How to Properly Store Essential Oils

Essential oils provide a wide range of benefits from aromatherapy to help you relax, to medicinal purposes.

If you’re new to using essential oils or consider yourself an expert, it’s important to know how to store them the right way to preserve their many healing properties.

Read on for some important information about how to properly store essential oils so that yours last for a long time to come.

Shelf Life

Just like food or medicine, essential oils have different lifespans depending on the type of oil and how it’s stored. If your oils are kept the right way, they should last much longer than if you were to store them improperly.

Each type of essential oil may have a different lifespan, but they’ll all last longer when you store them the right way. The two most important things to always keep in mind when storing essential oils are the type of container they’re kept in, and the temperature at which they are stored.

In general, proper storage should extend your oils’ lifespan by about one year or more. In some cases, they could last as long as 10 full years, depending on the storage method and the type of oil you’re stocking up on.

Essential Oils and Expiration

Everything has a limited shelf life, and that includes your essential oils. Once they expire, they will lose their most important properties, and could actually become harmful or unsafe for use.

Once an essential oil is exposed to oxygen, it undergoes a process call oxidation. This can cause the oils to lose their pleasant fragrance and break down, reducing the strength and effectiveness of their healing properties.

Certain oils, like citrus oils, tend to oxidize at a more rapid pace than some other types of oils. Some types of oil may begin to lose their pleasant aroma after just six months once the original container has been opened.

Earthy oils like patchouli and sandalwood seem to last a bit longer before their fragrance starts to weaken. It really depends on the quality of the oil you choose, the type, and how much exposure it gets to air and sunlight.

No matter what type of roll on essential oils you have, proper storage can help them to last longer. With the right methods and containers, your oils should be able to maintain both their potency and fragrance for longer periods of time.

Some of the things that may affect an oil’s expiration include the quality of the plant, the extraction method, and how the oil is handled. Ultimately, however, how you store essential oils is what makes the biggest difference.

Essential Oils Advice: When Oils Go Bad

How can you tell when your essential oils are not in prime condition? First, take a whiff of the bottle and pay close attention to the strength of the aroma. If smells “off” or weaker than usual, it may have already broken down.

Another sign of bad oil is if it suddenly has a change in color. If your oils appear to be darker, lighter or have lost their color altogether, this is another red flag.

Observe the clarity of your essential oils. Regardless of the color, they should be fairly clear and never appear murky or foggy in nature.

Finally, if your essential oils are thicker than they should be, then they’ve likely started to deteriorate. Use this essential oils advice as a basic guideline to help you determine whether or not your oils are still in good condition.

Heat and Essential Oils

Exposure to high temperatures is one of the biggest reasons why your essential oils might go bad. You can store them in the refrigerator to help keep them cool.

Storing essential oils in the freezer is another possibility. You may notice that they start to look foggy or form small crystals, but this is totally normal. Simply remove them from the freezer and them thaw out before you use them.

Your oils may thaw within a few minutes, or it could take several hours. Hold the bottle in your hand to warm the oil up and help it liquify faster. You may also place the bottle in a bit of warm water until it is thawed.

Always make sure that there is some room between the top of the bottle and the cap. That way, when it thaws, the oils won’t expand and cause a leak or cause the oil to spill over the top when the cap is removed.

You don’t have to store your essential oils in the fridge or freezer if you use them frequently. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight if you plan to use them more often than once a month.

How to Store Essential Oils: Choose the Right Container

Keeping your essential oils in the right type of container is the most important factor when it comes to proper storage. Oils should never be kept in a plastic bottle, since the oils may cause the plastic to break down, leeching dangerous chemicals and other toxins into the oil.

Your oil might also be absorbed into the plastic, making cleaning the container practically impossible. If you’re using a diluted version of your essential oil as a moisturizer or as a massaging oil, plastic might be OK to use. A carrier oil like coconut oil or avocado oil will dilute the oil and make it less potent so it shouldn’t affect it as much.

Ideally, the best way to store essential oils is in a glass bottle. Clear glass is fine, but darker-colored glass in a deep amber or green color is ideal to protect it from harmful UV rays.

You can find essential oil bottles and containers online at sites like which sells roll-on bottles, droppers, lids, and many other forms for packaging essential oils. Glass is always the best way to go since it will keep the oils well preserved and protected from oxidation.

When it comes to storing your oils in metal containers, it depends on the method and material. For example, aluminum bottles should be fine as long as they include a protective epoxy lining.

Stainless steel is another great choice for storing your essential oils. This metal won’t rust, has natural antibacterial properties, and will protect your oils from sunlight.

Always keep your bottles tightly capped to prevent moisture from getting inside. Moisture is what causes many essential oils to become cloudy, and it can also dilute the potency of your oils.

Traveling with Your Essential Oils

Whether you need them to help you relax or you want to add a few drops to your bath, you can easily travel with your essential oils if you have the right containers. Place some of your oils in smaller amber-colored glass bottles with a tight-fitting cap to prevent them from spilling.

Put the oils in a carrying case made of dark fabric or plastic. This will add another layer of protection to ensure that they stay in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them.

It’s best to decant just some of your oils into separate containers so that the rest lasts longer. This will reduce the exposure to light, moisture, and air and will help you keep them for longer when using essential oils at home.

Remember, you really only need a few drops of concentrated oils. Adding just a small amount to separate containers should provide you with what you need during your travels.

Takeaway Tips

In general, it’s best to store essential oils in a cool, dark place with a tightly capped glass bottle. Always make sure that the cap is secured as tightly as possible before you put them away.

If you want to display your oils, just make sure that they’re not near a window or anywhere that they’ll come into direct contact with light. A cool room is best since hot temperatures will cause the oils to degrade over time.

You can store your favorite oils in the refrigerator or freezer, but it’s not necessary. If you plan to use them often, simply keeping them in a cool place should be fine.

Most essential oils are sold in very small bottles. That’s because the larger the bottle, the more oil will be exposed to harmful elements.

Protect Your Oils with Proper Storage

From sunlight and heat to exposure to moisture, knowing how to store essential oils will ensure that they last a long time. Always use a dark-colored glass container with a lid whenever possible, and keep them out of direct sunlight.

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