Oxygen Absorber vs Silica Gel
Published On: July 30, 2021 Revised On: May 9, 2023

Oxygen Absorber vs Silica Gel

Oxygen Absorbers for Longer-Term Food Storage

Oxygen Absorbers are small packets containing an iron powder that removes oxygen from the trapped air, leaving nitrogen behind when placed in a sealed container. The absorbers are made of a material that allows oxygen and moisture to enter but does not allow the iron powder to leak. Moisture in the packaged food causes the iron in the Oxygen Absorber to rust. As it oxidises, the iron absorbs oxygen. Oxygen Absorber packages come with a pink colour indicator in the packaging. The pink colour indicates that it has not been exposed to air. Once the packaging of Oxygen Absorbers is opened, quickly use them in food packaging containers before they lose their efficacy.

Types of foods that you could store with Oxygen Absorbers for freshness are the following characteristics:

  • Low moisture (10% or less moisture content)
  • Low Oil Content

Examples of these Oxygen Absorber friendly foods include:

  • White Rice
  • Rolled Oats
  • Some Whole Grains
  • Beans
  • Dried Cake

Oxygen Absorbers are non-toxic and safe to use as they can help enhance food lifespan and freshness and minimise colour change. However, food products that are not suitable for longer-term storage due to higher moisture content because of the development of botulism, oils, or other concerns include:

  • Barley, pearled Meat, dried (such as jerky)
  • Eggs, dried Nuts
  • Flour, whole wheat Rice, brown
  • Grains, milled (other than rolled oats)
  • Sugar, brown
  • Granola
  • Vegetables and fruits, dehydrated (unless dry enough, inside and out, to snap when bent)

Silica Gel Packs for Long-Term Food Storage

Silica Gel is an amorphous and porous form of silicon dioxide consisting of an irregular tridimensional framework of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms with nanometer-scale voids and pores. Silica xerogel, with an average pore size of 2.4 nanometers, has a strong affinity for water molecules and is widely used as a desiccant. When placed in a sealed container, Silica Gel help remove moisture around 40% of its weight from the container to help preserve your contents for long-term storage.

Silica Gel is best used when storing moist foods, including jerky (dried meats) and dried fruits. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables also benefit from being stored with Silica Gel Packs, especially when they are dried to the point where they are still moist, such as with sun-dried tomatoes. Other foods best stored with Silica Gel Packs are white sugar, salt, and foods that tend to sprout, such as potatoes and onions.

Silica Gel is excellent when optimised in the usage of absorbing moisture. Moisture can build inside your storage container through temperature shifts, condensation from the humidity in the air during the initial fill-up of your container, or the moisture contained in the food packaging. Moisture can downgrade stored product value directly with mould growth and other organisms. Desiccants can buffer the moisture level and helps preserve many things like food products, clothes, firearms, electronics, and anything else that could become damaged.

Some of the other items where Silica Gel can come in handy for packaging are:

  • Stainless Steel or metal products
  • Electronics devices
  • Non-prescription and prescription medicines
  • Health care products
  • Moisture Food
  • Documents

Other unique uses for Silica Gel are as follows:

  • Rescue a wet cell phone & laptop
  • Maintain razor blades’ lifespan from being rusty
  • Prevent silverware from getting tarnished
  • Keep the coffee jar moist-free
  • Protect leather shoes from moisture
  • Protects photographs

In conclusion, Oxygen Absorbers only absorb oxygen, while Silica Gel absorbs moisture. And the usage from either area depends on which item needs to be oxygen-free or H20-free.

Watch this video to learn more about the differences between Oxygen Absorbers and Silica Gel.