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What is silica gel, and where do I get it?

Updated on February 22, 2016

What is Silica gel?

We have all seen them, those little packets you find in shoe boxes and in small electronics. They typically say "do not eat". Well those are filled with silica gel beads. I could give you the scientific makeup and properties, or a definition. But if that's all the info you wanted you would go to Wikipedia. So I'll tell you about it the way I would tell anyone of my friends. Those little beads are a form of dessicant. Better known by this guy as a mini moisture sponge. Because just like a sponge in water, they pull the moisture out of the air in a confined space. Which is good for the protection of many difrent things.

Silica gel uses are plentiful. - As long as the goal is to minimize moisture :-)

My tackle box.
My tackle box.

Food Storage

I'm sure we have all seen what can happen to our Herbs and Spices once they've absorbed moisture. Your herbs get "soggy" and your spices "cake up". There's nothing more annoying, while cooking, then reaching for an ingredient, say garlic powder, and finding it just wont come out. GRRRR!!!!!!!! To prevent this try adding a small pack of silica to your Herb or Spice container. Also if you happen to use a food dehydrator try putting one or two in the container or baggie with your finished goods. This will help your dehydrated food stay protected from moisture during prolonged storage.

Are you like me and love the outdoors? Camping, fishing, and boating are all activities in which silica gel packs can come in handy.

Camping

When you're finished camping and are putting your tent or camping chairs away. Pack a few pouches away with them. This will help to prevent the almost inevitable mildew smell you get every time the tent is pulled out after an extended period of storage.

Fishing

Almost any fisherman can tell you that there is almost no way to avoid water getting into your tackle box. Every time you change your tackle or open your box to get something water from your hands, and the leftover water on your lure, ends up in there with the rest of your expensive lures. This leftover water will evaporate. However all it does is increase the humidity inside. So to prevent this heightened humidity from rusting your lures and hooks. Throw some silica in the bottom of your box.

Boating

Boating, as we all know, can be vary fun. But nothing can ruin a boat outing like a wet cellphone. Now we all know its a good idea to put your valuables in a water tight bag wile out on the water. But like the tackle box anytime you open the bag to get something your potentially allowing water entry. So what do we do?........ You guessed it. Put a pack of our trusty silica gel in with them. This will, once again, help prevent humidity to rise in the bag. But I personally suggest adding a washcloth or paper towel along with the gel to sop up the excess water. So it dose not pool and leave your phone lying in it.

Image courtesy flickr/PKMousie

Where to acquire silica gel.

Acquire. lol I like big words. ;-)

You can buy Gel packs from almost anywhere online. In virtually any size you need, for almost any application. Simply do a Google search for Silica Gel and voilà. You can also save packs that come in many items that you purchase. Another option is to ask family and friends to save there's from items they may buy. This will limit the sizes you can get. However, I personally prefer online auction sites. Like the ol trusty, well known and loved eBay. The reason behind this is simple. Due to the fact that silica gel never "Goes bad" you can usually get good deals buying used instead of new. The only difference is that if it's not reactivated you may have to do so yourself. This is a simple process that can be done in your own home. I won't get into that on this lens because here all we are going over is the basics, what it is, and where to get it. If you're interested in how to reactivate silica gel packs Click Here to see my "How to reactivate silica gel" lens. Another place to buy is Amazon.com

Any suggestions on where else to get gel? How about alternate uses? - Share your ideas with us here.

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