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Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen Absorbers


In today's post, I am going to talk about oxygen absorbers, what they are and a general guide in how to use them.

What are oxygen absorbers?

Oxygen absorbers are designed primarily to prolong the shelf life and viability of products that are susceptible to oxidation, color loss, rot and rancidity. By removing oxygen, it creates an environment where microorganisms cannot survive and grow. It also has the added benefit of preserving taste and color of foods. Another function is to help prevent rancidity in products with high oil content.

When oxygen absorbers are used correctly, they can reduce the oxygen content in an enclosed container to 0.01%. This creates the best possible environment for your food to be stored in. Another thing to note is that vacuuming your mylar bags is not necessary when you use an appropriate sized oxygen absorber. Our family does not vacuum our mylar bags. 

Related Products

Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen Absorbers

Mylar Bags

Mylar Bags

Mylar Bag Sealers


Food Buckets


Why should I use oxygen absorbers?

The most common reasons to use oxygen absorbers when storing food:

  • They can increase shelf life of dry food up to 30 years
  • They prevent mold and organisms from growing in your food. Removing oxygen removes any change for either mold or organisms to multiply.
  • Vitamin A, C and E start to deteriorate when exposed to oxygen. So removing the oxygen helps to preserve these in foods.
  • Removing oxygen helps to preserve the flavour of food.
  • In many foods there is the presence of insect/pest eggs such as grains etc. By removing the oxygen this helps to prevent them from hatching.
  • To help dehydrated and freeze dried fruits from browning

What kind of food can you store with oxygen absorbers?

Only foods with moisture content of 10% or less can be packaged this way. Do not package moist foods this way for you run the risk of botulism and you should also avoid oily foods. There are also some foods that do not require an oxygen absorber:

  • salt & sugar, they will turn very hard with an oxygen absorber but they also do not require them. They have an indefinite shelf life.
  • Any kind of leavening agent such as baking powder and baking soda. They have the potential of reacting with the oxygen absorber and may cause your bag or can to explode.

I am going to include a table showing some recommended oxygen absorber sizes for common bag sizes used in long term storage packaging. 

Mylar Bags
Bag Size
Oxygen Absorber
Fine Grains (sugar, flour, etc.)
Oxygen Absorber
Pasta and Thicker, Less Dense Foods
3.5" x 6.75"  20 cc 50 cc
6" x 6" 20 cc 50 cc
8" x 8" 50 cc 100 cc
8" x 12" 100 cc 200 cc
10" x 14" 100 cc 300 cc
10" x 16" 150 cc 300 cc
16" x 20" 500 cc 1000 cc
18" x 28" 750 cc 1500 cc
20" x 24" 750 cc 1500 cc
20" x 30" 1000 cc 2000 cc

Bucket or Container Size Oxygen Absorber
1 gal/#10 can 3 - 100 cc
  2 - 150 cc
  1 - 300 cc
4 gal 3 - 500 cc
  2 - 750 cc
  1 - 1500 cc
5 gal 3 - 500 cc
  2 - 750 cc
  2 - 1000 cc
  1 - 1500 cc
6 gal 3 - 500 cc
  2 - 750 cc
  2 - 1000 cc
  2 - 1500 cc
  1 - 2000 cc

Depending on what size bag you have and of course taking into account what is inside that bag can help determine (using these tables as a rough guide) the correct size oxygen absorber you should be using. Obviously if we are going to fill a 5 gallon bucket with macaroni you will need to use a larger oxygen absorber than if we would if that same bucket was filled with red wheat. There is a lot more ambient air in the macaroni bucket and therefore a larger oxygen absorber is warranted.

For our ½ gallon 8” x 12” mylar bags our family uses 1 – 200 cc oxygen absorber.  For our 1 gallon 10” x 14” mylar bags our family uses 1 - 300cc oxygen absorber.  We know this would be too much if the bag is filled with flour or some similar product that has less ambient air space in the bag, however using too much oxygen absorber will not adversely affect the storage. Remember it's always better to have too much than not enough. Having a little extra in there is not going to hurt anything.

There you have it. All the different sizes of oxygen absorbers, mylar bags and buckets are links for your convenience.  If you click on the links, they will take you to the individual product pages in our store. We are constantly expanding our food storage options so check back often to see what's new.

Check back for my next blog post that will be on the different storage containers & methods that are most common.




Please note that this information is this writer's opinion based on my own experience and research. It is always the responsibility of our readers to verify for themselves if this information is correct before they use it.