Do Not Throw Away the Silica Gel Packets!

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.
  • Electronics
    • 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.
  • Medications/Supplements
    • 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?

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

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.

Summary

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!

18 thoughts on “Do Not Throw Away the Silica Gel Packets!”

  1. I admit, I really liked your post. So far only in the boxes where I keep my shoes I have silica gel sachets. I didn’t think they could be used in so many ways that you described. And everything makes sense. I learned something new and thank you for sharing this practical life experience.

    Reply
    • Hi there, Carmen! I am happy to hear you liked my post! I only listed some of the most common beneficial ways but I am sure there are so many undiscovered ways out there.

      Reply
  2. I love it!!!

    I’m always trying different life hack methods but, not throwing away the Silica Gel Packets was not one of the hacks that I have ever thought of. Actually, I don’t see them too often. I usually only see those packets when I buy a brand new pair of shoes and that’s very rare for me.

    Either way, I will never throw those things away again. 

    I’ve always thought the Silica Gel Packets were useless, poisonous, and we should just get rid of it. I would’ve never imagined Amazon sells them either. That’s very interesting. 

    You mentioned that the Silica gel packets could help me with my foggy windows. Do I just place it on my dashboard? Or just toss the gel packets anywhere in the car? I’m interested in knowing how that works. 

    Reply
    • Hi there, Lakisha! That’s awesome that you are always trying different life hacks. I haven’t bought too many shoes lately so it makes sense that it automatically comes with it now. I actually used to think that they were poisonous too especially since some of the silica gel packets put “throw away” on it. In a sense, it can be hazardous to health since it draws out the fluid within one’s body which can lead to dehydration (especially if one accidentally ingests a lot of it).

      In terms of where to put it in car to defog windows, you can just place it on your dashboard. That’s usually where the fog begins which then rises and eventually covers up the upper areas of your car.

      Reply
  3. Hey Mike! I never knew that those silica gel also known as ‘Do not eat’ package are so helpful! I always throw them away because I thought that it is a chemical substance, never understood why they had to put it into the food packaging. Thanks to your article, I finally know what is this and also what is the use of this! I am looking forward to trying this on my shoes, gym bag as well as my tool box because a lot of tools are getting rusty which is not a good sign! Will definitely be keeping all the silica gel when I see one next time!

    In your opinion, do you think these silica gel works better than the shoe deodoriser balls for my shoes? Thank you so much for your insightful article, really happy that I got a new knowledge today! Keep it up and hope to see more soon.

    Reply
    • Hi there JoeYoung! I used to throw them away all the time too until I found out about its usefulness. To answer your question, I think both the silica gel packets and the deodorizer balls will work better together than just one or the other. Silica gel packets should help with reducing moisture but the odor molecules will still be there. I think that is where the deodorizer balls will come in handy to bind those molecules and negate the odor.

      Reply
  4. LOL You have a nice writing style, Mike! We actually do save those little “do not eat” packets. Our fav usage: We have those metal cookie tins that we use every year at Christmas for cookies. We throw a few inside before storing for the next year. The tins do tend to rust easily. The silica packets help. Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
    • Hello there, Marsha! Thank you, I actually just write how I normally speak. That’s awesome that you already save those “do not eat” packets. They really come in handy!

      Reply
  5. This was a lot of fun to read and I really had never thought about those packets, just tossed them in the bin. What a fabulous idea to reuse them in shoes, camera bags, and suchlike to keep moisture down. I immediately mentioned it to my husband and we put some in his jars of nails. 

    Thanks so much for these tips. Amazing recycle.

    Reply
  6. What good advice. I knew that they help to keep contents dry, and in pill bottles I would leave them until the bottle is finished and throw them away with the bottle. You are showing me that there are so many good uses for silica gel bags with, not only food, but also our bags and shoes and all those little corners where moisture would collect. What is valuable for me is that these little bags can be recycled and used long after the cookies or pills are consumed . Thank you for the tips.

    Reply
    • Hi there, JJ! I am glad to hear you discovered more uses for the silica gel packets from my article. Hopefully your bags and shoes would have longer life now when you add those packets there.

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  7. Hi, I’m pleased to have read this educative post. I have never thought of such an extreme purpose of silica gel packets, it’s really amazing how they keep food in a good condition for a prolonged period of time. I’m also thrilled by these other uses of silica gel packets, which will ultimately get rid of bad smell from our items, shoes or clothes. This is helpful, thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello there! I am glad you found my article helpful! Hopefully you can even discover new ways of using those silica gel packets as well!

      Reply
  8. These are really great ideas for what else we can use the Silica Gel Packets for. I admit that I haven’t thought about it yet, but your tips are very helpful, and I’m glad I read this article.
    In addition to footwear, clothing, and a gym bag, I was also impressed with the use of reduced condensation in electronic devices and that the windshield does not mist up so quickly.
    Your life hack site is really great!
    Friendly greeting,
    Nina

    Reply
    • Hi Nina! I am glad to hear that you found my tips for other uses of silica gel packets to be useful! I will definitely be writing more content in the near future.

      Reply
  9. This is great advice to keep a stash of silica gel packets to keep items fresh. These are extremely helpful in more humid environments like the tropics or the southeast USA, but they can be helpful in about any climate. I live in a humid climate and I definitely recommend that people keep their silica packs in things that get stored away like suitcases and shoes!

    Reply
    • Hi there, Aly! I agree, having these silica gel packets will definitely come in handy in a humid climate. Suitcases and shoes are definitely products that one should protect from the humid environment.

      Reply

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