Are you learning how to store food long-term, so that you can be prepared for emergency situations? If so, you might have started your research on how to store different food items long-term. You might have also come across different long-term storage methods.

However, one of the most popular methods for long-term food storage is using a Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers. Now, you will find tons of information on using Mylar bags but not so much on oxygen absorbers.

Everything About Oxygen Absorbers

In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about oxygen absorbers! What are they? How do they work? And when should your or shouldn’t you use oxygen absorbers?


What are oxygen absorbers?

Ferrous iron oxide is the material present in oxygen absorbers sachets. This is a non-toxic chemical that absorbs oxygen from the surroundings. When you add oxygen absorbers to your Mylar bags, it will create an oxygen barrier and prevent the food from going bad.

Also, the removal of oxygen from the Mylar bag keeps the bacterial growth in check and avoids the development of insect larvae. 

Oxygen Absorbers

A single sachet of oxygen absorber will remove oxygen up to 0.01%. This is highly efficient as compared to traditional methods of removing oxygen such as vacuum sealing. 


How do oxygen absorbers work?

A simple reaction takes place between iron and oxygen. When oxygen reacts with ferrous iron, it oxidizes and starts to rust. To ensure that maximum oxygen molecules react with ferrous iron oxide, sodium is added to the sachet. This promotes the reaction in an environment with low humidity. 

Oxygen Absorber in Mylar Bag

Multiple single iron and oxygen molecules keep reacting to form iron oxide. This continuously keeps reducing oxygen in the sealed container. 


Where you can/can’t use oxygen absorbers in? 

Now, you might think that using oxygen absorbers is mandatory in all types of dry foods and containers for long-term storage. However, that is not the case!

Not all dry foods or containers require oxygen absorbers. Here’s a quick overview of when you should or should not use oxygen absorbers.

  • Glass or Mason Jars
  • You can use oxygen absorbers in glass or mason jars. However, using mason or glass jars is beneficial for short-term storage. 

    Glass or mason jars let light enter the container thus oxidizing food. Hence, use glass or mason jars with oxygen absorbers only for short-term storage. 

  • Flour
  • If you want to store bleached white flour, you can use oxygen absorbers. This will increase the shelf life by up to 5-10 years. 

    However, don’t use oxygen absorbers in whole wheat flour. No matter which storage method you use, whole wheat flour will only last for a year. 


    If you want to store wheat with a shelf life of 30 years or more, storing the hard white or red wheat berries without husk is the best way. You can use a food-grade bucket lined with Mylar food storage bags and oxygen absorbers for the same. 

  • Sugar
  • You don’t need oxygen absorbers in sugar. You can store white granulated sugar directly in a food grade bucket. 

    Even if you use brown sugar, you don’t need oxygen absorbers. 

  • Plastic Containers
  • You might think that plastic containers can create an effective oxygen barrier on their own. However, that is not the case!

    Plastic containers such as food-grade buckets or plastic bags reduce the entry of oxygen but don’t stop it completely. Hence if you are using food-grade buckets, line them with Mylar bags and use oxygen absorbers. 

  • Beef Jerky
  • Don’t use oxygen absorbers with beef jerky. You might ask why? Well, if you don’t want to risk botulism or rancidity, avoid using oxygen absorbers. 

    Beef jerky has a high-fat content and high moisture content. Using oxygen absorbers will create a favorable atmosphere for botulism. So, avoid using oxygen absorbers with beef jerky. 

  • Rice
  • Store-bought white rice has a shelf life of 5 years. And using oxygen absorbers is the best thing to do for white rice. You can use a food-grade bucket lined with Mylar bags along with oxygen absorbers to store white rice.

    However, if you prefer brown rice, don’t use oxygen absorbers. It will go rancid in a few months. 


    Bottom Line

    Using oxygen absorbers is crucial for long-term food storage. However, you need to know which food items/containers need oxygen absorbers. 

    If you are using Mylar bags for long-term food storage, you almost always must use oxygen absorbers, but there are exceptions to this rule.

    If you are ready to start prepping, we have the best Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers on the market.

    Visit our store now to start your long-term food storage journey with us here at Wallaby!