How to reuse silica gel – 8 ways

Filed in Reuse by on March 17, 2010 39 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites
8 ways to reuse silica gel

8 ways to reuse silica gel

A few weeks ago I found a packet of silica gel in a pair of shoes. It said on the pack “Silica Gel – THROW AWAY”

That’s not much good for a family on a mission to put nothing into landfill this year!

Fortunately, you all came to my rescue with your brilliant suggestions for how to turn our rubbish into a resource. Rather than keep all the information to ourselves, we decided to compile a list so everyone can benefit from the wisdom of your knowledge.

So here it is, 8 ways to reuse silica gel as suggested by you!

Protect seeds

Compost Woman uses packs of silica gel to keep her seeds in tip top condition,  ready for planting out.

Prevent condensation

Brian and Susi suggest we placed packs of silica gel in shallow trays on window sills to absorb moisture, stop condensation and deter mould.

Wardrobes

Sandy puts silica gel in the bottom of her wardrobe, in the lid of an old shoe box.

Reuse

Magdalena has a similar idea; she use it in closets or in the bottom of stored suitcases. But she suggests we try to remember to leave it at the store next time so it can be reused – great point, Magdalena!

Stinky shoes

Nadine puts silica packets inside boots to keep the bacteria and fungi count down.

Flowers

Nadine also suggests using the crystals in an empty vase to dry some flowers for dry bouquets.

Dishwasher tablets

Pippa suggested using silica gel packets in the dishwasher tablets box. She tells us, as it absorbs the moisture, it’s especially handy with tablets wrapped in water-dissolving material.

Car windscreens

Pippa also made the fantastic suggestion of keeping a packet or two to your car’s dashboard – they’ll help to keep the window less foggy in wintertime. I’m definitely going to try this one out!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (39)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. that’s the way to gather all tips on one subject, perhaps the collaborative process would work for many different items, like “Wednesday’ s waste-free tips” <almost sounds exciting!
    i love it here among kindred spirits. thank Greens et al.

  2. ChemGrad says:

    When your silica gel has absorbed moisture it will stop working. You can revive it by baking it in the oven.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @nadine Sellers: Thanks Nadine; and thank you for your contribution to the article. What’s great about hosting posts like this is that it gives me a day off from writing about myself 😉

    @ChemGrad: Great advise Chemgrad – thank you for stopping by to share your knowledge!

  4. Ian Moise says:

    Hi Mrs. Green,

    Love this article on reusing silica gel and just re-posted to our FB page. It is great, every day examples like this that can really help all of us be more utilitarian!

    If you have more reuse examples (or if you’ve written more articles on them), I would love to hear about them and post to our FB page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/ReUseConnection/253021991560.

    Thanks again for your article.

    Warmest wishes,
    Ian Moise
    [email protected]
    http://www.reuseconnection.com
    @ianmoise

  5. Jane says:

    Put it in your photographs drawer to keep the mould away from them?

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Ian Moise: Hi Ian, welcome to the site and thanks for the link to your FB page. As you know I’ve become a fan and I hope we can work together in the future

    @Jane: Thanks Jane; sounds like a good idea for preserving memories!

  7. Bethany says:

    I’ve heard the silica packets can help prevent condensation from building up and damaging camera lenses, so I keep a couple packets in my dSLR camera case.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Bethany: Hi Bethany; thanks for this – another great reuse idea to add to the mix 🙂

  9. Kate says:

    I’ve also heard that putting these packets into boxes of fabric (for sewing) is a good idea, but I can’t remember why now!

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Kate: Hi Kate, no I’m not sure, but I guess if there is a chance the fabric might get damp it would be good. Perhaps it’s a moth repellent or something too!

  11. Suzanne says:

    Hi, it’s my first time to this website and I love it! Wished I found it earlier!

    Just want to say that I use those silica gel packs to keep my leather bags and shoes mould free. ^.^

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Suzanne: Hi Suzanne; welcome – I’m glad you found us! Thanks for sharing your tip about silica gel 🙂

  13. Joe K says:

    The other side of the coin is that there are places that need to be kept humid. Kleeneze and similar outfits used to sell these narrow tubs that could be filled with water and hung on radiators, but I wonder if used teabags could be employed instead, and put in the food waste bin when they were sufficiently dessicated, or would they leave tannin stains on the walls? Tell me I’m being crazy…

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @Joe K: Oh gosh; I remember those pottery radiator things; I used to think they were very cool when I was young and always said I’d have them in my own house. It turns out I moved into a home without any central heating; so that idea went out the window.
    As for teabags; yeah you’re definitely crazy …

  15. elrohana says:

    We collect up every one of those packs we can find and use them in our caravan to keep damp and mould at bay – in every cupboard, drawer, shelf, under the bed……

  16. Mrs Green says:

    @elrohana: Hi Elrohana, thanks for leaving your comment. It sounds like you have lots of great uses for these packets or silica gel 🙂

  17. We loved this post so it was included in our 25 Top Blogs About Upcycling and Vintage Fashion:
    http://www.sheinspires.com.au/fashion/25-top-tips-for-going-green-with-upcycling-vintage-clothes

    Do check it out and let us know your thoughts.

