Guide to Grain Storage in Buckets and Mylar Bags

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There’s a lot to know about storing grain in buckets and in bags. But the great thing is, once you learn how, it’s easy to do safely to store it for years.

Here I will explain how to store grain in buckets and if you have to do anything to keep the air out. I also discuss using Mylar bags.

When storing grain in airtight buckets in cool and dry conditions, you should be able to keep them for 5 – 10 years. Factors include temperature, moisture levels and humidity, and the type of grain.

Grain Storage in Buckets

Grains can be poured directly into sanitized buckets with airtight lids. You can also put the grain in smaller containers such as sealed plastic bags, which are then sealed in an airtight bucket.

The seals prevent moisture, dust, and insects from entering. The thick walls of the bucket will deter rodents from chewing their way in.

We have stored grain both ways with success. Kitchen-sized containers are handy and can be easier to manage but loose grain is faster to pack if you’re working with a large container. Where you store them is key.

Our ultimate favorite is vacuum sealing bags of grain with our Food Savers and putting them in square 4-gallon sealed buckets that stack really neatly.

Oxygen in Buckets

Grains are not damaged by oxygen, but insects can thrive in grain containers if there is oxygen for them. Plastic buckets with airtight lids and polyethylene bags inhibit the flow of oxygen, as do tightly sealing lids.

So if you have clean grains with no insects present, just seal the grain up. If there’s a chance insects have invaded the grains, treat the grains or insert an oxygen absorber.

Generally speaking, a 1500 cc. oxygen absorber is sufficient for a 5-gallon bucket of grains. You can use three 500 cc. absorbers in a bucket.

Grain Storage Buckets to Use

For more details about preparing grain for storage (including cleaning farm-fresh grains and avoiding insect infestation), head on over to our favorite food storage info center: Preparing Your Family.

Below is an excerpt from a post called The Proper Care and Feeding of Stored Wheat. The info is applicable to ALL GRAINS.

What Should I Store Grain In?

Well, my absolute favorite way to store wheat is in sealed plastic bags with about 10 or 15 pounds of wheat per bag. Then get four gallon square buckets and drop the bags into the bucket.

You can probably get two or three bags into the bucket depending on how well you pack the bags.

Use Mylar Bags or Clear Poly-Ethylene Bags for Storing Whole Grains

It lets you inspect the contents without opening it up and you can readily detect insect infestation, mold, etc. without worrying about cross contamination and air. One of the reasons for the bags is to reduce the potential of cross contamination by compartmentalizing your wheat.

It would be very unfortunate and costly to lose a months worth of wheat due to contamination. As with most food items, you lose nutritional value if you subject the wheat to too much heat for too long.

Try to keep storage temperatures under 60 degrees if possible and don’t expose the buckets to direct sunlight.

How Do I Prepare Wheat for Storage?

If you bought dirty wheat, which is generally what you get if you buy directly from a farm, you need to clean it. Once you have clean wheat or grains, or if you bought wheat that was already cleaned, you want to pour it into your clear poly bags…and treat against insects.

Optimal Temperature for Grain Storage

Ideal range: 40-60°F is optimal for preserving the quality and longevity of grains.

Low temperature tolerance: Grains can withstand freezing or sub-zero temperatures without damage.

High temperature risks: Above 60°F, grains experience faster deterioration in seed viability and a slight increase in the loss of nutritional value.

Humidity Control When Storing Grains

Maintaining the correct moisture level is critical for grain storage. Humidity is not your friend here.

Maximum safe moisture: It’s bes to keep moisture levels under 12% to prevent mold growth and chemical degradation.

Higher moisture risks:

  • Over 12%: Potential for chemical breakdown due to respiration.
  • Over 15%: Mold growth becomes likely.
  • At 20%: Risk of bacterial growth, leading to spoiled grain.

Tips for Storage Placement and Moisture Prevention

Avoid putting them on the ground: It’s especially important to keep containers off concrete floors to prevent moisture wicking. Even if you can’t keep them on a shelf, you can use bricks or a lower rack to keep them elevated somewhat.

Elevate containers: Use shelving or pallets to keep storage containers away from direct contact with potentially damp surfaces.

Regular Inspections for Insects

Routine checks: Regularly inspect for insect activity quarterly. When using plastic containers, this means you have to open them. The downside is you are letting air in. After a quick inspection, be sure to tightly seal the lid when you are finished . Consider adding an oxygen absorber.

If using clear Mylar bags: Storing grains in 5 gallon, clear Mylar bags means you don’t have to open the bags to inspect them for insects. You can do this monthly.

Storing in clear containers: Like with the clear Mylar bags, if you are able to do a visual inspection without opening the container, that is ideal. Inspect them monthly or every few weeks.

Signs of Insects in Grains

Here’s what to look for when doing your inspections.

Visible insects: You might see bugs and insects like ants, tiny worm-like larvae, or little eggs in the grains or the container.

Webbing or clumps: Sometimes, bugs will make sticky threads in the grain that can make the grains stick together in clumps.

Grain damage: Look to see if any grains look like they have tiny tunnels or holes in them. This means bugs might have been eating them.

Dust or frass (insect waste): Look for tiny, dust-like bits or droppings at the bottom of the container or mixed with the grains.

Unusual smell: A musty or unpleasant smell could mean there are bugs in there or the grains are going bad.

Change in texture: It’s best to avoid touching the grain — you want to keep it as clean as possible — unless the texture looks different. The texture of the grain may feel different, either too soft or powdery, due to insect activity.

What To Do If You See Signs of Insects

It’s a horrible feeling to store food, trying to be prepared, and for it to be infested with insects or eaten by mice or rats, etc.

If you notice early, and there are one or two insects, you may be able to scoop out the area and reseal. However, if it seems widespread, it’s safest to throw them away. Disinfect and dry the storage bucket completely. If using bags, I recommend throwing them away.

Regular inspection and being vigilant about these signs can help in early detection of insect infestation in stored grains.


What are the best conditions for storing grains to maintain their quality?

The best conditions for storing grains are in a cool, dry, and dark environment. The ideal temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. There should be low humidity which will help prevent mold growth and insect infestation. Choose a spot without temperature fluctuations.

How should grains be treated before storage for long-term preservation?

Before storing grains long-term, clean them to remove debris and dirt. For insect prevention, consider treating the grains with food-grade diatomaceous earth or using oxygen absorbers in the storage containers.

Are there any special considerations for storing grains in humid climates?

In humid climates, using desiccants or silica gel packets can help maintain dryness inside the containers. It’s essential to store grains in airtight containers.

Can you store other grains the same way as you store wheat?

Yes, you can use the best practices for storing wheat and apply them when storing other grains. However, each grain type may have specific storage needs based on its oil content and shelf life.

Guide to Grain Storage in Mylar Bags

Remember, using the correct equipment for storing your wheat or grains will make all the difference. It’s best to invest in the proper food storage containers. This is one time we won’t encourage you to repurpose other materials.

People storing whole grains for many reasons. Whether you are just wanting to be prepared, concerned about a food shortage, living off-the-grid, or working to build your prepping supplies, it’s important to safeguard your grains.

When you do it properly and store them in the right conditions, you will be able to access them when you need them. Adhering to these practices will help ensure the best preservation of your grains in buckets and Mylar bags.