How to Seal Mylar Bags in 5-Gallon Buckets

Here’s the most popular way to seal Mylar bags for 5 gallon buckets. Why? For long term food storage of dry food staple goods like grains, wheat, rice, etc..

Oh, and I’ll recommend what I believe are one of the best Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to use for this.

Also, don’t worry about food grade buckets or not. Why? Because the food will be inside the Mylar bag and will not be exposed to the plastic lining of the bucket wall itself.

With that said, personally, I buy food grade 5 gallon buckets. Just in case I end up using any of them for dumping the product directly in. I also use Gamma Seal lids.

>> 5 gallon Food Grade Buckets with Handle & Lid – Set of 6
(view on amzn)

I also use Gamma Seal Lids which makes life much easier when it comes to opening and accessing food inside the buckets. These lids conveniently screw on and off and are also air tight.

Mylar Bags for 5 Gallon Buckets

First, I’m going to show you two options for bags. One costs more than the other. What’s the difference? One Mylar bag is 4 mils thick. The other is 7 mils thick. They will both get the job done.

However it is my personal preference to use the thicker bag, even though it costs more. Why? Because thicker Mylar has a lower oxygen transmission rate. If I’m going through all this effort and expenditure on storing these foods for the very long term, I feel better knowing the materials are better. But that’s just me.

Conveniently, each of these kits of 10 Mylar bags (for 5 gallon buckets) will include the right size oxygen absorbers too (2000 cc). Links to amzn…

>> 4.2 Mil Kit
(Oxygen Absorbers are not individually wrapped. However you can use a vacuum sealer to store the unused O2 absorbers in an ordinary household vacuum-seal machine bag. )

>> 7 Mil Kit
(The ten oxygen absorbers ARE individually packaged.)

[ Read: Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Bucket Food Storage ]

How to seal a Mylar bag for long term food storage

If using a Gamma Seal Lid, first snap on the gamma ring to the top of the bucket.

Insert the Mylar bag and dump in the food

Insert the Mylar bag – one that’s fitted for a typical 5 to 7 gallon bucket. I’ve seen all three size buckets and the diameter of the buckets are the same. Only difference is the buckets are simply a bit taller for 6 or 7 gallon.

Dump the food stuff into the Mylar bag to keep for long term storage (e.g. long grain white rice, or wheat berries, etc..).

Be sure to leave about two inches of head space from the top of the bucket. This will ensure that excess Mylar bag material will fit beneath the lid and the lid will screw on all the way.

long-grain-white-rice-in-mylar-bag

Drop in the 2000 cc Oxygen Absorber

Oxygen absorbers come new in a sealed air-tight bag. When the bag is opened, the oxygen absorbers should be used immediately or soon. You could store any extras in a glass mason jar with the top securely screwed tight – otherwise the O2 absorbers will rapidly become ‘spent’. Even better, use a typical kitchen vacuum seal machine and bag to store the extras.

Tip: If doing multiple buckets, get them all filled first. Don’t open the oxygen absorbers until you’re ready to seal the Mylar bags with your iron.

2000-cc-oxygen-absorber
2000-cc-oxygen-absorber-for-five-gallon-bucket

Use and Iron to Seal the Mylar Bags

use-flat-board-under-mylar-bag

Set the heat setting of the Iron to high (no steam). The Iron will not melt the Mylar, so don’t worry. If you are worried to ruin the Mrs. good Iron, then buy a cheap one and use it just for this…

Use a smooth flat board or any sturdy flat smooth object that won’t damage from heat. Place it underneath and across the open end of the Mylar bag.

Iron across the open seam of the Mylar, against the board underneath, while stopping just short of the end, leaving an opening to burp out the excess air.

Run the Iron across the seam a few times while pressing mildly.

Then burp out the remaining air that is inside the Mylar bag through the small open end that has not yet been sealed.

The oxygen absorber that you dropped into the bag just prior to ironing will absorb and remove the rest of the air after it’s sealed, so don’t worry about burping every last bit of air out – just get what you can.

seal-mylar-bag-with-two-seams-using-hot-iron

Position the open Mylar corner at an angle compared to the original ironed seam, place the flat board underneath and Iron across a few times to make the final seal.

Fold the excess of the Mylar bag into the five gallon bucket. Wait 12 hours before checking back to be sure the oxygen absorber pulled the remaining air out of the bag. This will let you know that the Ironed seal is good to go.

The bag should have a vacuum sealed crumpled look. If it doesn’t, you may need to do it again (with a new O2 absorber).

fold-mylar-into-bucket
label-and-date-the-food-storage-bucket

I like to leave a nutrition note inside the bucket for whatever is inside.

