The importance of dehumidifying your home or office when indoor weather is excessively humid cannot be over-emphasized.
To address these issues, several tools, devices and appliances have been introduced over the years, each having their own unique features, Mode of operation, pros and cons.
Dehumidifier beads have become sort of a household name in recent years.
Known as silica gel, these formed beads are known to reduce the moisture content in rooms significantly.
You may have heard of these special beads and wondering how they work; this post will give you an in-depth understanding of what they truly are. So, what exactly is a dehumidifier bead?
What is a dehumidifier bead?
Dehumidifier beads are more or less porous Sand beads packed in certain packets and designed to draw in moisture from the room air.
They look like white crystals or tapioca beads but are actually silicon dioxide. We’ve all seen those bead-filled packets in new bags and boxes at some point in our lives.
There’s often the inscription; “Do not eat” written boldly on the pack. That is the simplest and most popular example of desiccant dehumidifier gel beads.
Dehumidifier beads are often made of silica gel/silicon dioxide. This is a common material you’ll find in beach sand.
The silica bead is designed with millions of tiny, almost invisible holes which gives the tiny object a pretty massive surface area. This large surface area is needed for its absorbent quality and for heat dissipation.
Though small, the silica gel bead is really effective at dehumidifying the air, able to absorb and hold in at least 40% of its body weight in moisture.
Silica occurs naturally as a solid mineral. Many rocks, sand, quartz and clay are good sources of silica. As a gel, you’ll find silica in packets of small beads in many products and packaged items.
The sodium silicate is processed naturally to produce the colorless and dehydrated gel. Other times, synthetic gels are also produced by many manufacturers.
Once formed into beads, the gel is coated with some sort of vapor-permeable plastic, and you have yourself a truly versatile dehumidifier.
How do dehumidifier beads work?
Silica gel is often regarded as a non-electric dehumidifier. As the main material in dehumidifier beads, it works by absorbing moisture content that comes in contact with it, keeping the air crisp and dry.
When you purchase this already packaged gel beads set, the entrance created is able to draw in air which, when in contact with the beads, loses its humidity to the beads, while warmer, drier air is released back into the room.
Oftentimes, you just put them in strategic places like your sheds, cars and RVs, and gun safes and forget them there for a while.
In fact, due to their slow moisture-absorbent rate, you can leave a set of dehumidifier beads at a spot for up to 3 months before a replacement is required.
This also largely depends on the condition of the beads before you deploy them. Beads not properly stored in air-tight sealed areas may already absorb lots of moisture before they are used, and this may limit their capacity eventually.
How long do dehumidifier beads last?
Dehumidifier beads can last for several months or even years. We’ll look at this from two different angles; storage and usage.
As for storage, silica gel dehumidifier beads have a shelf life of between 5 and 12 months, depending on how well they are stored (air-tight sealed packages).
They can last for fewer than 5 months or way beyond 12 months. In fact, you should not remove dehumidifier beads from their packaging more than 45 minutes before they are used.
Once deployed, dehumidifier beads can be used for about 4 months or more if the user does not fancy reusing them. Otherwise, silica gel beads can be used and reused for several years, until the packaging begins to wear out or the absorbent quality begins to reduce.
Another way to see these beads is that they are not time-based, but moisture-based. You can ruin silica gel beads in a matter of minutes if you decide to run the bags through the laundry or leave them out in the rain.
On the other hand, they can be stored for many years if properly preserved.
Are dehumidifier beads reusable?
Certainly, Yes. You can reuse dehumidifier beads. Once you notice that the silica gel can no longer remove as much moisture content as it used to and has gradually become ineffective, you can recharge and reactivate them.
We’ll share three different ways to do this;
- Drying them out in direct sunlight
- Using an oven
- Using a microwave
The first method is pretty straightforward; lay your beads-filled packets on a tray and place them on a spot outside to heat dry.
The Oven Method
You’ll need a baking sheet, aluminum foil, and an airtight container. Follow the below-described steps.
