Desiccant Packs, What They are and Why You Need Them

Desiccant Packs

I live in a fairly dry climate and have not had problems with preps rusting from the humidity.  However, I know that it is a big problem in parts of this country that are subject to high humidity, so I thought that I would write about the use of desiccant packs and how to use them.

As an oxygen absorber is to air, a desiccant is to moisture.  A desiccant pack will draw moisture from the air the same as an oxygen absorber will draw the oxygen from the air.  Desiccant packs are used all the time in electronics and can often be found at any store that sells electronics.

Most of them contain silica gel which is dry and looks like white sand.  It’s commonly used for drying flowers, so you can find it at most craft stores in the floral department.  Put an amount of silica gel in a clean fabric bag appropriate to the size space you are protecting, and tie up the opening as tight as possible so no gel escapes.  Now place your desiccant anywhere you want to absorb moisture.  Understand that the desiccant packs will only absorb so much moisture.  They are best used when placed in small confined areas.

Desiccant Packs
Homemade desiccant packs

Most desiccant packs are reusable.  As desiccants absorb moisture, they stop being as effective.  But you don’t have to throw them out; they just need to be dried out.  Leave the desiccant packet out in bright sunlight for a day and it will be ready to use again.  They can also be dried out in an oven. Dump the silica gel out onto a cookie sheet and bake at a very low temperature for 2-5 hours.

Many kitty liter type products can be used, such as Tidy Cat and Fresh Step Crystals, look for ones that mention “crystal litter.  In a pinch, rice can be used as a desiccant.  Calcium Chloride is an good desiccant, but I suggest that you avoid using it because it can be a health hazard under certain conditions and can damage some materials.

Depending on the area in which you live and how high the humidity is, you may want to consider placing desiccant packs in any preps that you seal into airtight containers that can be damaged by moisture.  In addition to rust, they can prevent mold and mildew. They can be included with clothing,  metal items and possibly dry grains.  Personally, I would try to keep the desiccants from coming into direct contact with foods.  If you are putting together any caches, you may want to consider adding desiccant packs.  They are also a good addition to gun safes, but you should check them periodically to make sure they are still functional.

Howard

2 thoughts on “Desiccant Packs, What They are and Why You Need Them”

  1. I’m new to your site and really like it. You got me to thinking about all of the things that I could put to another use.

    Thank you.

    diane

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