You know those little packets that come in vitamin bottles, handbags and boxes of new shoes? They're called silica gel packets and while they clearly instruct you to throw them away, they're actually extremely handy little things. Just last week I was opening a bottle of pills, when my partner called out to me, almost urgently.

"If it has one of those little silica packet thingies, do not throw it away. I'm saving them!"

I was rather amused to say the least. What could he possibly be saving them for? And why was it so important that he had to call out to me while putting the baby in bed? In the end my partner was saving them to put in the cabinet where he keeps his camera equipment "to prevent excess moisture and mold." But my interest had been piqued. What else could be done with these absorbent little packets?

After asking around and searching online, here are some highlights of the many things silica gel packets can do:

1. Rescue a wet cell phone

This one I actually have personal experience with. When I was pregnant with my son and had terrible morning sickness, my partner used to leave a bucket partially filled with water by the side of my bed in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom. Unfortunately, that's also where I kept my iPhone at night so, of course, I ended up with a drowned cellphone.

A quick search online revealed that the ultimate cure for a wet cellphone is to turn it off, remove the SIM card and place it in an airtight container filled with silica gel packets overnight. At the time, I could only muster up a couple of silica gel packets and had to make do with dry rice to fill up the rest. But it worked really well, and when I turned my phone back on a couple of days later, it was as good as new.

2. Extend the life of razor blades

We all know razors and moisture don't mix, which is why some people swear by keeping their razor in a Tupperware filled with 4-5 silica gel packets. This helps prevent excess moisture and oxidation and prolongs the life of your razors.

3. Safeguard valuables against travel spills

You know those annoying little spills that always seem to happen in your toiletry or makeup bag while traveling? I seem to get one every single time I fly. Well, apparently a few silica gel packets are just the trick to mop up excess liquid and help your belongings withstand the spill.

4. Protect photos and other documents

Simply pop a few packets in the box where you store your important papers to keep them safe and dry.

5. Stop metals from tarnishing

When it comes to metals like silver, brass and copper, moisture can lead to tarnish and corrosion. So slip a silica gel packet in your silverware, jewelry box or toolbox to keep your things tarnish-free.

6. Dry flowers

Love drying flowers? You can speed up the process by popping the flowers in a paper bag along with a few silica gel packets.

7. Save seeds

If you save seeds to plant in the garden, storing them in a box with a couple of silica gel packets can keep them dry and mold-free.

8. Keep your windshield fog-free

Simply place a few packets on your dashboard to prevent condensation and keep your windshield clear.

9. Prevent smelly gym bags

A few silica gel packets in your gym bag or locker can reduce damp and wipe out odor-creating bacteria to keep it smelling fresh.

As you can see, silica gel packets can be used anywhere you want to prevent excess moisture, damp or mold. As a guide, use one packet per shoebox-sized container, and if they stop working, simply bake them in the oven for an hour on 100 degrees. Who knows? Despite their strict instructions, you may never actually throw them away after all.


This is a guest post by Katie from Argentina.

9 Surprising Uses for Silica Gel Packets