FAQ – All That You Wanted To Know About Desiccants 

1. What is a Desiccant?

Desiccant is a substance used as a drying agent. It is used to control the humidity and moisture level of a substance.

Desiccant eliminates humidity from the air and absorbs the moisture. As a result, a dry and moisture-free environment is created.

A moist and damp environment can cause damage to the electronics, food products, apparel, cosmetics, medicines, and a range of products that require a dry climate.

Moisture creates an environment that can promote the formation of fungus, mould, and bacteria, while humidity in electronic products can permanently damage the electronics.

Desiccant is used to prevent this from happening. This Desiccant material is enclosed in a packet or a formed in shape, which then is fitted or put in an enclosed container to absorb any moisture.


2. What is Relative Humidity and Absolute Humidity, What does it do?

Absolute humidity is a measure of water vapor (moisture) in the air, without any relation to the temperature.

Relative Humidity is also a measure of water vapour, but it is relative to temperature. It is expressed as the amount of water vapor in the air. It is the amount of water vapor as the percentage of the total amount that could be held at the current temperature.

A high or low level of relative humidity within an enclosed container can damage the integrity of the package. It can also affect the hygiene of the product.

In the case of electronics devices, it can damage crucial parts of the device, which can corrupt its functioning.

Excess moisture can also contaminate and destroy the systems.


3. Why do I need to use Desiccant?

Relative Humidity is a factor that can cause many problems to the enclosed packages. Desiccants serve to eliminate the humidity from the air, and they absorb the excess moisture.

It also helps to sustain a dry and moisture-free environment.

Moisture can create an environment in which bacteria, mold, and fungus can grow. It can degrade the quality grade of your package.

These desiccants are usually used in packages where products can be dissolved or can be otherwise compromised by the moisture and humidity. They’re also included in areas where moisture could be problematic.

For, eg. In windows or soundproof glasses, there is an insulating material placed between two glasses. It can allow moisture to enter and can compromise the visibility of the glass pane. That’s where a desiccant can be used.


4. How To Determine if my Product needs Desiccant?

You need to determine if your product can get compromised or if the integrity of the product can be compromised due to the effect of relative humidity.

There are many products that can get affected due to humidity. It can be food, cosmetics, clothing, electronics, computer equipment, military-grade equipment, and many more.

There can be multiple factors to decide:

  1. If your products are highly sensitive to humidity.
  2. If your product is stored or placed at a location with extreme environmental conditions.
  3. If the integrity of your product can be compromised by excess or any moisture.

If your product fits in any of the above categories, you require a good quality Desiccant.


5. Difference between the types of Desiccants?

There are various types of desiccants, and they are varied accordingly. Every desiccant material has some different qualities which make them unique.

Activated Alumina can be used to absorb the catalyst in polyethylene production and hydrogen peroxide production. It can also be used as a selective adsorbent to remove chemicals like arsenic, fluoride, and sulfur from gas streams.

An excellent absorbent, activated carbon is a highly porous substance for the purification of water, air, and gases as well as for odor control.

Activated clay is one of the natural elements used to control the relative humidity level of the environment.

Molecular sieve is used to reduce humidity levels or dehydrate, purify, and separate selective gas and liquid substances.

Silica gel is used to indicate and control the humidity of the environment.


6. What Desiccant should I use? (How to choose a Desiccant?)

There are four significant factors that can create humidity in an enclosed container.

  • Water vapor in the air inside the package.
  • The moisture content of the material inside of the package.
  • Moisture in or on the walls of the package
  • The entry of moisture in the packet due to leak.

So, while choosing a desiccant, you need to,

  1. Determine the condition of maximum product integrity, the size and type of container used, and the actual conditions like temperature and relative humidity.
  2. Determine the conditions of surrounding to determine the type of desiccant used. Extreme climate can be a significant factor affecting the integrity of the package.
  3. Do a complete analysis of your packaging and try to choose a suitable desiccant.
  4. An effective desiccant should absorb water vapor in the environment, decreasing the relative humidity of the climate.


7. How much desiccant should I use?

Determining the amount of desiccant needed to dehumidify the package properly can be a little complicated.

But the factors affecting the desiccant need to obtained by the following factor:

  • Determine the value of air-space in the package to be desiccated. For, e.g., if the container is made from plastic, glass, etc.
  • The nature of the product needs to be protected.eg. Food, cosmetics, clothing, leather, electronic equipment, etc.
  • Amount of moisture surrounding the package.
  • Which type of desiccant you are using.
  • Length of time and protection needed
  • Atmospheric conditions and climate conditions where the product is sealed as well as the climate conditions during the subsequent shipment lousy storage.


8. When should I use the Desiccant?

It is necessary that the desiccants are used in an enclosed package, and it should be kept in the enclosed containers to preserve the package and protect it from fluctuations in relative humidity.

The desiccants used for food packages or food industry need to be food grade approved, and only then they can be used inside of the food containers.

We recommend that the desiccant should be replaced regularly at an ideal period of three years for open-cycle systems and once in every two years for closed-cycle systems.

Degradation of desiccant can vary according to the environment it is part of. If the climate conditions are extreme, you need to replace the desiccants more frequently.


9. What Industries and Packages use Desiccants?

Desiccants are used in various industries to ensure the quality control of different products from multiple sectors.

The common link is that every industry uses it to prevent moisture from corroding, contaminating, damaging, or compromising the integrity of the product.

Here are a few of the most popular industries which use Desiccants to prevent their pages from relative humidity.

There are two crucial factors involved in the food industry: freshness and taste. For a food product apt to be edible, it needs to be fresh.

Desiccant bags ensure that all frozen, fresh, and dried food continues to taste the same as it initially did.

Poor shipping and storage can affect the profitability and reputation of the company. The desiccant bags effectively maintain the humidity levels required for the product to be stored.

Solid desiccants are combined with solvents, and once it dries, the process of separation between water and solutions can take place.

The liquid gas is needed to be maintained at a low moisture level. Desiccant is used for that application, as well.


10. Are Desiccant Reusable and disposable?

Desiccants usually saturate after a particular period due to all the moisture, and it makes them ineffective. This procedure can be reversed using heating the desiccant packs. There are various recipes for this reheating.

For, e.g., desiccant bags filled with silica gel can be heated at a temperature of around 130-140 degrees Celsius in a well-ventilated heating assembly (a slightly opened oven).

Some of the packets have color indicators that can determine if the desiccant is dry or not. With some others weighing the product can help.

But you need to be very careful while using this method. The packages can catch fire while heating. Also, the model of microwave is not allowed to run empty with only the desiccant inside it. You need to put some food or other loads in. Don’t put a mug of water, though. It’ll create too much steam.