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Before you get to this point you should have already used the charts above and determined how much of the particular desiccant you're interested in you need for the size of the storage containers you'll be using. Once you know that you're ready to put them it into use.

Although they perform different functions, desiccants and oxygen absorbers are used in a similar fashion. They both begin to adsorb their respective targets as soon as they are exposed to them so you want to only keep out in the open air as much desiccant as you are going to use up in fifteen minutes or so. If you'll be using oxygen absorbers in the same package, place the desiccant on the bottom of the package and the oxygen absorber on the top.

If your desiccant is pre-packaged, that's all there is to it, just put it in the package and seal it up. If you have purchased bulk desiccant you'll first need to make your own containers.

I use indicating silica gel for practically everything. My usual procedure is to save or scrounge clear plastic pill bottles, such as aspirin bottles or small plastic jars. Fill the bottle with the desiccant (remember to dry the gel first) and then use a double thickness of coffee filter paper carefully and securely tied around the neck of the bottle to keep any of it from leaking out (remember the indicating type of silica gel is not food safe). The paper is very permeable to moisture so the gel can do its adsorbing, but it's tight enough not to let the crystals out. I use plain cotton string for this as both adhesive tapes and rubber bands have a way of going bad over time which could allow the cap to come off and the desiccant to spill into the food.

For containers that have openings too narrow to use a desiccant container such as described above you can make desiccant packets with the same filter paper. The easiest way I've found to do this is to wrap at least a double layer of paper around the barrel of a marker pen and use a thin bead of white glue to seal it with. Slide the packet off the pen and allow to dry. When ready, fill with the necessary amount of desiccant. You can then fold the top over and tie with string or staple closed. Take care that the top is closed securely enough not to allow any desiccant to leak out. Virgin (not recycled) brown Kraft paper can be used to make the packets with as well.

The above method will also work for the other desiccants, subject to whatever precautions the individual type may have.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The indicating form of silica gel (has small blue or pink specks in it) is not edible so you want to use care when putting together your desiccant package to insure that is does not spill into your food.


I buy indicating silica gel at Wal-Mart in their dry flower section where it is sold in one and five pound cans for flower drying. I've seen it sold the same way in crafts stores and other department type stores that carry flower-arranging supplies. You can also buy it from many other businesses already prepackaged in one form or another to be used as an adsorbent. All of the desiccant that I've found packaged this way has been rather expensive (to me) so shop carefully. There are a number of Internet sources available which will probably provide your best route for finding what you want.

Businesses carrying packaging supplies sometimes also sell desiccants. Some businesses commonly receive packets or bags of desiccants packaged along with the products they receive. I've seen Montmorillonite clay in bags as large as a pound shipped with pianos coming in from Japan. Small packets of silica gel seem to be packed in nearly everything. Naturally, any salvaged or recycled desiccant should be of a type appropriate for use with the product you want to package.

It is possible to make your own desiccants using gypsum from drywall and maybe Plaster of Paris. Calcium oxide can also be produced from limestone (calcium carbonate) or slaked or pickling lime (calcium hydroxide) by roasting to drive off the adsorbed water and carbon dioxide. I don't have any clear instructions, as of yet, on how to go about this. Please do keep in mind that calcium oxide (quicklime) is caustic in nature and is hazardous if handled incorrectly.

Desiccants: Overview

Interest in desiccant products has never been higher than it is today. IMPAK has more technical knowledge and experience in this area than anyone. As electronics grow both more complicated and more portable than ever before, you need a way to protect your sensitive equipment. However, desiccants are not merely limited to applications in the electronics field. Any item that can be damaged by moisture or might need long-term, safe storage can benefit from the proper use of desiccants.

We understand that you, the consumer, may not necessarily be an expert in the desiccant field. With that in mind, we have created these informational pages for you to better understand how to protect your investments. The information can get highly technical at times, so if you still have any questions or clarifications, please feel free to e-mail us....we're here to help!

SorbentSystems is the online presence of IMPAK Corporation. If you do not find the information you are looking for on this site, Tech Support is also available by telephone Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 PM.

Desiccant Types

Besides the indicating silica gel used in the Dri-Box canister, there are several other desiccant materials in use today. Below you'll find information on each, with a short summary of strengths and weaknesses.

Montmorillonite Clay
Silica Gel
Indicating Silica Gel
Molecular Sieve
Calcium Oxide
Calcium Sulfate
Other Adsorbents

Montmorillonite Clay

Montmorillonite clay is a naturally occurring adsorbent created by the controlled drying of magnesium aluminum silicate of the sub-bentonite type. This clay will successfully regenerate for repeated use at very low temperatures without substantial deterioration or swelling. However, this property causes clay to give up moisture readily back into the container as temperatures rise.

Clay is a good basic desiccant that works satisfactorily below 120

How much desiccant do I need?
What is desiccant and what does it do?
What are clay desiccants?
What industries and products use desiccant?
How are desiccants packaged?
Desiccant selection
Types of Desiccants
Desiccant Applications
What is a desiccant "unit"?
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