Ready to learn about the hidden gem of emergency food storage, mylar food storage bags? When combined with oxygen absorbers Mylar bags are one of the best food storage containers because there isn’t a cheaper, more effective way to store dry foods like white rice, beans, wheat, rolled oats, and other famine foods for economic or social breakdown.
Up next, why are Mylar bags awesome food storage containers?
Why are Mylar food storage bags awesome for food storage?
If you are a prepper you already know that Mylar bags are awesome for food storage because they provide excellent oxygen, moisture, and light protection for dry staple foods like rice beans, and wheat. With the addition of oxygen absorbers, there isn’t a better DIY container you can use other than the #10 can. Next, let’s examine what Mylar bags are made of.
What are Mylar bags made from?
Mylar bags are made from thin sheets of polyethylene terephthalate (PET Plastic) which give Mylar a high tensile strength and provide a gas and moisture barrier to stop dry staple food from spoiling due to oxidation and moisture.
Next up, what is the ideal thickness of Mylar food bags?
Ideal Thickness of Mylar Food Bags (long-term storage)
The ideal thickness for Mylar bags for food storage is five-plus mils thick because bags 5 mils or thicker protect food from light, oxygen, and moisture.
Next up, A chart on Mylar bag thickness.
Chart 1: Mylar Bag Thickness For Long-Term Food Storage
A 1 Mil is a thousandth of an Inch, so a five mil bag is five-thousandths of an inch. Let’s examine the different thicknesses of bags typically used to store food.
|Bag In Mils||Common Use|
|1 MIL||Transparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak|
|2 MIL||Transparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak|
|3 MIL||Transparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak|
|4 MIL||Semi-transparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, easily damaged|
|5 MIL||Protects food from oxygen, moisture, and light, stored inside a protective container|
|6 MIL||Protects food from oxygen, moisture, and light, stored inside a protective container|
|7 MIL||Ideal For Long Term Food Storage/ Store in a lidded food-grade bucket for rodent protection|
|8 MIL||Super Heavy Weight, Expensive, and More difficult to seal|
Next up, Mylar bags, their #1 weakness.
Mylar Bags For Food Storage: The #1 Weakness
The best Mylar bags for storing food are Five mil plus because they are outstanding at keeping out: oxygen, light, and moisture, but they have one main weakness. They offer no protection against chewing rodents. Solve this issue by using the food storage trifecta. Food-grade buckets lined with a Mylar bag sealed with oxygen absorber(s).
What Size Bag Should I use for a 5-gallon Bucket?
When lining a 5-gallon bucket with a Mylar bag for food storage use a 20″ x 30″ or an 18″ x 28″ Mylar bag. Also, both sizes will work in a 4.25 and 6-gallon bucket. Next up, let’s look at the common dimensions of Mylar bags and what oxygen absorbers to use. Next up, let’s take a look at how much oxygen absorption to use for different sizes of food containers.
Chart #2: Mylar Bags Sizes and CC Oxygen Absorption Needed
|Mylar Bag Sizes||Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice|
More Compact/’Less Air
Less Compact/More Air
|20″x30″ (4.25,5,6-gal bucket(s)||2000||2500 to 3000|
|18″x28″ (4.25,5,6-gal bucket(s)||2000||2500 to 3000|
|14″x20″ (2 gal)||1000||1500 to 2000|
|14″x18″x6″ (2 gal)||1000||1500 to 2000|
|12″x18″ (1.5 gal)||800||1200|
|12″x16″x6″ (1.5 gal)||800||1200|
|10″x14″ (1 gal)||400||400|
|8″x12″ (1/2 gal)||200||400|
|6″x10″ (1/4 gal)||100||200|
|6″x8″ (1/4 gal)||100||200|
Next, let’s examine 4 other food containers that provide an oxygen barrier.
4 Food Storage Containers That Aren’t Mylar Bags
Mylar is hands down the best container for storing bulk food at home because it’s the cheapest, the easiest method, and provides the best barrier against moisture, oxygen, and light. Let’s look at the four most common alternatives to Mylar bags, so you have some options.
#1 #10 cans
#10 cans are undoubtedly the rock star of containers, but few of us have access to the equipment to package food this way. If money is no object, you can purchase #10 cans of food professionally packaged. If you keep prepping and storing emergency food, you will eventually buy some foods in #10 cans because there are so many options with types of foods you can get.
#2 Glass jars
Ball jars are an excellent oxygen barrier, but they break easily, let in light, and aren’t convenient for bulk foods
#3 Food-grade buckets
5-gallon buckets are super tough, but plastic isn’t a true oxygen barrier, so you’ll get more oxidation of food over time. Also, plastic buckets are excellent protection for Mylar, especially against chewing rodents and they make storage easier.
