When you think of something expiring, the thought of curdled milk or rancid juice may come to mind. Will the same thing happen to that precious bottle of Lavender Essential Oil you love to use so much? Not really. While they don’t “expire” in the way we usually think of that word, they do change, and it’s important to know what that means.
Unlike foods, there are no firm expiration dates for essential oils. But if you open up a bottle of Lemon from three years ago and expect it to smell and work the same way as it did originally, prepare for disappointment. That’s because there are three main things that can change the chemical composition of an essential oil: oxygen, heat, and light (check out THIS blog for a more in depth look at how these can change your oils).
So don’t expect mold or mildew to start growing inside your bottle, but do expect some change.
Oils have a shelf life, which is recommended to make sure you are getting the most out of your essential oils. To better help you understand the topic of essential oil shelf life, we are happy to present a handy chart!
Since it’s impossible to know under what conditions essential oils are stored and used, the times listed are approximate. To learn more about how proper storage can make a difference in the shelf life of your essential oil, check out this blog:
Once the essential oil reaches you and you open the bottle, the clock starts ticking on shelf life! Keep these tips in mind to make sure you are getting the most out of your essential oils:
- Colored bottles help keep the oil out of direct sunlight.
- Keep your bottle capped tightly.
- Keep it cool! The ideal temperature is 35-38 degrees fahrenheit, the temperature of most refrigerators. Keep the oils in a container (like a wooden box or plastic bag) unless you want your food to start tasting like your oils!
- Some oils become thicker as they cool. This is totally normal! Just warm the bottle up in your hands for a moment to return it to a more liquid state.
- You can tell if your oil has oxidized if it does not smell as fresh as it did originally.
- Citrus oils can go cloudy. If this happens, let the sediment settle to the bottom of the bottle and use a clean pipette to transfer the good oil into a clean bottle.
- Using a personal inhaler? Refresh it about every 3 to 4 months, since inhalers get frequent exposure to the air.
Interested in learning even more? This blog post from 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.