Silica gel bags, should I get some?

Edited: February 11, 2020, 1:59 PM · I live on an island, the humidity level here is always between 75% and 100%, all year. I have room dehumidifiers at home, but still I'm usually well above 70. I found strange that stores liek thomann only have humidifiers and not dehumidifiers. However, most new instruments come with a Silica gel bag inside the case, is that worth it? I wonder why they don't sell them separately.

Replies (12)

Edited: February 11, 2020, 2:00 PM · The silica gel bag is a step in the right direction, but they have limited capacity. There is a product (I forget the name or brand right now) that is a mixture of mineral hydrates that is designed to maintain a specific humidity inside your case. I did some reading into the science behind them, and I was impressed with what I saw. Now of course, like any other gizmo, you have to use it properly and thoughtfully, but I would search for the mineral-based device.

If your violin is going to spend almost all of its time at home in your music room (as opposed to being out and about most of the day as you are teaching, gigging, etc.) then the main thing for you is to control the room temperature and humidity. David Burgess's website has useful information about that. He has studied this issue very thoroughly and his recommendations are derived logically from basic facts.

Edited: February 11, 2020, 4:58 PM · If they have limited capacity, maybe I should use two?
Does that mineral-based device thing imply any sort of liquid inside the case? I prefer not to risk it and at least try the Silica gel first...
I just got myself a new Gewa Hygrometer and I'm seeing that I get 75-80 at home, but at the school I teach, which has no room dehumidifiers, it goes above 80, I can literally feel the moisture touching my fingers when I grab the neck and bow.
February 11, 2020, 3:50 PM · Paul - are you thinking about the Boveda humidifiers? I've been using a combo of Boveda and a stretto pack for this winter season and my case has been a solid 40-42% all winter!
February 11, 2020, 4:17 PM · I have come to rely on those too-- the 49% flavor. They're pretty good at pushing humidity into the case. I am less sure about how they work at dehumidifying, but it is definitely worth a try.
Edited: February 11, 2020, 5:25 PM · I'm pretty sure silica gel will absorb any moisture that is present until they are saturated, at which point they stop working. In a humid area like yours, silica gel would probably not last very long at all, not to mention that it isn't possible to precisely control the humidity of your case with silica gel.

The mineral salts work by establishing equilibrium with the air at a certain level of humidity (depending on the salts inside the packet)—so, they can not only bring the humidity down to the desired level, but back up if it is too dry. They are much safer and more long-lasting than silica gel.

Edited: February 11, 2020, 5:25 PM · What are those minetral salts and where to get them?
February 11, 2020, 5:26 PM · Most people use Boveda.
February 11, 2020, 5:36 PM · https://bovedainc.com/small-wood-instruments/
February 11, 2020, 6:07 PM · Thanks :)
Edited: February 11, 2020, 7:25 PM · Yes "Boveda" is the word that was not coming to mind earlier.

The mineral compositions used in the Boveda product are hygroscopic but not deliquescent. So you will not open your case and find your violin in a pool of liquid.

Different minerals have a different tendency to bind water. The problem with silica gel, as Cotton has indicated, is that the binding is generally too strong. Boveda has formulated different mineral compositions that will maintain the happy medium you are after for the interior of your case. Stretto has a similar product but I don't think they have as good humidity control and I'm not sure what the composition of their material is.

February 11, 2020, 7:43 PM · Note:
In the OP's environment, the Boveda pack may become ineffective after absorbing as much water as it can, rather than from releasing water and drying out.
February 11, 2020, 7:51 PM · It shouldn't be too much of a problem if they keep the case closed whenever they aren't putting something in or taking something out of it.


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