Are Coffins Airtight?

Are Coffins Airtight?
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When it comes to the burial of people, there are many questions on people’s minds about what happens and how our bodies react after death based on how they are buried.

Many people wonder it coffins are actually airtight, and do they really help keep bodies protected for a longer amount of time? Or do they simply aid in the decomposing process?

We will explore these questions and a lot more in this article. So read on if you are curious to find out what happens to the body after it is buried in an airtight coffin.

What is an Airtight Coffin?

An airtight coffin is one which is sealed completely, cut off from the outer world, and eliminating the possibility of anything getting inside. This means that the body is completely alone, and will decompose in its own natural way, with no chance of insects, air or water getting in. It is said that airtight coffins will actually help to preserve a body a lot longer than an unsealed casket will.

More recent studies however, show and have proven that the only effects which airtight coffins provide are the anaerobic bacteria which they create as well as the extra boost they give to the funeral industry’s bottom line.

Anaerobic Bacteria

Anaerobic bacteria are those which do not live or grow when oxygen is present. Therefore, when oxygen is removed, for example from the inside of an airtight casket, then they have the possibility to go rife.

The online casket retailer Funeral, have stated that airtight coffins might actually increase the entire decomposition process, causing full liquefaction and putrefaction of the corpse. This is because there is pressure created from the gases emitted from the body in a sealed environment, which includes the anaerobic bacteria.

What eventually happens is the pressure rises, especially in warmer temperatures, and the coffin will actually become like a pressure cooker, and burst due to the accumulated gases and fluids of the body. Gruesome as it sounds, this actually happens quite often.

Instead, a casket which lets a little air inside can dehydrate the body better, and therefore provide cleaner skeletonization and decomposition.

Therefore, if your beloved family member is buried in an airtight coffin, their body may not be preserved in the way that you believe it to be.

Biodegradable Burial Options

Nowadays, with so many people interested in conservation efforts, biodegradable burial alternatives have also started popping up on the market. These options came around when people not only complained at how bad airtight coffins preserve the body, but also how the wood, metals, and synthetic cushioning used in the more traditional coffins, not to mention their concrete burial vaults, were continuing to litter the earth; with so many people being buried per year, you can begin to understand the cause for concern.

Similar to this, so much energy goes into producing the materials, for them to be simply buried and then they will not break down very fast at all.

Biodegradable coffins are the new alternative to airtight coffins, and work in a completely different way to the more traditional sense.

A biodegradable coffin is an organic casket which once buried, breaks down and the decomposing remains provide nutrients to the tree sapling which is buried above it. In this way, a new tree is born out of the remains of the individual, and so the cycle of life continues. This is a more sustainable way to view death, and actually it is a lot nicer to imagine your loved one being reborn into the earth, rather than stuck in a wooden box to rot with the possibility of exploding.

Other Burial Options

Of course when we die we have no say in what happens to our bodies. However, we can make that choice before we pass in order to make it a whole lot easier for our loved ones who are left behind.


Cremation is the other main alternative to burial. This is when the body is cremated at a crematorium, and the ashes are given back to families in an urn and keepsake to keep in the family, and spread eventually when the time is right.

Biodegradable urn

Much like the biodegradable pods, there are also biodegradable urns. One example is Spanish company Bios Urns, which create their urns with 100% natural materials. These urns will contain the ashes of the deceased person, and can be buried into the soil. Within just one month it will start to break down and the roots can feed on the ash and nutrients in order to grow a new tree.

Donation of body

Another way which people can choose when they depart from the world, is to donate their body for medical purposes. This can be as a donor for body parts to those who need it most, or, for medical practice such as universities for soon to be doctors and surgeons to practice their medical skills on.

Eternal reefs

For those who are instead interested in conserving the world’s oceans and sea life, an underwater option may be in your best interests. This idea was born in the 1980s after scuba diving students in the Florida Keys became concerned after finding so many deteriorating coral reefs. Their idea was that the remains of an individual could be mixed with cement to form an artificial reef.

These reefs are then placed in the ocean, in a spot chosen by the family, or individual and then it grows to become a haven for fish and many underwater organisms.

To Summarize

Airtight coffins are the most common way of burial, and have been for many years. However, things are starting to change, and with the increased care for our environment, people may start looking to the biodegradable options in the future.

We hope this article has given you a bit more information on airtight coffins and their alternatives, and hopefully has given you an idea on the various burial options that are now available.