Trash Hacker: Thirteen Important Reuses for Silica Gel

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.

Looking for more silica gel reuses? Visit our Trash Backwards App where you can input any item and find a reuse for it:

Click Through For More Silica Gel Reuses at Trash Backwards

Click Through For More Silica Gel Reuses at Trash Backwards

Do you have additional reuses for silica gel? Please share them with us here so others can divert them from the landfill even longer.

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Categories: Best of Trash Backwards, DIY, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Hacker, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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13 Comments on “Trash Hacker: Thirteen Important Reuses for Silica Gel”

  1. kris rodgers
    April 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I use them in science class. The students love playing with the silica balls when they swell up with water. We measure how much water they can absorbe by measuring them when they are dry then measuring again after a few hours.

    • Rebecca Rockefeller
      April 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Thank you, Kris! I love the idea of silica gel in the service of fun hands-on science.

  2. Houston
    April 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    I put them in my gun case to keep the moisture from causing the guns to rust. If traveling, throw a couple of packets in case with your guns.

    • Rebecca Rockefeller
      April 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      Thank you, Houston, for this great tip!

  3. Laura
    August 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Place several packets in a ziplock bag with your wet cell phone. Leave for 12-24 hours and check for signs of any remaining condensation on lenses, etc. You may just save your cell phone!

  4. Skinny
    September 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    If you get ants or roaches under your sink, I was wondering if having some packets opened on a tray down there might help get rid of them?

    • Skinny
      September 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

      Oh, I wonder this because I saw that the main ingredient in Diatomaceous Earth was silica… it is said to safely exterminate fleas/roaches/ants etc (bugs with exo-skeletons)

  5. Skinny
    September 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Also, I have read else-where of folks mixing it in with their kitty litter 🙂

  6. Marcenieto
    August 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    Hearing aid moisture out….trow in reactivated silica beads (microwave 5 min and cool down) in air tight container overnight once a month.


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