1. What exactly are the crystals inside a Chilly Tube?
The crystals are a product developed by the Agricultural Industry in the southern States in the early 90’s to combat drought. They are used in drought prone farm land to extend the growing season into the dry summers by holding on to some of the excess spring rains and releasing that extra moisture when the weather gets hot and dry. Today it is also used in specially marked potting soils that you can purchase at your local Garden Center, mixed especially for growing flowers in containers, it will be marked as “water retaining” potting mix.
2. How long will the crystals last?
The manufacturer states that they will last for approximately 7 years of use. By that time I am sure the fabric will be faded from the sun, stained by sunscreen and generally worn out and it is time for a new Chilly Tube!
3. Are the crystals toxic?
No. They are just a means to hold water in place, to allow it to evaporate at a slow rate! But, they do absorb enormous amounts of moisture so if they were to be ingested they could cause dehydration!
4. Can Chilly Tubes be used for pets?
Pets get hot and need relief from the summer heat too! Chilly Tubes can help, but should not be used without supervision. As stated in question #3, Chilly Tube crystals could cause dehydration if your pet were to eat them! The other factor to consider is if your pet has short or long hair. Just as we need to wear the Chilly Tube next to our skin to feel the cooling effect, so does your animal. If it has long hair the value of a Chilly Tube is questionable.
5. After storing my Chilly Tube the crystals feel large and hard and it no longer puffs up as much as it use to when I soaked it!
Sometimes when a Chilly Tube dries slowly, the tiny crystals form larger, harder crystals. If this happens you may have to soak them longer to soften them. Try using hot water, they absorb hot water faster. This does not affect their cooling ability after the outer cloth dries.
6. My skin turned red when I wore a different brand of neck coolers! My cooling tie is slimy, what is wrong with it?
It's definitely not a Chilly Tube, that's the problem! Each Chilly Tube is hand made from 100% top quality cotton fabric and the crystals are carefully measured to ensure this does not happen. Batches are periodically tested to maintain top quality.
It is not an allergic reaction either, but is caused by poor manufacturing! Either the fabric is a cheap loose weave or too thin and is allowing the gel to ooze out. Or there are too many crystals inside the tube and if it is over hydrated, the gel is forced through the cloth. Either way, the gel is coming through the fabric and as a result they will feel slimy to the touch.
The crystals love to absorb moisture, and if they are in contact with your skin (over hydrated and the gel has oozed out) there is more moisture in your skin than in them, they will then absorb some more water out of your skin causing your skin to dry and turn red.
There are a couple of solutions. First, throw it out and buy a Chilly Tube! You could throw it out in the household garbage or recycle it by carefully dumping the crystals/gel into your flower planter’s soil and mix it in thoroughly to help your plants from drying out too quickly.
Or a second option is to dry off the outside with a paper towel, rubbing off the excess gel. You do not want to use a towel as you will then get the gel mixed through your laundry which would only multiply your problem. Make sure that next time you only soak it to a flexible state.