uses for silica gel packs

------------------------------------------------- Revised 05/22/17
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How to use oxygen absorbers
how to use those silica gel packs
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Are silica gel packets the same as oxygen absorbers?
No! Preppers often wonder about silica and the difference
between oxygen absorbers. The difference between the two is
really very simple:

  • Oxygen absorbers - iron based, oxygen absorbers, pictured
    bottom right, remove oxygen from your food, so that it stays
    fresher longer. Oxygen begins to decompose your food (as
    does light, heat and moisture).

  • Silica gel packets - made of silicon dioxide, these aim to wick
    moisture away (read more below about what is the purpose
    of silica gel packets) through the process of adsorption.
    Some non-toxic silica packets on the market are completely
    inert and are not harmful if swallowed accidentally; however,
    some are toxic. As mentioned above, stay away from the
    toxic blue ones for food.

Can you use silica gel packs with food?
Yes, with a caveat. Don't use the blue kinds, and remember the
purpose is not to get rid of oxygen, but to get rid of moisture. So
use food grade silica gel packs with spices and you should be fine.

Warning: Do not use blue gels for food.
Those pesky little "do not eat" packets that come stowed in your
food are an artificial form of silicon dioxide (usually non-toxic);
however if they are blue they are saturated with a moisture
indicating solution. The beads are blue, they are not food safe,*
so don't taint your food with them.

While most silica gel packets are not harmful, they certainly are
not edible, which is why they often come with a warning.

    * NOTE: The blue ones are not food safe and could cause
    nausea and vomiting. They have an additional chemical,
    which turns them from blue to pink when fully absorbed with
    moisture. The color changing magic is the addition of non-
    food safe chemicals (cobalt II chloride -- an inorganic
    compound of cobalt and chlorine). Cobalt poisoning is rare,
    but certainly you don't want to taint your food!

Happy endings...
Silica gel packets can have a happy place in the prepper
household. Certainly they help with the "Make do or do without"
philosophy. With proper use, including keeping them away from
children, those silica packets can be useful in many ways.

  • Warning to preppers: Not all silica gel packets were created
    equally! Preppers can use silica gel packets for both food and
    equipment if they are wise and know the differences. Don't
    use the blue gels for food.

More prepping articles...

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Above fishyhaker.com shares an enthusiasm for using silica gel packets in
the tackle box.

#5: Keep tools from rusting.
Another way to use silica gel packs if you're a prepper is tucked
inside your toolbox. The dessicants help prevent items in your
toolbox from rusting where ever you stash your toolbox, like a
cold or damp basement or garage. Go ahead and stash packets
with your favorite wrench, screwdriver, pliers and socket set to
keep your tools as rust-free as possible.

Nails and screws constantly in use are also quick to rust, if you
place the silica gel packs in the toolbox with your nails and
screws you won't be screwed with rust!

#6: Help store seeds.
We already discussed keeping your tools from rusting and that
includes gardening tools. If you're a gardener, then you'll
appreciate the usefulness of silica gel packs for seed saving too.

Silica gel packets will help prevent mold from forming on the
seeds you save. Silica gel packets with your sealed seed packs
will help wick away moisture from your seeds.

#7: Keep silver beautiful.
Preppers love stashing away silver for the day when cash is not
accepted and only precious metals will do. Keep your silver
collection in pristine condition with help from those little silica
gel packs.

The silica gel packets will help wick away moisture so they won't
degrade or tarnish. The tarnish is actually a layer of corrosion.
Doing this won't necessarily increase the value of the silver, but
it will preserve the collectible value. You might also decide to
keep your silver in plastic bags, because it's the moist air that
can degrade them and having them in plastic bags with the gel
packs will keep your silveware or coins looking good.

#8: Store important documents better.
Treasured marriage and birth certificates, copies of deeds,
insurance policies, wills and power of attorney, even passports,
vehicle registrations and immunization records could benefit from
being stored with silica gel packets.

Preserve your historical family photos and documents or store
your favorite vintage and heirloom books for future generations
to enjoy.

#9: Keeps pills and vitamins fresh.
Silica gel packets can help keep vitamins, prescription and non
prescription medicines fresh. The slightest bit of moisture can
degrade them, but when you tuck away the dessicants you'll help
prevent moisture in the air from ruining them.

#10: Keep your dried meats dry!
While oxygen absorbers are often used with food, silica gel packs
are used less frequently, but they are used for dried meats, like
beef jerky or dog treats.

Why use silica gel packets for dried meats?
You can use silica gel packs as a drying agent for jerky. Moisture
would ruin beef jerky. It prevents oxidization, so the beef jerky
doesn't go rancid.

You'll also may find silica gel packs occasionally tucked with
spices and dried fruits for the same reasons.

There are many other uses for silica gel packets. Just about
anything that needs to be rust free and moisture free can benefit
from silica gel packs.

Important information about Silica:
The warnings are clearly labeled, "Do NOT eat," and "Throw
away" because they can present a problem in the throat of a
small child or animal if eaten, according to the
Carolinas Poison
Center. Do no be mislead, because they are toxic in the long run.

While it is non-toxic in the short run, it's important to know that
silica may cause lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, and
airways diseases in the long run. It may also cause Silicosis, an
irreversible but preventable disease caused by exposure to silica
dust.

Again, the biggest danger is that kids may mistake the packets
for food and choke on the substance! Another concern is that
dogs ingest them. Don't store silica with food. Instead choose
oxygen absorbers.