#4 PET (polyethylene terephthalate plastic)
PET food containers are mostly reused soda and juice bottles so make sure to sterilize them before storing food. Also, If you use PET bottles remember that they aren’t a true oxygen barrier, and let in light. The plastic is weak and probably not the best storage container if you’re going for a super long. Plus, they are free if you buy soda and juice.
Warning: Don’t reuse any containers, food-grade or not that have been used to store non-food items or items that impart flavor to stored foods such as milk and dairy products. Also, avoid fragile PET bottles like throw-away water bottles.
If you use Mylar food bags, is freezing necessary?
You’ll read all over the internet that freezing dry foods before repackaging for long-term storage is the best method of killing bugs, but this isn’t the case.
Combining Mylar and enough CC (cubic centimeters) of oxygen absorber is easier and more effective at getting rid of bugs and will kill bugs, eggs, and pupae within two weeks.
Let’s examine why freezing food before storage is an outdated method.
4 Reasons Freezing Food is Outdated
freezing food before storage causes condensation and adds moisture to dry goods. Moisture is arguably the #1 spoiler of dry goods in storage.
Even professionals can’t agree on how long you should freeze grains to kill bugs before packaging foods for long-term storage. I’ve read anywhere from four days to two weeks. Certain strains of weevils overwinter on grain in places like North Dakota, and they survive.
#3 Limited Freezer Space
For bulk dry food storage, you’re looking at 150 to 400 lbs of dry goods to process per person. Nobody I know has enough freezer space to treat grains, beans, and rice this way. It would take too much time and resources.
For maximum shelf life and to kill bugs, repackage bulk foods but skip the freezer step and put dry goods directly in a Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers to protect food against oxidation, moisture, bugs, and bacteria.
Up next, package food in Mylar.
How To Preserve Food In Mylar Bags
Place dry food inside your mylar bag, use the correct amount or cc of oxygen absorber and seal the bag with a regular household iron.
Check out Ready Squirrel’s Video on storing wheat berries in Mylar bags for long-term storage. You use the same method as you would with any other dried food.
How Are Mylar Bags Sealed?
The only thing I’ve used to seal Mylar bags is a household iron set on the highest. It works. I’ve heard of people using flat irons for their hair but haven’t tried it. When sealing the bag, the goal is to get the two sides to seal together—the same concept as a Ziploc bag sealed across the top.
Mylar bags are sealed with heat. The best DIY method is to place the Mylar edge over a wood board and run the hot iron, on the hottest setting, over the top of the Mylar. You can also use a flat iron normally used on hair, an impulse sealer, a hot jaw, or sealers commercially available and made for the purpose.
Food Types To Store In Mylar Bags With Oxygen Absorbers
Store foods that are below 10% in moisture and low in fat. White rice, wheat berries, dried beans, and other hard and soft grains are often stored this way. Here is a short list of 20 foods commonly stored with Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
- Wheat & Flour
- Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetable
- Dehydrated foods that are professionally packaged are typically stored in oxygen-free containers. Do it yourself dehydrated foods aren’t typically stored this way because it’s difficult to get food below 10% moisture content to avoid botulism.
- Freeze-dried foods
- Dry Beans and Legumes
- Sprouting and Garden Seeds
- Rolled and Whole Oats
- Dried Pasta and Macaroni
- Oat Bran
- Oat Groats
- Whole Dried Corn
- White rice (not brown as it has a high oil content)
- Hard Grains (30-year shelf life)
- Soft Grains (8-year shelf life)
- Non-fat powdered milk and drink mix
- Peanut Butter Powder
Foods not to store in Mylar bags
Don’t store high-moisture foods in Mylar with O2 absorbers, or you risk botulism. A rare but deadly form of anaerobic bacteria.
Dried foods like white rice, wheat, and dried beans are normally stored in Mylar with O2 absorbers. Food that is high in fat doesn’t benefit from oxygen-free storage, it will still go rancid from fat, and the shelf-life is still 6 to 12 months. Brown rice is a good example of this type of food.
Avoid storing high-moisture foods, foods you intend to freeze, or high-fat foods in Mylar bags.
Avoid storing these foods in Mylar
- Any foods with nuts (high oil content)
- Dehydrated fruits and vegetables that bend and don’t snap (home dehydrator won’t get fruits and vegetables dry enough for oxygen-free storage in Mylar)
- Brown Rice
- Chocolate Chips
Can Mylar Bags Be Reused For Food Storage?
Mylar bags can be reused for food storage. To reuse, cut the top of the bag below the heat seal, wash it out, let it dry thoroughly. Refill, place oxygen absorbers in the bag and reseal it. Reseal as close to the top of the bag as possible. Mark the bag with the food stored inside.
Can Mylar Bags Be Frozen?
