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Do Essential Oils Expire? Explained With Tips To Increase Shelf Life

Disclaimer - The information provided in this blog, including any linked materials herein, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. For accurate and personalized recommendations, please consult with your specialists.

Essential oil is trending as one of the best alternative medications or solutions to many healthcare and skincare issues.

Essential oil is an all-natural product as it is extracted from different parts of plants (2). This is the main reason many people wonder if essential oils expire. The answer to this question is YES!! Essential oils do expire.

This post is to throw some light on this and help you with some tips to increase the shelf life of your essential oils.

Why Do Essential Oils Expire?

Essential oils deteriorate when they open in the air. Once the bottle of the essential oil is open, it comes into contact with oxygen, and this is followed by a process called oxidation. In this oxidation process, changes take place between oxygen bonds and carbon bonds cells.

This oxidation breaks the chemical composition in essential oils. As soon as essential oils come into contact with oxygen, light, or heat, changes in their composition of essential oils begin. Along with time, the strength and effectiveness of the oil are lost.

Essential oils change over time, but this does not mean that they spoil like food products. This is why essential oils are stored in dark glass bottles, as they protect against ultraviolet light. However, it is difficult to say whether it is safe or not to use. So, it is recommended not to use expired essential oils on the skin.

What Is The Shelf Life Of The Most Commonly Used Essential Oils? | How Long Do Essential Oils Last?

Usually, essential oils last for about 2 to 5 years if stored properly in a closed dark glass bottle away from direct sun exposure. Though, different oils have different shelf lives. Certain oils have a short shelf life, especially citrus oils, and certain oils have a long shelf life, like patchouli, sandalwood, etc. Read below and know how long some of the popular essential oils last:

Essential Oils

Shelf Life

Citrus essential oils like lemon, lime, and tangerine

1 to 2 years

Bergamot, black pepper, cypress, frankincense, tea tree, copaiba, helichrysum, lemongrass, melissa, rosemary

2 to 3 years

spearmint, camphor, juniper berry, neroli, nutmeg, pine, spruce, manuka, elemi, cardamom, cinnamon bark, lavender, clary sage, eucalyptus, myrrh, thyme, vanilla, fennel, ginger root, carrot seed, basil

3 to 4 years

chamomile, citronella, cedarwood, peppermint, wintergreen, ylang-ylang, geranium

4 to 5 years

turmeric, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, Patchouli oil, sandalwood oil, vetiver

6 to 8 years


Essential oils will last depending on the precautions or measures you take to ensure it does not go bad. You can adopt some steps to increase the life of your oil. If you are wondering how long is the shelf life of your essential oils collection, you can use the above chart to see how long is the shelf life of your essential oil.


How Can You Extend The Shelf Life Of Essential Oils?

There are certain tips that you can adopt in order to extend the shelf life of essential oils. Adopt these tips to keep your oils from expiring. Use these storage tips to extend the shelf life of your essential oils.

Reduce Oxygen Exposure

Oxidation is one of the major reasons behind essential oils going bad. Hence, it is advised to reduce the time the cap is off the bottle of essential oil. Because, as long as the bottle is uncapped, there are chances of oxidation in essential oils.

Also, place the cap tightly so that oxygen does not get into the bottle and thus reducing the chances of oxidation.

Keep Away From Direct Sunlight Or Heat

Ensure that the essential oils are placed in a cool, dry, dark place that is away from direct sunlight or direct heat. It is also suggested to store essential oils in dark-colored bottles as it protects against oxidation.

Store Essential Oils In Small Containers

Store your essential oils in small containers as it prevents oxygen from being trapped in the essential oil bottle. Storage is an important aspect when it comes to increasing the shelf life of essential oils.

Follow these tips, and they will help increase essential oil's shelf life.

How To Tell If Your Essential Oil Is Expired? | How To Know If Your Essential Oil Has Gone Bad

You can mark the date when your oil is opened. You can also see the expiration date on the bottle.

You can see the above chart for reference to keep track of the shelf life of the essential oil that you are using.

Apart from this, some of the signs that will help you identify whether your essential oil is expired or not you can look for following signs

  • The smell of essential oils had changed from when you first opened the bottle.
  • The color of the essential oil has changed (3).
  • The consistency had changed from when it was opened.

How Can You Use Expired Essential Oils? | How To Use Spoiled Essential Oils?

Whether essential oils expire or not is still a major question, but they do oxidize. So, the following are some of the tips that you can adopt to use your expired oil or oils that have reached a point where you do not feel that your essential oil is the same as before.

Using In Laundry

You can use your expired essential oils in laundries. You just need to add a few drops of essential oils to your laundry. It will make your laundry smell fresh.

Using In Cleaning

You can use it in cleaning sprays to increase its fragrance. Also, essential oils have natural cleansing properties that can act as cleaning agents.


Essential oils can be used in many DIYs, like in making laundry bombs, insect repellents, or cleaning sprays.

Points To Consider

Undiluted essential oils are high in concentration. So always use a diluted essential oil on your skin to avoid any skin irritation or allergic reaction.

You can dilute the essential oil with any carrier oil to reduce its concentration.

Always keep essential oils in a cool and dark place to make sure that the quality of essential oils is not ruined.

Proper storage of oils is recommended to reduce the rate of oxidation and extend the shelf life of oils.

Oxidized essential oils can be used in DIYs, laundry, and cleaning purposes.


It is difficult to say that essential oils do not expire, but the chemical composition of essential oils do change after some time, either due to oxidation, light, or heat. Essential oil safety is a must, as expired essential oils can cause rashes, burns, skin irritation, redness, inflammation, and other adverse effects. So, it is important to know whether your essential oil has expired or not. It is suggested that you always use pure essential oils.

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