  • WARNING: Silica is a known toxin: cobalt chloride, which is
    a known toxin Just keep silica gel packets out of reach of
    children who may think they are seasoning of sorts. Remind
    children that they are toxic and not for eating!

Concerned about a child or dog who has ingested
silica gel packet?
If you have concern of ingestion: Call the American Association of
Poison Control Centers at 1.800.222.1222
There are two kids packets and you'll need to know which has
been ingested:
  1. Granular silicic acid resembles sand
  2. tiny gel beads. Silica gel is non-toxic (not poisonous) if
    eaten.  

The main concern is the package that says "DO NOT EAT"
because:
  • it's not a food (and kids often mistake it for food and
  • it could be a choking hazard (because the granules, or beads
    may become lodged in the throat of a small child or animal).

Finally, don't reuse silica gel dessicant packs!
You should not reuse silica gel packs. Here's why you should not
re-use silica packets....

While generally preppers are a thrifty bunch and have a "make do
or do without" attitude, when it comes to silica gel packets, the
old ones may no longer be functional because they've become
saturated. While it's possible to reactivate the packets by
heating them in an oven, it's just easier to use fresh packets.

What's more, silica gel packs are inexpensive, so do what the
packet says, "throw away" after use!

What is silica gel? How does silica gel work?
What's the purpose of those "do not eat" silica gel packets?
Preppers often wonder about silica gel packets and the difference
between oxygen absorbers. It's really very simple...

Silica is a chemical derived from silicon dioxide. It's essentially
the same stuff used to make glass (sand and quartz); however,
the blue ones have added chemicals making them toxic. Below is
a well-done explanation of silica gel from Brain Stuff, which
explains how these little packets are "nearly harmless":
You can also use rice to help you rescue a wet cell phone. As
well, the Bheestie Bag, right, can help you save your phone if it
becomes wet, but it's costly and it looks like it's nothing more
than a mylar bag with silica beads inside. Preppers could easily
make a cell-phone saving bag, using ordinary prepping stuff:
  • Mylar bags
  • Silica gel packets to wick away the moisture.

#4: Tuck in a fishing box to dry your flies and more.
Your tackle box is bound to get wet or build up moisture, since
you're fishing in a moist environment. Silica gel packs have a
"hygroscopic" substance that's a drying agent. Hydroscopic
means that it tends to absorb moisture from the air.

With silica gel packets you can dry your wet fishing flies, keep
your lure and hooks in pristine condition. Put them directly where
the hooks are so that the water and the rust that comes with it
doesn't spread from one hook to another.
Silica Gel Packets (dessicants)
Many uses of silica gel packs and how to use them properly

How to use silica gel packs.
You know those little dessicant packets you find tucked away in
your new shoes? You know those packs that say "do not eat"?
These are silica gel packs and they are valuable to preppers
because they help keep your gear safe from moisture, mildew,
mold, and corrosion.

Silica gel packs are different from
oxygen absorbers! Learn the
difference and learn some awesome uses of these dessicants in
prepping...

What's the purpose of silica gel packets?
The purpose of silica gel packets is to "adsorb" (yes, the 'd' is
there on purpose). Inside the gel packs are little beads, which
a
dsorb moisture, so stuff won't rust or get moldy.

A
dsorption is an adhesion of a thin layer of molecules. It's
confusing because it seems like the same word absorption (with
a "b"), but adsorption is different. With a
dsorbtion, it's like the
water sticks to the beads and keeps it there, unlike the word
absorption which just spreads the moisture around. Through the
process of a
dsorption, the molecules adsorb 40 percent of its
weight in water and wicks away the moisture. This is a concept
really helpful for preppers because there are so many
applications for use.

Top Uses for Silica Gel Packs
The main use of silica gel packets is to adsorb moisture and
keep things dry. Silica gel packets are great for so many things!
Some of the many uses for silica gel packs include:

#1: Protect ammunition and firearms.
Probably the primary purpose of silica gel packs for preppers is to
protect ammunition and firearms. These little powerhouses are
ideal for storage with your ammo and firearms as one little silica
gel can hold half its weight in moisture!

  • Firearms. Be sure to tuck some silica gel packs with
    firearms in storage. Your a rifle, pistol, or other portable
    gun will benefit because the silica is a rust inhibitor. Living
    in a humid environment makes this a necessity for a
    prepper! The silica gel packs can act as a dehumidifer for
    gun safes, too.

  • Ammo. Wherever you store your ammo (especially in large
    quantities) be sure to include silicagel packs. It will help
    prevent corrosion and will help extend the shelf life of your
    ammo. - Have you ever come across some old ammo and
    the casing had green spots on it? That's caused by moisture
    and silica gel packs would have helped. Sometimes ammo
    cans even come with dessicant, as is the case with the
    ammo can, immediate right.

#2: Keep razor blades lasting a long time.
The damage to razor blades is moisture. If you make it a regular
routine to wipe your razor blades after use and then store them
with silica packs , you'll help wick away the moisture and keep
your razor blades sharp and ready for next time. This is one of
the more ususual uses for silica gel packets. Incidentally, you
can also use vodka or rubbing alcohol to clean and dry out the
razor blades so that they don't get rusty.

#3: Save a wet cell phone.
Communications are vital to preppers and while we have ham
radios, two way radios and emergency weather radios, we usually
start with a cell phone. If it gets wet, your cell phone could be
toast, but not if you know how to rescue your wet cell phone
with silica gel packets (dessicants).