A low density, highly compressible, porous foam of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) incorporated with Au nanoparticles (10-50 nm) has been synthesized by using a single-step process with water as a medium. It exhibits high swelling ability (≈600 %) against benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX)-a property that has been exploited in the removal of oil spills from water. It is resistant to harsh chemical environments. It is also effective against odorous sulfur containing contaminants such as thioanisole. It works repeatedly and efficiently over many cycles. The regeneration of the foam is rather simple: heating in air to 300 °C for short time brings back its original activity. The fascinating properties of Au nanoparticles could be mingled with those of PDMS to provide a sustainable and practical solution for water treatment. It is also demonstrated to work effectively for deodorizing garlic extract with a promise as a food packaging material. © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.