Does Essential Oil Storage Matter?
Well, let’s face it – essential oils are not cheap! And the process of extracting oils from plants requires a lot in order to produce just a small amount of oil.
Essential oils can diminish in quality if not stored correctly. Which is reason enough to learn the basics of essential oil storage and get the most out of each bottle!
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But Wait, Do Essential Oils Expire?
Does Essential Oil Storage Effect Expiration?
Unlike foods, there are no firm expiration dates for essential oils. Pure essential oils like Young Living essential oils do not contain preservatives or synthetic fillers, therefore they do expire.
But it’s not what we typically think of as pure essential oils do not contain water, so they do not grow mold, mildew, or yeast.
However, they do change over time and learning how to store essential oils effectively can help them last many years—some even decades (such as sandalwood)—without breaking down or changing in aroma or chemical composition.
But if you open up a bottle of lemon essential oil you purchased three years ago don’t expect it to smell and work the same way as it did originally.
Yes, you read that right – essential oils don’t become rancid but they do oxidize, deteriorate, and can lose their therapeutic benefits over time.
That’s because there are four main things that can change the chemical composition of essential oils. And all essential oils can benefit from proper storage and handling.
Are Essential Oils Flammable?
Each essential oil has a specific temperature at which it will ignite. Which is called the flash point.
Although essential oils are flammable the good news is their flash points are very high. Still store them away from heat sources such as fireplaces, stovetops, ovens, and radiators. The heat rising from those sources could accelerate oil deterioration. Typical room temperature will suffice.
Does light affect essential oil storage?
Storing in direct sunlight can certainly affect essential oils and speed up deterioration. To protect the therapeutic and aromatic properties of essential oils avoid storing them in sunny spots.
Does this mean you need to store them in the basement? Absolutely not!
A cupboard, drawer, essential oil bag, or wall storage away from sunlight are great places to store essential oils when not in use.
Can you store essential oils in clear glass bottles?
Yes and No…
According to Young Living, they package essential oils in amber glass bottles to protect them from sun exposure. Dark glass such as amber or cobalt blue helps to keep deteriorating sunlight out.
While it is best to avoid storing essential oils in clear glass bottles, it’s very acceptable to store essential oil roller blends in clear glass. A roller blend, essential oil perfume, or face mist isn’t something you’ll be storing.
If you are going to use it up in a few months, there’s no harm in using a clear glass container. In most cases, you’ll be tucking them into a bag or drawer for quick daily use away from sunlight anyway.
Can Essential Oils be Stored in Plastic Bottles or Containers?
This is a very important safety issue! Pure essential oils are powerful, like concentrate and should never be stored in typical plastic. This includes droppers with rubber bulbs. Pure essential oils can turn the bulb into basically gum and ruin the essential oil.
The essential oil will eat away at the plastic container or rubber bulb, known as corrosion.
But, there are few exceptions to using plastics with essential oils.
- PET and HDPE plastics will not deteriorate from essential oil storage, but most other plastics are easily broken down.
- Diluted essential oils can be in stored in plastic containers. For example lotion, body wash, bath salts, and the like made with essential oils are perfectly fine stored in plastic containers. But, when doubt opt for PET or HDPE plastics.
- An orifice reducer typically made of HDPE plastic will not break down from essential oil storage. It works similar to a rubber dropper allowing you to dispense oil drop by drop. If you open a bottle of Young Living essential oil you will see one inserted into the bottle.
Do Essential Oils Need to be Stored in an Airtight Container?
For starters, frequent and prolonged exposure to air will deteriorate the essential oil, diminish the fragrance quality, and increase evaporation.
When an essential oil is exposed to oxygen – oxidation occurs. Therefore only buy oils with screw cap lids like Young Living and keep caps tightly closed on essential oil bottles. And only take the cap off when you’re using the oil.
Moisture can enter a bottle of essential oil if the lid is left off too long. This is detrimental to the oil and will need to be tossed if this occurs. Or used in something like an essential oil candle or room spray.
How do you tell if an essential oil has moisture in it?
Look for cloudiness in the oil or water beading up at the bottom of the bottle.
Print a full letter size essential oil storage guide from the Oily Chic Library or pin this one to refer to on your phone.
5 Savvy Essential Oil Storage Ideas
#1 Essential Oil Bag for Travel and On the Go: Keep your roller blends and favorite essentials for wellness in a convenient bag made just for the size of a handful of essential oil bottles. My favorite handcrafted bags are from Baggage and Co.
#2 Essential Oil Tray or Wood Cut Out: Place one on your bedside table, desk, or where you use your diffusers. Grab a wood slice essential oil board pictured in the photos from Wood and Oils.
#3 Essential Oil Wall Storage: Ideal for bathroom or bedroom shelving away from direct sunlight. You can also find gorgeous handcrafted essential oil wall shelves as Wood and Oils.
#4 Reusable Sealed Essential Oil Pouch: Keep all your dietary essential oils like grapefruit essential oil in a handy dishwasher safe, reusable sealed pouch. You can find several varieties from the Grove Collaborative.
You May Also Like: The Best Carrier Oils for Essential Oil Blending
Essential oils can have a shelf life of anywhere between 2 and 15 years. Exposing them to sunlight, oxygen, heat, moisture, or plastic can change their chemistry and alter their benefits. Beware of these factors, follow these easy essential oil storage ideas and guidelines to ensure that your essential oils will last as long as you need them while protecting their longevity and investment.