You may want to label the outside of the five gallon bucket with the ingredient, as well as the year and month. I like to use white artist’s tape for this, which sticks well to things and is perfect for labeling (and cleanly removing).

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60 Comments

  1. I love storing foods in mylar bags. You can find all sizes on-line. Just a helpful tip though, make sure the steam setting is OFF . You need to use DRY IRON ONLY. (guess how I know?) I eventually got it all cleaned off though……..:)

    1. Would it be easier to use a travel iron, smaller and less heat to melt the Mylar. Also I love my gamma lids, but could you use the moisture proof hunting containers, than could get multiple smaller bags in those and keep the 5 gal for bigger bulk items?

    1. I would suspect it would shelve for a very long time if sealed and stored properly. Say, 10 – 20 years for white rice. Storage temperature is very important. The cooler the better.

    2. Rice will store indefinitely. Rice found in tombs hundreds of years old has been found to be viable. Sugar and honey also.

  2. Thanks everyone for this info and the great site,i read everyday!!I am new to this any info is great!!Thanks

  3. I’ve been storing food in mylar with 02 absorbers for a while now, but one thing I recently came across was the threat of botulism – a deadly bacteria that thrives in oxagyn free environments (such as our bags) with some moisture. Now I’m not totally sure (nor can I find) what % of moisture the bacteria could thrive on in the low/no 02 environment, but I know that too much of it can really ruin your day, and should you be in a situation where you need to use this food, it’s possible that medical care might not be readily available.

    Just wondering what your thoughts were on this.

    1. Boiling for 10 minutes is reported to kill botulism, you should do your own research on this.

  4. any thoughts on vacume sealing in a quart mason jar with a food saver attachment? Rice , beans flour etc? shelf life ?

  5. WAY LONG TERM STORAGE OLIVE OIL

    OZONATED OLIVE OIL AT ROOM TEMPERATURE 20 DEGREES CELSIUS, HOW MANY YEARS CAN BE STORED IN ORDER CAN BE EATEN?
    OF COURSE, BEFORE EAT MUST BE HEATING!
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

    ANASTASIOS

  6. To clarify what I would do (am doing) though… for the most part I am using food-grade buckets even for long-term storage with Mylar foil bags inside. The reason for this is so that I can safely dump the food into the bucket itself once I have broken open the Mylar seal for usage later. This way, it is easier to use and access, especially while using a Gamma lid design.

  7. this was really hard at first because the bags kept melting! we couldn’t iron them with all the wheat and so on inside of it either cause it was to heavy and things fell out and meted. is it normal if the bags melt? well, we found a solution. it was to use a straighter for your hair.. just to do it really quick.

    1. I’ve never had a problem with the Mylar melting while using a standard iron (on High). I’m glad that your hair straightener worked though!

  8. Does anyone know where to buy these Mylar bags? I would prefer not to order them online. Same with the o2 absorbers. Thank you for any info you can offer.

    1. I do not know of any ‘big box’ stores, etc. that sell these. I’ve only ordered them from various sources online.

  9. New to the game
    Do snap top tubs work as good as buckets?
    How about using 1gallon bags or something close as opposed to 1 large bag?
    I’ve bought dry beans at store and after a short time bugs hatched out of some. I remember once it was black-eyed peas. Now we freeze them for 24 hrs but is there anyone had this problem in our long term situation?

    Thanks for any help for a newbie. Hopefully when the dust settles the weak, stupid, and lazy will be extinct. (Just sayin’).

    1. The purpose for the bucket, or tub, or other… is to prevent critters (mice?) from getting in, and to protect the sealed food inside. It is recommended to use food-grade plastics, although to a lesser extent if you are storing sealed mylar bags inside the buckets.

      1 gallon bags are great in that you don’t have to un-seal the entire bucket of food. Storing smaller sealed bags within the bucket are a good idea for some items. As an alternative to mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, you could use vacuum sealed bags (with a vacuum sealer).

      Freezing the beans are a good idea to kill off any critters. After freezing, let them return to room temperature and be sure there is no condensation of them prior to packing.

      A key to preventing ‘live’ things from developing is to remove the oxygen.
      What Size Oxygen Absorber To Use

      1. Ok, thank you for that info. I’m getting started building our supply because I feel the threat of some kind of big deal is eminent . Don’t know what, or when but it is time to get serious. Thank you.

      2. Plastic buckets used to prevent rats/mice from getting to food is a BIG mistake. Unfortunately, it will hardly slow down ingress. Rats CAN actually chew through light weight steel/alloy. You need to prevent vermin from getting access to plastic containers or use heavy gauge steel. Recently I had to get hold of some old ammo boxes for a friend who was being literally eaten out of house and home by rats & mice. He lives in Bush but vermin are/will be everywhere if the normal checks we have in place now are stopped due to dire circumstances..
        Peace and Love..

