mylar bags for food storage

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage

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Ever found yourself wondering how to keep your food fresh for longer periods? Enter Mylar bags. These versatile and robust storage solutions are a game-changer for anyone looking to extend the shelf life of their pantry staples. Let’s dive into why mylar bags for food storage are your best bet for food storage and how you can make the most out of them.

What Makes Mylar Bags Ideal for Food Storage?

Material Composition

Mylar bags are made from a type of polyester film called BoPET (biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate). This material is renowned for its strength, durability, and excellent barrier properties against gases, moisture, and light.

Durability and Strength

One of the standout features of Mylar bags is their durability. These bags are resistant to tears and punctures, ensuring that your food remains secure and uncontaminated over long periods.

Oxygen and Moisture Barrier

The primary reason Mylar bags are favored for food storage is their exceptional barrier properties. They effectively block out oxygen and moisture, two of the main culprits in food spoilage. This makes them perfect for preserving the quality and nutritional value of your food.

Types of Mylar Bags

Standard Mylar Bags

These are your basic, no-frills Mylar bags, ideal for long-term storage. They come in various sizes, from small pouches to large sacks.

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Ziplock Mylar Bags

For convenience, Ziplock Mylar bags offer the same protective benefits with the added feature of a resealable zipper, making them perfect for frequently accessed items.

Gusseted Mylar Bags

Gusseted Mylar bags expand to accommodate bulkier items. They are perfect for storing larger quantities of food or oddly shaped items.

Choosing the Right Mylar Bag

Size Considerations

When selecting a Mylar bag, consider the volume of food you plan to store. It’s better to have multiple smaller bags than one large bag to avoid wastage and manage portions effectively.

Thickness Options

Mylar bags come in different thicknesses, typically measured in mils (thousandths of an inch). Thicker bags (5-7 mils) offer better protection and durability, especially for long-term storage.

Intended Use

Think about what you’re storing. For instance, powders and fine grains might require a thicker bag to prevent punctures, while dehydrated fruits can do with a standard thickness.

How to Use Mylar Bags for Food Storage

Preparing the Food

Before storing, ensure your food is dry and free from contaminants. Clean and sanitize all surfaces and utensils you’ll be using to handle the food.

Using Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen absorbers are crucial when using Mylar bags. They help remove the remaining oxygen inside the bag, which can significantly extend the shelf life of your stored food.

Sealing the Bags

To seal Mylar bags, you can use a heat sealer or an iron. Ensure the seal is tight to prevent air from getting in. For added security, you can double seal the bags.

Best Practices for Long-Term Food Storage

Storage Conditions

Store Mylar bags in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Consistent temperatures help maintain the integrity of both the bags and the food inside.

Labeling and Organization

Always label your Mylar bags with the contents and the date of storage. This helps in managing your food inventory and ensures you use older supplies first.

Rotating Stock

Practice the first-in, first-out method. Regularly check your stored food and rotate your stock to ensure nothing goes to waste.

Advantages of Using Mylar Bags

Extended Shelf Life

Mylar bags can extend the shelf life of foods by years, making them ideal for emergency food storage and long-term planning.

Protection from Environmental Factors

These bags offer excellent protection from moisture, oxygen, light, and pests, which are the primary causes of food spoilage.


While the initial cost might be higher, the long-term savings from reduced food waste and spoilage make Mylar bags a cost-effective solution.

Common Foods Stored in Mylar Bags

Grains and Legumes

Items like rice, beans, and lentils are perfect for Mylar bags. They have a long shelf life and are essential staples in any emergency food supply.

Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Foods

These foods are lightweight and have minimal moisture, making them ideal candidates for Mylar storage.

Nuts and Seeds

To prevent them from going rancid, storing nuts and seeds in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers can significantly extend their freshness.

Comparing Mylar Bags with Other Storage Methods

Glass Jars

While glass jars are excellent for canning, they are heavy and breakable. Mylar bags are lightweight and unbreakable, making them more practical for bulk storage.

Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing is great for short-term storage, but it doesn’t provide the same level of oxygen and moisture protection as Mylar bags for long-term storage.

Plastic Containers

Plastic containers are convenient but often lack the airtight seal necessary for long-term preservation. Mylar bags offer a superior barrier against environmental factors.

Potential Drawbacks of Mylar Bags

Initial Cost

The upfront cost of Mylar bags and necessary accessories like oxygen absorbers and heat sealers can be a deterrent for some.

Need for Proper Sealing Equipment

To achieve an airtight seal, you’ll need a heat sealer or iron, which might be an additional expense.

Risk of Punctures

While Mylar bags are durable, they are not completely puncture-proof. Care must be taken when handling and storing them to avoid accidental damage.

Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Mylar Bags

Double Bagging

For added protection, consider double bagging your food items. This adds an extra layer of security against punctures and environmental exposure.

Regular Inspections

Periodically check your stored food and Mylar bags for any signs of damage or spoilage. Early detection can prevent larger losses.

Combining with Other Preservation Methods

Use Mylar bags in conjunction with other preservation methods like dehydrating or freeze-drying to maximize the shelf life and quality of your stored food.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability


Some Mylar bags can be cleaned and reused, reducing waste. Ensure they are thoroughly cleaned and dried before reuse.

Recycling Options

Check local recycling programs to see if they accept Mylar bags. While not universally recyclable, there are programs that do accept them.

Reducing Food Waste

By effectively extending the shelf life of your food, Mylar bags help reduce food waste, contributing to more sustainable living practices.

DIY Projects Using Mylar Bags

Emergency Kits

Mylar bags are perfect for creating lightweight, compact emergency kits. Store essentials like food, medical supplies, and important documents.

Seed Storage

Gardeners can use Mylar bags to store seeds, keeping them viable for longer periods and ensuring a successful planting season.

Lightweight Travel Packs

For those who travel or hike, Mylar bags can be used to create lightweight, moisture-proof packs for food and other essentials.


Mylar bags offer an exceptional solution for long-term food storage, combining durability, effectiveness, and versatility. By understanding how to properly use and maintain them, you can significantly extend the shelf life of your food, reduce waste, and ensure your pantry is well-stocked for any situation.

Read also: Everything You Need to Know About Bagel Boxes: A Comprehensive Guide

Frequently Asked Questions About Mylar Bags

Are Mylar bags safe for food storage?

Yes, Mylar bags are made from food-grade materials and are safe for storing a wide range of food items.

How long do foods last in Mylar bags?

Depending on the type of food and storage conditions, foods can last between 5 to 25 years in Mylar bags.

Can you reuse Mylar bags?

Yes, Mylar bags can be reused if they are carefully cleaned and not damaged.

Do Mylar bags need to be stored in a cool, dark place?

Yes, to maximize the shelf life of your food, store Mylar bags in a cool, dark, and dry environment.

Are Mylar bags biodegradable?

No, Mylar bags are not biodegradable. However, they can be reused and some recycling programs do accept them.


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