If you use compressed air or metal tools at work, have dropped your phone into the toilet bowl, or have a tendency to forget to take your watch off when nipping in the shower, then this guide is for you.
This article is all about desiccants; that is, what they are, and how they can be used around the house or at work.
What is a desiccant?
If you’ve ever used the ‘bowl of rice’ technique to dry out tech devices or added a few grains to your salt mill, you’re actually one step ahead. Desiccants are used to draw out moisture, and rice is just one example.
Desiccation is a process in which a level of complete dryness is created or maintained. Desiccants are solid particles with hygroscopic characteristics that can be used to absorb and extract moisture. They have many uses, both in domestic and industrial settings.
Examples of desiccants
One of the most common desiccants used in industry is silica gel. You’ll no doubt have noticed that new shoes or clothing packages come with a silica gel pouch within the packaging. This is to help the items inside stay dry during the transit period, or while being stored in the warehouse.
Salt, sugar, and rice are also desiccants that can be used to draw out moisture. There are other types of desiccants which are more chemically produced, but all typically work in the same way.
Using desiccants at an industrial level
One of the biggest uses for desiccants at the industry level is for those using compressed air. Compressed air is used in all sorts of machinery, power tools, paint guns, and even for dehydrating packaged food.
Obviously, businesses can’t sit around waiting for products to dry in a huge bowl of rice, and that’s where desiccant air dryers come in. Sites such as www.superdrysystems.com sell industrial-style air dryers, which use desiccants to extract moisture from compressed air before it’s used.
Even for non-power tools, desiccants can help, especially when used in all weather conditions. When storing tools, desiccants can help to prevent rust build-up, and save workers the need for costly replacements.
In a similar fashion, pharmaceutical companies will often use desiccants when packing medication. This is to ensure the product doesn’t spoil in transit or while the pack is in storage.
Using desiccants around the house
We’ve already briefly touched upon food storage, but this is the perfect way to use desiccants in the home. Adding a few grains of rice to your salt mill will stop any clumping so that seasoning food can be done without risking a lump of salt falling into the pan.
This trick also works for coffee, sugar, flour, and other products that need to be kept dry.
Another way to use desiccants is in wardrobes and drawers. Storing away out-of-season clothing and coats with desiccants can prevent mildew. This is the perfect solution when storing items in damp wardrobes or even in the basement.
If you have a wood-burning stove or fire at home, using desiccants can keep matches, tinder, and fuses dry until you’re ready to use them.
You can find out more information about using desiccants online; there are plenty of unknown uses for silica gel pouches, so maybe it’s time to buy yourself a new pair of shoes?