10 Reasons You Should Never Throw Away Those Silica Gel Packets

Everyone likes getting a new package. There’s a shiny new item inside. Maybe it’s something you’ve been looking forward to getting for a long time, a little treat you’ve allowed yourself.

A little less fun than what’s in the package? The packaging itself!

There’s the box itself, and there’s also all the material designed to keep whatever’s inside safe in transit. If you’re lucky, it’s easily recyclable paper or plastic. If you’re very unlucky, it’s those horrible Styrofoam peanuts that stick to everything.

But there’s something else is in the packaging, too. They usually come in the form of tiny packets, like a sugar packet but smaller, and definitely not edible — it says “DO NOT EAT” right on the paper.

These are silica gel packets, and they’re most commonly found in shoe boxes, as well as in packaging with anything that needs moisture kept away. Typically, they’re tossed out once the package is opened.

But like everything from toothpaste to coffee filters, those packets can actually do a lot more than you might think.

The next time you get a new pair of shoes or something in the mail, hang on to those packets, especially if excess moisture is something you have to deal with in your home. Plus, reusing them keeps them out of landfills.

Check out what silica gel packets can do for your home below, and remember never to ingest them, or leave them in a place where small children can get to them.

What Do Those Little Packets Do Anyway?

What Do Those Little Packets Do Anyway?

Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Silica gel packets are full of small grains of silicon dioxide in solid form. The technical name for it is silica xerogel, but most people just call it silica gel.

It’s a desiccant, which means water molecules are drawn to it and out of whatever is surrounding the packet. The water can move through the packaging, which is usually paper.

That means they’re used to keep moisture, and thus mold, mildew, damage, odors, and staining, away from sensitive items. It’s also why you find them in so many packages.

Silica gel is also used in cat litter, water filtration, and as an anti-caking agent in some foods.

But you can also use it around the house!

Use #1: Dry Out Your Phone

Use #1: Dry Out Your Phone

Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Getting your phone wet is a major hassle, but it happens.

To dry out the small openings and components quickly and thoroughly, drop your phone into a Ziploc bag with enough gel packets to cover it on both sides.

Seal the bag and let sit for 24 hours. (Yes, you can make it 24 hours without your phone!)

You can also use this if you’re going to be in a damp environment and want to keep moisture away from your phone — but this is not a waterproofing technique!

Use #2: Keep Jewelry Bright And Shiny

Use #2: Keep Jewelry Bright And Shiny

Janine Ngai for LittleThings

Keep a silica gel packet in your jewelry box to keep moisture away from your jewelry.

Moisture causes tarnish, which not only makes jewelry look less attractive, but also means you have to spend time polishing it.

Place some gel packets in the bottom of the jewelry box to keep the moisture out. This is especially good with plush-lined boxes, as it will keep the fabric moisture-free, too.

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