While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Alternative medicine has become a popular option in today’s healthcare world, and with it comes the use of essential oils. These oils can be used for a variety of reasons, from aromatherapy to prevention of illness.
If you don’t use a lot of an oil, you may wonder if they expire. The answer is yes, they do!
We’ll take a look at why essential oils expire, and we’ll review the average shelf life of specific essential oils, as some last longer than others. Read on.
Why do essential oils expire
As soon as you open a new bottle or container of essential oils and it comes into contact with oxygen, a process called oxidation begins. The oxidation process involves the changes of oxygen bonds between cells into carbon bonds.
When an oil comes into contact with oxygen, light, and heat, its composition begins to change. Over time, it starts to lose its strength and effectiveness. This is why most essential oils are sold in amber-colored bottles — the darker glass provides better protection against ultraviolet light.
Does this mean that essential oils spoil or “go bad?”
Essential oils don’t spoil like food does, but they do change over time. Because it’s hard to determine what the oils have changed into, it’s also hard to determine whether or not they’re safe to use.
The bottom line is, don’t inhale expired essential oils or use them on your skin after they have expired.
What’s the approximate shelf life of essential oils?
Most essential oils have a shelf life, but this shelf life can vary according to the type of oil. These tables show the average shelf life of specific oils.
Can you extend the shelf life of essential oils?
Here are some tips for how to extend the shelf life of your essential oils.
Reduce exposure to oxygen
To prevent your essential oils from expiring early and to ensure they stay potent, minimize the amount of time the cap is off the bottle. The longer the bottle is uncapped, the more the oil is exposed to the oxygen in the air.
Also, be sure to place the cap back tightly on the bottle. If it’s not screwed on tightly, oxygen may still get into the bottle and begin the oxidation process.
Keep away from light and heat
The best place to store your essential oils is in a cool, dry place like a kitchen cabinet or your bathroom medicine cabinet. Keep your oils away from direct sunlight or any other direct heat and light sources.
It’s also best to buy or use dark-colored glass containers for your oils. The more opaque the glass, the more protection it offers against oxidation.
Use smaller containers to store your oils
Smaller containers will prevent oxygen from being trapped in the bottle when it’s opened. This will prevent oxidation from happening earlier than it should and will extend the life of your oils.
How can you tell if your essential oil is expired?
Once you’ve opened a bottle of an oil, you should keep track of how long you’ve had it. A handy way to do this is to take a marker and write the date that you opened it on the label.
Use the charts above for a quick reference for shelf life, and throw out the oil once it hits its expiration date.
If your oil isn’t dated, here are some other indications that it might be time to toss it:
the smell of the oil has changed since you first opened the bottle
the color has changed, or it has become cloudy
the consistency is thicker or thinner than it was when you opened it
What’s the best way to dispose of expired essential oils?
If you have expired essential oils, you might be tempted to just dump them down the sink to dispose of them. However, there’s a better way to get rid of those old oils without clogging your pipes or harming the environment.
Here are some tips to dispose of your oils properly:
Check with your city/county/municipality to see how to dispose of your oils. Rules and regulations can differ from place to place, so be sure to get familiar with your area’s procedures.
If you have a waste management company that picks up your trash, contact them to ask how to best dispose of your oils. They’ll likely have a procedure for chemical product disposal.
Never pour your essential oils down the drain. In addition to clogging your pipes, your oils may find their way into your local water supply and can harm the environment.
How to recycle your essential oil containers
Once you’ve disposed of your expired oils, you may want to reuse or recycle the containers they came in.
To do this, first place them in a sink and fill them with soap and water. Let them soak overnight and then rinse and dry. Now you can use them for whatever you’d like!
If there’s any lingering smell, you can soak them in one part water and one part rubbing alcohol.
Essential oils do have a shelf life, but there are many ways to ensure that they stay potent and fresh. Make sure to minimize the amount of time they’re exposed to light and air, and you’ll be able to enjoy your oils for a long time!
Can pure vanilla go bad?