    All the best,

    Belinda

  18. Mrs Green says:

    @Belinda from She Inspires: Hello Belinda; great to see you and thank you for including this in your post. It’s a great article you have written with lots of useful advice 🙂

  19. Stefan says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    I found this Website on my search for ideas to lower the (negative) impact I have on the ecosystem. This site is a great inspiration. However, when I read about the suggestions to reuse the silica gel packs found in new shoes, bags etc. I cringed. While silica gel is perfectly harmless (more or less), these packs are often loaded with DMF (Dimethylfumarat), a fungicide to prevent moulding in the goods while they travel round the world. You don’t want to make contact with that stuff! Since most of our goods are nowadays produced in China, and as recent scandals have shown, poisonous additive are not uncommon there, I suggest extreme caution.

    The wise way to tread these silica gel packs is to not touch them and dispose of them safely. (Google DMF and its health effects). Pure silica gel can be purchased in a pharmacy or drug store if one wants to keep places dry.

    Greetings Stefan

  20. Mrs Green says:

    @Stefan: Hi Stefan, welcome to the site 🙂 Thank you for raising your concerns and giving information about silica gel to our readers. It ‘s good to share knowledge and empower others to look into these things further so that we can all stay safe.

  21. Nathalie Marshall says:

    I wonder what to do with the packs when they have absorbed all they can absorb?

  22. Mrs Green says:

    @Nathalie Marshall: Hi Nathalie, well then I guess it’s landfill. That’s why REDUCE, comes before reuse and recycle as the end of reuse is pretty inevitable 🙂

  23. vdrogba89 says:

    Can u use silica gel to keep moisture out of computer cabinets? is it harmful to the electronic equipment in a computer cabinet?

  24. Mrs Green says:

    @vdrogba89: no problem at all and a good addition to electronic equipment 🙂

  25. DenLong says:

    Silica gel packs can be regenerated, drive the water off by heating in an oven at 120°C for an hour or so or they can heated at a low setting in a microwave oven for 5 to 10 minutes, take care they can get very hot.

  26. Jane says:

    Looking at some ersatz double glasing I thought wouldn’t it be a good idea to put a packet or two of silica gel in the corner to collect the moisture.

  27. Mrs Green says:

    @DenLong: Hi DenLong, welcome to the site and thanks for sharing your reuse tip for the silica gel; I didn’t realise it could be bought back to life!

  28. Ben says:

    @Mrs Green: We use silica granules in the lab and they can be revived indefinitely – but if it’s the self indicating stuff which contains a blue cobalt chloride dye which turns red when wet, that eventually stops indicating if it’s wet or dry and does tend to result in us throwing it out and replacing for convenience.

  29. DenLong says:

    One way to avoid wasting the granules when the dye is depleted is to just add a few fresh ones to the main batch. These can continue to indicate whether the Silica gel batch has become depleted and/or regenerated.

  30. Rubens Sayegh says:

    Remember those small plastic cases for photographic films? Or any small plastic container…
    I have a few of them, drilled many holes with a small drill and filled each one with silica gel from a big pack that came in an eletronic equipment… The remainder I keep in a glass jar.
    These small plastic containers, now filled with s-gel make a great humidity absorber for various situations… Medicine cabinet, camera box, even to keep watercolor pencils and art stuff dry.

    Whenever the S-gel gets “bad” in absorbing humidity, I throw it in a metal dish and “recycle” it for about an hour in the oven (not too hot!).

    >> Voil’a!!<< Silica-Gel ready to be used again!

  31. Mrs Green says:

    @Rubens Sayegh: So many great ideas; Thanks for adding your Rubens – I’m learning new skills all the time 🙂

  32. Sophie says:

    you can put them also into geocache boxes 😀 … well it’s not that important way to reuse it, but it is actually very helpful

  33. Mrs Green says:

    @Sophie: Hi Sophie – now you’ve got me; I don’t know what a geocache box is!

  34. RP says:

    If you’ve ever dropped your phone or MP3 player into water. and it wont start
    putting it in a sealed box with silica gel can help revive your technology 🙂

  35. Joe Stallone says:

    Hello Mrs. Green,

    I just came across this post on the reuse of silica gel and I am glad to see everyone being so creative with this item.

    The one thing I would like to add, is that silica gel adsorbs moisture very quickly and a small silica gel packet may only last an hour or less if placed in an uncontrolled atmosphere. To make sure you do get the moisture protection you are looking for, it is important to place the belongings you are looking to protect in an airtight container and then put a fresh or re-activated silica gel packet into the container with your items and seal it. This will insure your belongings remain free of moisture.

    FYI: Desiccant (silica gel) found in shoe boxes, hand bags or the pocket of your new leather coat have not been active since the left the leather manufacturer. When you find these packets, understand these will be useless to you until they have been reactivated.

    Thanks,
    Joe

  36. Chris Levey says:

    My hubby tablets come in bottles with silica gel in the plastic caps has anyone any idea how i can dry this so I can use the bottles for seeds. I can’t put them in the oven as the cap will melt, and I can’t get the silica gel out without distroying the cap.

  37. Jane says:

    When our salt is damp, we leave it sitting on top of the boiler and it soon dries out. Also, when we wash the cheese grater, we put it on top of the boiler to dry so that it does not rust. Would silica gel dry out on the boiler, or does it have to be baked at a higher temperature?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *