Most vacuum storage bags work in a similar fashion (see our guide to the different types which have different sealing mechanisms), but there are some straightforward tips you can follow to ensure that you get the best out of any compression bags.
For the purposes of this post, we’re using the Neusu Heavy Duty Vacuum Storage Bags.These have a double seal zip and a turbo vale for extracting air using a vacuum cleaner. Other, cheaper versions may only have a single zip and therefore not be as effective at keeping out the air, and may not have a vacuum cleaner valve, so you need to roll them to remove the air. (These are technically travel roll compression bags, which we also produce as they are good for suitcase use.) As our bags are made from 110gsm material, rather than others as low as 60gsm, you’ll also find them sturdier, so you will find filling them easier.
Anyway, whether you have Neusu vacuum storage bags or not, here’s our how to guide to getting the most from your storage bags.
Vacuum Bag Best Practice
Firstly, ensure that everything you want to store is clean and completely dry. If you put anything away that is even slightly damp, you run the risk of getting mildew and wrecking your clothes, duvet, etc.
Make sure that you have the right size of vacuum bag for the quantity you are storing. See our sizing guide for details. Overfilling bags is the number one reason for their failure – get the right size of bag for the items to be stored.
When you have your materials to store, open up the bag on a flat surface and undo the zip. Fold the materials and put them inside the bag carefully. You can stack items on top of each other, but do not overfill any bag. Make sure that there’s a couple of centimetres spare from the edges of the clothes etc and the zip closure. This is because when you remove the air, those extra few centimetres of space will seal together and improve the vacuum so that minimal air leaks in.
With the clothes in place, use the plastic clip to zip along sealing the two plastic zips. Go back over the zips to ensure it is fully sealed. The surest way is to run the clip fully from end to end in both directions, and then to run your hand along the whole length of the zip between finger and thumb to ensure that there’s no tiny section missed.
When ready, undo the valve lid by unscrewing it, and then place the vacuum cleaner nozzle with no attachments on it over the valve. You simply need to press it against the valve, and then turn the vacuum on. It will then start to remove the air. You don’t need a perfect seal against the valve, but keep pressing it on firmly and the air will be extracted.
The Perfect Seal
As you are removing the air, keep patting down the areas of the vacuum bag away from the valve as shown in the video, or else the end result will be very lopsided and uneven, making it harder to store. If when you finish you feel that the clothes inside are too close to the zip, open the bag up and move them. As you’ve just removed the air, the contents will naturally fit a little better even when you re-open the bags as they won’t fully re-inflate until you shake them up. Then reseal the bag, ensuring that you get the perfect seal and use the vacuum cleaner to extract the air again. When finished, screw the valve cap back on tightly. The self-seal valve will not let in air while you are doing this, so you don’t need to rush when you turn the vacuum off.
To open the bag, you simply pull the zip apart. You don’t let the air in via the valve.
All vacuum storage bags will leak in air over time – Neusu vacuum bags have been tested to keep out most of the air, with only minimal leakage, after over four months. So, as no bag can be perfect, we advise that every few months, you simply unscrew the valve cap and re-apply the vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, you can add an additional seal yourself by taping up the zip end carefully with Sellotape – this will give you some additional seal, but you will have to remove the tape to open the bag. Our bags are so good at keeping the vacuum, we find simply re-applying the vacuum a couple of times a year suffices.
We have a selection of different guides for better use of vacuums storage bags, so if you’re encountering a problem not dealt with here, check our Help Centre which includes “How to get the perfect seal”, “Using with a Dyson”, “Common problems solved” and many more, and take a look at our free Vacuum Storage Bags Tips Sheet.
- Dry all items before storing. Ensure the inside of the bag has not been allowed to get damp.
- Do not overpack or force items in. Use multiple bags instead.
- Do not remove or try to force the valve open. Remove the cap, and re-inflate by opening the zip.
- Do not use to store foods, only clothing, bedding, material, etc
- Keep aware from direct heat, flames, sharp objects, etc
- Do not continually fold the zip element as it will reduce its ability to seal. This also applies when storing the vacuum bags when empty.
- Do not use for storing feather quilts, leather or materials damaged by compression.
- See our Tips & Tricks and our Solutions to Common Problems.