Do Essential Oils Expire? - Shelf Life of Essential Oils

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Do Essential Oils Expire?

Plant Therapy Do Essential Oils Expire?

At Plant Therapy, we not only want you to have the highest quality products, but we also want you to be able to use them for many years to come. To better help you understand the topic of essential oil shelf life, we are happy to present a handy chart!

While they don’t “expire” like the old milk in your fridge, they do change and it’s important to know what that means. We have visited this topic before. If you’re interested, these blog posts fully explains this from start to finish ! Enjoy:

  1. Do Essential Oils Expire? 
  2. Proper Essential Oil Storage
At Plant Therapy, we take storage of our product very seriously.
Each barrel of essential oil is stored in a cool environment and also topped with a Nitrogen barrier to help prevent oxidation. This nearly eliminates the concern of an essential oil “going bad” while in our hands. Once the essential oil reaches you and you open the bottle, the clock starts ticking on shelf life. Our colleague Robert Tisserand has done a masterful job of explaining this in his blog post “Lemon on the Rocks: keep your essential oils cool.”

Proper storage and usage can make a marked difference in the shelf life of your essential oils. The times listed are approximate. It is impossible to tell under what conditions essential oils are stored/used once they are purchased. Unlike foods, there are no firm expiration dates for essential oils.

Download: Plant Therapy Essential Oil Shelf Life Charts

This post deals only with essential oil shelf life and not the shelf life of carrier oils. Stay tuned for a future edition, which will contain details more specific to carrier oils!
You know we LOVE hearing from you and we are happy to consult with you, free of charge, if you’ll e-mail us at [email protected] When doing so, we ask that you include any relevant medical information like diagnosed issues and medications you may be taking, as well as letting us know what your goals are for using aromatherapy and essential oils. This gives us the ability to recommend the best course of action for you and your family. We look forward to hearing from you! You can also join our SUPER fun Facebook group over at Safe Essential Oil Recipes!!

17 thoughts on “Do Essential Oils Expire?”

  1. So thankful for all the info ya’ll share (on the blog & through your amazing customer service)! This is one of the reason’s I chose to order from you guys instead of elsewhere.

  2. So if I purchase an oil but don’t open it for a year, does that mean that the shelf life starts when I open the bottle, even if it’s been a long time? I’m wondering about purchasing multiple bottles of the oil of the month.

  3. Nitrogen has been used with many products for years, so it is a proven process. Obviously once the nitrogen is released when opened then the clock begins to run.

  4. Back at Christmas I burned myself while baking. It was not a large area, but was near my wrist. I had some really, really old lavender oil (probably 17 years old) and I put it on the area after I had run cold water over it. Within an hour or two the burn was GONE! I was not even sure it would work, but it did! Don’t be so fast in tossing those oils until you try them! And yes, I use my older ones for scent in homemade soaps and other homemade items.

  5. In the past, your company’s recommendation was to start counting from the distillation date, not the date that the bottle is opened. I emailed the same customer service rep I talked with six months ago for distillation dates recently, and she said that you all are no longer giving out those dates. That was really disappointing. So you are confident that the oils will not expire if we count from the day the bottle is opened? I have always been so grateful that you all provide distillation dates. You are one of the few companies that did.

    1. Since our original post on this topic, we have implemented more quality control measures that protect the oils while in our possession. Because of these newer procedures, we are confident in the shelf life clock not starting until the customer receives the bottle.

    1. We are often asked about how to store essential oils and how long they last. While they don’t “expire” like the old milk in your fridge, then do change and it’s important to know what that means to you. Check out this series of three blog posts that fully explains this from start to finish ! Enjoy:

    1. Asthma can be very tricky, since triggers are everywhere. You may use an essential oil and inadvertently cause an issue. I would suggest seeing a physician, if you haven’t already! I think that is best. Typically Rosalina essential oil can be helpful for general respiratory supporybreathing. It’s very gentle. You can consider using it in a personal inhaler to sniff when breathing support is necessary. Be mindful, however, this is NOT A REPLACEMENT for prescription medication(s).

  6. The clock really starts ticking the date the oils are distilled. I understand that you do not yet have this information. Do you have any idea how long it takes between distillation and your receipt of the oils? Do you receive them directly from the distillers? Thanks.

    1. You’re absolutely right, the clock does officially start ticking from the date of distillation. However, we work very close with our suppliers and we take many measures, including a second round of testing right when we start bottling to send to our customers & nitrogen capping, to make sure the oxidation of our oils are so limited that it isn’t any concern. Once we sell an oil to a customer, we no longer know how the oil is being stored which is why we say that the clock on shelf lifereally starts ticking when the you (the customer) receive your oil.

  7. Guess a lot of mine are no good now. They are probably 8-10 years old, stored in a tight metal container in the bathroom. Now on a table in the kitchen. Was going to store them in a drawer in a hutch so they would be convenient but I guess that’s out.

    1. Yes, I would recommend not using them on your skin any longer – however they might still be useful for use in cleaning recipes (be sure to wear gloves!)

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