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Silica gel packets

Photo: Zay Nyi Nyi (Shutterstock)

Some hacks don’t withstand the test of time. They become victims of ever-evolving technology or simply fall out of fashion. But when it comes to silica gel packets, even age-old hacks are still top quality. (Ain’t nothing changing about a “hygroscopic substance used as a drying agent.”)

Silica gel is the stuff inside those little packets you find inside the packaging for everything from shoes to electronics, and even some foods, and they are put there to absorb moisture during shipping and storage. Once you’ve unpacked your item, you probably typically heed the warning on many of these desiccant (drying) packets that says not to eat them and to throw them away. Well, definitely don’t eat them—we’re not going to argue with that logic. But there’s a case to be made against throwing them away. Since the dawn of Lifehacker, we’ve been advocating for the many reuses of these tiny dehumidifiers.

Here’s our complete guide to everything you can do with your spare desiccant bags.

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