Making Use of Mylar Bags for Long-term Food Storage

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Mylar is polyethylene terephthalate, which has a biaxial orientation. Initially made in the 1950s, it is typically used for items such as insulation, solar filters, blueprints, and even kites. Mylar bags can provide you with a hundred years of protection against oxidation in food storage, mold, and bugs. Such handy foil bags are not just used for long-term preservation of food; it is also convenient for storing food in bulk and for everyday needs, like sealing your favorite crackers.

1 Gallon Mylar Bags


Mylar bags are great for long-term food storage because it is:


  • Puncture-resistant– they are more durable than plastic bags. Mylar bags keep your food safe from bugs.


  • Light barrier– they guard your food against sunlight, which can degrade food quality over time.


  • Airtight– they are less permeable than plastic bags, and when combined with an oxygen absorber, can provide against oxidation for years to come. 


  • Moisture resistant– they keep your goods dry. Mylar bags help keep your food mold-free. It is also non-porous, flexible, cheap, durable, and easy to use.


In this article, we will breakdown the ways on how to use Mylar bags for long-term food storage.

Mylar Bag Food Storage

 To use Mylar bags for food storage, be sure to get these items:


  • Heat sealer.  Use a 6-inch heat sealer, which is made of the jagged Teflon coating. It is the perfect way to seal Mylar bags for food storage. It is also suitable for sealing certain dense fabrics, cellophane, and art paper. Although a heat sealer is the preferred one for sealing, you can also use an iron or hair straightener.


  • Food grade bags. Mylar would not stop rodents nibbling at your food. To prevent rodents from getting to your food, you need to provide an extra food-grade layer bag.


  • Gamma Seal Lids.  Food grade bags with gamma seal lids are perfect for long-term food storage. A regular food storage bag lids may be a tad difficult to open, but Gamma seal lids make things more convenient.


  • Oxygen absorbers. Oxygen absorbers are essential for inhibiting mold growth, preventing fat oxidation, stopping the growth of the bacteria, and avoiding discoloration.
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  •  Mason Jars. Using a mason jar with a lid is a smart idea. It keeps the oxygen absorbers while you are working.


  • Silica gel packs (for non-food items).


  • Work gloves


  • Piece of wood with a towel wrapped around it 


  • Scoop or funnel


  • Permanent marker for labeling


Steps in using Mylar bags for Long-term Food Storage:


Step 1: Preparation


It would be best if you put all the needed equipment out in the open before proceeding. Open the Mylar bags and place each of them in a seal or container. You can take your time filling up the Mylar containers; however, once you open those oxygen absorbers, you need to seal them quickly. Make sure that your sealer has a cord long enough to get to the bag.


Step 2: Load the Food


Fill the Mylar bags with food, using a scoop or a funnel. Wear gloves when using Mylar bags. The bags are sharp and can cut your fingers easily. To ensure that the food particles are adequately settled, you will need to give the bags a good shake. Make sure you do not overfill the bag. Mark the contents of the bags and containers, plus the date. Do not forget to put a line of clear packaging tape over it to prevent the sticker from scratching off.


Step 3: Partially Seal the Bags


During this process, you can first squeeze the air out and then zip the lock. This would prevent little pieces of product from getting into the seal and then heat the sealer and partially seal the Mylar bag, leaving two (2) inches open. If you are using an iron or a hair straightening iron, make sure to set it at the highest temperature. Be sure there are no tiny pieces of food on the seal, and make sure you seal as close to the top of the bag as much as possible. That way, you will have room to reseal the bag again.


Wear your gloves when sealing. The sealer may burn your fingers and make the Mylar bag very hot. If you are using an iron, the easiest way to seal the Mylar bag is by placing it at about 2-4 inches above the bag rim. It will be helpful if you use an ironing board to secure the bag without taking it out or turning it horizontally. Once you have one bag sealed, move the board to another bag. You certainly want help – one person to do the shifting of the board, and the other will do the sealing.

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Step 4: Add Oxygen Absorbers


An oxygen-absorber takes about 2-4 hours to do its job. But it would be best if you had the bags sealed as fast as 10 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, you risk getting too much fresh air from the Oxygen Absorber and not being able to absorb any of the oxygen in your Mylar Bag. Before you open your oxygen absorbers, mark each bag with how many oxygen absorbers the bag needs. It will speed up the process.


Step 5: Fully Seal the Bag


As soon as you have added oxygen absorbers, it would be best to seep the bag quickly. Press the bag to get out as much air as you can. Then, seal the remaining 2 inches.


Step 6: Check the Seal

Wait for at least one day before checking if the bag is appropriately sealed. The bag can look “sucked up” or vacuum-sealed when oxygen-absorbers have done their job. However, it would also be possible that the bag is already sealed appropriately but does not appear sucked down.


Step 7: Seal the Bags or Containers


Once you have made sure that it is appropriately sealed, you can now close the Mylar bag/container and place it in a proper place for long-term storage. Store them in a safe location, which is accessible during an emergency (for example, during a flood – you would not want all of your emergency food to be in the basement).

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