Silica gel beads are the most common material used for removing humidity from a humid environment, and you’ll mostly see them in clothes and shoes. You know how smelly shoes can get after a while, and silica gel bags will keep your shoes and feet smelling like a bouquet of roses.
However, there are many other places where silica gel is used and other materials that serve the same purpose. Let’s find out.
What Are Desiccant Bags?
Desiccant bags are sacks with a chemical or substance – called desiccant – that absorbs water or moisture from the air to sustain dryness. The sacks are placed alongside goods stored for a long time because moisture absorption helps prevent fungus growth and corrosion of the components.
Desiccant bags are also placed in product containers to safeguard against moisture damage during shipping. The most popular desiccant is silica, as it has many pores that absorb and hold water. Others include molecular sieves, calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, and activated charcoal.
Some industries where desiccant bags are used are manufacturing, packaging, and pharmaceutical.
Desiccant Bags Keep Products Fresh
Have you ever noticed the white packets of silica gel that accompany your new pair of shoes? While they have the sign “DO NOT EAT,” they are used for storing produce. Some farm produce, like chives, get slimy when wet. That said, put the silica bags on top of the food storage container.
Since the bags are small, they will not suck out moisture from the veggies. You can do the same with lemon zest, onion, minced shallot, and fruits. When you use desiccant bags on mushrooms, they last twice as long.
When used on shortbread, it prevents the crumble from being lost. Bread also doesn’t get moldy too fast if the consumer is in a humid place.
It also keeps cookies from getting soggy and sticky. The bags are perfect for a bakery business that wants to ensure that goods are fresh from when they leave the store to when the customer opens the package.
Chips can taste awkward when they lose their crispness; cereals and crackers too. Attaching a silica bag to the inside of the packaging will keep all the moisture out and crunchiness in.
Other foods to include desiccant bags are rice, dried beans, pasta, and vegetables that sprout quickly.
What Are Desiccant Bags Filled With?
Small desiccant bags have molecular sieves or silica gel. Silica gel helps protect small packages from humidity as it has a high absorption capacity at a relative humidity of over 50%.
Molecular sieves are suitable in low relative humidity of below 50%. They’re ideal for low temperatures too.
Activated alumina has a high surface-area-to-weight ratio because it contains numerous tunnel-like pores. This allows it to absorb water from the air and keep things dry.
Laboratories also need desiccants to keep samples dry and avoid moisture forming within and on containers. They need a desiccant, like calcium sulfate, that is non-toxic, chemically stable, and non-disintegrating. It also doesn’t release the absorbed water as quickly in high ambient temperatures.
Calcium chloride is a unique desiccant as it absorbs more moisture when the surrounding air’s relative humidity (RH) is higher. However, it turns into a liquid after water absorption.
Additionally, montmorillonite clay is a reusable, non-corrosive, and chemically inert desiccant. It traps moisture from the air and lowers humidity, preventing mold formation, condensation, and rusting in enclosed spaces.
In the case of activated charcoal, it also serves as a desiccant and can remove odors.
What Are Desiccant Bags Used For?
Desiccants safeguard items and materials that get damaged by moisture. Putting desiccant bags in packaging protects electronics and metals from corrosion, dry foods from getting soggy, and organic fabrics from decay.
Manufacturers include desiccants in insulated window sealants to prevent the glass from getting foggy.
Manufacturers use desiccants to prevent chemical hydrates from forming in the chemical industry. It also avoids chemical reactions with water and the dissolving of chemicals. Desiccants will remove moisture from gas streams and solvents too.
Desiccants like activated charcoal serve multiple purposes, like absorbing moisture and removing odors simultaneously.
At home, consumers can seal a wet phone in a plastic bag with silica gel bags overnight to dry it out. Others use it to dry flowers to use them as decoration, place it on a car’s dashboard to defog the windshield fast, and store it with important documents and old photographs.
Do You Need Desiccant Bags for Hemp Storage?
It’s essential to control the relative humidity of the hemp flower when storing it in an airtight container. High humidity increases the risk of mold contaminating the product. The optimal level to store cannabis buds is 55 to 65% relative humidity (RH).
Also, when the humidity gets too low, the buds can get too harsh, brittle, and less effective due to the degradation of essential oils that carry cannabinoids. Use small, potent, desiccant bags to keep the moisture out but not suck moisture out of the hemp flower.
Desiccant Bags for Dehydrated Foods
Silica gel is safe for food storage. In fact, it is FDA-approved. Silica gel beads are a dehydrated version that is great for water bonding.
Silica gel beads bind water to their surface to remove water from the surrounding air. The beads can hold up to 40% of their weight in water, making them perfect for keeping dehydrated foods like flour, whole grains, pasta, cereal, powdered milk, freeze-dried food, and spices dry.
Why Are Clothes Sometimes Packed with Desiccant Bags?
Clothes easily get damaged or discolored in high-humidity regions, and the risk is higher when stored. Leather jackets, shoes, and pants will stiffen, break, and warp when exposed to too much humidity.
Keep your clothing in good condition by placing desiccant bags in garment bags, closets, and shoe boxes. Since there’s no risk of desiccants, the more you use, the merrier you’ll be when your clothes don’t decay.
Gym bags and laundry hampers are filled with moisture for apparent reasons, allowing bacteria to thrive, and making clothes smell. Consumers who use desiccant bags will avoid the stench of a moist environment.
Desiccant Bags for Vitamins
Desiccants are crucial to the stability and potency of vitamins. Since vitamins are water-soluble, humidity causes them to dissolve and degrade.
When vitamins sit in warehouses before shipping, it can get hot and humid. Therefore, it’s important to use desiccant bags to keep moisture out.
Consumers should also use them in their medicine cabinets where vitamins are kept. The kitchen and bathrooms, where medicine cabinets are located, have high humidity.
Consumers should see brown spots on degraded vitamin tablets and liquid in the vitamin containers.
Where Can You Buy Desiccant Bags?
You can often find desiccant bags at local hardware shops and hypermarkets. However, you will have more options with a desiccant supplier, including size and unit count.
You can get massive desiccant bags for shipping containers, artificial display cases, and storage facilities. For instance, an 80-unit desiccant bag with over five pounds of silica gel can reduce humidity to below 20% in a 160 cubic foot area.
Silica gel, calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, and other desiccants help keep products free from moisture. Moisture can cause metals to rust and mold to grow, causing items to degrade. It can also cause food products to become soggy, making desiccants crucial to maintaining the quality of products.
An essential part of the packaging is using desiccant bags to make sure items reach consumers in the same condition they were made. Whether you sell vitamins, clothes, dehydrated foods, hemp products, or baked goods, use silica gel or other desiccants in the packaging.