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How to Seal Your Own Food with Mylar Bags

Metalized bags, or Mylar bags, offer a great solution to sealing your own food. Mylar bags help keep moisture, sunlight, and oxygen out of your food – extending your food’s shelf-life! Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to seal your own Mylar bags.

What you’ll need

First, be sure to round up all of your supplies. It’s recommended that you seal more than one Mylar bag in a sitting because the oxygen absorbers that you place in the bags can only stay out in the open for a few hours. So, you can’t really open the O2 absorber bag and then use the absorbers later.
Be sure to gather:

• Your food
• A bucket (doesn't need to be food-grade)
• A lid
• Mylar bags for each bucket
• An oxygen absorber for each bucket
• A heat source like a clothes iron or a hair straightener

Step 1 – Put the Mylar bags in the buckets
Be sure to spread the bag out along the bottom of the bucket as much as possible. This will help you food settle to the bottom as much as possible.

Step 2 – Pour the food into the Mylar bag

Step 3 – Lift the Mylar bag to settle
Take the Mylar bag and lift it up inside the bucket. Don’t take it out. Shake the bag to make sure that all the contents are settled to the bottom. This will help the food fill into the pockets of air in the bag so you can get more food into the bag.

Step 4 – Throw in an oxygen absorber
You don’t have to bury it or anything. You can just throw it on the top.
You’ll want to press the sides of the bag so the part you’ll be sealing stands straight. This is a good time to push out the remaining air.

Step 5 – Seal the bag
Use a clothes iron or hair straightener to seal the top of the bag. If you use a clothes iron, make sure that it’s not on a steam setting. The heat source should be at a high setting to seal the bag correctly.

When using a clothes iron, it is sometimes helpful to use a piece of wood to iron against. You can wrap the top of the bag around the wood and push against it to iron.

Start heating from the middle of the bag and move your way to the outside. This will help the seal lay more evenly.

We’ve seen a lot of videos where people leave a slot at the top of the seal, quickly vacuum out the remaining air and then seal the rest of the bag. This isn’t necessary. If you have a good oxygen absorber, it will take out the remaining oxygen from the bag. You might notice there is still some space in the bag due to nitrogen in the air, which doesn’t harm the food.

A 2000cc oxygen absorber is potent enough that if you were to inflate the entire Mylar bag with air and seal it with the absorber, it would take all the oxygen out, leaving only nitrogen and traces of other gases (less than 1 percent) that are not going to harm your food.

Step 6 – Place a lid on top

Fold over the Mylar bag and then place a lid on top. You’re done!

What other tips do you have? What have you found to be effective for food storage? Comment below and let us know.

29 thoughts on “How to Seal Your Own Food with Mylar Bags”

  • Bill

    Good information on how to do it.

  • Qwazywabbit

    Great idea!

  • Susan

    What shelf life will it give? For example macaroni, rice, beans. Once opened what does the shelf life change to.

    • The Ready Store
      The Ready Store April 24, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Hey Susan, It depends on what your bagging. For the quick oats, in a Mylar bag, they will last about 20 years if they are stored well. Other products like legumes, whole grains, unprocessed oats, etc, would last for 30 years. The best thing about Mylar bags is that they can extend your food by keeping out light, moisture and oxygen. However, the shelf-life will vary depending on what product you are using.

  • Phyllis

    Never considered using a hair straightener. Looks a lot easier than using an iron. Thanks for the tip.

  • Janice

    What is the shelf life once the Mylar bag has been opened for use?

    • The Ready Store

      Hey Janice, the shelf-life can vary by the food type that you're using. With cans of freeze-dried food, it's recommended that you eat the food within 6 months. However, the great thing about Mylar bags is that if you want to seal the bag up again, and have space, you can! Just throw a new oxygen absorber in there, seal it again, and continue the shelf-life count!

  • Tammy

    I just bought a food dehydrator to make my own dried fruits and jerky. How long will these keep if I seal them in mylar bags and inside buckets? Do mylar bags extend the life of nuts and seeds, too?

    • The Ready Store

      Hey Tammy,
      Mylar bags are very good at making an ideal storage location for food. They just make sure to keep out moisture, air, light and other elements so that your food doesn't go bad before you plan. Every food has a unique shelf life because of the type of food that it is - they break down at different speeds. However, with a Mylar bag, you can slow that process down by reducing air, light and oxygen. Sometimes this means that foods like nuts and seeds will last for decades.

      I hope that helps answer your question a little. Let me know if it doesn't.

  • Mildred

    Can you tell me if your freeze dried veggies are organic. Is any of your food GMO?

    • The Ready Store

      Hey Mildred, we are currently considering on an organic line of food but our veggies are not certified as organic at the moment. While they are not certified as GMO or organic, many of them could qualify. Since we only use the highest quality food items to create our freeze-dried vegetables, it's like buying them from the grocery store. The term "organic" can be thrown around pretty loosely by a lot of companies and grocery stores. While you might have to wait for us to work on an organic line, you might be interested in our non-GMO seeds. We offer garden seed to help you grow your own non-GMO vegetables!

  • PapaBravo

    This is a great little "how-to", but you should amend it to let people know that the Mylar/O2Absorber option really won't increase the shelf life of many foods.