        1. Further to my last comment, a good source of large,cheap bulk storage containers are (don’t laugh) steel rubbish bins. They will not attract attention like ammo crates. Food cunningly camouflaged as trash bins in Basement.. Just pre- pack your bulk food as per normal and place inside. Be aware that if not sealed around rim, condensation may form inside. tape around lid with good quality builders tape etc. Store off ground on plastic or wood blocks to prevent rust.
          Peace & love..

          1. if you had any idea of the crap dipped re-cycled plastics that are used to make garbage cans and other such containers – you wouldn’t even allow them in your house … much less pack food into them … and re-cycle plastics are used 100% by the plastics industry ….

      3. For bugs or to make sure they will not be in your food when you open it, you can use a small amount of insecticidal grade diatomaceous earth (farm supply and good pet shops and ON LINE) but BE SURE you are using insecticidal grade – DO NOT USE SWIMMING POOL DE -…. These are 2 different “types” of DE, the pool or filtering material is mostly rod and cone shaped and has been heated, the insect grade is “snow flake” shaped that has been air milled to break the diatoms up into very small pieces. These pieces get in the joint covering “skin” of insects and cuts it and they dehydrate. It is not harmful for humans or other animals to eat it as our inner body structures are soft and will not be cut or harmed in any way by the DE. Also, 24 hours is really not enough time in the freezer, unless your freezer gets WAY down below zero deg F, the eggs are “made” to withstand low temperatures.

  10. Food for thought bugs are eaten by 2/3 of the worlds people. Well all of us eat them because they are in our grains. Before you seal that bag did you heat your rice, beans or what ever to 200 degrees for an hour to kill all of our little frends and there eggs. Yes they would most likley run out of air and die but I do not not like to sort out dead bugs and bug crap from my bean soup. Lets stay in the top 1/3

    1. What’s this about heating the food? First time I’ve heard of this and I’m new to prepping for future use of foods. What foods need heating? Anything else not mentioned above that might seem ‘basic’ to you would be appreciated.

      1. I’m not familiar with what Blake mentioned, however it is fairly common (but not necessary) to freeze these foods prior to long term storage and sealing in a bucket/mylar-bag (to kill bugs). Just be sure to let the product return to room temperature afterwards, to avoid condensation in the bag while sealing (it needs to be dry).

        By placing oxygen absorbers in the bag you will also kill off any potential critters (and prolong the shelf life of the food!).

        Diatomaceous earth is another method used – added to the food prior to long term storage.

        By the way, welcome to the world of prepping!

        You can search the internet for these methods and others, search the various preparedness blogs, and you can browse through our blog to find methods and recommendations…

        1. As a long term paranoid prepper (from the comments I’ve received..) I have eaten Lentils and rice stored for 10 yrs. I simply put some Diotomaceous earth in heavy gauge zip lock bags, sponged a SMALL amount of olive oil along seal, sucked out air with a balloon pump reversed, and put in freezer for 72 hrs. As there was very little air inside bags, no condensation and no weevils. Be aware that weevils will bore in/out of plastic bags. Pretty obvious they are present if bags have not remained vacuum sealed. Most Boaties end up with weevils in their legumes/grains. Bay leaves in food containers keeps them out on a daily basis.Generally we just sieve the little beggars out and eat up..yum. Not that bad, extra protein..
          peace and love

  11. I bought 5.lb bags of rice can i leave them in there original package and store them in a Mylar bag in my food buckets

  12. Do I need to put in an 02 packet each time I open the bucket or will a gamma lid be sufficient to keep my contents fresh. Would vacuum sealing multiple bags of eg. rice and then putting them in a food grade bucket be okay so I could use them without worrying about absorbers?

    1. The O2 absorbers are what enables ‘long term’ storage (many years, even decades – depending). Once you break the seal, you have reintroduced oxygen into the container (or bag) and will be subject to normal shelf life (which depends upon your storage conditions and the foods themselves). A 5-gallon bucket of wheat or rice, for example, once opened will last for quite a long time afterwards. So long as you will consume it within that time-frame, there’s no need to drop in another O2 absorber.

      Only you can decide on the consumption rate (depending on family size, etc.). Packaging in smaller containers (bags) may be a very good idea for many situations… I do it for some of my foods.

