Tired of smelly climbing shoes? Damp, fusty snowboard boots? Clothes or gear stored in rubber bins coming out musty and stale?
You’ve tried deodorizers and air fresheners but they just cover the odor: No matter how much you douse your ice climbing boots with “Clean Linen” or “Tropical Breeze,” there is still that sexy hint of eau de cheesy feet.
So…How do you beat the funk?*
[ Drumroll ] The Silica Gel Pack!
One of the major culprits is moisture: the sweat in your biking, hiking or climbing shoes or the humidity/dampness trapped in your sealed rubber bins. Moist places with poor ventilation are a happy home for bacteria, mold and fungal growth = smell.
Silica gel absorbs this moisture, keeping things like purses and freeze-dried camping dinners fresh and delicious!
Rather than “borrowing” those little packets from shoe boxes or buying expensive, pre-made silica gel packs, make your own gel packs with this easy (and cheap) DIY!
Step 1—You need silica gel.
I found two inexpensive places to get it:
1) The craft store: Apparently silica gel is used as a drying agent for flowers.
2) The pet food aisle: Some kitty litter is just straight up silica gel…you will know it is the right one because it will say it right on the label and look like white/clear crystals.
I found this at Walmart for about $15 after tax:
Step 2--Put the gel in a pouch (the more “breathable” the better!)
The first time I made my silica gel packs I was living in a truck, so here is what I did:
OPTION A (aka The I-LIVE-IN-A-TRUCK METHOD )
What you will need:
-coffee filters (whatever size)
- Spoon silica gel into coffee filter
- Tape edge of coffee filter closed so no gel bits are leaking out. Try to cover just the edges, leaving as much of the coffee filter surface area open to breathe.
If you have some time and/or access to a sewing machine there is also:
OPTION B (aka THE-FANCY/I-AM-CRAFTY METHOD)
What you will need:
-Muslin, cheesecloth (you can find these at fabric stores for pretty cheap), a rice bag or old cotton tshirt. Pretty much any durable, somewhat breathable material.
-Sewing machine and/or needle and thread
- Cut fabric into desired shape. I made mine slim rectangles because they fit well in shoes (and I can’t really sew anything but straight lines)
- Sew around the edges, leaving a hole big enough to pour the gel in with a spoon
- Option: Turn shape inside out to hide seams. (Because we are fancy!)
- Fill shape ¾ full with gel:
- Sew the last bit closed…
These make nice, cheap gifts for people too! They work for shoes, bins, ammo boxes, closets, sock drawers…and by putting them in the oven you can dry them out and reuse them over and over. (google it for the details!)
Good luck and stay fresh!
*Beat the Funk was my band name in high school