28 Nov Reuse silica gel in the Lateral Flow Tests
Uses for Silica gel
When you take your next lateral flow test, have a look for the tiny packet of silica gel. You will often find these packets in other goods that you buy as well.
What is Silica gel?
- Silica gel is a desiccant which is a substance used to remove moisture.
- It can absorb a lot of water moisture (and other solvents such as alcohol), often up to 40% of its weight. (You don’t need to take it out of the package)
- It is silicon dioxide, which has the chemical formula SiO2. It is formed from the elements silicon and oxygen.
- Silicon dioxide lumps are not necessarily harmful to humans (the dust is), but because it is like eating small bits of rock or sand then it can be a choking hazard.
- It will not be digested and we will poo it out, unless it gets stuck on the way through and that would not be good.
- It could have also absorbed some other harmful unknown substances.
- Silicon dioxide is found naturally on Earth as sand so it isn’t harmful to the environment but the packets themselves may or may not be biodegradable depending on what they are made from.
- It can also be reused many times without losing its ability to absorb! Once it has absorbed water to its capacity, it can be heated to evaporate the water.
Reuse your gel
Dry a wet smartphone – leave it to dry out it in a box or bag of silica gel packets.
Reusable fruit and veg bags – help to prevent mould and keep them fresh.
Prevent rust on razor blades – help to make your razors last longer.
Electrical equipment: cameras, laptops, hard drives – help to avoid moisture damage.
Storing sheets and clothing – help to keep them fresh and dry.
Storing shoes – help to keep them fresh and dry and avoid bacterial and fungal growth.
Gym bags – help to keep them fresh and dry.
Make up bags – help to keep them fresh and dry.
Jewellery boxes – help to keep precious metals shiny.
Steamed up car windscreen – leave a few packets on the dash to help prevent it steaming up.
Storing important documents and old photographs – help prevent damage .
Toolboxes – help to prevent rust.
Seeds – help to prevent early sprouting or mould.