Wild Uses for those New-Shoe Packets

You know those silica gel packs that are always in new shoe boxes and vitamin packets? Turns out there's an amazing number of clever re-uses for them. Coolest one: Keep garden seeds fresh. Wildest one: Keep your gun collection moisture-free.

Silica gel is a desiccant, a substance that absorbs moisture. Despite its misleading name, the silicate is actually a very porous mineral with a natural attraction to water molecules. Manufacturers utilize the gel to keep goods from spoiling, molding or degrading due to humidity. The gel itself is nontoxic, but can have a moisture indicator added (cobalt chloride) which is a known toxin that turns pink when hydrated and is otherwise blue in its dry form.

Then I discovered several great suggestions for using these packs around the house and keeping them from the landfill just a wee bit longer.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Southern Hope.

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You can buy 2 lb boxes of silica desiccant at Harbor Freight for like $4. It even turns pink when it's been saturated, so you know to change it out.

Even better, you can bake it in the oven at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes and it's good to go again.
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CYBret: actually, you can dry silica out in the oven and it will "reactivate" it. i can't remember the exact temps or time, but IIRC, it's something like 200 degrees F for about 3 hours. you can reuse it pretty much indefinitely. just make sure you take it out of the little plastic baggie first (the baggie will melt.) once it's "dehydrated" again, you can put it in a ziploc bag that has some holes poked in it and use it again.

Sininen: you're kind of right about silica being dangerous to breathe BUT....that only applies to silica that is super-fine (ie, dust-size.) the silica packets in food and clothing contain nuggets that are far too large to inhale (it's usually almost gravel-sized) and are perfectly safe, aside from any chemical additives (as the article states.) silica by itself is perfectly safe as long as you're not inhaling a dust version of it. even if you somehow manage to eat some of those "nuggets" of silica, the worst that's going to happen is MAYBE an upset stomach if you eat enough of them (although most likely they'll just pass through your body and you'll never know and be no worse for wear.) and as far as silica causing "burns" on the skin?!?! i don't know where you got that from, but that's completely false. silica is basically just sand, pure and simple.
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