Friday, January 31, 2014

Essential Oil Shelf Life


Essential oils are volatile compounds that are sensitive to heat, light and oxygen.  While some essential oils get better with age, like Patchouli and Sandalwood, most have a shelf life ranging from 2 to 5 years on average.

Common Essential Oils Shelf Life  

Citrus Essential Oils - 1 to 2 years
Lavender Essential Oil - 5 years
Eucalytpus Essential Oil - 2 to 3 years
Frankincense Essential Oil - 5 years
Peppermint Essential Oil - 4 to 5 years
Lemongrass Essential Oil - 2 to 3 years
Rosemary Essential Oil - 3 to 4 years
Tea Tree Essential Oil - 3 to 4 years

As essential oils age their chemistry changes, often oxidizing.  This results in reduced therapeutic efficacy and a higher potential for skin irritation.  The above shelf life recommendations are based on when the essential oil is distilled.  This is why it's important to buy fresh essential oils and request distillation dates from the company you buy them from.  All of the essential oils I sell with Kokokahn are batch coded allowing me to trace any essential oil bottle back to the month it was distilled.

Essential Oil Storage Tips



* Store in a cool, dark place
* Always put your cap on tight after using
* Don't leave them in a hot car
* Store in the refrigerator 





A great way to keep track of how old your essential oils are, is to put a label on them with a date of when you purchased them.  This will help you know a year or two down the road if your essential oil is getting close to being old.



If you have essential oils that are past their shelf life, convert them to using in your cleaning products.  Many of them will still have antibacterial and immune supporting properties and their aroma in most cases will be the same.

Suggestions for using Essential Oils past their shelf life


  1. Put 4 or 5 drops down your kitchen and bathroom drains.  Then pour boiling water down the drains. A great natural solution for keeping your drains clean and fresh.
  2. Add a few drops to the bottom of your trash cans each time you change the bag.
  3. Add a few drops to mop water
  4. Put 3 or 4 drops on the inside of your toilet paper rolls

What are your favorite essential oils?  Do you use essential oils to clean with?  Do you have a cleaning idea or recipe?


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