I’m sure I’ve said it before but I NEVER use my FoodSaver to seal leftovers or for any foods whatsoever. I use it exclusively to prolong the life of supplies and gear that I want to better protect from oxygen and moisture. That was the plan anyway. I’ve done so for years and rarely had a problem but for some reason I found a bunch lately…
The other day I got into a bin of supplies that were meant as an off-site cache (though I haven’t quite done that yet) because I was looking for something in the bin… I think it was some N95 masks but what I was looking for doesn’t really matter.
What I noticed, however, was that some of the items I’d sealed in foodsaver rolls were NOT sealed! Note: I typically use 11″ foodsaver brand rolls which is what these are. I wasn’t too concerned until I started uncovering more and more items that were not properly sealed. What was going on, I wondered? Honestly, I’m still not sure but I figured I would share what I found below.
I should briefly point out that I sometimes go overboard with things like this and wind up “protecting” all sorts of stuff that probably didn’t need it. 😉 For the most part I wanted to seal items that could be damaged by moisture, though oxygen was a secondary concern. In some cases I also wanted to help prevent leakages as I have had supplies spoiled because of it, specifically a bottle of isopropyl alcohol that leaked.
My Foodsaver Successes and Failures
With that in mind, there are two photos below: the top one is of my foodsaver successes and the bottom is of my foodsaver failures. Here’s my successes from the off-site bin:
As you can see there are various pill bottles, including OTC and antibiotics, a box of matches, granola bars, some hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol. There’s also a package of toothbrushes and flossers, an assortment of medical supplies (like gauze), as well as a jacket wrapped up in the background.
Now for my foodsaver failures…
As you can see there’s a package of OTC medications, a can of shaving cream and razors, a package of disposable lighters, candles, and another jacket in the far back. There’s also a disposable camera (because I thought I might need to document something) and a package of needle and thread and safety pins. Like I said I can go overboard sometimes. 🙂
Though not everything that’s been sealed is shown, by and large most packages of pill bottles were still in tact. Honestly, I can’t make heads nor tails out of what’s going on. That is, there is no pattern that I can see.
Some Tips to Increase Success
After doing some research online it seems that even though the foodsaver rolls are not paper-thin they can be easily punctured, in particular, from items on the INSIDE. As such, you should be wary of sealing anything with sharp edges or pointy ends. Of course, I did have some items shown above that shouldn’t have ANY sharp ends, such as the jacket in the “failures” photo and possible the camera as well because all the corners and edges of the camera are rounded.
I can see how the shaving cream and package of needles may cause a sharp edge due to the packaging. Perhaps the candle bottoms and lighter ends could cause a sharp edge too. To remedy this, others suggested placing some sort of barrier between the items and foodsaver rolls, such as a Ziploc bag. I figured most anything would work including a few sheets of paper but I haven’t tried anything yet.
It might also be wise to leave the items out and wait 24-48 hours before putting them away to ensure that they stay sealed.
I would imagine that if the bags are so potentially fragile then they can be abraded from the outside as well so you should be careful what they’re placed next. Similarly, avoid removing them from their container often as well.
Though I wasn’t consistent I did occasionally double-seal the roll ends just in case one failed but I noticed that I had both single-sealed and double-sealed successes and failures.
My Final Thoughts
Ultimately, I don’t have a perfect answer as to why this failed. Visual inspection won’t help unless there’s a big hole or tear. Though I didn’t look real hard I didn’t notice any obvious holes. Since the end seals looked in tact I had to imagine that they failed away from the seals but that’s just a guess. As such, I’d say I’m having an abrasion problem.
To remedy this I simply cut off an end of the failed foodsaver bags/rolls and stuffed the contents along with the failed rolls into a new roll and re-sealed them. Doing so placed a barrier between the contents and the new foodsaver roll. After waiting a day everything looked fine so I’m really leaning towards the abrasion problem. Granted, perhaps it possible that the rolls failed days or weeks later. Seems I’ll have to check on them again to see if I’ve had a long term success or not.
What about you? Have you had any similar failures? If so, what have you done about it? Thanks!