Often unconsidered, silica gel desiccant is a more effective drying agent than are many of the more frequently recommended solutions – such as uncooked rice – for saving wet cellphones, storing books and spices, and many other household uses.
Below are 8 common uses for silica gel in every home:
1. Cell Phones
Cell phones are frequent victims of water damage and for years the go-to method for drying out a cell phone has been placing it in uncooked rice. However, research has now concluded that using bulk silica gel is more effective than using rice.
2. Spices and Foods
As silica gel is available in pouches and canisters, it can be placed with herbs and spices, or dried fruits and meats to prevent moisture damage. Packages of silica gel or other desiccants can also be used to great effect in pantries or when drying foods for long-term storage. Please be aware that some desiccants, including some forms of silica gel, are hazardous, and therefore should not come into direct contact with consumables. Contact a manufacturer before using desiccant with foods.
Silica gel can significantly reduce moisture damage done to books and hard-copy records during storage or transport. It is important to note that, for any storage duration, cardboard boxes are not adequate protection against moisture. The Library of Congress (LOC) states that relative humidity during storage for books should be about 35 percent. Although some consideration must be made for the humidity levels and temperature ranges of the storage environment, the LOC’s recommended humidity target can be readily achieved by placing bulk silica gel into the proper storage containers along with the books.
Traditionally, drying flowers can take weeks; however, a batch of flowers can dry in as little as 2-6 days using silica gel. A step-by-step approach to flower drying using silica gel is available here.
5. Gun Safes
Similar to storing books, it is generally recommended that firearms and munitions be stored in a 30 to 50 percent relative humidity environment while inside a gun safe. Desiccators filled with indicating silica gel or packets of silica gel placed throughout a safe are ideal for achieving the recommended humidity range.
6. Tool boxes
For tools occasionally exposed to the elements or stored in sheds susceptible to humid environments, oxidation is a common problem. However, placing several desiccant packs per drawer in a tool box significantly reduces oxidation damage to tools, saving both time and money.
7. Vehicle Storage
Silica gel can effectively mitigate moisture damage to vehicle engines during storage. The process is simple: placing desiccant canisters carefully inside of a carburetor intake will prevent internal engine components from rusting and pitting by adsorbing any moisture that may enter the engine during storage.
8. Camera Casings
Camera casings, typically used for underwater photography, will trap residual moisture. As a result, the moisture may cause condensation that will fog a camera lens. However, desiccant will help: placing a packet or two of silica gel inside the casing will prevent condensation buildup.
Where to Find Silica Gel and Desiccant
Silica gel packets and canisters can often be salvaged from many everyday purchases, such as shoes, wallets and purses, clothing, and even medication. In addition, silica gel and other desiccants are readily available through a number of suppliers. See AGM’s desiccant page for further information.
Find out How Silica Gel Can help you!
For information about choosing desiccants and how they work, please visit our Selecting the Right Desiccant page. Furthermore, product specialists are available to answer questions at (520) 881-2130 or send a question.