Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Urban Resources: 'Dry packs'

When I began resurrecting my 40-year-old hiking boots the other day, I washed them inside and out with Montana Pitch-Blend Leather Oil Soap. Then I stuffed them tight with wadded-up newspaper to preserve their shape and draw out some of the remaining moisture. Several hours later I removed the damp paper, stuffed them again and left them that way overnight.

By the next morning the leather lining was drier but not yet dry, so I tapped a simple
urban resource -- homemade "dry packs." Here's the shopping list:
  • Coffee filters (cone-type)
  • Cat litter (clumping, unscented)
  • Stapler
To make a dry pack, I pour a small amount of litter (one-third to one-half cup) into a filter, fold over the open edge and staple it closed. Then I fold in each "ear" and put in a couple more staples. That's all there is to it.

These inexpensive do-it-myself packs aren't meant to replace silica-gel desiccant packets, but they're great for dropping into shoes, motorcycle helmets, luggage, gun cases and ammo boxes -- anywhere that dampness could cause problems.

(Substituting baking soda for cat litter, by the way, makes an effective "odor pack." The imagination reels...)

Yesterday I put two dry packs in each of my old boots and stuffed the shanks with newspaper (loosely this time). I expect that they'll be good and dry by later today.