View Full Version : Silica Beads for Moisture

08-06-2017, 04:47 PM
Has anyone used silica beads for absorbing moisture in your toolbox or shop? Specifically the kind that change color as they absorb moisture? What's you opinion? Worth it?

I've used them for a time, and find them to be a bit of work. My dehumidifier and a temperature+ monitor both read humidity in the mid-50% range most of the time. My beads will change color (moisture absorption) with 2 weeks.

The procedure I use to dry them is to spread them on a cookie sheet (with 4 edges) in 1 layer, place in a cold oven, turn oven to lowest setting for ~1 hour, then increase to 250 for ~1 hour (or the beads change color), then allow to cool in the oven for ~1 hour, then redistribute them. Not the longest job, but it does heat the kitchen up during the summer.

Have they helped? Well, they haven't hurt. I didn't have a rust problem before using them, and don't when I use them, and don't when I leave them in the drawers saturated.

Just wondering what others think.

08-06-2017, 04:58 PM
Here is a thread describing how I use these beads to dry compressed air


08-06-2017, 06:12 PM
I have a lot of problem with rust, so I have converted some old dead refrigerators to a tool storage chests. The rubber seal keeps the dry air in. I have found that molecular sieves gets the air dryer, but the silica gel works quicker. So, I have a little tray of each in each fridge. I keep a humidity gauge in each one, and when the humidity in the fridge goes above 25% I bake the gel and the sieves (different temps).

08-06-2017, 07:04 PM
Sounds like they're ineffective for your use case and create unnecessary work. If you had a moisture problem, you'd be thinking dehumidifier piped to a drain (or outside) and not messing around with some beads.

If you want to prevent rust on your machine tools, do a web search for "table saw top rust". There's a couple products that are often suggested, I can't remember the names because I use Johnson's Paste Wax. It works for my area, but isn't effective in others.

08-06-2017, 09:34 PM
I just thought I would see experiences folks on the forum had. I just pulled my containers and have to dry them, which lead to this post.

I got the beads on a whim and thought I would try them. I also put some in my wife's silver chest and some gun boxes. They do work fast. When I first got them I did a little experimenting, like rolling a bead into a drop of water. It absorbed so fast that it exploded within seconds.