When I bought my first essential oils, I heard conflicting advice on how long they last. I was told they only last for a year. Someone else had published information they can last forever.
Thoroughly confused, I searched for the truth. As usual, it was somewhere in the middle.
Citrus oils seem to have the shortest lifespan. They last about a year or two, before they start to go bad. Other types of oils, such as patchouli, can last as long as six years.
When an oil is no longer good, you know it. I read somewhere that your nose will guide you. This is true. My bottle of eucalyptus essential oil took on a terrible smell. It smelled nothing like the oil I’d purchased about 18 months previously. So no, essential oils don’t last forever. Also, you don’t want to use out-of-date essential oils. The chemical makeup changes as it’s exposed to oxygen. It’s believed using an old oil may heighten your risk of developing a sensitivity.
It’s good to know the general life expectancy of your essential oils. That way you don’t buy more bottles than you would reasonable expect to use within a certain period of time. Depending upon your needs, you may also want to get the smallest available bottle of a particular oil.
How Long Do Essential Oils Last?
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The shelf life of essential oils is yet another aromatherapy topic that’s become controversial. Correct use of essential oils can become contentious. I wish there was less of this, so we can just all enjoy these wonderful gifts, made from plants that God has created. The fact that essential oils eventually expire has little to do with the fact they weren’t pure in the first place. It’s possible an adulterated product will contain contaminants that make it go bad quickly. However, even the purest oils won’t last forever.
Knowing that your essential oils will eventually become useless is a good thing. That way, you won’t hide your oils in the basement, waiting for the opportune time to break them out. Then, when you drag them out, you discover they’ve gone bad. Hopefully, you also won’t over buy, spending too much money on oils you’ll never have a chance to use.
Essential oils are a commodity, and not an investment. Understanding this helps you set realistic expectations of what to expect and what to spend.
How Long Do Essential Oils Last in the Bottle?
One of my favorite essential oil companies is Plant Therapy. It sells high-quality 100 percent pure essential oils at extremely reasonable prices, with free shipping. It’s not an MLM network, so the customer saves money on commissions. The Plant Therapy blog contains extensive information on how to best use essential oils. One post discusses how long we can expect our essential oils to last.
Plant Therapy explains that its essential oils are stored under controlled conditions. However, once a bottle is delivered to its owner, and it’s opened, “the clock starts ticking on its shelf life. The blog post also contains a handy printable chart that shows the approximate shelf life of different kinds of essential oils. This chart is printable, if you want a quick reference.
One thing to keep in mind is that a number of variables can affect your oils. I try to limit the amount of time I remove the cap, and I make sure to always replace the cap. Oxidation is more rapid in an open bottle. I try to keep my oils in a dark dry place, away from direct sunlight. If I mix an essential oil with a carrier oil, such as avocado oil, I try to use the mixture relatively quickly, within a few hours. If that’s not possible, I’d store it in a clean glass jar with a cover. This would be kept away from heat and light too.
How Long Should Essential Oils Last?
Proper storage is necessary, if you want to extend the life of your essential oils. Some people put them in a refrigerator. This is probably a good idea, especially in the summer. Others store them in a closed box, in the basement. This is probably what I’ll do once the weather warms up. You can also buy special wooden essential oil boxes designed to keep the light out.
Plant Therapy also recommends always keeping the plastic bottle top, known as the “reducer,” in the bottle. This is designed to seal the aromatic oil from the air outside.
If you’d like to read more about how long essential oils last visit the Plant Therapy blog. This post contains a downloadable chart that shows when various essential oils expire.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.