About a year ago I wrote about how to make your own desiccant packs to help stave off rust and moisture-related damage.
I was doing some inventory over the weekend, and it occurred to me to look at the different silica bags I had in each container.
Here is plain (not really “clear”) indicating silica. It’s the same Amazing Cat Litter you can buy online or in pet stores, or you can spend over twenty times the amount and get pre-made bags with the same stuff.
This is a partially-saturated bag that I took from a box containing computer components. This came from an ammunition can that had not been opened since sometime in 2011.
I bought this pre-made bag from eBay in 2007. It was also in an ammunition can that had not been opened since 2011. It is mostly saturated.
A bag from the same lot was completely saturated. To me, this shows the effect of opening and closing the cans. Air moisture gets into the can, and the silica degrades more rapidly. I threw away all of the silica packs from the eBay lot.
So, a few lessons learned here:
- If you’re making your own silica gel desiccant packets it doesn’t make much sense to re-use ones from other products.
- Check your desiccant packets on a regular basis. “Regular basis” is going to depend on a ton of variables: the size of the container you’re trying to de-humidify, how often you access that container, and the amount of moisture in the storage environment. I’ve decided to check my stocks once a year.
- Toss any packs when a third or more of the silica indicates that it’s saturated. Again, this threshold may be different for you based on the factors I typed up above. It’s cheaper to replace the packs and not worry, especially when you’re making your own.