Essential Oils Never Expire ~ TRUE or FALSE???

Myth: Essential Oils Never Go Bad

By Holly Draper, Certified Clinical Aromatherapist

Once again I find myself debunking dangerous myths about essential oils. This one is commonly perpetuated by essential oil companies that are more concerned with you buying essential oils than you actually using and getting the greatest benefit from them.

The myth I’m talking about today is:

Pure and Unadulterated Essential Oils Do Not Expire and Can Last Indefinitely (FALSE)

old bottles

This is a dangerous myth because it is false. Essential oils do expire. Even 100% pure unadulterated essential oils expire, doesn’t matter where you buy them from. It’s an important point to know and understand when using essential oils.

Over time, essential oils oxidize. Oxidation requires oxygen, but even unopened bottles will oxidize over time. Essential oils that are old, oxidized, and degraded are compromised. Their aromatic quality and therapeutic properties are diminished if not completely gone. This oxidation and degradation of old expired essential oils also leads to the formation of skin irritants and potent allergens in those old oils. Exposure to old essential oils may cause skin rashes and more serious allergic reactions, even if you never had a reaction to an essential oil before. Old oxidized essential oils have a much greater risk of triggering an allergic reaction.

Old and oxidized essential oils should be avoided. It is dangerous to use expired essential oils, as they can even contain oxidized compounds that are quite toxic to the human body.

How long do essential oils last?

Great question! Now that you know that they expire it’s important to know how long of a relationship you can have with your bottle of essential oil.

Citrus oils, containing smaller molecules (mostly monoperpenes) are the quickest essential oils to oxidize. Old expired citrus oils are the easiest and fastest oils to oxidize, and when oxidization occurs they are quite toxic. So toxic that they need to be thrown out, don’t even use them for cleaning as their disinfecting properties are already expired. It is recommended that you do not use old citrus oils that are more than 2 to 3 years old (if it’s in a cobalt blue glass bottle).

Most other essential oils can last up to 5 or 6 years when properly stored. This is why Purify Skin Therapy is one of the very rare companies that uses cobalt blue glass bottles. Although these bottles cost more they better protect your precious essential oils, helping to extend their potency and lifespan. We care that you are getting the freshest essential oils possible and that they are stored in the best way.

Lime Scotch Pine Spearmint

How to Store Essential Oils

How should I store my essential oils to help them last longer?

Storing your essential oils correctly can prevent them from evaporating and oxidizing, and can at least slow down this degradation process.

  1. Blue Glass Bottles – Store your essential oils in blue glass bottles which keep the harmful light and UV rays on the outside. Keeping your essential oils in blue glass bottles can help stretch the life of your oils.
  2. Light – Keep essential oils away from light. Light and UV light exposure can deteriorate essential oils. Oxidation occurs much faster at higher temperatures and upon exposure to light. Keep them away from light sources and do not store them in windowsills, in direct sunlight, or strongly lit areas.
  3. Heat – Keep essential oils away from heat sources. Heat also deteriorates essential oils so keep them away from heat sources and flames (essential oils are flammable). You also don’t want to leave them in hot places, like in a locked car in the summer.
  4. Oxygen – Oxidation requires oxygen. Oxygen is obviously the one thing that will oxidize your essential oils faster than any other thing. That is why it’s so important to keep your lids tightly on your bottles.

As always there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are a handful of essential oils that do get better and sweeter, actually improving with age. These are Sandalwood (Santalum spp.), Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), and Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides). Understand that every other essential oil will deteriorate with time, so plan accordingly and use those precious essential oils while you have them in their potency.

For more information please visit our website at

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