  • SurvivalTechs

    How do you plan on re-sealing the bag once opened if there is no power available? I fill ziplock sealable mylar bags (now available). Larger bags are available on the web. I fill them with whatever food, insert an oxygen absorber and moisture dessicant, then seal as many bags as will fit into a bucket. That way you open smaller bags instead of one large bag.

    • The Ready Store
      The Ready Store October 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      @SurvivalTechs You could always go old school and use an old fashioned iron that heats with boiled water or on live coals.

    • edna

      I bought a small handheld heat sealer made by Oroblue that works on AA batteries. With a solar battery charger it will work with no power.
      I found it on the internet so I'm sure a person could do a quick search and come up with a place to buy one. It did have a slight learning curve as to how quickly to move it across the mylar bag so take a used one or sacrifice one to practice.
      Hope that helps.

  • Barbara Inklebarger
    Barbara Inklebarger October 22, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I have some mylar bags but was terrified to start using them. You have made it all seem simple and easy. Thank you. Appreciate all the notifications via email that are so helpful. I just sent a note about Marc Silva but I didn't put my name at top. He has been extremely helpful. Very patient when I ordered my first order and gave me great advice where I was deficient. He's very polite and has my best interest. Thanks Marc!

  • woody

    Folks, DON'T fill your bags all the way to the top, and then attempt to adjust. Better to fill the bag half-way: it'll settle the bottom just as well. Watch Your Fingernails! They CAN put a little tear in the bag that you won't find until you go to check on your seal. I've found it better to seal the bag thus - Place O2 absorber in bag. Seal the top edge of the bag, leaving just enough room for a small vacuum hose. Insert and vacuum. Pinch the unsealed portion of the bag while removing vacuum hose. Finish the seal. Now you've removed as much air as possible; you're O2 absorber will finish the job well. When you open the bag, there'll be enough bag left over to refill and reseal.

  • Sally

    I like the idea of of placing several mylar bags, with small portions, into a 5 gallon bucket. The expense is greater but the convenience is definately a plus and it saves the stress of trying to reseal the large Mylar if indeed you have no power. I think using an old fashioned iron would be waaay too much of a hassle and then you might burn yourself pretty badly with the hot coals...just sayin'

  • JoHn

    Can you seal one mylar bag in sections?

  • Pat

    So you wrap the top of the bag around the wood and apply the iron to the mylar bag.....Doesn't the bag just melt and stick to the iron and make a mess? Has anyone actually done this?

  • Frances

    Pat, we put a 1" board at the top of our mylar bags and iron them. No, the bag has never melted and stuck to the iron. It works very well.

  • Essie

    Going to start my long term storage and have been reading a lot of info about it. I have one question that I can not find an answer to. If a 300 cc Oxygen Absorber is good for a 1 gal bag, what happens if you use 2? Dont see a pinhole potential if it only absorbes a finite quantity, but does it "save" itself for any future air infiltration? Also, is the Impulse sealer better than say a 6-8" hot jaw. Also have seen some stuff about using a hair straightening iron but not too sure on that one. Any assistance would be appreciated

  • Jack

    I always us a vacuum to pull as much air out as possible. You just have to use a cheese cloth or similar cover over your vacuum attachment so you do not suck in your product (beans or rice or whatever) that you are sealing in your mylar bag. One more thing I freeze the beans for 3 days in our deep freezer before hand so any insects that might still be in the beans or whatever are killed off and do not ruin my product while in storage. Good luck!

  • Laurie B

    To Essie, I've used a hair straightener exclusively for sealing all of my Mylar bags and it works perfectly and so easy. I bought an inexpensive one at Walmart just for this use. I fill the bags then seal each side working from the center toward the outer edge leaving 3-4 inches unsealed on one end. Throw in an oxygen absorber, gently (in the case of powdered foods like flour) push out the extra air and seal the opening...simple.

  • Danny

    I take an air compressor blower attachment and connect a piece of 1/4" copper tube to the end long enough to reach the bottom of the bucket. I connect this to the regulator on a tank of dry nitrogen. I stab the tube into the dry goods and purge out the oxygen with the dry nitrogen- the same stuff the food industry uses to keep your potato chips fresh. You can place a tea light on top of your bucket and wait until it goes out as a way to know all the oxygen has been purged. Then seal the top. You can still put in an oxygen absorber, but it's not needed.

  • Peggy

    Hi, quick question: If I want to put different/multiple items in a bucket, from the above it sounds like I would empty the contents into the Mylar bag, then add the Oxygen absorber, and seal. The questions is: Is the best way to have multiple items in a bucket, to use smaller Mylar bags each with the separate food and put an oxygen absorber into each of the smaller bags then close the bucket with multiple bags? Or do you recommend putting all the smaller bags into one large one and sealing the large one too?

  • Fay Benton

    how do you protect oxygen absorbers>
    can you reuse them?
    Thanks for allllll helpful information!

  • Tricia Reed

    I have 5 dogs and want to have emergency food for them also and was wondering if anyone has used the Mylar bags for dog food storage? If so, how long would it last?
    Thank you

  • mike

    To Fay Benton- an ammo can has a nice tight seal and is ideal for storing CO2 absorbers.

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