packets the same as oxygen absorbers?
No! Preppers often wonder about silica and the difference
between oxygen absorbers. The difference between the two
is really very simple:

  • Oxygen absorbers - iron based, oxygen absorbers,
    pictured bottom right, remove oxygen from your food, so
    that it stays fresher longer. Oxygen begins to decompose
    your food (as does light, heat and moisture).

  • Silica gel packets - made of silicon dioxide, these aim to
    wick moisture away (read more below about what is the
    purpose of silica gel packets) through the process of
    adsorption. Some non-toxic silica packets on the market
    are completely inert and are not harmful if swallowed
    accidentally; however, some are toxic. As mentioned
    above, stay away from the toxic blue ones for food.

Can you use silica gel packs with food?
Yes, with a caveat. Don't use the blue kinds, and remember
the purpose is not to get rid of oxygen, but to get rid of
moisture. So use food grade silica gel packs with spices and
you should be fine.

Warning: Do not use blue gels for food.
Those pesky little "do not eat" packets that come stowed in
your food are an artificial form of silicon dioxide (usually non-
toxic); however if they are blue they are saturated with a
moisture indicating solution. The beads are blue, they are not
food safe,* so don't taint your food with them.

While most silica gel packets are not harmful, they certainly
are not edible, which is why they often come with a warning.

    * NOTE: The blue ones are not food safe and could cause
    nausea and vomiting. They have an additional chemical,
    which turns them from blue to pink when fully absorbed
    with moisture. The color changing magic is the addition of
    non-food safe chemicals (cobalt II chloride -- an
    inorganic compound of cobalt and chlorine). Cobalt
    poisoning is rare, but certainly you don't want to taint
    your food!

Happy endings...
Silica gel packets can have a happy place in the prepper
household. Certainly they help with the "Make do or do
without" philosophy. With proper use, including keeping them
away from children, those silica packets can be useful in many

  • Warning to preppers: Not all silica gel packets were
    created equally! Preppers can use silica gel packets for
    both food and equipment if they are wise and know the
    differences. Don't use the blue gels for food.

More prepping articles...

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