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Information about Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

Using Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers is a very cost effective way to store food long term.  While #10 cans and Oxygen Absorbers is the very best way to store, it is often prohibitively expensive, as well as requiring special equipment and a large amount of space.  Mylar bags take the place of the #10 can, and can have barrier properties to oxygen and moisture the 4th decimal place.  For example, our bags have best-available transfer rates of .0006gm/cubic meter/24 hours or less.  In real world terms, this means that per year, our bags will allow less than 1cc of oxygen through, which is quickly eaten up by the oxygen aborber.

When used with a bucket or tote, Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers are the easiest and most efficient way to store food.

Some things to note:

  • Don't use just a bucket and oxygen absorber to store your food.  Though food-grade buckets are oxygen-resistent, any type of plastic, whether a clear polybag, ziplock bag, or other packaging, let through way too much oxygen for an oxygen absorber to handle.  Mylar bags are jsut a better oxygen and moisture barrier, often by a factor of 100 or more!  Plus, when using an oxygen absorber in a bucket, it will often create a semi-vaccum which causes the bucket lid to separate slightly, letting in more air in place of what was just removed.

  • Try totes.  For years, my wife and I used 5-gallon buckets, and that has been the standard way to store Mylar bags for years.  However, in comparison to totes (the kind you get to store books or move your kid to college), they take up too much space, are harder to organize, and don't store bags as efficiently.  Because of their shape, totes have less wasted space, especially when storing 1 gallon bags.

  • Heat seal even ziplock Mylar Bags.  There is space above all of our ziplock Mylar bags to allow heat sealing. If you are storing long term, heat sealing provides the most protection available, as it creates a molecular level barrier, as opposed to a ziplock, which while good, is only a mechanical barrier with a chance to allow small amounts of air circulating in a bag.  Zip seals are best to provide protection for your food after you have opened your heat seal.

  • Remember MOLT - The 4 enemies of food storage are Moisture, Oxygen, Light and Temperature.  Protecting against those will allow the longest shelf life for your food.

Common Bag Types:

The 3.5 mil one gallon Mylar bag is the most popular available and we have shipped millions of units.  It has good barrier properties and is very economical.  I recommend using it to store foods for up to 7 years.  It should be used in situations where the food you are going to store is going to sit in a single location and not be moved often.  The one caveat with the 3.5 mil bags is do not use it to store pokey pasta like spaghetti unless you wrap the ends in plastic.  The 3 mil bag we have on sale has the same barrier properties as the 3.5 mil, it is just a touch lighter.  These bags have a heat seal temperature around 325 degrees.

The 5.4 mil bags we carry are state of the art bags designed from the ground up specifically for long term food storage. They have best-in-class barrier properties as well as great tensile strength which allows them to be vacuumed and used for almost any type of product.  While we mostly sell bags to be used in food storage, we have many commercial customers that use them to store manufactured parts, pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements as well as even using them as mailers to ship products!  The inner layers of our bags has an incredibly high resistance to heat, and so you can actually pour hot water (I recommend around 200 degrees) in them and use them to cook some foods MRE style.  We are the only brand on the market that can say that!

Discount Mylar Bags carries the widest variety of bag styles of any food storage retailer, to accomodate the many different ways folks use their bags.  They are:

  • Standard OD bag - This is a standard Mylar bag open at one end.  Most of our bags have 3/8" seals all the way around, and they can be heat sealed with an iron, Food Saver or other device (Please note some Food Savers do not get hot enough to heat seal a bag), hair straigtener, or a clamshell or impulse sealer designed specifically to do so.
  • Ziplock - This bag has a ziplock feature similar to sandwich bags, and is filled from the ziplock side.  For the longest term storage, you should heat seal above the zip seal.  This allows the benefits of heat sealing while still have the protection of a zip seal after you open your food.
  • Tamper Evident - Many food processing companies use this type of bag.  It has a ziplock seal, but the ziplock side is pre-sealed with a manufacturer's seal.  It is filled from the bottom of the bag, which is open, and then heat sealed.
  • Gusseted bag - This bag has a gusset, similar to something like coffee, where the bag can stand up to be filled.  This makes it convenient when only one person will be processing food for storage.
  • Channel bag - Our new ChannAl bags are textured on one side to allow them to be vacuum sealed in a Food Saver or other vacuum seal device.  Please note only the high end Food Savers have a hot enough seal temperature to seal these bags.