We all like consuming packaged food products like cookies, cakes, crackers, and beef jerky every once in while. Although they might not necessarily be the most healthy, they are convenient, keeps you nourished, and they taste pretty great. As we finish up the package, we might notice a little white packet with something that seems to filled inside. Yes, that infamous little “do not eat” packet.
But have you ever wondered why that silica gel packet is even put in there? It almost seems counter-intuitive since we expect everything in that food package to be edible so then why even include such a thing in there? Let’s find out the purpose!
Purpose of Silica Gel Packets
Well, to get straight to the point, those “do not eat packets” contain silica gel particles. Silica gel is a type of material that is known for absorbing water. Often times, when moisture somehow gets inside of certain food product packages, it can cause the food to spoil faster.
Certain microbes that live on food in those packages are kept to minimal levels and exist in a “killed” state. It’s almost nearly impossible to get rid of them completely. But what can happen is that just a little of moisture is enough to bring those little guys back to life and they can really thrive by multiplying, especially since they feed off the food as well. (No wonder why our kitchen sponges have such terrible odors). As a result, some foods can spoil quicker than the anticipated expiration date.
Thus, to prolong the life of those food packages, silica gel packets are sometimes added.
Other Possible Uses
Now that you know that silica gel packets are known for reducing the moisture to help protect certain products, you can use that to your advantage! What other possible products do we often use where moisture is undesired? The possibilities are endless but here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Tools, Nails, Screws (anything that can form rust)
- Rust can form when iron and steel comes into contact with water and oxygen. Remove the moisture (with the silica gel packets) and you won’t have to worry about rust.
- Shoes or Clothes
- Ever wondered why our shoes smell so bad? There’s a lot of microbes that can live inside our shoe. Just a little moisture from sweating is enough to help them thrive.
- Gym Bag
- Almost everything we put in there seems to have the same smell. Same concept as shoes with the bacteria.
- The last thing we want is for water to enter our electronics. Even some moisture can interfere with its basic function. The most annoying thing is when there is condensation building up behind the screen.
- The areas we keep them in may contain moisture. If too much moisture comes into contact with that, they might start dissolving!
- Musty Smell
- Often times caused by the presence of mold and mildew. Like bacteria, a little moisture is sufficient for them to thrive in. As they grow, they produce gas which is what we tend to smell.
- Powder (whether edible or perhaps cosmetic purposes)
- Moisture can cause powders to clump up or spoil.
- Cars and windshield
- Silica gel packets might help get rid of certain odors and your windshield from fogging up so quickly.
Where Else Can You Get Them Besides Food Packages?
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You do not have to hunt down for silica gel packets by buying all sorts of packaged food products. Plus, some of them might be greasy depending on the food that is being protected. You might not want that grease to get onto certain items like shoes or clothes. Therefore, you can actually buy some silica gel packets on Amazon. They come in different sizes depending on your needs.
Can Silica Gel Packets Be Reused If Retained Too Much Moisture
Yes, they can. You just need to find a way to get rid of the moisture by evaporation. One of the ways can be laying them out on a really hot day in the sun. Make sure to collect them before the day cools down and moisture returns in the air.
Another method is to preheat your oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay the “used” silica gel packets on aluminum foil and bake it for about 1 to 2 hours. Make sure to keep them in a zip lock bag or sealed container afterwards so that they do not start collecting moisture again. Otherwise, you would have to start baking them again.
Every once in a while, we will find a silica gel packet in our packaged foods like cookies and crackers. Before throwing it (as it might sometimes say on them), they can really come in handy with your everyday needs. In the mean time as you collect them, please continue to enjoy your snacks! Remember that you can also purchase them in mint condition if you want to avoid some greasy ones, depending on the food product being protected.
Did you enjoy this life hack for silica gel packets? Please leave a comment below!