Food & Water Storage Conditions


What conditions should I store my food and water storage prepper supplies in?

Good question!  You must first understand that light destroys nutrients and shelf-life.  Oxygen also causes nutrient decay and increases risk of food-borne illness due to bacterial growth. Reducing oxygen levels in your food with Oxygen Absorbers is the best way to maintain food quality and shelf life.  Temperature plays a role as well, too hot and nutrients and proteins will be damaged, too cold and product quality and taste will suffer.  Pests can eat up your food storage and spread disease.  Moisture can cause bacterial and mold growth as well as rust to form on metal cans or canning lids.

So what conditions do I need?

Someplace COOL (around 6oF is perfect)

Someplace DARK (no natural or artificial light shining on your food storage)

Someplace DRY (no moisture to cause rust or bacterial or mold growth)

Someplace PEST FREE (no bugs or rodents to destroy and contaminate your food and water)

Storage Conditions

There are six conditions to be aware of when storing food for emergency preparedness food storage, or outdoor recreation.  The foods being referred to in this post are shelf-stable freeze-dried, dehydrated, dried commodities.  Optimal storage conditions can also be applied to wet pack:  retort, MRE’s, canned goods, and other specialty longer term wet pack foods.

  • Temperature– This is the primary factor affecting the storage life of foods.  The cooler the better. 40 degrees-50 degrees would be great. Room temperature (65 degrees-72 degrees) or below is generally fine.  Avoid above 90 degrees for extended periods of time. The longer food is exposed to very high temperatures the shorter the edible life and the faster the degeneration of nutritional value.  Note:  There are some “foods” available for emergency preparedness that are known as “emergency food or ration bars.”  These products are generally referred to as “life raft bars” because they were originally designed for life rafts and can withstand high heat for extended periods of time.  They primarily consist of white sugar and white flour, and were not meant to be the sole source of nutrition for a long period of time.
  • Moisture– The lower the better.  Moisture can deteriorate food value rapidly and create conditions that promote the growth of harmful organisms.  The moisture level contained in foods varies depending on the type of product it is.  Have foods in moisture barrier containers (metal, glass) in high humidity areas. Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  Note 2:  Be careful where you store dry foods in cans.  Very cold flooring or any condition where there is a dramatic temperature differential may cause a build up of condensation inside the container.
  • Oxygen – A high oxygen environment causes oxidation, which leads to discoloration, flavor loss, odors, rancidity and the breakdown of nutritional value in foods. It also allows insects to feed on dried food reserves. Without oxygen, insects cannot live, nor can aerobic (oxygen dependent) organisms. Whole grain and beans have natural oxygen barriers and can store for long periods of time in low humidity and if free from infestation. All other processed grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. must be in a very reduced (2% or less) oxygen environment for long term storage.  Note:  Mylar bags or plastic buckets are not a long term (over 3 years) moisture or oxygen barrier. The moisture and gas transmission rates through these materials vary depending upon the specifications of the manufacturers.  Plastic absorbs gases, moisture, and odors.  The best long term storage containers are glass and metal.
  • Infestation – Examples include rodents, insects in all their stages of growth, mold, microorganisms, and any other creatures that get hungry – large or small.  The proper packaging and storage conditions are required to control infestation and not allow critters to both get into the food, or have the necessary environment for them to flourish if they are sealed into a container – such as in the form of eggs or spores.
  • Handling – Rough handling can not only damage the food itself, but it can also adversely effect and compromise the integrity of the container in which the food is stored.  Glass of course can break; any pouched item can develop pin holes, tears, or cracks.  The seams on buckets and cans can be tweaked, twisted, or damaged to allow oxygen to enter the container.
  • Light – Food should not be stored in direct sunlight.  Both for the potential of high temperature, and its affect on food value.  Sunlight directly on stored foods can destroy nutritional value and hasten the degeneration of food quality, taste, and appearance.  Foods packed in light barrier containers do not pose a problem with the affects of light.


Survival & Prepper Classes We Offer



Please contact us at:   to inquire about upcoming survival or prepper classes.   You can also visit our website at:    for even more classes not listed here!





(All CLASS courses include refreshments and snacks, all participants must be 18 or older, or at least 15 years old with a paying, participating adult in attendance with the minor child.)

