Dear EG, Do Your Oils Have An Expiration Date?

February 27, 2017

“Pure essential oils do not have a shelf life.” We’ve heard it before and often get asked why EG’s essential oils have a shelf life. The short answer is that pure essential oils have an expiration. The explanation to this fact is chemistry-related but won’t require a bunsen burner or safety goggles, fortunately.

The chemistry of expiration

If you’ve read our past blog posts, you may have seen terms like monoterpenes, monoterpenols and sesquiterpenols before. These are three examples of chemical families which essential oils belong to. For example, Mandarin and other citrus oils are high in limonene, pinene, terpinene and other constituents ending in -ene, which one can gather by looking at a citrus GC/MS report. Constituents ending in -ene are considered monoterpenes. Monoterpenes characteristically have a low molecular weight, making them unstable and susceptible to oxidation, or the process of an oil decaying due to interaction with oxygen or heat. Thus, essential oils categorized as monoterpenes typically have the lowest shelf life, of about 1-2 years.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, sesquiterpenols such as Sandalwood, Vetiver, Patchouli and Cedarwood, have a higher molecular weight. Therefore, essential oils classified as sesquiterpenols have a much higher shelf life, generally ranging between 6-8 years. In between these two chemical families are monoterpenols, which have a shelf life between 3-5 years.

Rather than going through each GC/MS report and figuring out which chemical family your essential oil belongs to, we’ve simplified the process by adding a “Safety & Shelf Life” section to each oil’s product page.

How to store

With the shelf life in mind, what’s the best way to store essential oils? Since oils decay with oxidation, we recommend storing oils in a cool, dry and dark area. Refrigerating oils is an efficient way to keep oils fresh as it meets all three of these requirements. We suggest placing oils in a bag or container in the fridge, so your food doesn’t begin to taste like essential oils.

To prevent oxygen from interacting with your oils, you may continuously move oils to smaller containers to keep oxygen out. For example, when you use half of a 10 ml bottle, transfer the rest of the oil to a 5 ml bottle to keep out as much oxygen as possible. This is not necessary, but suggested if you wish to extend the shelf life of your oils.

Have a question for E.G.? Ask us in the comment section below!


These comments were contributed by customers without influence from Edens Garden. The opinions expressed in these comments are 100% the authors' own and do not reflect the views or opinions of Edens Garden.

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Win! You can use expired oils in homemade cleaning products, but we do not recommend topical application or an excess of inhalation.

    We suggest using no more than seven oils in a blend made for facial application.

    On July 05, 2017

  • win says...

    I bought a bottle of Ylang Ylang and never been open and used. It’s expired 2 years ago and I found the smell is still good. So do you think I can still use it?? Another question, when I DIY blending the oils to use over my face/body, maximum how many oils are recommended to blend?

    On July 04, 2017

  • Gayle Karr says...

    Can you disclose the 16 new oils and blends, or do we have to wait till May 1st?
    So excited, can’t wait!

    On March 17, 2017

  • Edens Garden says...

    Hi Tonja! Many carrier oils have no aroma at all because they are made up of mostly fatty acids rather than components which give essential oils their aromas. There is not a Coconut essential oil in existence. Bitter Almond EO exists but is very toxic.

    On March 16, 2017

  • Tonja R says...

    I recently bought coconut carrier oil, and almond carrier oil. I was rather surprised neither had a smell at all. How is that possible? And I noticed that you don’t offer either as an EO. I’m kind of new to all of this, but with all the info on your site, I am having so much fun, Thanks and keep it up

    On March 15, 2017

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