What To Do With Expired Essential Oils

What To Do With Expired Essential Oils -Vivorific Health Llc

Do you have essential oils that are past their prime but can't bear to just toss them out? Here's a surprising fact: Expired essential oils still have plenty of uses! In this article, we'll journey through understanding the shelf life of essential oils, signs they've expired, and creative ways to repurpose these aromatic treasures.

Ready? Let's dive in and see how these once loved bottles can breathe new life into your everyday routine.

Key Takeaways

  • Expired essential oils can still be repurposed and used in various ways.
  • To determine if an essential oil has expired, check the expiration date, color, smell, and conduct a simple test.
  • When essential oils expire, they can lose potency, promote bacterial growth, and cause allergic reactions.
  • To prevent essential oils from going bad, store them properly away from heat and sunlight and discard old or rarely used oils.

Understanding Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile compounds extracted from plants that contain the natural fragrance and properties of the plant they are derived from.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted from different parts of plants like leaves, stems, flowers, and roots. These plant extracts capture its source's natural fragrance or 'essence'.

Essential oils carry distinct therapeutic properties that vary based on the type of plant they come from. They are used across multiple disciplines including aromatherapy, personal skincare and natural medicine.

Despite their name, essential oils do not have an oily texture but appear clear.

What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils?

Essential oils offer a multitude of benefits that enhance your overall well-being. Each type of oil provides unique healing attributes. For instance, lavender essential oil induces relaxation and calms anxiety.

Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural decongestant, opening airways during a cold or flu. Peppermint essential oil aids digestion and alleviates headaches, while tea tree oil commands antibacterial properties that keep infections at bay.

These potent liquids are beneficial for health and serve as practical solutions around the house, acting as insect repellents or ingredients in homemade cleaning products.

Essential oils - an amalgamation of aroma with therapy!

Types of Essential Oils

Essential oils can be classified into two main categories: organic and inorganic oils.

Organic and Inorganic

Organic essential oils come from plants that are grown in natural conditions without the use of pesticides or synthetic chemicals. They are often considered safer and offer higher therapeutic value because they retain all the plant's beneficial properties.

On the other hand, inorganic essential oils might contain traces of harmful substances due to chemical fertilizers used during plant growth. However, they usually cost less than organic versions, making them an attractive alternative for some users.

It's crucial to note that both types can vary in chemical composition depending on genetic variation and plant nutrition.

Single Oils and Blends

Single oils and blends are the two main categories of essential oils. Single oils are made from a single plant or botanical source, such as lavender or eucalyptus.

These oils often have specific therapeutic properties and can be used independently for various purposes. On the other hand, blends are mixtures of different essential oils combined to create a unique scent or therapeutic effect.

Blends can be pre-made by manufacturers or individuals based on their specific needs and preferences. Whether you prefer using single oils or blends, both options provide a wide range of benefits and possibilities in aromatherapy.

What To Do With Expired Essential Oils- Vivorific Health Llc

Determining if Essential Oils Have Expired

To determine if essential oils have expired, check the bottle for an expiration date, examine the color and smell of the oil, and conduct a simple test to assess its quality.

Checking the bottle for expiration date

Before using any essential oil, it is important to check the expiration date on the bottle. Different oils have different shelf lives, which can range from 1-3 years. Some essential oil brands may even include an expiry or recommended use-by date on their products.

By checking the expiration date, you can ensure that your oils are still safe and effective to use for aromatherapy purposes. So before you apply that lavender or eucalyptus oil onto your skin or put it in your diffuser, make sure to give the bottle a quick look for its expiration date.

Checking the color

Essential oils can change color when they expire, providing a visual clue that their shelf life may be over. For example, coconut oil may turn yellow when it's expired. By checking the changes in color, you can determine if your essential oils are still good to use or if it's time to dispose of them.

Remember that evaporation and oxidation are important factors in determining expiration, so keep an eye out for any noticeable changes in hue. While there is no foolproof way to tell if an oil has expired, monitoring the color can be a helpful indicator, along with following expiration dates and signs of changes in consistency.

Checking the smell

Expired essential oils may have a nasty or unpleasant smell. By checking for changes in fragrance, you can easily determine if an essential oil has expired. This is because the scent of fresh and high-quality essential oils is often vibrant and pleasant.

However, as essential oils age, their aroma may become dull, musty, or even rancid. If you notice any off smells or a significant change in the fragrance compared to when you first opened the bottle, it's a good indication that the oil has gone bad.

So always trust your nose when assessing the quality of your essential oils.

Testing the oil

Testing the oil is a crucial step in determining whether essential oils have expired or not. One way to test the oil is by checking its color, as an expired oil may appear darker or cloudy compared to fresh ones.

Another method is to assess its smell: if the odor of an essential oil has weakened or changed significantly, it could be a sign that it has gone bad. Examining the oil's clarity can also give you valuable insights into its condition, as expired oils often become hazy or develop sediments.

By performing these tests, you can ensure that your essential oils are still effective and safe to use for aromatherapy purposes.

What To Do With Expired Essential Oils-Vivorific Health Llc

What Happens When Essential Oils Go Bad

When essential oils go bad, they can lose their potency, promote bacterial growth, and even cause allergic reactions. Find out more about the potential risks of expired essential oils and how to prevent them from happening in our blog post.

