Nothing lasts forever.
This is especially true of essential oils.
These highly concentrated aromatics have a shelf life.
Essential oils will expire.
It just depends upon the type of oil and how you store them.
Eventually, all essential oils will go bad. So don’t believe the marketing hype that certain brands won’t.
Essential oils don’t last forever.
This is something you’ll want to keep in mind when purchasing.
A large bottle of oil will almost always cost less per millimeter than a smaller one. But it’s not a bargain if you’re not going to use enough to justify the purchase.
You will also save money by buying essential oils in sets.
But it may not be a good idea to purchase a set if you’re not going to use all of the bottles.
Also, it matters what type of essential oil you purchase.
Citrus oils tend to go bad anywhere from six months to a year. So you’ll want to have a plan for them.
If you find yourself running out of time with a lot of essential oil left, here is an earlier post on How To Make Homemade Gifts From Essential Oils.
Another good way to use up essential oils is to put them in your laundry, if you use natural detergent or soap nuts and have a heavily soiled batch.
(Aside from smelling great, essential oils contain natural antimicrobial compounds. So it makes sense to put them in your laundry if you want to kill germs.)
When To Throw Essential Oils Away
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything I receive a referral fee, at no extra cost to you.)
When it’s fresh, lemon essential oil is invigorating.
But it’s pretty stinky when it goes bad.
Using a general guideline for how long essential oils last, plus your nose, you can pretty much tell when to toss a bottle of essential oil.
Always trust your nose.
The guidelines are good. But you still have no idea how long a particular bottle has been sitting on a shelf or in storage, before you bought it.
This is one of the reasons I like to buy my essential oils online. Instead of at a health food store.
High volume means high turnover.
So buying essential oils online (from a reputable source) means there’s it’s unlikely your oil has been sitting around for a year or so.
In general, essential oils last from about 1 to 6 years.
But shelf life is also dependent upon various factors. Oils stored in a cool dark place will last longer than those kept in direct sunlight or in a warm climate. (Actually, never put your essential oils where sun can hit them.)
It’s oxidation that causes essential oils to spoil.
You can potentially slow the rate of oxidation by not leaving the lid off of your bottle. (Actually, never leave a bottle of essential oil uncovered.)
When Should I Throw Essential Oils Away?
Knowing that essential oils aren’t investment (because they go bad) and won’t last forever should encourage you to use them.
I know someone who purchased a very expensive set of essential oils and then put them away, to save them.
But this is not a money saving move.
Instead, it’s wasteful. Because they’re going to go bad.
It’s probably inevitable that you’ll end up throwing away some essential oils.
This happens to me too, even though I try to buy only what I need.
But I do try to minimize this waste.
There are so many things you can do with essential oils. They make great natural cleaners.
Need some ideas?
Here is an earlier post that contains links to numerous DIY essential oil cleaning recipes, everything from non toxic dishwater tabs to natural floor cleaner powered by essential oils.
Use up your essential oils. Don’t save them for a rainy day.
Because chances are they’ll go bad first.
Here’s a tip.
Try to buy the more versatile essential oils that can be used for a wide range of things.
Peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil are the two kinds of aromatic oils I use the most and keep replacing.
Pregnant women should not use essential oils. Some essential oils aren’t safe for children.