by Liesl Clark
If you’re hesitant to handle silica gel because the packets say “Do Not Eat,” don’t be deterred. Silica gel is perceived by many to be a poison, yet it’s non-toxic. The Carolina Poison Center, for example, has this to say about silica gel:
“The gels are a form of silicic acid, which is similar to sand. Silica gel is non-toxic, meaning that it is not poisonous if eaten. The package says “DO NOT EAT” because (1) it is not food, and (2) it could be a choking hazard.”
And here’s what the ASPCA has to say about its affect on pets:
“While it is indeed true that it is not meant for consumption, silica gel usually produces only mild stomach upset, which typically resolves with minimal to no treatment.”
So, now that we’ve determined it’s not a poison to be avoided, we’d like you to not throw it away because those little packets are useful! Silica gel can be reused over and over again and has some excellent applications in the home and office:
1) Put packets of silica gel in with your silverware. It slows down the tarnishing process.
2) Place them inside your camera cases, with lenses, to keep your equipment dry.
3) Put silica gel in with your boxes of stored photos and slides to preserve them longer.
4) Your down jackets and down sleeping bags will benefit from a few packets of silica gel to keep moisture out.
5) Put a few packets in with your garden seeds to keep them dry.
6) Stash a packet or 2 with your jewelry to prevent tarnishing
7) All keepsakes in the attic in boxes can benefit from a few silica packets nearby.
8) Keep a couple packs in the pockets of your luggage to keep your clothes and travel items dry.
9) Silica gel and dried flowers are excellent friends.
10) Store them with your electronics.
11) If you have video tapes, DVDs or old audio cassettes, silica gel would be welcome nearby.
12) If you think your silica gel has been exposed to a lot of moisture, you can put them in a 150 – 200 degree oven for a few minutes to dry them out and restore them to functionality again.
13) If you still have silica gel packets hanging about, pass them on to a receptive neighbor through Freecycle.
Do you have additional reuses for silica gel? Please share them with us here so others can divert them from the landfill even longer.