Do essential oils expire? + A Guide On Storing Them
Learn more about Plant Therapy Essential Oils:
Today we’re talking about how to tell if your essential oils are expired, and how to store them so you can maximize their shelf life. This is video twelve of our series, so if you want tons of other great information be sure to go back and watch videos 1-11!
How long do essential oils last?
So you might be wondering ‘Do essential oils have an expiration date? & How long are your essential oils good for?’ In this video we’re telling you everything you need to know about essential oil expiration dates, and how to store your essential oils.
So how long do essential oils last? Well, the shelf life of essential oils is not only different from one oil to the next, but can also be affected by how you handle them, and how they’re stored. Essential oils are volatile in nature; air, heat and light are not their friends! Exposure to those things can affect their shelf life.
The best way to store your essential oils is in dark amber, cobalt or green bottles, and kept in a cool, dark place. You always want to make sure that your oil’s caps are twisted tightly.
Almost all oils will last longer in the refrigerator, with the exception of sesquiterpene rich oils like Patchouli, Vetiver, and all varieties of Sandalwood. These oils technically can go in your fridge, but they will thicken and make pouring more challenging when you want to use them. These oils tend to get better with age, rather than degrade, so they don’t have to be stored at a cold temperature.
How to tell if an oil has gone bad?
Speaking of oils going bad, how do you tell if your essential oils are starting to expire? While there is no exact way to tell if an essential oil is “bad,” there are some things to watch for that hint that the oxidation process has started.
Smell: The first thing you need to pay attention to is how your oils are smelling. Once essential oils begin to oxidize, their smells start to change, and they just don’t smell as good as they used to. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your oils when they arrive so you know what they’re supposed to smell like! This really helps you later when you’re trying to decide if an oil has oxidized.
Color: Once essentials oils begin to oxidize, their colors can change. Some oils may appear lighter in color. Some oils also begin to cloud. For example [Retha to add some examples of oils and how they’ve gone bad in her experience] Keep in mind that when you’re determining if your oils look cloudy that some cold pressed citrus oils can form a waxy substance that may appear “cloudy” in your oil. If this “cloudiness” or residue sinks to the bottom after a few hours of being left alone, its likely not oxidation, and your oil is still good!
Viscosity: Sometimes if an oil has oxidized, it starts to harden. This is kinda the end-of-the road for your oil, because hardening doesn’t usually happen until years after an oils shelf life has passed.
How to make essential oils last longer & boost shelf life
To keep your essential oils lasting as long as possible, it’s important to know how to boost shelf life, and how to store them. A small mini fridge dedicated to your essential oils and carrier oils is pretty much perfect. If this option is not available to you, try to make a space in the main refrigerator in your home, and store them inside a wooden or plastic box.
Using expired essential oils:
So what if your oils are expired, or you think they might be…can you still use expired essential oils? Well, If essential oils are past the expected shelf life, but have not oxidized, you can still use them in cleaning products, to remove odors and in the laundry, but not on your skin.
But once an oil has oxidized you should not use it! A small 5 or 10mL bottle can be put in a trash receptacle. Larger amounts of oils should be poured into the ground and covered with dirt.
So that’s it guys! Our overview of how to tell if your essential oils are expired, and how to store them to keep them lasting as long as possible!
Be sure to check out all the other videos in our series on our YouTube channel. And if you need to ask some more questions be sure to comment below and our aromatherapists will answer them!
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