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The Benefits of Using Mylar Bags & How to Use Them

Posted on February 09 2021

The Benefits of Using Mylar Bags & How to Use Them

Mylar bags are amazing for long term food storage and are a great complement to vacuum sealing. But why? Mylar bag films offer an extremely low Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) due to its thick foil laminate layer. Providing three layers of protection from moisture, light, and odor. Mylar is extremely flexible and thin, while also being very strong and durable. It is puncture-resistant* and easy to use. The opacity of the bag will also preserve the nutrients of your food. 

Food preservation, when done properly, has the ability to keep items fresh for months or years longer than traditional food storage methods. Using mylar bags in conjunction with oxygen absorbers can add more time, and in some cases up to 30 years! 


Mylar bags have many potential uses:

  • Prepping: long-term food storage in case of emergencies
  • Saving valuable paper documents, such as house deeds, legal paperwork or cash
  • Protecting photos, magazines, comics, sports programs, postcards and books
  • Camping and hiking
  • Long-term storage of clothing and shoes
  • Medium-term storage of herbs and spices
  • Packaging products such as tea and coffee for sale
  • Medical and pharmaceutical items
  • Packaging car/auto parts
  • Preventing corrosion of ferrous objects, such as nuts and bolts
  • Storing CDs, vinyl and DVDs
  • Firearms and weapons storage (paired with desiccant/silica gel packs that absorb moisture not oxygen)
  • Holiday storage
  • Packing for vacation

Below are some examples of commonly stored foods and how long they'll remain good to eat when stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.


Mylar Bag Food Storage Times


Less than 1 year:

Nuts, crisps or chips, chocolate or candy, dried eggs, crackers, nut butters, brown rice (Brown rice is high in oil content and has a short shelf life. Foods high in moisture or oil content such as raisins, nuts, granola, chocolate chips, cookies, and crackers are not ideal candidates for long term storage in a mylar bag. These foods will suffice for keeping in long-term storage, but you will need to rotate them out more often as they will expire sooner than grains.)


Between 1 and 3 years:

Dehydrated meat (beef jerky), yeast, dry biscuits


Between 3 and 5 years:

Baby milk/formula, cornmeal (maize flour), herbs (ground), powdered milk (full-fat), sprouting seeds 


Between 5 and 10 years:

Alfalfa, gluten, granola, herbs (whole), millet, mung beans, quinoa, peppercorns (whole), peanut butter powder, powdered milk (semi-skimmed), powdered egg, rye, unbleached flour, wheat flakes


Between 10 and 20 years:

Black turtle beans, black-eyed peas, buckwheat, butter/margarine powder, chickpeas, cocoa powder, durham wheat, flax, white flour, whole wheat flour


Between 20 and 30 years:

Coffee (instant), freeze-fried fruit and vegetables, legumes (kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, split peas), powdered milk (skimmed), grains (rolled oats, hulled oats, white rice, dry pasta), tea (bags or loose), potato flakes, dried onions



Baking soda/powder, honey, salt, sugar, salt, cornstarch

These years are based on keeping your food in a cool (40-60 degree F) storage area.

Where do the Oxygen Absorbers come in? Removing oxygen from the mylar bags prevents spoilage and kills any inset eggs that could hatch. So what size oxygen absorbers are recommended for each size mylar bag? 

How many oxygen absorbers should I use with my Mylar Bags***:


Mylar Bag 50cc 100cc 300cc
1 Quart 2 1 1
1 Gallon 6 3 1
2 Gallon 12 6 2
5 Gallon 30 15 5

The good news is you cannot use too many oxygen absorbers, the bad news, you can use too little. 


Don't Forget to Label

It may seem obvious, but don't forget to label and date your mylar bags before you fill them. After the bag is sealed, it can be difficult to determine exactly what's inside. Prevent having “mystery bags” in your food storage by labeling them right away.


Sealing Mylar Pouches/Bags

It is important to seal the pouches quickly so that the oxygen absorbers can work properly. It takes about 2-4 hours for an oxygen absorber to do its job. However, you should try to get your bags sealed as quickly as possible. We don't recommend leaving out oxygen absorbers more than 30 minutes; ideally 10-20 minutes. Otherwise, you risk the oxygen absorbers absorbing too much outside air and not being able to absorb all the oxygen in your mylar bag. (Tip: Before you open your oxygen absorbers, mark each mylar bag with how many oxygen absorbers the bag needs. This will make sealing much faster.)


