You know those little white silica gel bags that come in the box with your brand new heels, purses, and handbags?
We all think of them as pointless at best and annoying at worst. We even consider them toxic. The truth is that there is no poison in them whatsoever. They are filled with a substance called silicon dioxide which shouldn’t be eaten, but it can be very useful around the house. Silica gel is a desiccant, which means that it absorbs and holds water vapor from the surrounding air.
The scientist and product testing expert Dr. David Elks, laboratory manager at product testing experts Intertek UK, was consulted for his expert verdict. From drying out a wet swimsuit to extending the life of old razor blades, some of the uses might surprise you.
FRESHEN SMELLY GYM BAGS
A few silica gel packets in your gym bag or locker can reduce damp and wipe out odour creating bacteria. Pop them in your shoes to banish whiffy smells.
DRY OUT YOUR MAKE-UP BAG
It’s so annoying when you brush your teeth and splash water into the make-up bag by the sink.
But can silica gel help?
Well, it can absorb 20 to 40 % of its own weight. The gel is full of tiny pores, which take in the moisture.
So a 10g bag (the size you might find in ordinary consumer goods) can absorb up to four grams of water. You are unlikely to spill that much into your make-up bag.
PROTECT SILVER FROM TARNISH
Tarnish is a layer of corrosion that appears on silver following a reaction between it and chemicals in the air. Humidity hastens the process that turns your favorite pieces slowly from shiny to black.
It’s suggested that you keep silver wrapped up with a silica gel packet to absorb any air moisture.
LOSE THE MUSTY SMELL OF OLD BOOKS
While a lot of people might love the musty smell of an old tome, some find it a turn-off.
Damp is the main cause of that distinctive old smell. Simply pop your book into a bag with a few packets of silica gel and let them work their magic.
EXTEND THE LIFE OF RAZOR BLADES
Here, the theory is that the silica gel dries out the metal razor blade more rapidly, so that it doesn’t rust and therefore, lasts longer.
According to the internet, this trick, along with a razor sharpener, will make old blades last for years. The average life of a razor blade is, at best, around five weeks.
Place the silica gel and razor in an airtight bag. This will certainly work a few times, but you will have to regenerate the silica crystals to remove the water they have absorbed from the blade over time.
DEAL WITH WET BIKINIS
Some recommend that if you’re packing wet clothes, just throw a few packets of silica gel into the suitcase to absorb the moisture.
Often, I get back from holiday with a suitcase full of clean clothes plus a couple of wet bikinis that have infused the entire case with dampness.
Throw the wet swimsuits into the case, but if possible, pop them in plastic bags with the silica gel.
SAVE YOUR DROWNED PHONE
When your phone drops in water and gets all wet instead of putting it in a jar of rice try the same with silica bags. Fill a jar with them and put your phone in, it will be much more effective.
KEEP YOUR LINEN CLOSETS DRY
Prevent your linen from getting damp and smelling unpleasant by putting a few of these in the towel cabinet.
CLEAR UP THE FOGGY WINDSHIELD
This one is definitely my favorite since foggy car windows cause me a lot of problems, especially in this damp weather season. This goes to all you drivers out there; it’s a true lifesaver in the winter. Instead of waiting for the air conditioning to do its job, which in older car models can take forever, put a bunch of these silica gel bags under your windshield from the inside immediately. You’ll see that tomorrow your windows won’t be foggy. It’s the fastest way to stop your windows from fogging up and you’ll save yourself the 10 extra minutes needed to clean them up.
SAVE YOUR OLD PHOTOS
Old photos usually deteriorate with time, which is really sad because they are the sole reminders of our past and are quite dear to our hearts Keep silica gel bags in your box of old photos to keep them fresh.
KEEP DOG FOOD DRY
Tape a silica gel pack under the lid of the container.
PRESERVE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS
Toss a few silica gel packs in with your ornaments so they look like new next year.
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