Do Essential Oils Expire?
Updated October 12, 2021
I want to answer the question “do essential oils expire?”.
Let’s get into it.
Essential oils are a mixture of numerous compounds characterized by the essence of aromatic plants.
Since essential oils are now readily available, what we need to know is do essential oils go bad, and do essential oils expire?
If it is your first time trying an essential oil it could be more beneficial for you to have prior knowledge of everything about essential oils and not just joining the bandwagon.
Here we will take a look at how long essential oil lasts, will it be safe to use after a few years of lying idle, and the factors that can affect the effectiveness of your essential oils.
Do Essential Oils Expire – Why Purity Matters
Purity is the most important characteristic of essential oil and the main feature you should consider when buying one because pure essential oil brings out the full natural benefits of the plant whether for relaxation (aromatherapy) or treating a headache.
When an essential oil becomes contaminated it will lessen its effectiveness and may pose danger to your health if used continuously.
So how do you spot a low-quality one from pure essential oils?
First, a little research will give you the assurance that the essential oil that you want to buy is of good quality. You can check out the company that manufactures it and get to know how they produce, source, and test their essential oils.
If you still have doubts, here are other ways to check the purity of your essential oils.
1. Pure essential oils are stored in dark amber glass
Essential oils usually are stored in dark-colored glass containers to protect the oils from ultraviolet rays that can degrade their quality in the long run.
Be wary of essential oils that are stored in plastic containers which are not of pure quality because when essential oil gets in contact with plastics, it won’t take long before the plastics will start to break down and the chemical used to make the container will eventually contaminate the essential oils which of course will not be good for you.
Although amber-colored glass is more common for storage bottles you can also choose blue, violet, or green which offers the same extent of protection.
2. Pure essential oils do not leave any residue on paper
One easy way to know if the essential oil you bought is pure is to make a ring test on a white strip of paper.
Let a drop of essential oil dry in a strip of paper and if a visible ring appears in the paper it means that it is not pure essential oil because essential oil is a volatile oil which means that it evaporates when dried.
3. Pure essential oils are not greasy
You can experiment if your essential oil feels greasy by rubbing a drop of it in between your fingers.
If it feels greasy then it’s likely that it has a carrier oil. Pure essential oil does not leave any grease and absorbs quickly by the skin.
Can Essential Oils Expire?
Essential oils have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties that do not expire because they also don’t contain any water. Therefore, they don’t grow mildew, mold, and yeast.
However, they can’t last forever either because there are factors that affect the changes in essential oils such as oxidation.
These changes can affect the quality of your essential oil that’s why essential oil has a shelf life.
Simply put that pure high-quality essential oils are always diluted with a carrier oil because essential oil alone can irritate our skin due to their strength.
Thus, the shelf life of your essential oil is dependent also on the carrier oils it was diluted with.
For instance, some carrier oils like black currant and borage have a shorter shelf life and can go bad in about six months while grapeseed and soybean oil can last up to a year.
On the other hand, coconut oil and jojoba oil can last until 6 years.
It really depends on what constitutes the essential oils that determine its shelf life and the reaction of these constituents from outside factors that affect the essential oil to go bad.
Likewise, you should need to know the contributing factors that affect its oxidation so that you can slow down the rate and extend the shelf life of your essential oils.
These factors are oxygen, light, and temperature.
If you want to be scientific with this, a thorough review of the stability of essential oils is found here.
Here Are the Three Main Elements That Give Rise to the Changing of Properties of the Essential Oils.
Oxygen changes the chemical composition of the essential oils as it reacts to their constituents. It is probably the biggest contributing factor to oxidation.
Oxidation happens when oxygen is present. Oxygen consumes the electrons from the key ingredients of essential oil which brings about changes in the chemical composition of the essential oils.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the essential oil is rancid or spoiled but its function or benefits will not be as good as before when you first opened the bottle.
To minimize exposure, here are some tips:
- Don’t let your essential oils sit open for a long time.
- Recap your bottles of essential oils tightly and quickly right after each use.
- If you prefer you can re-bottle your essential oil to a much smaller bottle if you’re only using a small amount. In doing so you limit the exposure of the entire essential oils and extend its shelf life.
Exposure of essential oils to sunlight can quickly change its chemical composition even for a short period because exposure to UV light triggers the reaction of oxygen-free radicals in the essential oils altering their chemical compositions and give way to brand new ones.
Storing essential oils properly will avoid changes in their original composition. Keeping it in a cabinet away from light will be a good idea.
According to studies ambient temperature crucially influences the stability of essential oils.
Generally, chemical reactions tend to hasten essential oils under heat and temperature variations. especially in citrus essential oils.
To prevent oxidation from happening, you can store your essential oil in your fridge but make sure that the temperature is no colder than 5 to 10 celsius.
In the summer, where it is more susceptible to heat, it is important that they are kept in the fridge and take them out for about 12 hours before you use them.
This way they can adjust to the room temperature. Give it a gentle shake to make sure that the waxy particles are dissolved.
Therefore, it is just wise to properly keep all essential oils from high temperatures or near heat.