Mylar bags can be frozen or stored in the freezer, but they tend to get brittle over time and are easily damaged when moved around. Mylar bags are intended to be used with dry foods with less than 10% moisture and oxygen absorbers and stored in a cool, dry location.
Vacuum bags are preferred over heavier Mylar bags for freezer storage of wet foods.
Who Sells Mylar Bags?
There are so many companies on the internet I wouldn’t know where to start. You can even buy Mylar bags at Wally Mart. Here’s a short list to get you started in your search. Remember your looking for bags between 5 and 7 mils in thickness. Be wary of bags that are less than 5 mils.
- LDS Church Online Store: You don’t have to be a member of the church to purchase from them. They sell huge packs of 300cc absorbers for an excellent price. I’ve bought Oxygen Absorbers and Dry, canned Food in #10 cans from them. Quality products.
- Mylar Bags Direct
- Sorbent Systems
Will Mylar Bags Protect Electronics From EMP?
This is one of those deep preppers questions most of us never think about. If a nuke goes off, can we protect small electronic gear like radios, smart devices packed with survival manuals, and other electronic devices from the effects of a solar flare or a nuclear strike? Both produce EMP or Electro-Magnetic Pulse.
Mylar Bags will not protect electronic devices from EMP or the full band of Electro Magnetic Radiation. To protect electronic gear from EMP, you need a Faraday cage, a metal or mesh box that stops the destructive wavelengths from reaching electronics. For a Faraday cage to work, it can’t touch a conductive surface inside or outside as electricity travels through conductive materials.
Interesting Fact: A food-grade Mylar bag of 5 mils, plus, will block an iPhone 10 cellphone signal. I know because I tried it. A cell phone is in the low band range.
Interesting Fact: EMP is a short burst of Electro Magnetic Radiation that comes in many wavelengths and can destroy electronic devices not hardened to its effect.
Can Mylar Bags Be Vacuum-Sealed?
If you are storing foods long-term, i.e., white rice for 30 years, vacuum sealing is not a great option because it doesn’t remove as much Oxygen as O2 absorbers and the vacuum bags aren’t as good at keeping oxygen out.
There are food-grade Mylar bags made especially for Vacuum sealing food.
You can purchase Mylar Bag Vacuum Sealer Food Storage bags individually or by the roll. They are readily available at big box stores like Wally Mart and Amazon.
Mylar bags are far superior to vacuum bags as an oxygen barrier, and the correct quantity of Oxygen absorbers (cc) is more effective than vacuum sealing. Overall, Mylar and Oxygen absorbers are exponentially better than vacuum packing for long-term dry food storage.
Why Use Mylar Bags In Food Storage?
Mylar bags are the best all-around “Do It Yourself” oxygen barrier. They protect dry foods from oxygen, air, light, and moisture. Using a Mylar Bag and the proper cc of Oxygen absorption, foods are protected from light oxidation, which reduces nutritional value, oxidation from oxygen itself, and moisture, promoting anaerobic or aerobic bacteria mold and fungus.
Tip: The ideal storage container(s) for the long-term storage of dry goods is a food-grade bucket with a lid lined with a sealed Mylar bag and oxygen absorbers. This protects food from physical and atmospheric damage.
Are Mylar Bags Recyclable?
Mylar bags are not recyclable. Made from a combination of plastic and faux metal, they can’t be recycled as plastic or as metal. You can wash and reuse them for food storage or repurpose them to store other items. Sadly, the only way to dispose of them is to throw them out.
Do You I Need A Food-grade Bucket with Mylar Bags
It would help if you had a food-grade bucket when using Mylar bags for long-term food storage. Mylar is a barrier against food spoilers like oxygen, moisture, and light, but it is easily punctured. Buckets protect Mylar against physical damage and rodents by themselves. Buckets are not an oxygen barrier.
Are Mylar Bags Safe For Food Storage?
Mylar bags are safe for food storage and direct food contact if they are manufactured to be food-safe. There are Mylar bags that aren’t food-safe. Brick-and-mortar and online stores selling survival foods, oxygen absorbers, and Mylar bags are your best bet for finding food-grade bags.
When To use Mylar Bags
Use Mylar Bags when you are storing dry foods for long-term storage. Foods typically stored are dry foods like white rice, wheat berries, and dry beans. Foods should be 10% or less in moisture content to avoid botulism, an anaerobic bacteria with no color, odor, or taste.
The Storage Trifecta
Use Mylar, food-grade pales, and oxygen absorbers together for maximum protection against bugs (all stages of life), oxygen, moisture, light, and physical damage.
Warning: Dry foods stored Oxygen-free in Mylar bags should be 10% or less moisture content to avoid anaerobic bacteria or food poisoning such as botulism. A rare but deadly food poisoning.