Have you ever found yourself wondering how to tell if pure vanilla extract has gone bad? A lot of people wonder about the shelf life of vanilla extract, and when it’s time to throw it out.
Even though it’s oil-based and comes in an opaque bottle, it doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life. Read on to find out why pure vanilla extract expires, how to prolong its shelf life, and what signs indicate that it’s time to toss the bottle in the recycling bin.
Pure vanilla extract can go bad in 3 ways:
It starts to spoil. When pure vanilla extract begins to spoil, it will smell different from how it smelled when it was first purchased. It may begin to develop a “rotten” smell. It may begin to taste noticeably different, too.
See the signs above for more information about what you might expect to smell and taste like if your bottle of vanilla has spoiled. It gets contaminated. When vanilla is contaminated with bacteria, it will ruin the flavor of the extract and make it unsafe for consumption or use.
You can use the signs above as a guide for when you should reach for another bottle of vanilla instead of a bottle that smells or tastes off. It goes bad due to improper storage. If you expose vanilla extract to light, heat, or too much oxygen, it may go bad more quickly. Read on for some tips for properly storing your vanilla extract so that it lasts as long as possible.
Does pure vanilla go bad?
Here are some tips for prolonging the shelf life of your bottle of vanilla extract: Store in a cool and dark place You can store your vanilla in the pantry if it’s dark, but you want to be sure to keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Too much heat can change the flavor of the extract and cause it to spoil more quickly.
The best way to store it is in a cool, dry place like your cupboard or your refrigerator. Don’t leave vanilla extract exposed to oxygen When you’re not using it, set your bottle on the counter or in a cupboard instead of on the kitchen island. If you put the bottle on the counter, be sure that the cap is closed tightly and that it’s easy to reach and open easily when you need it again. If you will be going out of town and won’t be able to retrieve your vanilla extract for at least a couple of weeks, remove some air from the bottle by taking off one cap when you store it away.
How long does pure natural vanilla last?
While pure vanilla extract can spoil, its lifespan is a bit longer than some other extracts. Vanilla extract can last anywhere from one to three years when stored properly.
If you’re looking for a solid recommendation on the shelf life of vanilla extract, the folks at McCormick have this recommendation: “Unopened — 4 years. Opened — 1 year in refrigerator.” This advice might seem a bit confusing, but it all makes sense once you read it more carefully. They are saying that unopened vanilla extract can stay fresh and usable for up to four years before it begins to go bad because of exposure to light and air (think about how long your bottle has been sitting on your counter).
Is 20 year old vanilla still good?
If you’re looking for vanilla extract to use in baking, you’ve probably seen an ingredient list that includes vanilla beans. What happens to vanilla beans over time? When they are stored properly, they can stay fresh and flavorful for a long time.
Vanilla extract can be made with both vanillin and the actual vanilla bean. You might have seen cooking recipes where the baker has used a whole bean instead of extract. This is because both vanillin and the actual vanilla bean are odorless, so many people prefer to use them in recipes where other spices, flavorings, or extracts may be added.
The best way to get fresh and flavorful vanilla bean extract is to go directly to the source. This means you should go into a store that sells pure vanilla extract and buy the bottle that has nothing else in it. The company will likely have some information about its shelf life printed on the label. If they’re using high-quality ingredients, it should last for years.
Can I use vanilla after expiration date?
The best vanilla extract will have a long shelf life. However, although it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make any use of a bottle of vanilla that’s expired after the expiration date, there are a few ways to extend the shelf life of pure vanilla extract beyond its initial expiration date. Keep reading for more information about how to use up your bottles of vanilla extract once the label says the manufacturer has determined that it has gone bad.
Here’s the bottom line: vanilla extract does expire, but its shelf life can be prolonged by storing it properly. If you have a smaller bottle of vanilla in your pantry, you may be able to prolong its shelf life without having to worry about throwing it out. However, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution, consider one of the larger bottles of vanilla instead.
You typically get more bottle for your money that way and they are often larger than they need to be. You can use some of the extra vanilla after it’s been opened if you want to extend the shelf life or save some money on future purchases.