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EO Shelf Life


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#1 soapaddict

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 10:02 AM

Here's a good article I found with some helpful info about EO shelf life:

http://www.quinessen.../shelf_life.htm

Quote

How long do essential oils last? The shelf life of essential oils, carrier oils and massage oils varies tremendously, and their life expectancy can be influenced by many different external factors. Despite what you may have been told or read in books, the so-called 'shelf life' of natural products can be extremely difficult to predict with any certainty because there are so many variables.

The truth is that 'aromatherapy' and essential oils are not the same as milk or bread, which follow a predictable and rapid path toward spoiling over a known period of time. The shelf life of a natural oil is governed by its chemical stability, and anything that interferes with this stability will cause the oil to start the slow, but inexorable process of deterioration.

Heat, sunlight and air can all have a detrimental effect on the chemistry of essential oils, carrier oils, and mixtures of both such as massage oil blends. In addition, the complex and varying chemistry of natural essential oils means that the rate of deterioration will be different for every individual botanical species of oil, even when kept under ideal conditions. This means that some oils will last far beyond what many books claim, whilst others may deteriorate earlier than stated.

To help you with all of this, these basic guidelines will show you how to extend the life expectancy of all of your essential oils, carrier oils and massage oils. You have invested your money in all your aromatherapy products, so it certainly makes sense to look after them properly thereby ensuring their therapeutic properties are not weakened or lost.

Storage is the key
Providing the oils were fresh when you purchased them from your supplier in the first place, correct storage is most definitely the key to preserving the freshness and potency of your oils. This can not be stated strongly enough, and to learn more about this crucial subject see our page dedicated to essential oil storage.

Both essential and vegetable oils do not like extreme, or repeated changes in temperature, and when not in use should be stored in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight and other sources of variation in temperature. Never leave oils in a place where the sun will shine directly on them - like in your car or on a window shelf in the bathroom, for example.

Chain reaction
If you fail to remember this, your oils will begin to spoil much sooner than they should due to the action of them continually heating up and cooling down. Once the process of deterioration has begun it can not be stopped, and like a chain-reaction it gathers speed according to the intricate balance of the oils chemical constituents.

This is why dark coloured glass bottles are used to package essential oils, since they offer some protection to the oil from the sun's harmful ultra-violet light. However, these simple house-keeping practices must still be observed if the bottles are to have any chance of doing their job properly. Leaving any oil, in any colour of bottle, for any length of time in the sun is condemning it to an early death!

Here are some basic guidelines giving an indication as to the length of time a given oil should remain in good condition. Just remember these can only ever be basic guidelines and not firm, fixed periods after which the oil should be considered to have expired. There are simply too many variables for this to be considered an exact science.

Essential oils
Apart from a few exceptions, all steam distilled essential oils have a shelf life of at least 2 years, and even more when stored properly. Tea Tree, Pine and Fir oils are the above exceptions, and typically have a shelf life of around 12 to 18 months due to certain components in their natural chemical composition.

Cold pressed citrus oils have the shortest shelf life of all essential oils due to a high proportion of components called terpenes which are more prone to oxidisation. Therefore extra care should be taken to store them safely away from sources of heat. If they were fresh when you purchased them from your supplier, you can expect citrus oils to remain in good condition for 9 to 12 months, and even longer when cared for properly. If you normally buy them in 10ml sizes, immediately decant them into two 5ml bottles and this will protect one bottle from oxidizing for longer.

Due to their chemical makeup, essential oils do not turn rancid like vegetable oils, they simply degrade gradually into a state where the therapeutic properties become diminished. Your nose will tell you that something is seriously wrong long before the point when the oils become unsuitable to be added to carriers for use on the skin.

Absolutes & Phytonics
Absolutes and phytols generally have the longest shelf of all oils, often remaining in good condition for up to 5 years and beyond.


#2 soapbuddy

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 12:33 PM

That's a good one; thanks!

#3 WholeEarth

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 04:57 PM

Excellent Helen Thank You!
Let's Keep it Green Folks!

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#4 mi_ami

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 02:27 PM

Thank you! What great information. I'll be printing this out.

#5 drummagick

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 01:02 PM

Up until September I only had a few bottles of EOs, then I got bit by the essential oil bug and started collecting.

I went and got an insulated lunch carrier, actually I think it's a 6-pack can carrier, to keep mine in. My workspace is in the basement and there's not that much extremes of temperature down there, but still, they cost too much to take any chances with.

After making some things for Christmas and collecting a few more EOs, I'm about to need another insulated carrier :yuck

I read somewhere recently that patchouli is the only EO that ages well. I have 2 largish bottle of some wonderful patchouli I got maybe 7 or 8 years ago, and it has mellowed and just gets better with time.

#6 WholeEarth

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 01:18 PM

the insulated carrier is a GREAT idea! And you're right Patch does get better with time, you're lucky to have one so old. Good for you! :yuck
Let's Keep it Green Folks!

CO-OP OF AMERICA SEAL
WHOLE EARTH NATURAL PRODUCTS INC. CO-OP OF AMERICA APPROVED GREEN CORPORATION


Ciao' For Now!!

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copyright 2005-2008 Peggy Williams All Rights Reserved

#7 drummagick

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Posted 01 January 2008 - 02:45 PM

It was one of those 'necessity being the mother of invention' things.

I take the kids up to Tonasket barter faire every October, it's kind of a 3 day hippie gathering/crafts fair/live music/harvest festival. I decided to get a vendor spot this year. I was going to sell some scent sprays and wasn't sure how many to make up and was trying to figure out the easiest and safest way to transport supplies in case I needed to make up some more. I happened to be in the camping section of the store getting a couple tarps and saw those insulated carriers. Best thing, the temperatures can go from the low to mid 20s at night up to the 70s or low 80s during the day at that time of year up there.

Now I need to get some small round labels and label the tops of the EO bottles.

Edited by drummagick, 01 January 2008 - 02:47 PM.


#8 soapaddict

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 01:29 AM

Hiya Drummagik:). Glad to see you here:)!

Carrier sounds great:). You can get round labels pretty easily, but they don't offer much space... I did the same thing with my pre-diluted blending bottles too:).

#9 soapaddict

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 08:00 PM

Bumping up a good article. Anyone have new info?

#10 LovinLocks

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 01:48 PM

Nah. But I've got some that I am SURE needs to be used up. That's the only thing with hobby soaping. I have ingredients that will (are) probably spoil. I can't tell you how much soap I've bagged up and given to the local Help Center 'cause I don't want it to go to waste (or it's plain fugly, but useable :blush ).
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#11 soapaddict

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 08:56 PM

Well one thing that's great about soap... while scents and colors might fade a bit... generally handmade soaps just get BETTER with time.

I have some decade old soaps that are even better than when new. I'm serious. If they don't get DOS (oxidation), and were stored in a dry air-tight storage, they may not be as pretty as when fresh, but they are absolutely even better than new. In terms of bubbles, silkiness, slip, old soaps are a luxury that only long-time soapers can have, and it's a huge luxury to still have them to use. Don't dump em Minah, use em yourself:).





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