As preppers we all know the importance of keeping our firearms and electronics free from moisture when they are put away for storage. For this reason, before caching or storing items such as these for the long term its crucial you include some type of desiccant (or water absorber) in with your stored items.
Most preppers use silica gel, but what if you don’t have any on hand?
Well, here in the US, there is a huge supply of desiccant that you can readily use in a pinch if you can’t get a hold of silica gel.
What is it you ask? Well, it’s none other than drywall. Yup, common gypsum wallboard found in most homes throughout the US.
How to Make Homemade Desiccant
Similar to silica gel, if you want to activate drywall to become a anahydrate or desiccant you need to heat it up long enough to remove the moisture. Here’s the process:
|Step 1: Preheat your oven to 450F
|Step 2: Grab a 1/2 foot x 1/2 foot piece of drywall.
|Step 3: Remove the paper (it helps by wetting the paper first) and break it up in 1″ square pieces, then place those pieces on a cookie sheet and into the oven.
|Step 4: Let it heat for about an hour which will remove all the moisture.|
|Step 5: Remove from oven and while hot, immediately place in an air-tight container that won’t melt from heat (a mason jar is a perfect container for this).
How to Use your DIY Desiccant
To use your desiccant place a handful of it inside a sock and stash it in the storage container that is housing your electronics, firearms or other items you’re interested in keeping away from moisture.
Here are just a few examples of where to use your homemade desiccant:
- In the bottom of your gun safe
- In your survival cache tube (like a PVC pipe where you cache your firearms)
- Inside a sealed Mylar bag that contains your electronics
- In your gym bag to prevent mold, mildew, and odors
- With silver jewelry or silverware to slow tarnishing
- In your toolbox to prevent rusting
- Inside containers holding stored clothes and blankets to prevent mildew
- Inside of anything you store in the basement
- In a safe with important documents
- Inside of cases with seed packets to keep them from molding
- and much more..!
The following pictures give an example of how effective this is as a desiccant. I threw a handful of these desiccants in a mason jar that just came out of the dishwasher. After a few minutes the homemade desiccant had absorbed all the water in the jar.
A Quick Related Tip
As a quick side note (in case you missed the reference above), be sure to hang onto any silica gel packets you come across that are packaged in various products you’ve purchased. They can also be reused by heating them up in the oven and storing them as described above.