Make Your Own Desiccant & 17 Everyday Uses!

As annoying as it is to search through new shoes, handbags, and luggage to find all of those tiny packs of silica gel, you might want to hold onto them once you find them because desiccants are incredibly useful! They absorb moisture, so they’re perfect for keeping moisture out of the air, or for drying out anything that shouldn’t be wet. So today I’m going to show you how to make a desiccant; and hold on to those little packets when you find them, because I’ve pulled together a list of 17 ways to use desiccants in your everyday life!

Hold on to those tiny desiccant packages, or learn to make your own, because here is a list of 17 useful things you can do with them!

How To Make Your Own Desiccant

Here’s what you need:

  • silica gel
  • small cloth bag

Silica gel is actually a bit of a misnomer; it’s not a gel at all! It’s dry and looks like white sand, and it’s commonly used for drying flowers, so you can find it at most craft stores in the floral department.

Just put a teaspoon or two of silica gel in a clean fabric bag, and tie up the opening as tight as possible so no gel escapes. Now place your desiccant anywhere you want to absorb moisture!

Hold on to those tiny desiccant packages, or learn to make your own, because here is a list of 17 useful things you can do with them!

And the best part is, desiccants are 100% reusable! Desiccants absorb moisture, so after a while they stop being as effective. But you don’t have to get rid of them; they just need to dry out!

Leave the desiccant packet out in the sun for a day and it will be ready to use again. Or you can use your oven to dry it out. If you use the oven, turn it on to the lowest setting, dump out the silica gel onto a cookie sheet, and bake for 2-5 hours. This works great to recharge those tiny silica gel packets you find in with shoes or beef jerky, but make sure you cut open the packet and pour the gel out before you bake it; if you bake the whole packet or bake the homemade desiccant in the bag, it will catch on fire!

17 Ways To Use Desiccants In Your Everyday Life

Here are 17 ways to reuse those little silica gel packets, or to use a desiccant you made yourself:

1. Use them to dry out electronics!

This is the most useful thing ever, because who hasn’t accidentally dropped a phone in the sink or the toilet?! The heat from a hair dryer can damage your electronics, so use desiccants instead!

Take the battery and memory card/SIM card out of your device, then put it in an airtight container with as many desiccants as will fit. Seal up the container and leave it at least overnight, and for a full day if you can. This works the same way as putting your device in a bowl of uncooked rice, but in my opinion, silica gel does a better job of absorbing moisture than rice does.

2. Use them in with homemade cleaning products to prevent clumps

I made these desiccants when I made my own laundry soap because the soap was starting to clump up. I filled the jar halfway with laundry soap, tossed in a desiccant bag, then filled the jar the rest of the way. And the desiccants work great to prevent the detergent from clumping!

3. Put them in your gym bag to prevent mold, mildew, and odors

Towels and gym clothes can really start to smell in a gym bag, especially if they start to mildew. Keep a few desiccants in your gym bag to help prevent the mildew.

4. Store them with silver jewelry or silverware to slow tarnishing

Pulling the moisture out of the air won’t prevent silver from tarnishing completely, but it will definitely slow it down!

5. Put them in your toolbox to prevent rusting

Rusted tools are the worst! A desiccant can soak up extra moisture in the air that could harm your tools.

6. Put them in a bag to protect electronics from accidental spills in your luggage while travelling

Sometimes stuff just explodes in your suitcase while you’re flying, and there’s nothing you can do about it! But you can protect your electronics from becoming collateral damage by sealing them in a ziploc bag with a few desiccants. The desiccants can soak up enough moisture to keep your gadgets safe from most accidental luggage spills.

7. Put them in storage with clothes and blankets to prevent mildew

If you store winter clothes or blankets when the weather is warm, throw some desiccants in with them to help keep them from mildewing.

8. Put them in with anything you store in the basement

Basements are known for being a bit damp, so if you store important things in your basement, add a desiccant or two to protect them from the moisture in the air.

9. Put them in your camera bag

If you’re taking photos out in the cold, when you bring your camera back indoors, condensation will form from the temperature change. If you put a few desiccants in your camera bag, they can help protect your camera and lens from the moisture that forms.

10. Put them in underwater camera casings to prevent fogged lenses

A tiny bit of fog on the lens of your camera can ruin any picture! But when you’re underwater and your camera is in a protective case, you can’t just wipe the fog away. Prevent it by adding in a few small desiccant packs to your camera case before you close it up.

11. Put them in with photos to protect them from humidity

If you keep your photos in a box, toss in a desiccant or two to protect them from the moisture in the air!

12. Put them in a safe with important documents

If you store important documents in a safe, a desiccant can help protect those documents from moisture.

13. Store a few in your car to help keep your windshield clear

Windshields get dirty when moisture in the air picks up dust and settles on the inside of the windshield. Store some desiccants along your dashboard to help prevent this.

14. Use silica gel to dry flowers

Silica gel can be found in the floral section of most craft store because it’s commonly used to dry flowers! Fill a small bowl with silica gel, then bury a flower in the gel. Depending on how big the flower is, it will take a week or two until the flower is completely dried.

15. Put them in your gun safe

If you have a gun safe, a desiccant can help protect the gun and ammo from moisture in the air.

16. Use them when storing seeds to keep them from molding

Seed packets that come from a nursery or hardware store are usually thoroughly dried, but if you harvest seeds from your own plants, they might not be fully dry before you store them. Put a desiccant in with your seeds to help keep them from molding until the next planting season.

17. Put them in a trailer or motor home to absorb moisture

You need a really large desiccant packet for this, but if you have a trailer or motor home, a desiccant can definitely help control the moisture in the air while you’re not using it.
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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Dale Gjerning says

    9 months ago

    I will be storing some documents in a sealed plastic tube and stored vertically. Is there a recommended location for a small bag of desiccant or is anyplace in the tube effective?

    The desiccant I am using is silica gel.

  2. Karen says

    2 years ago

    Hi
    Is your washing soap mix suitable for front loading washing machines. I believe you have to use a low foaming detergent in them

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      1 year ago

      We use it in our high-efficiency front loader and it works just fine!

  3. Mike says

    2 years ago

    Can silicon gel bag be put inside a jar of dried herbal tea as desiccant?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      1 year ago

      Yep! Just make sure the bag is well sealed, you definitely don’t want any of the silica spilling out into your loose tea!

  4. Jessica says

    2 years ago

    Hi – interesting post – I wondered how long the gel lasts before it needs drying out – would it be suitable for storing tools over winter
    Thanks

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      1 year ago

      It lasts a long time before it needs to be dried out, but it depends on what kinds of tools you’re talking about. The silica gel is best for drying out small areas, so it could work for keeping a small hand tool dry if you put the tool in an airtight box, but it wouldn’t really work for a storage shed full of large tools like shovels or rakes. That’s too big of an area for silica gel to dry out, but you might try a dehumidifier for a large area like that. We have one in our basement and it works great!

  5. Crystal says

    4 years ago

    A couple of our bedrooms have a moisture/mildew problem. This sounds like a great idea to try – might work better than damp rid! Plus, if it’s re-usable….! 😀

  6. Josephine says

    4 years ago

    Hi. I have just tried to make the homemade laundry mix and when I added all the ingredients they started to foam. I believe the acid was activated. Should this be happening? My mixture is quite wet and doesn’t look dry like yours. Any advice you have would be great.

    Thanks.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      4 years ago

      Hmm, that’s weird! There shouldn’t be any liquid, so it shouldn’t foam. Are you using liquid castile soap or bar soap?

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