9 Creative Ways To Repurpose Silica Gel Packets Around The House

Whenever you buy a new handbag, pair of shoes, sheet set, or even a bag of beef jerky, you're almost sure to find a little mesh bag of silica gel, also known as a desiccant. These packets hold small liquid-absorbing gel beads that keep retail goods and some food products safe from trapped moisture. And though many of these packets are labeled "Throw Away," there are many ways these small no-cost packets can be repurposed for a ton of uses around the home. 

Because of their warning label that also usually says "do not eat," a lot of people assume these packets are poisonous and dangerous to repurpose for personal use. But in fact, these little beads are made of silicon dioxide, which is non-toxic and generally safe to use, per WebMD. However, they do present as a choking hazard, which is why it's key these packets are never in reach of children or pets, and you should ensure that the packets aren't torn open. As long as you follow this rule, you can safely reuse silica gel packets, and you should take advantage of them to prevent moisture buildup all around the house, from damp clothing to your jewelry box. So don't just toss these packets in the trash, and follow our guide to nine of the best ways to repurpose them in your day-to-day life. 

1. Store them with damp swimsuits

During the summer months, wet swimsuits can quickly overwhelm your entire household, whether you're coming back from the public pool or the kids just took a run under the sprinklers. Instead of leaving them damp in a laundry basket where they can grow mildew or outside where they might fly away, just pop them in a plastic bag with a few silica gel packets. This tip is only good for lightly damp swimsuits, because these small packets won't be able to adequately absorb soaking wet suits, so be sure to ring them out in advance. 

2. Stop spices from clumping

When you're cooking dinner, do you find yourself shaking your ground spice jars only to have nothing come out? You may be dealing with clumping, likely the result of excess moisture which can happen just by leaving your spices by the sink and kitchen stove. An easy way to get your spices back to their original condition is to place a food-grade silica gel packet inside the bottle so the dried spices separate again. To be safe, only use food-grade silica packets with this hack, meaning they came with a food product or you specifically purchased food-grade sachets. 

3. Prevent stinky shoes

You'll often find silica gel packets inside a box of new shoes, but keep them around for the duration of your shoes' life! Shoes often get stinky because of moisture buildup, which leads to foul odor — you might notice this more in exercise shoes or shoes you wear without socks. Easily eliminate smelly shoe odors by popping a silica gel packet in the toe of the shoe when they aren't in use. This is also a great way to keep winter boots moisture-free if you store them in the garage or a bin during the off-season. 

4. Dry off damp silverware

While unloading your dishwasher, you may unknowingly be putting still damp silverware in your drawers. This can cause mold and mildew, as well as attract nasty pests such as insects and rats. A silica gel packet will draw that moisture off of the silverware and drawer, keeping everything clean, sterile, and dry. Plus, you won't have to go over each piece with a clean dish rag to make sure it's totally dry, which will save you time.

5. Safely store your jewelry

Fine pieces of jewelry are certainly items you want to keep protected and lasting for a very long time. Excess moisture, whether from regular day-to-day humidity or being left out in the rain can tarnish metals, eventually causing them to rust, break down, and lose their structural integrity. That's why it's good sense to store a few silica gel packets in your jewelry box at home, to draw the moisture away from the jewelry. You can also store these in luggage and handbags so your favorite earrings don't pick up moisture while traveling. 

6. Under the kitchen sink

Kitchen sink cabinets can be magnets for unwanted moisture since your sink's pipes run right through them. Plus, all of those bottles of cleaners are bound to tip over at some point. Combat excess kitchen moisture by keeping a silica gel packet or two in the corner of your cabinet to absorb dampness after a leak, or if the cabinet feels a bit muggy after you use the sink or run the dishwasher. 

7. Rescue water-logged electronics

No doubt if you've had a cell phone anytime in the last 20 some odd years, you already know the perils of dropping your phone in water. Many folks immediately reach for a bag of uncooked rice to absorb the excess moisture, but you should really try silica gel packets. Just shake excess water off of the phone, pop several packets in a sealable bag along with your phone, and keep it sealed overnight. With enough time and packets, the water should hopefully be fully absorbed and your phone as good as new. 

8. Save seeds from spoilage

Did you know that dry seeds can stay good and be used for up to five years? The key word here is dry. Otherwise, these seeds will become damp and prone to all sorts of bacterial and fungal growth that will kill them long before they are planted in your soil. Store your dried harvested seed packets with silica gel packets to ensure they stay in top condition for years to come. If you're harvesting fresh seeds from your current crops and want to save them, use silica packets to hasten the drying process. 

9. Shield important documents

It only takes a little bit of moisture to ruin important documents, so protect your files such as social security cards, passports, birth certificates, and other paperwork by placing a few silica gel packets alongside them. Silica gel packets work in practically any system, whether that's a filing cabinet, safe, binder, or plastic bag. The larger the space, the more silica gel packets you'll be able to fit to absorb access moisture.