Storing essential oils properly will help you not only extend the shelf life of your oils, but also keep their therapeutic qualities.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. The chemistry of essential oils dictates some deteriorate faster than others. To avoid oxidation the best way to store essential oils is in a cool, dark place.
2. Where to store essential oils? Counter-intuitively, since we use them in the bath, bathrooms tend not to be the best place!
3. If you live in a warmer country, it may be worth investing in a small refrigerator to store your essential and carrier oils.
4. Be aware that oils high in monoterpenes (in particular citrus oils) oxidize very quickly which can lead to skin sensitization. Replace these oils every two years or so and do not use old oils. Be aware though that diffusing older oils will not have the same safety considerations and scenting the room with these oils is an excellent way to use these oils up, but as the monoterpenes and aldehydes begin to decay the fragrance will deteriorate too. This plan works for a while, but not for long.
5. Always try to get right down to the bottom of a bottle of essential oil before buying a new one, because two bottles in the cupboard can be very irritating! Try not to be tempted to decant from one bottle to another unless you can really not help it. The more you avoid exposing your oil to air and making it subject to sudden changes in temperature, the longer it will last.
6. Consider too, that each year’s batch of essential oils is likely to have slightly different chemistry based on the climate the plant has been exposed to as it grows. It’s unlikely you will decant into exactly the same oil, even if they share the same name. Add to that the probability that the older oil is potentially far further down the line of deterioration, mixing new fresh oils into old is never a good plan.
7. Try hard to understand all the ways you can use your oils so you do not waste money but also some of the planet’s most valuable resources.
8. Ensure all oils are labelled clearly. Consider adding your purchase date to the bottle (or a notebook) to avoid problems with older products.
9. Keep all essential oils out of the way of children and little hands.