Desiccant Packs

In different packages that are brought to department stores, it is noticeable that there are a few very tiny bags inside different boxes. Maybe in the past you asked yourself what they were, or maybe you still don’t know. The following article will give you more information related to these small packs.

Desiccant Packs

Some kids are mistaken to consider these small bags as “free food”, but after reading the note outside the bag, not to eat the content, the kids are more confused as well as the adults that have no idea of what is the purpose of having that tiny bag inside the package.

For the answer, the tiny bags are called desiccant packs. More often, they can be seen on shoe boxes, but also widely used on almost all packages that need to have longer life and to preserve the product’s quality while still inside the enclosed packages or boxes.

In every package, odor of the product is a problem. Desiccant packs absorb the bad factory odor and also change it to fragrances all over the package as well as the product. Odor is often accompanied by moisture and condensation. Moisture causes the product to corrode, form molds, and/or to be contaminated with fungi and bacteria. Because of these occurrences, it may greatly affect the quality and eventually lead to product damage or food spoilage which causes in the end, revenue loss.

The good thing about desiccant packs is the re-usability feature. You will simply put the packs inside a microwave oven, wait for about 2-4 minutes and presto! You can use your desiccant packs for your personal needs. If you don’t have a microwave oven, just simply put them under the sun for the whole day.

Desiccant Types

There are different types of desiccant packs depending on their purpose. It is very important for the consumer to know this because wrong usage may only cause more damage to your product.

1. Silica Gel

The most common desiccant packs type is the silica gel desiccant. Silica gel desiccant is the one which is very frequently found on different food and pharmaceutical products as it is the only desiccant approved for direct contact with such items by the FDA. We can find it purified and processed in beaded or granular form but silica gel is actually a naturally occurring mineral known as silicon dioxide (SiO2).
Silica gel packets can drop the relative humidity from 90% RH down to 40% RH and performs best at room temperature but will absorb moisture at high temperatures up to 220°F (105°C).
With its vast range of pore sizes, silica gel has the ability to absorb not only water but other compounds like alcohol, ammonia, aromatics and olefins too.

2. Indicating Silica Gel

A similar desiccant type is the indicating silica gel. Indicating silica gel is almost the same with the normal silica gel desiccant but the difference is that it is not chemically inert and it has the color-changing ability to indicate the amount of moisture it already absorbed. Having been washed with a concentration of heavy metal salt, cobalt chloride which has a deep blue color when dry. It will turn into purple as the concentration of moisture rises, turning into pink when saturated indicating it is time to be replaced.

Because of the cobalt chloride addition, indicating silica gel should not be used in contact with food, pharmaceuticals or other consumption products

Molecular Sieve

3. Molecular Sieve

The molecular sieve is a synthetic desiccant, porous crystalline aluminosilicates which has a great affinity for moisture molecules. It is different from other desiccants by its uniformity of the pore sizes openings.

4. Montmorillonite Clay

Montmorillonite clay is a good basic naturally occurring desiccant which works best at a temperature below 120°F (49°C). At temperatures above 120°F there is a great possibility that it will give up moisture instead of absorbing it. This makes montmorillonite clay great for fast repeated successfully regenerations. It is also the least expensive desiccant on the market.

5. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a great desiccant because of its immense network of tiny pores. It has the ability to absorb not only water but toxins, pollutants, and unpleasant scents. It is used as a desiccation around the house but also in medicine and agriculture

Not all types of desiccant packs are recommended to be used with foods safely. You can find silica gel packs for foods that are FDA approved, so you can use them to store grains, dried foods, etc.

Putting desiccant packs on soaked gadgets will absorb the moisture and water inside them. This option is better than blow drying (which is not advisable). Just make sure that you have removed visible water inside the gadget as much as possible, put the gadget inside a bowl accompanied by desiccant packs and cover. Let it stand overnight.

There are so much more to state on how these small packs will be helpful for you so if you are interested, try the links from the left side menu for more information. Just always remember that when it comes to moisture-removal problems, having a desiccant pack should be at the top of the list.

13 comments

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Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Maida Thody
#1. April 12th, 2011, at 10:36 AM.

I dig this site

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Olivia
#2. April 27th, 2011, at 11:57 AM.

AFAIC that’s the best anwesr so far!

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com sheranna
#3. April 29th, 2011, at 1:03 PM.

my son has get his hands on one of those small desiccant packs from the shoe box how harmful is it what should i give him or do he is at the doctor right now but i would like to know from you

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com Admin
#4. May 1st, 2011, at 4:10 PM.

sheranna: It really depends on the desiccant’s type.

Usually the used desiccant in shoe boxes is silica gel, it is non-toxic but it’s moisture absorption properties can cause mild nausea, constipation and vomiting. If only a few beads were ingested there should be no problem, but if a full pack or so is ingested it will cause irritation or dryness. Drink a lot of water so it will ‘fill’ the silica gel beads.

BUT, indicating silica gel is also used (blue when dry, pink when exposed to moisture), it contains Cobalt Chloride, a toxic substance, it is believed to be carcinogenic and cause respiratory irritation. If indicating silica gel is ingested, inform the doctor of cobalt chloride ingestion.

I wish your son all the best!

p.s. I think I should write an article about this too.

Get your own gravatar by visiting gravatar.com MARIA
#5. May 2nd, 2011, at 3:40 PM.

i purchased a bag and noticed it smelled really bad, i found a busted desiccant bag in the pocket lining. I can not get that fishy stinky smell out,,any help would be appreciated.

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