- Pre-heat your oven to 275° F.
- Use the aluminum foil to line your baking sheet.
- Lay the gel bead-filled packets on the lined baking sheet. If the beads are loose, spread them on the baking sheet at thickness not exceeding two inches.
- Place in the pre-heated oven and leave to bake for a few hours. Anywhere between 4 and 8 hours should do. This should depend on how thick the beads are. A general rule of thumb is to bake every 30 ounces of silica gel beads for 90 minutes.
- Remove and leave on the baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
- Store properly in airtight container for future use.
The Microwave Option
The basic materials needed here are a microwave-safe container and a spoon. Simple steps are as follow:
- Place your gel beads in the container.
- Set inside the microwave and heat for about 4 minutes on medium heat to medium high.
- Check to see if gel color has changed, which is an indication that it is dry.
- If more drying is needed, stir with the spoon and put them back in the wicrowave for another 4 minutes.
- Repeat the process until color changes and the beads are dry.
- Remove and leave in the safe container to cool off.
- Store and use when required.
Top 3 Reusable Dehumidifier Beads
1. LotFancy 40Gram Silica Gel Desiccant Beads [Best Price]
These reusable desiccant dehumidifier beads are great moisture-absorbing canisters for your cabinets, car, closet or even bags and shoes.
The 2-pack durable tin-canisters are sealed with plastic and weigh an average of 40 grams each.
The packets are also odorless, non-toxic and cobalt-chloride free, so you can be certain there won’t be any chemical reactions. It also won’t contaminate your foods and medicines. But, perhaps, the most exciting news is that the beads are reusable.
The beads are originally orange, but the color changes to darkish green when the beads are saturated with moisture.
Rather than throw them out or dispose them, you can simply use any of the methods (sundry, oven, or microwave) already explained above to drain the moisture out, dry them up and use them again.
A 250° F heated oven for 2 to 3 hours can do the trick. Ensure you use a shallow or baking dish. At the price, this is one of the most competitive and budget-friendly dehumidifier beads on the market.
2. TinyHippo 5 Gram [80 Packets] Silica Gel Desiccant Packs [Value for Money]
When it comes to silica gel beads, TinyHippo is a household name.
The brand has been able to establish itself as one of the most reliable as far as dehumidifier beads are concerned.
This dehumidifier bead product is reusable and reactivatable. The package contains 80 packs of 5gram silica gel bead packets.
It is a food-grade, color-indicating desiccant bead with the ability to reduce the moisture content in your home and, by extension, reduce humidity in your closet, vehicle and other spaces.
This TinyHippo desiccant dehumidifier beads can absorb moisture more than 35% of its body weight. It is extremely safe and can be used even for foods.
These dehumidifier beads can be used for many years because it can simply be dried and reactivated when it becomes saturated with moisture; this is indicated by the changing of the color from orange to dark green.
3. Wisesorb Premium Indicating Silica Gel Beads [Best Features]
Unlike many products that have a plastic bag or tin packaging, these tiny blue dehumidifier gel beads are stored in an airtight gallon for effective preservation.
The indicator is also easy to spot. Once the blue beads change to pink, you should know your beads are saturated.
Whether it’s tools you’re trying to protect from corrosion or you just want to take away the damp or moisture in containers where you have important documents, pouring a good number of these beads should help put things right.
What’s more, you can save yourself the stress and financial cost of replacing your dehumidifier beads quarterly or every 6 months.
You can use these reusable beads over and over again for several months and years because they can be easily activated using an oven or a microwave.
If you’re considering non-electric dehumidifiers, desiccant silica beads are certainly a great option. And if you want to use beads, try out the reusable ones, as you’re sure to enjoy their long-lasting benefits without spending extra money on replacement after a few months.
Dehumidifier beads are cheap, easy to use and apply and do not require any sort of maintenance. You can give any of the three reusable beads’ products reviewed here a shot and let us know your experience.