Letter Re: An Inexpensive Source for Bulk Silica Gel Desiccant

Hi, James
There is always a need for desiccants for various uses, be it food storage, caching, or other projects. Most who need such things already have a favorite supplier, but I’ll make another recommendation for the sake of saving a few bucks. Any local grocer, pet supply dealer or Big Box store carries silica-gel cat litter in amounts from 3 to 30 pounds: Tidy Cats Crystals is one such product, though there are many. A rounded tablespoon place in a square of mesh fabric purchased in a craft/hobby department (where it can be bought by the yard–think about the bird seed packets at weddings) and securely tied [or sewn shut] will work well when placed in the desired container; depending on the need, they can also be spooned directly into the bottom of the vessel. Note that I’m suggesting the clear-blue “Crystals-only” type which are pure silica; one doesn’t want the silicate-clay “Blend” which is also offered.

Being silicate, they have the potential for re-use by oven drying. Compared to the cost of individual commercial [silica gel] packets, this is a bargain. Regards, – Billfour

JWR Replies: That is a great suggestion. Just beware of any desiccant that has any additives, dyes, or scents. A perfumed desiccant would be fine for tool storage, but potentially a disaster for food storage.