  13. I’m not certain freezing food for 24 hours will kill most or even a lot of ‘critters and their eggs’ as well as bacteria. Adding the O2 absorber will cause the death or dormancy of the aerobic bacteria but will have no effect on the obligate anaerobes and little effect on the facultative anaerobes including Clostridium botulinum which can live for hours at 212 degrees F and who knows how long at 32 degrees.

    Also there are plenty of bacteria which are airborne hence the problem with leaving food on the table. Fresh pizza will grow several colonies on arrival. Left out for four hours and it will grow about 30.

    I’m new here so I don’t know how long you can microwave dry rice. Microwaving food for one minute will kill many of the bacteria in food but not all. I don’t know what that does to the rice. Heat will denature proteins. That doesn’t make them inedible but I’m uncertain how it affects the long term stability. Of course I’m addressing beans and such now as rice has mostly starch. I’m also uncertain what heat does to the long term stability and storage of rice and other starches. I would imagine some of the bonds are energetically broken among the carbon chains of the starch but I’m not know that either.

    Cooking prior to storage is something I’m unfamiliar with except for canning which I’d have to reexamine to refamiliarize myself. So I don’t know what happens with cooking rice say to 170 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Much of it will be at least half cooked. Some dry beans wouldn’t be as affected as rice but I’ve never tried that. I’d love to get some feedback.

    The information above was very helpful. Thanks.

    1. Freezing has little if no effect on the insect larva …. bulk food – especially grain – is warehoused months on end in unheated conditions …. temps well below zero in some climes ….

      and the larva will still hatch in your pantry ….

  14. Freezing grains for 1-2 weeks is supposed to kill the bug eggs that are in most unprocessed foods, like rice etc. You need to keep it well sealed up after that to keep new bugs out.

  15. I am thinking about getting a home freeze dry device, and that process should kill the bugs and eggs (it freezes down to 40 below, and then removes all the moisture). Then vacuum seal into one week or one month portions and put all of those bags into buckets.

    1. There are two recent articles at Jim Rawles site concerning freeze dry equipment. The unit discussed was almost $4,000. The author did run the numbers on life cycle cost.

  16. I’m as new as new can be to prepping , reading through comments seems like some people are recommending freezing rice n beans first. .. For 24 hours , if I’m using Mylar bags n sealing with oxygen absorbers , shouldn’t I be ok , I mean shouldn’t my food be safe for years. Bug n bacteria free. ,

  17. Something I noticed on this link is lack of labeling. When I’m bagging up bulk foods, I’ll cut out any directions/preparations/recipes off the sack/bag/box and toss them in on top, I throw the O2 eaters in(5 gallon bags have the eaters positioned with a wood dowel), seal one side, vacuum the last little bit of air out and seal. Prior to labeling, I’ll seal the bags a second time to ensure there is no air leaks. Once it’s cooled down a bit, I use a sharpy pen to write down the date it was bagged and sealed, the contents, and how many pounds/ounces is inside. On the lid, I’ll again write down the seal date, contents and weight.

    When ordering bags, you want the heaviest bags you can get; usually 5-7mm thickness. I normally order 3 different sizes (5 gallon liner sized, 8X12 and 10X14 zip lock pouch type) Usually it’s 30-40 bags of each size. As to the O2 eaters, go with the 2000cc sized; anything else is a waste of time. Figure you’ll need 1 for small/medium bags, 2-3 for a 5 gallon sized bag.

    Plan out what you’re going to bag. Normally there is 12 O2 eaters to a sealed package. Check the indicator in the sealed package to ensure the seal was not compromised. Use all 12 eaters. You can throw what you don’t use in a mason jar, but past experience shows they activate in the jar and become worthless. Prep your bags first prior to throwing the O2 eaters in. Warm up the iron to wool setting and have it ready. Once this is all done, cut the sealed bag of O2 eaters, quickly put them into the prepared mylar bags and seal them as quickly as possible. This is to ensure the O2 eaters will do their jobs. Wait a day after you sealed them, all sealed bags should looked like they were vacuum packed.

    Elbow macaroni, beans, rice does well in a 5 gallon bag, stay away from any pasta that has sharp or protruding edges like penne, mini penne or bow ties. They will pierce the side of the bag after the O2 eaters kick in. Spaghetti pasta is easy to bag up with the 8X12 zip lock pouch type bags. Also the 8X12 pouches are great for bagging up bulk spices. The 10X14 pouches are good for powdered milk, usually 2 boxes of milk will go into one pouch.

