Reading time: 2 min
The answer is yes and no. Did we confuse you? I guess we did so let us explain further.
Essential oils do not really expire but they can degrade under several factors, therefore their therapeutic grade decreases and sometimes they can cause some unpleasant reactions like skin redness or rashes if applied topically. If inhaled, they can irritate the mucous membranes.
There are several factors that affect the shelf life of oils:
Some oils oxide much faster than others based on their chemical composition. For this reason, they should not be kept with the cap open. Also, it is recommended to keep them in the original dark bottles because by transferring them you risk exposing the liquid to oxygen.
Essential oils should be kept in a place that is cool. They can be kept in the fridge to prolong their life span, especially this is recommended for citruses as they tend to deteriorate much faster. If you don’t like keeping them in a fridge, make sure you keep them in a cool place.
Of course, essential oils don’t like too much light either. This is the reason why they always come packed in dark glass bottles. In your house, avoid keeping them in the sunlight. Best is to stock them in a drawer or in the boxes they come with.
If the above conditions are met, you can be sure your oils will be safe and you will maximize their shelf life.
If you pay attention, on each box we mentioned the shelf life for each oil and same information is found online.
Shelf life varies a lot. If citruses and frankincense oxide much faster because they contain monoterpenes (life span is 2 y in the best case), then oils like patchouli will be good for as much as 20 years. Yes, 20 years- it was not a typo:)
To conclude it, don’t beat your head too much with this, just remember to keep the oils with cap on, away from heat and sunlight and use them every time you need them. If somehow you purchased some oil and forgot about it in the secret, dark drawer and you realize it’s beyond the recommended shelf-life you can use it for cleaning purposes, no need to throw it away.
Be safe and keep your oils equally safe,