I often get asked how long essential oils last. Of course, it depends on the essential oil in question but an essential oil is often affected by how it is stored.
Before you buy an essential oil, you can’t know for sure how it has been stored, or for how long, by the supplier. So, buy from a reputable and trusted supplier, or ask the questions before buying! Some essential oil suppliers will add a ‘use by’ date on essential oils, but again this is only a guideline and it depends on how you store the essential oil once you acquire it.
Essential oils should ideally be stored in dark colored glass bottles; these are usually colbalt blue, amber/dark brown or dark green. Essential oils should also be kept in a cool, dark place. Essential oils do not fair well in sunlight or heat and this will diminish both the shelf life and the quality and effectiveness of the essential oil.
Citrus essential oils, even when stored in ideal conditions, do not have a long shelf life; often the maximum shelf life of a citrus essential oil is one year. Grapefruit essential oil in particular can go ‘off’ very quickly.
On the other hand, some essential oils can be kept for years, if stored under the right conditions. These are often the base essential oils such as sandal wood, rose and patchouli.
I have been asked if it is safe to store essential oils in the fridge. I have mixed feelings about this personally. Some of the citrus oils may last slightly longer if stored in the fridge but it is crucial that the temperature in the fridge is not too low. I have made this mistake in the past and still ended up with unusuable essential oils.
Once essential oils have been mixed in an carrier oil, it is still important to store the essential oil blend correctly. I make my blends in colbalt blue glass bottles, although I do use plastic bottles for some of my creams and lotions. Just make sure the bottles meet PET standards to avoid contamination of the plastic and the essential oil blend.
When I moved from the UK to the USA, I had many of my precious essential oils shipped over with the rest of my personal possessions. However, I couldn’t trust the effectiveness of them because they had endured conditions over which I had no control. They were shipped from the UK to Los Angeles by boat (6 weeks plus at sea) and then sat in a warehouse in Los Angeles before being trucked across 2 states to another warehouse of the blazing desert heat of Phoenix before I picked them up and brought them home to Sedona, Arizona! By the time they reached me they had probably suffered excessive heat and cold, amongst other things.
So, it may seem like a little thing, but the storage of your essential oils is crucial to how long your essential oils will last and the effectiveness of your essential oils!
Please post me a comment on the storage of essential oils below!