MOST of us find those little packets of silica gel that come in new bags and shoes incredibly annoying — but they are actually more useful than you think.
In fact, you should hold on to them as some of their uses might surprise you.
Silica gel is full of tiny pores made from silicon dioxide and is a desiccant, which means it absorbs moisture from the air.
An ordinary 10g bag can absorb up to four grams of water — 20 to 40 per cent of its own weight.
Although warning signs such as “do not eat” and “keep way from babies” is enough to put us off and chuck them out, we really should be paying attention to these helpful little freebies.
Here’s how you can put them to good use.
Preserving your photos and books
Cherish your memories by putting those silica bags in your box of old photos so that you can always look back at those happy times.
Some people love the smell of a dusty old book — but not everyone. Put those offending books in a bag with a few packets of silica gel and the smell will disappear.
Keep your make-up bag fresh
Protect your make-up by putting silica pouches in the bag. This will help stop your powder-based products from becoming sticky.
Rescue your drowned phone
Whether it’s a swimming pool, a puddle, even the loo, dropping your phone in water usually spells certain death for the device.
But you can save your phone from drowning by leaving it in a bowl of silica bags. It’s apparently 10 times more effective than leaving it in a bowl of rice.
No more smelly gym bags
After a workout, most of us leave our damp clothes and sneakers in the bag for the rest of the day.
Silica gel deprives the bacteria of the moisture they need to thrive. A few silica gel packets in your gym bag will eliminate dampness, and help keep it germ and whiff-free.
Keep your silver shiny
Tarnish is a layer of corrosion that appears on silver because it reacts with chemicals in the air. Humidity can make your silver turn black even quicker.
Enjoy the sight of your finest silver by wrapping it up with a silica gel packet to absorb any moisture from the air.
Packing wet clothes
Sometimes when you’re packing up after your holiday in a hurry, you have to put in wet swimwear. By the time you get home, the dampness has consumed your entire suitcase.
Throw a few packets of silica gel into the luggage to absorb the moisture.