Emergency Scenarios & Preparedness 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

What To Do In The Event Of:

-Martial Law & Civil Unrest

-Foreign Invasion/UN Troops/ War

-Nuclear/Biological/Chemical Attack or Economic Collapse


-Natural Disaster (hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, etc)

-Bug-Out-Bags and what to put in them & Emergency Planning

Food & Water Storage 1 day (up to 5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Preparing you and your family for 1 year storage and rotation

-Individual Plan Preparation

-What is Food Storage? Why do I need to store food and water?

-What can I store and what can I not store?

-Shelf-life and extending it

-Freeze-dried, Canned, Dehydrated Foods

Personal Awareness and Self-Defense 1 day (5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Learning to Assess your own Home for Security and Planning/Prevention

-Learning to Assess your surroundings when out and about

-Personal Safety and Awareness

-Basic Self-Defense

Off The Grid 1 day (up to5 hours) $50/person or $75/couple CLASS

-Wind, Solar, and Water Power, Alternative Energies

-Going off the grid- how and why

-Hobby Farm/Homesteading, being self-reliant

-Raising your own animals and gardening for food and material

Beginner Outdoor Survival & Confidence 2 days (1 overnight) $200/person or $325/couple OUTDOOR

-Fire Building Plus $25/person food cost

-Shelter Making

-Food Gathering, Hunting, and Trapping

-Water Collection and Purification Vs. Filter

-Basic Land Navigation and Using a Compass

-Knives and other Outdoor Survival Gear

Advanced Outdoor Survival & Confidence 3 days (2 overnights) $250/person or $350/couple OUTDOOR

-Primitive Fire Building Plus $35/person food cost

-Primitive Bush craft

-Winter/Snow Survival

-Advanced Shelter, Food Gathering, Hunting, Trapping, Water Collection

***Must have taken and passed Beginner Outdoor Survival to take Advanced Outdoor Class!***


CLASS= classroom only, held indoors

OUTDOOR= outdoor training, dress appropriately for weather, held in New Buffalo, Michigan

School of Self Reliance Find us on Facebook!

All participants must be 18 or older and must sign a waiver

All participants are responsible for their own safety and well being

Participants 15 through 18 must have a paying/participating adult to attend.

Children under the age of 15 are not advised for safety reasons.


What Does Bleach Kill?

Water label


(Besides your favorite little black dress or pair of jeans if spilled?)

It does not kill mold.   It is not 100% effective against Giardia, but darn close. Use white vinegar to kill mold.

It does kill: 

Numerous bacteria, fungi, and viruses-

Staphylococcus aureus  (Staph infection)

Salmonella choleraesuis  (Salmonella poisoning)

Pseudomonas aerugenes   (bacterial infection)

Streptococcus pyogenes  (pneumonia)

Escherichia coli 0157:H7  (E. coli)

Shigella dysenteriae   (Dysentery)

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus    (MRSA)

Trichophyton mentagrophytes    (Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm, Jock Itch)

Candida albicans  (yeast infection, Thrush)

Rhinovirus type 37  (common cold)

Influenza A   (Bird Flu)

Hepatitis A virus  (effects liver, found in bad water, fecal matter)

Rotavirus  (infectious diarrhea, especially in babies)

Respitory Syncytial virus   (RSV- bronchitis/pneumonia in babies/children)

HIV-1  (STD leads to AIDS)

Herpes simplex type 2   (mouth, face, lip, eye blisters)

Rubella virus  (German measles)

Adenovirus type 2    (Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye, stomach flu, ear infection, croup)


Info courtesy of and the CDC in Atlanta, GA.

Water Purification

Global Warming or Nuclear War Water Filtration Reserves Purification Survival Dirty Nuclear War Chlor Floc Chlorine Tablets   WP-T160-221x300


Boiling Is Best
Short of using a very high-quality water filter, this is the most reliable method for killing microbes and parasites. Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it simmering for at least several minutes. Add one minute of boiling to the initial 10 minutes for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Cover the pot to shorten boiling time and conserve fuel.  The flat taste of boiled water can be improved by pouring it back and forth from one container to another (called aeration), by allowing it to stand in a closed container for a few hours, or by adding a small pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled.

When boiling is not practical, chemical disinfection should be used. Common household bleach contains a chlorine compound that will disinfect water. The treated water should be mixed thoroughly and allowed to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor; if not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, it can be made more pleasing by allowing the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or by pouring it from one clean container to another several times.

