Do Edens Garden Essential Oils Expire?

by Charity Dykstra August 11, 2020

Do Edens Garden Essential Oils Expire?

Practically all organic compounds have an expiration date. It’s just the chemical composition that determines how short or long that takes. For example, with essential oils, the shelf life is anywhere from two to eight years. There are also a few oils that can last even longer and actually get better with age. Resinous oils like Frankincense and Patchouli, similar to a fine wine, tend to mature in complexity over time. 

We'll cover some common questions about essential oil expiration such as:

  • Do essential oils expire?
  • What is the shelf life of essential oils?
  • What determines the essential oil expiration date?
  • How can you tell if a pure essential oil has indeed gone bad?
  • How long do essential oils last after opening?
  • How long are essential oils good for?
  • Can you use expired essential oils?
  • What should I do with old essential oils?

Read on to uncover everything you need to know about expiration dates and essential oil safety.

The Chemistry of Expiration

To answer the question of how long do essential oils last, you have to factor in:

  • The variety of essential oil 

  • The chemical family of the essential oil 

  • The storage method

How long it takes for the deterioration process to occur depends heavily on what chemical family the essential oil belongs to. What does that mean? There are three primary chemical families to consider with essential oil shelf life:

Monoterpenes – Monoterpenes are a family of naturally occurring compounds that are found in many essential oils extracted from fruits, spices, herbs and more. They have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that are useful for general health and wellness. Monoterpenes are commonly found in citrus oils. Examples include:

  • Pinene

  • Terpinene

  • Limonene 

Monoterpenes have a low molecular weight, which causes them to be unstable. As a result, they’re quicker to oxidize or decay whenever they frequently interact with heat or oxygen. Essential oils such as Blood Orange and Bergamot have high monoterpene concentrations, which cause them to have a shorter shelf life of one to two years. 


Monoterpenols
– Monoterpenols are generally great at refreshing the skin and providing emotional balance. They are immune system boosters and useful for fighting infections. Common essential oils that are high in monoterpenols include:

  • Lavender

  • Peppermint

  • Clary Sage 

Because they have a higher molecular weight and increased chemical stability, their shelf life typically lasts three to five years. 

Sesquiterpenols – At the other end of the spectrum is the sesquiterpenol family. They are known for having anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. Sesquiterpenol-rich oils include Patchouli and Sandalwood. Because they have a higher molecular weight, they tend to get better with age. 


How Can You Tell if Essential Oils Have Gone Bad? 

As discussed, when essential oils go bad, it’s not as apparent as with other products. That said, there are three things you should check for to help you determine whether or not your essential oil is safe to use:

  • Aroma – With certain essential oils you can tell if they’ve lost some of their pungency. Give each essential oil a sniff test before use to see if you can notice any changes in the aroma. This should be more apparent with essential oils that you’re more familiar with due to frequent use. 

  • Oil appearance – Some essential oils, particularly any type of citrus oil that is high in monoterpenes, separate and grow cloudy as the compounds go through oxidation. Be sure to check out the color and clarity of the oil through the glass bottle when you first get it, so you can see if changes  are occurring. If so, this is a sign of an expired essential oil. 

  • Check the essential oil bottle or product page – At Edens Garden, every single one of our essential oils and blends has a section on their product page devoted to “Safety and Shelf Life.” Confer with this page so you know the expected shelf life. Compare that number with the date when you purchased the products online. If you’re unsure when you purchased your product, you can contact our customer care team and they will look up your past orders. 


How to Preserve Your Essential Oils and Maximize Shelf Life

Did you notice how the shelf life has a range? For instance, the Cassia essential oil has a shelf life of two to three years. If you want the bottle to last longer, you can take steps to maximize essential oil shelf life, including: 

  • Store it properly – Proper essential oil storage simply comes down to keeping the bottle sealed when not in use. The less exposure they have to oxygen, the longer they’ll last. 

  • Keep it at the right temperature – Essential oils that are prone to oxidation such as citrus oils, blue oils and those rich in monoterpenes are best kept at temperatures around 32° F (the approximate temperature of the inside of your refrigerator) with little light exposure. If you do put them in the fridge, be sure to double bag your oils and seal the containers. 

  • Use smaller containers – 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 smaller bottle, such as 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 that are prone to oxidation, like those mentioned above.


Edens Garden Essential Oils 

Need recommendations for aromatherapy oils to try? Some of our favorite carrier oils for topical application include Grapeseed carrier oil and Jojoba carrier oil. Some of our favorite essential oils include Tea Tree oil, Peppermint oil, Lavender oil, Eucalyptus oil, Ginger oil, Rosemary oil and Lemon oil.

The shelf life of Edens Garden essential oils is highly dependent on the type of essential oil you use and the way you store it. 

To be safe, check the bottle or webpage for more details on safety and essential oil shelf life or reach out to our customer care team who is happy to help with any expired oil questions.

Sources:

  1. PubMed. Monoterpenes in essential oils. Biosynthesis and properties. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10335385/


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4 comments

Edens Garden

March 15, 2021 at 8:36 am

Hi Robin! If you’ve opened the bottle since purchasing it, you can still use the oils to scent things like potpourri or DIY cleaning products, but it should no longer be used topically or diffused for therapeutic use.

Robin S.

March 15, 2021 at 8:23 am

I purchased the Love synergy oil awhile ago, probably four years ago now. Should I toss it?

Edens Garden

September 23, 2020 at 11:58 am

Hi Geraldine! We introduced batch numbers on bottles approximately two years ago so there should be a batch number on the bottle. You can also email us the person’s first and last name and we can look up when they ordered.

Geraldine

September 23, 2020 at 11:49 am

Hi, i will be purchasing from someone who bought it a year ago, but the items are sealed. Is there any way for me to confirm the date of purchase? Or is there a batch code of mfg date on a bottle?