    1. nothing goes inside the mylar bag except the food or another sterilized food grade bag …. all the retail packaging or paper will outgas toxic chems …. cardboard, paperboard, paper, poly, are all manufactured with chemicals …. printed items in particular are loaded …

  18. Ditto guy …. 100% on the money …. contamination using non food grade buckets – especially re-using buckets from unknown previous usage – will kill you DEAD or wish you did die ….

    ask any medical professional the minute amount of these modern toxic chemicals it takes to crap out your vital organs ….

    food that has marinating in toxic chems for 10-15-20+ years is just termination waiting to happen … live thru a terrible SHTF only to die a few years later and take the family with you …

    if non food grade was ok the FDA wouldn’t be requiring the professional food packers to use virgin food grade containers ….

  19. Concerning food grade buckets. I purchased some at Lowes and contacted the manufacturer of the bucket, ENCORE (out of Ohio), and asked them about their buckets. They told me that all of their buckets, except their recycled buckets, are food grade. Take it for what it is worth. I figure if anybody knows about their buckets then they should. They run around $3

  20. Who uses a moisture meter to check moisture content before storing rice? I read on another blog that long term rice storage needs to be at 5% or less, otherwise mold/bacteria can grow. The person who wrote the article recommended heating the rice on a cookie sheet for 8-10 hours at 150 degrees. Has anyone had any experience with this? I’ve got all my rice storage on hold until I can understand this moisture issue.

  21. If you’re worried about the leakage rate over a ten year period you’re not properly utilizing your food storage. One doesn’t just load the food into mylar bags and buckets and then forget about it…you should use it over the next 12 to 18 months and rotate in new food. Worrying about a 10 year leak rate or whether food will last for 15, 20 or more years is only necessary if you actually have 10, 15, 20 etc. year’s worth of food stored. And that is highly impractical.

  22. All to confusing for an old guy. What’s wrong with just using a food saver and O2 2000 CC O2 eliminators plus a few mint leaves, etc.? What about storing dry yeast? Then storing stuff in glass canning jars using the food saver air eliminator. Generally speaking the old fruit cellars, dark, cool at basement temp used to work well. Why reinvent the wheel? Grandmas canned goods were stored for yrs. We also stored taters, onions, squash, pumpkin, canned corn, peas, beans, beets, pickles, as well as all canned fruit, jams. jellies. The sugar kept fruit for several yrs. This goes back to the turn of the 20th century but I don’t. Yet, non of us died from food poisoning or even got sick. Let’s use the KISS formula. I’d like to hear from anyone on this.

    1. Jerry

      I am all for KISS.

      for me, what is needed, is hearing from folks KISS procedures which actually worked, safely, long term.

      that is not to say that more safety steps etc are a bad idea. For some of us, me for example, I do not have a lot of the equipment, and doing it KISS is likely better than not doing it.

        1. New bee
          Not my analogy but how I was told this acronym translates.
          K I S S= keep it simple stupid

  23. Hi guys enjoy reading all the ideas as the name suggests lam new at this l haven’t stored anything in buckets and bags before l have just scored some free10 kg food grade buckets from my local supermarket and now looking for maylar bags etc to make a start waiting to get everything together what size maylar Bach’s do l need for my buckets l believe 10kg in about 2.7 gallons .

  24. New bee
    The bags will be in gallon sizes, Your 2.7 gallon container would need a 3 or 4 gallon bag. Try to find Mylar bags of 5 mil(or thicker). It is to make sure you have room to fill and then seal with an clothes iron or a flat blade curling iron. Please note that you require 02 absorbers(oxygen absorbers)for the food you are putting up. The amount of 02 absorbers will depend how much food is in the bucket.
    Sugar does NOT require this absorber you can fill the bag squeeze the air out and use an iron to seal the edges closed.

    There are sites on U tube showing how to do this exact food process. Hope this gets you started.

  25. You should never store dry foods, like beans, rice, wheat, corn, etc. directly in contact with the food grade plastic pail for long term storage. The plastic is gas permeable, meaning moisture and gas fumes can pass through the plastic over and time. For long term storage Mylar bags in the buckets is the minimum everyone should follow to ensure the safe storage of their food supply. Coupled with an adequate storage location as possible, (cool, dry, rodent free, out of sunlight place.) Placing the buckets in metal drums or metal boxes will ensure rodents will not be able to spoil your safety net.

  26. Given the current world predicament, we started storing wheat berries and rice recently.
    We are using a hair straightener to seal our bags, and in addition to adding oxygen absorbers, we’re using the household vaccuum to suck out the additional air. Storing in 11L food grade buckets. Its working a treat!

    1. Sally Pereida
      No, the material in Mylar is not the correct make up for the machine to create a vacuum pull. If you have ever looked at your vacuum seal bags they have a waffled texture, Mylar is smooth material. I have used the vacuum tube to help remove oxygen from the Mylar bags before processing.

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