If you are one of the many people who have discovered the benefits of using essential oils, you may be wondering if they ever expire. Well, despite certain companies claiming that their “pure” oils never expire, in reality, all essential oils do have a shelf life and will eventually spoil.
So, if all essential oils will eventually spoil, how long do they last? Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. Spoilage times for essential oils vary depending on the type of oil and how that particular oil is stored. While determining the expiration dates of essential oils isn’t an exact science, its generally a good idea to dispose of any essential oils that are more than three years old just to be safe.
While essential oils are generally considered to have a three-year lifespan, there will be times when you should dispose of your essential oils before they reach three years in age. To know when a particular essential oil has spoiled, pay attention to the oil itself. If the oil begins to look, feel, or smell different than what you remember, you should probably throw it out regardless of how long you’ve had it.
Why? Because over time, the process of oxidation changes the composition of the oil, which will eventually cause it to spoil. To help extend the shelf life of your essential oils, be sure to limit the oils exposure to oxygen, light, and heat—three key factors that can cause essential oils to prematurely spoil.
In knowing there will come a day when you must dispose of your essential oils, what is the best method for safely disposing of any leftovers? Through a hazardous waste pick-up or drop-off program. As unused oils can harm the environment (as well as any children, pets, or wildlife that may come into contact with it) you must never pour your unused essential oils down the drain or on the ground outside.