Anyone who’s ever bought a new electronic device or pair of shoes will be all too familiar with those little “DO NOT EAT” sachets that come in the box. Most of us have a vague idea that they’re somehow keeping our products fresh, but toss them as soon as the box is open without a second thought.

But it turns out these free sachets can be used for a whole range of life hacks that can save you time, energy, and money.

The sachets are called silica gel bags, and they’re filled with little balls of silicon dioxide, which will quickly dry out anything around them.

Despite the warnings on the packet, they’re actually not toxic or poisonous, and are only really dangerous because they pose a choking hazard (so, yep, keep them away from kids).

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But they’re actually also incredibly useful, not only when it comes to keeping your new purchases dry and fresh in the box, but also for soaking up moisture in other unexpected ways. Here are some of their life-changing uses:

1. Save your wet phone

Dropped your iPhone in the toilet again? Forget rice, according to Business Insider, these sachets are far more efficient at sucking up moisture. Just leave your phone switched off in a jar full of them overnight, and they should dry the device out thoroughly.

2. Defog your windshield

Never wait for your windshield to clear up in the mornings again – instead, simply place a few of these bags under your windshield on the inside and they’ll keep it dry and clear regardless of the weather.

3. Extend the life of your razor blades

Any shaving aficionado will know that moisture is your razor’s worst enemy, with damp blunting your blades before their time. Business Insider recommends keeping your razor in a tupperware container with a few of these silica gel bags to keep them sharp for longer.

4. Keep your gym bag fresh

You can avoid mould and bacteria colonising your sweaty gym gear by adding a couple of these sachets to your gym bag. They should also help with the odour.

5. Protect your old photos

Many of us store our old photos in attics, cellars, or other equally damp places, which can lead to the pictures sticking together and deteriorating over time. Keep them in a box with a few silica sachets and it should keep them dry and in tact for longer.

Article have been lightly edited for length/clarity.
Via Fiona Macdonald, ScienceAlert