do essential oils expire?

Wondering if your expensive essential oils will expire soon? Has it been a year? Two years? Five years?! Read on to determine whether or not you should toss that bottle today.

Essential oil in a glass bottle.

How long do essential oils last?

Do oils expire?

In short, yes they do!

But there’s a lot more involved when it comes to an expiration date.

If you’re anything like me, your stress comes in cycles. Times will feel extremely hard, and I will feel like I can barely hold on, then the wave passes and I fall back into more of a stable pattern.

During these ebbs and flows, I tend to fall in and out of good habits. For me, using oils to de-stress, keep healthy, and promote wellness is one of my best self- care secrets. But sometimes it will be months before I have used my oils!

So when I’m ready to dive back into my oil supply, I can’t help but wonder if those oils are still helpful, or if they have lost their potency.

Whether you got oils from someone who “doesn’t use them”, or you found an old Peppermint in your bathroom drawer… oils can lose potency. They can lose aromatic and therapeutic properties, and even cause irritation.

Essential Oil Shelflife Cheat Sheet

Just like anything in life, a cheat sheet is helpful for the shelf-life of your oils. See below to see the average shelf life for that oil. (If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t expire!)

1-2 year Shelflife

  • Lemon/Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Tangerine
  • Mandarin
  • Orange

2-3 Year Shelflife

  • Frankincense
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint
  • Spruce
  • Tea Tree
  • Chamomile
  • Neroli
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

4-5 Year Shelflife

  • Cedarwood
  • Clove
  • Peppermint
  • Rose
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Vanilla
  • Geranium

3 Tips To Extend The Shelf Life Of Oils

Unfortunately, oxidation (the process of degrading with exposure to oxygen) is going to happen. There’s no getting around this process, because once you break the seal on your oil, that oil is touching oxygen.

But there ARE ways to keep that process moving moving more slowly.

  1. Smaller is sweeter-If you’re like me and those big box stores and buying in bulk makes you swoon… Maybe don’t read this tip. The smaller the bottle of oil, the less likely you are to trap excessive oxygen inside.
  2. Dark & Cool- Essential oils, no matter the type do better in a dark and cool space. This even means the bottle it is in tends to be better if it is darker and more opaque. Keep it out of the sun and hot places like of car.
  3. Cover up– This seems like a no brainer, but it never hurts to remember to keep that oil lid on and tightened to keep the extra O2 O-U-T.
A lot of essential oils around some flowers.

What To Do With Expired Oils?

  1. You can use them in cleaning supplies. Add to your toilet cleaners, mop bucket or dishwashing detergent! You can still get some use out of them even if they are old.
  2. When in doubt, throw it out! Use this as a chance to refresh that oil supply, and find something fresh to use. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that forever fragrance that helps you stay on the self care- train!

Disposing Of Oils

When you’ve used the last drop, don’t just toss them away! Wash the bottles out with soap and water and you can reuse them to mix up your own new oil blends!

If you have so many you don’t know what to do with, RECYCLE those babies!

Not sure what oils to use? We’ve got you!

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