Proper heat equals a good seal which is essential to protecting your long-term food. If you don’t get the seal right, then you’re food will not last for decades. 


Mylar bags were designed to be sealed with a clamshell heat sealer or an impact heat sealer. If you don't have one of those then a flat iron or hair straightener should work. Tack the mylar bag with the flat iron in the top center. Next, tack it a couple more times. Then simply slide the flat iron across the top until its completely sealed. Gently squeeze the bag to see if there is any air escaping. If so, use the flat iron again until it is completely sealed. Most household clamp-style vacuum sealers will not seal standard mylar bags; most commercial vacuum sealers can seal them. However, it is important to note that most mylar bags are not embossed/textured therefore a vacuum sealer will not pull the air out. (There are workarounds that can be found online to vacuum seal your mylar bags.) 


Wait at least one day.  Then check on the seals of your mylar bags. If you can squeeze any air through them, reseal. When oxygen absorbers have done their job, the bag may look vacuum-sealed. However, the bag can be properly sealed but not be "sucked down".


There is great security in having a pantry full of basic staples. A well-stocked pantry is a great way to insure that your family won't go hungry. Mylar bags are the ideal solution for your storage needs, providing a safe and secure environment for your perishable and valuable goods.


* Mylar bags are not rodent-proof. Protect them by placing the bags inside a sturdy plastic tote, bucket or barrel. 
** Should be stored in mylar bags without oxygen absorbers. Iodized salt may become yellow over time but the color change is safe and will not effect the quality.
*** This chart represents approximate cc sizes and should not be considered the final authority

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  • FoodVacBags: April 13, 2023

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for reaching out. Yes, you can place your previously vacuum sealed dry good items in a mylar bag for long term storage. Since the items you have mentioned are dry goods that have already been vacuum sealed there is no need to use oxygen absorbers, just push out as mush air as you can before you seal the mylar bag. Please let us know if you have any further questions. – FoodVacBags

  • Laura: April 13, 2023

    I have several vacuumed sealed bulk items in my freezer ( flour etc) , I would prefer to have them in Mylar and out of my freezer, can I just put the vacuumed bags into a Mylar and seal them

  • FoodVacBags: July 15, 2022

    Hi Carolann – In general, you can freeze food in mylar bags, but only for short-term storage. Otherwise, it is not recommended. This is because putting the mylar bag in a freezer renders the oxygen absorbers used in the mylar bags ineffective, thereby greatly reducing the shelf life.

  • Carolann: July 15, 2022

    A friend gifted me with 50 Shield Pro 1 Gallon Mylar bags & oxygen absorbers. I’ve just started doing tiny home living in a 17 foot traveler trailer. I’m very limited on space and don’t have much need for long term food storage. I was curious about your thoughts on using the mylar bags (with or without? Oxygen absorbers) for storing frozen Meats and veggies in freezer for short/long term storage. Example: buying hamburger meat, portioning out and bagging up in mylar bag for easy storage in freezer, quick defrost and possibly extend freezer life of meat. Thank you in advance.

  • FoodVacBags: March 08, 2022

    If stored properly in a cool, dry, place, cocoa powder can last up to 15 years. For it to last that long, you will need to use oxygen absorbers and a mylar bag.

  • Pamalla Mecham: March 08, 2022

    Should I use an oxygen absorber with cocoa powder to do long term storage?

  • FoodVacBags: January 24, 2022

    HI Laurie – Unfortunately, mylar bags and oxygen absorbers cannot be microwaved. Mylar bags are made of foil and our oxygen absorbers have iron in the them.

  • Laurie Davis: January 24, 2022

    QUESTION: Can the mylar bags and oxygen absorbers be microwaved?

  • FoodVacBags: October 29, 2021

    Hello – You shouldn’t have any problems using mylar bags in a chamber sealer.

  • Manfred King: October 29, 2021

    I am thinking about the purchase of a chamber vacuum sealer. Will the mylar bags work with this type of tool? Any thoughts would help.


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