Guide to using 1% Bleach to disinfect water

 (Clorox Bleach like you buy to do laundry or scrub/disinfect bathrooms, etc.)
First let water stand until particles settle. Filter the particles if necessary with layers of cloth, coffee filters, or fine paper towels. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach per the below indicated ratio. Mix well. Wait 30 min. Water should have a slight bleach odor. If not, repeat dose. Wait 15 min. Sniff again. Keep an eyedropper taped to your emergency bottle of Clorox Bleach, since purifying small amounts of water requires only a few drops. Bleach must be fresh for best use and results. See below suggestions for storage bottle replacement.

Don’t pour purified water into contaminated containers. Sanitize water jugs first.
Without water and electricity, even everyday tasks are tough. In lieu of steaming hot water, sanitize dishes, pots and utensils with a little Clorox Bleach.  Generic Bleach is fine as long as it is 1%.

Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification
2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
1/2 teaspoon (or 40 drops) Regular Clorox Bleach per 5 gallons of water

1 teaspoon (or 80 drops) Regular Clorox Bleach per 10 gallons of water
If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.

Only use Regular Clorox Bleach (not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle minimally every three months.  If using old (or unknown age bleach)- double the recommended dosages of bleach.

Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution
To sanitize containers and utensils, mix 1 tablespoon Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water. Always wash and rinse items first, then let each item soak in Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution for 2 minutes. Drain and air dry.



Guide to Using Tinctures of Iodine to Disinfect Drinking Water

  • Iodine in clear water: 5 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per quart of clear water
  • Iodine in cloudy water: 10 drops of 2% tincture of iodine per quart of cloudy water
  • Other water disinfectant products based on iodine: the label will indicate the number of capfuls of disinfectant to use per quart of water
  • Iodine tablets, such as PotableAqua™ – (50 tablets per bottle) two tablets treats a quart of water and are effective against Giardia lambia.
  • Tincture of iodine: If you have no iodine tablets but have liquid iodine such as would be used to treat a wound, (typically this is a 2% tincture of iodine) try a teaspoon of iodine in a gallon of water.
  • Do not use iodine to purify water for certain people:
    • people who are allergic to iodine – possibly including people allergic to shellfish
    • people who have a thyroid disorder
    • people who are taking lithium (a medication)
    • women over fifty and women who are pregnant (without a doctor’s advice)



High-Test Granular Calcium Hypochlorite (Powdered Swimming Pool Chlorine)

In granular formation, this chemical is used to clean the water in pools and hot tubs. In a pinch, you can use it as part of a two-step process to purify drinking water. First, you dissolve the calcium hypochlorite in a smaller amount of water to create a hyper-chlorinated solution. The U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine suggests using a heaping tablespoon of calcium hypochlorite in 2 gallons of water. Once it’s dissolved, that solution can then be added to your main supply of water to disinfect it. The suggested ratio here is 1 part chlorine solution to 100 parts water, or use it like normal Household Bleach at this point, using the disinfectant ration above.



Wait Time & Water Temperature when adding a disinfectant, before drinking the water

  • Typical wait time before drinking treated water is at least 30 minutes from the time that the treatment tablet has become fully dissolved in the water. The necessary time could be longer.
  • Water temperature should be 65 degF or higher before treatment with bleach for best results. You may be able to warm your water by placing it in the sun. If the water is below 40 deg.F. you should double the wait time before consuming it.
  • Water temperature should be 68 degF or higher before treating it with iodine. Iodine is more effective than bleach in killing off Giardia contamination in water.
  • Be sure to read the instructions. Iodine, bleach (sodium hypochlorite), or other water disinfectants will require some wait time to permit the chemical to act on water bacteria before the water can be consumed.
  • Using any chemical to sterilize water will require sufficient contact time between the chemical and the water before the water can be consumed.
  • The chemical, bleach, or iodine, needs time to kill the microorganisms in the water.
  • If you have iodine tablets intended for purifying water, the tablet bottle label should indicate the number of tablets to use per gallon of water and also the length of time that you must let the water sit before drinking it.
  • If using liquid iodine to purify water, let the treated water sit for a day before using it to drink, if you can.
  • If your water supply is very cold you will need to increase the wait time for the chemical disinfectant to act before the water can be consumed.
  • If your water supply is cloudy you will need to increase the wait time for the chemical disinfectant to act before the water can be consumed. That’s why experts recommend filtering the water with a clean cloth first if you can. In an emergency you might also be able to use clean coffee filters or even plain white paper towels, or fabric like your shirt or socks, or a bandana.