How to Tell If It’s Expired?
Although pure essential oils don’t go bad as quickly as food does they can change over time through the process of oxidation when they come in contact with outside properties like oxygen, light, and temperature. Once this happens, essential oils lose their therapeutic properties and fragrance.
Furthermore, it will be hard to determine what oils they have changed into and it will be difficult also to find out whether or not they are safe to use.
One helpful way is to keep track of how long you have had it by marking the bottle with the date you first used it.
Here are other practical indications that your essential oils are no longer effective and maybe time to toss or replace them.
- The smell of the essential oil has changed since you first opened the bottle. For instance, some citrus essential oils like lemon and grapefruit will have an unpleasant scent.
- The color has changed or it becomes cloudy like in the case of peppermint and chamomille
- It has changed in viscosity. It may have become thicker or thinner than it was when you first used it.
In any case, once you see these visible changes in your essential oils you should avoid inhaling or use them on your skin. Expired essential oils may be harmful to use.
How to Prolong the Life of Essential Oils?
Most essential oils have a shelf life and as mentioned its shelf life will be dependent on the carrier oil that it has and its chemical composition.
However, you can still extend the shelf life of your essential oils with these practical tips:
1. Avoid overexposure to oxygen
To prevent your essential oils from expiring early and to ensure their effectiveness, make sure to limit the time that it is uncapped because the longer it is uncapped the more that oxygen can penetrate into the oils.
Make sure also that the bottle of your essential oil is capped tightly as oxygen may still get in and start the oxidation process.
Essential oils are very reactive to light and promote the formation of oxygen free-radicals.
2. Keep your essential oils away from heat, direct sunlight, and any light sources as they are flammable.
It is best kept in a cool dry place like in your kitchen cabinets or medicine cabinets.
But if you don’t have enough space in storing essential oil, you can make use of a storage box.
You can place them in a place where the temperature is cool and make sure that you don’t leave them lying around. Re-cap it tightly and store it back in the box after use.
3. Since ultraviolet lights affect the composition of essential oil, you can use a smaller dark-colored essential oil bottle in storing because it will prevent oxygen from being trapped once it is opened.
This will help prevent early oxidation and extend the shelf life of your essential oil.
Pure Essential Oils Based Air Fresheners
These days, essential oils are just everywhere and their uses are increasing in popularity.
You can find them incorporated in most personal care products, household cleaning products, and even home care products like air fresheners.
Essential oils that are found in air fresheners are natural, safe, and non-toxic. They are versatile and work well naturally freshen the air in your home.
Citrus oils like lemon in particular are a favorite essential oil in cleaning. It has innate antibacterial and antiviral properties that attack and dissolve any dirt, helps in absorbing and eliminating bad odors, and are environmentally safe.
The use of pure high-quality essential oils in air fresheners that has been taken from the natural source will yield the greatest result and such is what The Crown Choice Lemon Zest Air Freshener offers.
The Best Air Fresheners That Has Plant-based Essential Oils
The Crown Choice Lemon Room Spray is the best air freshener that uses natural essential oils in its product.
It is formulated to contain lemon citrus oils and rosemary essential oils, natural deodorizer, and natural preservatives that safely attract and neutralize even the strongest smell like pet smells and smoke.
Its uses dark-colored containers that will help in preventing exposure to light and heat so you’ll get only the high-quality essential oil that is inside each bottle of freshness.
People love and enjoy its long-lasting fresh and crisp aroma of natural lemon zest that relaxes the senses with its gentle home fragrance.
It doesn’t contain any artificial perfumes or fragrances, synthetic colors, and no animal by-products. It’s natural, hypoallergenic, phthalate-free, vegan, and eco-friendly.
Safe to use around children and pets. Best also to spray on fabrics, shoes, pet beddings, garages, and upholsteries.
If you’re tired of using an air freshener that doesn’t give the best result in eliminating and neutralizing unpleasant odors or just plain doubtful about their ingredients you can’t even pronounce, you may seek the natural way by trying The Crown Choice Lemon Air Fresheners.
Get one now and experience the difference.
Do Essential Oils Expire – Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many years do essential oils last?
The shelf life of essential oil is dependent also on the carrier oils it was diluted with. Some may last until 6 months while others go on until 6 years.
2. How can you tell if essential oils have gone bad?
You can tell if it has gone bad through changes in color, smell, and consistency.
3. How long are essential oils good once opened?
Once opened it will last a long time provided that it will not be exposed to air, light, and heat. Proper storage is also important to prolong the life of your essential oil.
4. Can expired essential oil be used?
An expired essential oil cannot be used anymore. It’s better to toss them out from your cabinet or buy a new one. It will be harmful to inhale or apply to your skin.
5. Are essential oils safe for children?
You should remember that essential oils are also flammable. It will be for the children’s safety to keep it away from them. It is not something that they can play with.
Now that you have taken a short look through the answer to the question “do essential oil expires?” It will not be difficult for you to purchase your first set of essential oils and take the knowledge with you to buy natural air freshener products without any hesitation.