Lapindo mud (LM) is a volcanic mud from a natural disaster that occurred 16 years ago in Sidoarjo District, East Java, Indonesia. The high amount of silica in the local materials of LM has been extracted for silica gel synthesis via hydrometallurgy methods, followed by sol-gel methods. The presence of ethanol in the synthesis process generated a unique textural property at different ratios between ethanol and sodium silicate (e/ss). Sol-gel mediated silica gel synthesis exhibited mesoporous properties with an amorphous structure, which is a characteristic of the silica gel. The silica gel exhibits silica nanoparticles over the average diameter of 2.08 nm with a spherical morphology and is connected to form an agglomeration structure. Increasing the e/ss ratio enhanced the amount of the hydroxyl group and the specific surface area ranged from 57 to 103 m2 g−1. The moisture adsorption performance of each silica gel showed that the silica gel with an e/ss ratio of 5 : 5 exhibited the highest adsorption capacity measured by conventional gravimetric methods and thermogravimetric analysis of 10.56% and 11.20% gwater gsilica−1, respectively. These results indicated that the silica gel with an e/ss ratio has a high number of hydroxyl groups and more surface-active sites, which is beneficial for the adsorption process. The adsorption capacity of the synthesized silica gel is also higher than that of the commercial silica gel, indicating an excellent performance for desiccant applications.