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Silica Gel and Bentonite Clay Comparison

Updated on May 20, 2009

Silica Gel and Bentonite Clay are two types of desiccants that are available on the market.  While they are both absorbent materials that can be used for effective moisture control.  Moisture in the air can prove harmful to products like electronics, dried foods, and leather products.  Desiccants, like Silica Gel and Bentonite Clay are used to prevent damage to such products. 

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is a granular material that is absorbent and naturally occuring.  Remaining dry to the touch, even when fully saturated, Bentonite Clay does not clump together, it remains as individual particles.  Though most effective at room temperature, Bentonite Clay can absorb moisture at temperatures up to 120°F.  When exposed to temperatures higher than 120°F, it begins to release any moisture it absorbed.  By heating fully saturated Bentonite Clay, it can be reactivated and used again to remove moisture from the air.  It is possible to reuse Bentonite Clay many times.  Bentonite Clay produces a high amount of dust, which necessitates the use of Tyvek® packaging in order to contain the dust.


Silica Gel

Commonly found packaged with products like electronics and dried food, Silica Gel is a manmade substance that is highly absorbent. Made from sodium silicate, Silica Gel is found in the form of small clear beads. Despite the way the name sounds, Silica Gel is not a gel at all, It remains a solid that is dry to the touch, even when fully saturated. Silica Gel is an effective absorbent up to 220°F and can be reactivated by being heated above this point. Being able to be reactivated many times without affecting its absorbency, Silica Gel can be reused many times. Silica Gel is found in a variety of packaging materials. The white packets we often see can be made from paper, cotton or Tyvek®. Silica Gel can also be found packaged in perforated plastic packets. Silica Gel emits very low levels of dust, being packaged in Tyvek® makes it virtually dust free. It also meets FDA requirements for being packaged with dry foods.


Side By Side Comparison

With the highest absorption capacity available to consumers, low dust emissions, and absorption at high temperatures, it is easy to see what makes Silica Gel the most often chosen desiccant on the market.

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