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The Ultimate Guide to Storing Food with Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

Mylar bags, paired with oxygen absorbers, offer an excellent solution for long-term food storage. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started, from the types of foods you can store to the best practices for sealing and storing your bags.

Cynthia Jordan

6/3/20245 min read

Mylar bag with oxygen absorber
Mylar bag with oxygen absorber

In a world where uncertainties can strike at any time, having a stash of food safely stored away can provide peace of mind and security. Mylar bags, paired with oxygen absorbers, offer an excellent solution for long-term food storage. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started, from the types of foods you can store to the best practices for sealing and storing your bags.

Why Choose Mylar Bags for Food Storage?

Mylar bags are a popular choice for long-term food storage because they are durable, light-proof, and can create an airtight seal. This combination makes them ideal for preserving food quality and extending shelf life by protecting against light, moisture, and air.

What are Oxygen Absorbers and Why Are They Important?

Oxygen absorbers are small packets that contain iron powder. When placed inside a sealed environment, they absorb oxygen and create an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment. This is crucial for long-term food storage as it helps prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and insects, and also helps maintain the food's nutritional quality and taste.

Types of Mylar Bags

There are several types of Mylar bags, differing mainly in thickness. The most common thicknesses are 3.5 mil, 5 mil, and 7 mil. The thicker the bag, the more resistant it is to punctures and the more effective it is at blocking light and moisture.

  • 3.5 Mil: Suitable for short to medium-term storage or for storing foods that will be consumed relatively quickly.

  • 5 Mil: Offers a good balance between durability and flexibility, making it ideal for most long-term storage needs.

  • 7 Mil: The thickest option, providing the highest level of protection. Best for storing foods in harsh conditions or for extremely long periods.

Types of Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen absorbers come in various sizes, typically measured in cubic centimeters (cc). The size you need depends on the volume of the Mylar bag and the type of food being stored.

  • 100cc: Best for small bags or jars up to 1 quart.

  • 300cc: Suitable for 1-gallon Mylar bags.

  • 500cc: Ideal for 1- to 2-gallon Mylar bags.

  • 1000cc: Perfect for 5-gallon Mylar bags.

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary supplies:

  • Mylar bags (of your chosen size and thickness)

  • Oxygen absorbers (appropriate size for your bags)

  • A heat sealer or a household iron

  • Food to store (e.g., rice, beans, flour, pasta, dried fruits, etc.)

  • Labels and a permanent marker

  • A large container or bucket (optional, for extra protection)

Step 2: Prepare Your Food

Make sure your food is dry and clean. Foods like rice, beans, and pasta can be poured directly into the bags. For flour or powdered foods, you might want to use a scoop to prevent spills.

Step 3: Fill the Mylar Bags

Fill each Mylar bag with your chosen food, leaving about 2-3 inches of space at the top. This space is necessary to create a proper seal later on.

Step 4: Add the Oxygen Absorbers

Quickly but carefully, add the appropriate size oxygen absorber to each bag. The key here is speed; once the oxygen absorbers are exposed to air, they start working. So, it's best to have everything ready and move quickly to prevent them from losing effectiveness.

Step 5: Seal the Mylar Bags

To seal the bags, you can use a heat sealer or a household iron. Here's how:

  1. Heat Sealer: Set the heat sealer to the appropriate setting for your bag thickness. Place the open end of the Mylar bag between the sealing bars and press down for a few seconds until the bag is sealed.

  2. Household Iron: Lay a wooden board or a thick towel on a flat surface. Place the open end of the bag on the board/towel. Using the iron on a high setting (no steam), press firmly along the open edge of the bag, moving slowly to ensure a complete seal.

Make sure to leave a small section unsealed initially, squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal the remaining section.

Step 6: Label Your Bags

Use a permanent marker to label each bag with the contents and the date of storage. This will help you keep track of your food and rotate your supplies if necessary.

Step 7: Store Your Bags

Store your sealed Mylar bags in a cool, dark, and dry place. A pantry, basement, or a specially designed food storage area works well. For added protection, you can place the Mylar bags in plastic buckets or bins, which will guard against rodents and other pests.

Types of Foods Suitable for Mylar Bags

Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers are perfect for storing a wide range of dry foods. Here are some common options:

  • Grains: Rice, wheat, oats, barley, and quinoa

  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas

  • Pasta: All varieties, including noodles and macaroni

  • Powdered Foods: Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and powdered milk

  • Dried Fruits and Vegetables: Raisins, cranberries, apple slices, and carrot chips

  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds

  • Dehydrated Foods: Dehydrated meals, soups, and vegetables

Why Are Oxygen Absorbers Critical?

Oxygen absorbers play a vital role in food storage by removing oxygen from the sealed environment. This prevents the oxidation of fats, oils, and vitamins in the food, which helps maintain nutritional value and taste. Additionally, without oxygen, most insects and aerobic bacteria cannot survive, significantly reducing the risk of food spoilage.

Choosing the Right Oxygen Absorber

Selecting the correct size of oxygen absorber is crucial to ensure all the oxygen is removed from the bag. Here’s a quick reference guide:

  • 100cc: Small bags or jars up to 1 quart – great for spices, herbs, and small portions.

  • 300cc: 1-gallon Mylar bags – perfect for storing a few pounds of grains, pasta, or legumes.

  • 500cc: 1- to 2-gallon Mylar bags – ideal for larger quantities of dry goods.

  • 1000cc: 5-gallon Mylar bags – best for bulk storage of items like rice, beans, or flour.

Tips for Successful Food Storage

  1. Use Food-Grade Mylar Bags: Ensure the bags you use are specifically designed for food storage to avoid contamination.

  2. Avoid Moisture: Only store dry foods in Mylar bags. Moisture can cause mold and spoilage, even with oxygen absorbers.

  3. Monitor Temperature: Store your bags in a cool environment. High temperatures can degrade the food and the Mylar bags over time.

  4. Regularly Check Seals: Periodically check your sealed bags for any signs of damage or air leaks. Reseal if necessary.

  5. Rotate Your Stock: Use the first-in, first-out method to keep your food fresh. Regularly consume and replace your stored foods.


Storing food with Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is an effective way to ensure you have a reliable supply of essentials for the long haul. By following these steps and tips, you can protect your food from spoilage and maintain its quality for years to come. Whether you're preparing for emergencies, stocking up for the future, or simply looking to preserve seasonal harvests, Mylar bags offer a practical and reliable solution for long-term food storage.