Do Essential Oils Expire? Explained With Tips To Increase Shelf Life
Essential oil is trending as one of the best alternative medications or solutions to many healthcare and skincare issues. Essential oils are used for many different reasons like treating illness, fighting acne, and signs of aging, using aromatherapy to promote calmness and relaxation, etc. (1)
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 do 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 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:
|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 go 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 oxidize 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 oil 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 antibacterial and antifungal 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 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 is expired or not. It is suggested that you always use pure essential oils.
How long do essential oils take to expire?
Usually essential oils take 2 to 5 years to expire. Though there are certain oils that last for up to 8 years.
Why do essential oils have expiration dates?
Essential oils when come in contact with oxygen, light or heat tend to oxidize. Oxidation is a process in which the oxygen bond molecules convert into carbon bonds. And thus makes the composition and strength of essential oils weak.
What to do with expired essential oil?
You can use expired essential oils in making DIYs, or can use for cleaning purposes, in the form of insect repellent, laundry, etc.
Which essential oils have the longest shelf life?
Essential oils like patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver have the longest shelf life.
- Journal of Plant Sciences. Essential Oils: Magical Ingredients for Skin Care. http://article.jopsci.org/pdf/10.11648.j.jps.20210902.14.pdf
- International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences. Essential Oils of Herbs and Spices: Their Antimicrobial Activity and Application in Preservation of Food. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302980404_Essential_Oils_of_Herbs_and_Spices_Their_Antimicrobial_Activity_and_Application_in_Preservation_of_Food?enrichId=rgreq-fe60dbeafb38768fcb1e9ebf60288c12-XXX&enrichSource=Y292ZXJQYWdlOzMwMjk4MDQwNDtBUzo2MzgxMDA0NDc0NTMxODVAMTUyOTE0NjQxMDkwMQ%3D%3D&el=1_x_3&_esc=publicationCoverPdf
- Journal of Food Science Protein Oxidation in Frankfurters with Increasing Levels of Added Rosemary Essential Oil: Effect on Color and Texture Deterioration https://ift.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2005.tb11464.x
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