From cooking oil to lubricating oil for auto servicing, oil tends to have a very long shelf life. Oils of all kinds play vital roles in our everyday life, even if it's just lubricating a door hinge. So you may be wondering what the shelf life of essential oils is.

Essential oils have potent smells that can help with a wide range of tasks. They can be life-changing for many of their users. But how long do essential oils last in comparison to other types of oil?

It's an important question since good oils are not cheap. Expired oils not only may not be as potent, they could be a potential health hazard.

Keep reading as we discuss how long your oils will last, as well as how to store them for maximum shelf life.

Do Essential Oils Expire?

The short answer, as you may have imagined, is yes. Nothing can last forever, not even the best essential oils that money can buy. However, expiration varies wildly from brand to brand and depends on your personal usage.

Another factor that affects expiration is the contents of the oils. Certain ingredients like citrus only last about one to two years. Other ingredients like the Buddha Wood can last almost 8 years before expiration.

If you want longer-lasting essential oils, then purchase ingredients with the longest shelf life. These are ingredients that stay potent for many years, saving you money in the long run.

When you purchase your essential oils, make sure to check the expiration date stamped on the bottle. If the date is very close, you should use it as soon as possible to get the most effect.

Generally, it is not advisable to use expired products even if they don't smell bad. For the protection of your health, it's best if you dispose of them promptly.

How Long Do Essential Oils Last?

For starters, higher-quality essential oils will tend to last longer. Choosing blends from reputable brands ensures you have the longest-lasting oil on hand. But if you go cheap, there's a good chance your oil may expire sooner than he would like.

Further, all oil will begin to go bad as soon as you open the bottle. This is thanks to a process known as oxidation, similar to how metal begins to rust. In layman's terms, this is when oxygen bonds among the oil convert into carbon bonds.

The same is true for other environmental factors, such as heat and light. These, in addition to oxygen, change the overall composition of your essential oils.

This is why they appear to have lost their potency and general effectiveness. They are converting into a new chemical compound that does not have the same properties as before.

What Is the Shelf Life of Essential Oils after You Open the Bottle?

Once you open the bottle and use essential oils on a regular basis with your diffuser, the process of oxidation begins in earnest. Though to be clear, this process is happening at the microscopic scale. Your bottle won't go bad within a couple of days or even weeks.

Again, the ingredients determine how long you have until you should dispose of the oil. On the low end, you can get about six months from your oils. But some ingredients, such as monoterpenols, give you up to six years even in an open bottle.

Ideally, you use your oils on a regular basis so they run out long before that expiration date.

Do Essential Oils Go Bad?

When people think of oil going bad, they think of rancid oil. But essential oil is a very different composition compared to cooking oil. As mentioned above, there is a change in composition that is happening, rather than the oil decaying and smelling terrible.

So when we say they are "going bad" it's not to say that the oil is rotting, per se. But rotting can happen if an essential oil is open and well past its expiration date.

How to Store Essential Oils and Make Them Last Longer

Personal usage will have an effect on how long your oils last. Keep the following tips in mind to make your oils last as long as possible.

Reduce Oxygen Exposure

Every time you open the bottle, oxygen enters and speeds up the process of oxidation. Avoid this by spending less time with the bottle open. Secure the cap tightly to prevent any air from getting inside.

Store the Bottle in a Dark Place with No Heat

Light and heat are enemies to essential oil longevity. It's for this reason that your essential oils come in dark, amber-shade bottles. Lengthen their lifespan by storing them in a place with minimal light where it is preferably cool.

Avoid Transferring Your Oils to Larger Containers

To save space or consolidate oils, you may be tempted to transfer them to new containers. But this transferring process exposes them to a lot of oxygen. Further, a larger container has more space near the top for oxygen to get trapped.

Keep essential oils in their regular containers. If you do need to transfer them, do so quickly to limit oxygen exposure.

How to Use Essential Oils for Maximum Duration

To preserve the lifespan of your oils, use their built-in dropper. Deposit the oils onto a cotton swab or directly to your skin.

Use them as you would normally. However, avoid a strong light source and don't the bottle open.

Find All Your Essential Oils in One Place

How long do essential oils last? The answer depends on the ingredients, the initial expiration date, and where and how you store the oil. Avoiding oxygen exposure and keeping the bottle capped as much as possible is your best bet to have long-lasting oil.

Bursera is your one-stop shop for everything from essential oils and beyond. Come on in and take a look at what we have for sale.

December 15, 2021 — Bursera Natural Products Ltd.