Loss of potency

Essential oils can lose their potency over time, which means that they may not provide the same therapeutic benefits as when they were fresh. This is especially true for oils like eucalyptus, which have a short expiration date due to their weak volatility.

When essential oils start to lose their potency, their aroma and effectiveness may be diminished. It's important to use fresh essential oils to ensure you are getting the maximum benefits from your aromatherapy practices.

Bacterial growth

Expired essential oils can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to contamination and potential health risks. It is important to understand that expired essential oils are more susceptible to bacterial growth due to changes in their composition over time.

While pure essential oils do not have a specific expiration date and do not go rancid, they can still become contaminated if they are exposed to moisture or other contaminants. To ensure the safety of your aromatherapy practice, it is recommended to dispose of any expired essential oils and use fresh ones instead.

Allergic reactions

Using expired essential oils can lead to allergic reactions. The most common allergic reaction to essential oils is called allergic contact dermatitis, which causes redness, irritation, itching, and other skin reactions.

When essential oils are applied to the skin and expired, they may cause a rash or worsen existing skin conditions. In addition to skin reactions, using expired essential oils can also trigger allergic symptoms such as an itchy and runny nose or difficulty breathing.

It's important to be cautious and mindful of the expiration dates on your essential oil bottles to avoid any potential allergic reactions.

Keeping Essential Oils From Going Bad

Properly store essential oils, keep them away from heat and sunlight, and discard old or rarely used oils.

Properly storing essential oils

Properly storing essential oils is crucial to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. To keep your oils in optimal condition, storing them in a cool, dark place, away from heat and sunlight is recommended.

Exposure to light can cause the oils to oxidize more quickly, reducing their potency. If possible, consider using amber or dark-colored glass bottles that provide additional protection against UV rays.

Additionally, refrigeration can benefit more volatile oils as colder temperatures help slow down oxidation. While not everyone may have access to a refrigerator solely for storing essential oils, finding a suitable storage location that meets these conditions will go a long way in preserving the quality of your aromatic treasures.

Keeping away from heat and sunlight

Exposing essential oils to heat and sunlight can be detrimental to their quality and effectiveness. Heat can cause the oils to oxidize faster, resulting in a shorter shelf life and diminished therapeutic properties.

Sunlight, particularly direct sunlight, can also lead to oxidation and degradation of the oils. To ensure that your essential oils last as long as possible, it is important to store them in a cool, dry place away from any heat or light sources.

This will help preserve their potency and maintain their beneficial properties for aromatherapy use.

Discarding old or rarely used oils

If you have old or rarely used essential oils in your collection, it's important to know when to discard them. Essential oils can expire and lose their potency over time, making them less effective for aromatherapy or other uses.

To determine if an oil has gone bad, check for changes in color or smell. If the oil smells off or looks different than when you first opened it, it may be time to let go. Additionally, if you haven't used a particular oil in a long time and it has exceeded its shelf life (usually 2-5 years), it's best to dispose of it properly rather than risk using an expired product.

Remember that expired essential oils may not yield the desired benefits and could cause adverse reactions.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil has several health benefits including: supporting the immune system, alleviating stress and reducing insomnia.

Vivorific’s peppermint essential oil is: 100% Pure and natural, free from fillers, additives and harmful chemicals, vegan and kosher certified and sealed with tamper evident closure and Euro style dropper cap. 

Ways to Repurpose Expired Essential Oils

Repurposing expired essential oils can help extend their usefulness and prevent waste. Some creative ways to use expired essential oils include making insect repellent, homemade soap, natural cleaning products, and enjoying aromatherapy.

Insect Repellent

Essential oils can also be used as natural insect repellents. While they may not be as effective as synthetic chemicals, certain essential oils have been found to repel bugs. Lavender oil is known for its ability to keep insects at bay, while bugs dislike peppermint oil.

It's important to note that essential oils need to be reapplied frequently as they are volatile, and their effects wear off quickly. So, if you're looking for a more natural alternative to chemical bug repellents, try these essential oils!

Homemade Soap

Expired essential oils can still be put to good use in homemade soap. However, it's important to note that the scent of the soap may not be as strong since the oils tend to evaporate over time.

Before using expired essential oils in your soap, make sure to check their expiration dates and ensure they are still safe for use. By incorporating these oils into your homemade soap, you can harness their natural properties and create a unique product tailored to your preferences.

Just remember that when it comes to on-body products like foaming hand soaps, it's best to avoid using expired essential oils altogether for optimal effectiveness and safety.

Natural Cleaning Products

Expired essential oils can be repurposed as natural cleaning products, making them an effective and eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemical cleaners. DIY recipes utilizing expired essential oils can be used for various cleaning tasks around the house.

For example, you can create a homemade all-purpose cleaner by mixing expired essential oils with vinegar or water. This solution can be used to clean countertops, floors, and even glass surfaces.

Adding a few drops of expired essential oils to your laundry soap or cleaning supplies can help remove grease and stains effectively. So don't throw away those expired essential oils just yet - give them a new life as natural cleaning products!


Aromatherapy is a popular way to use essential oils for their therapeutic benefits. By inhaling the aromas of certain essential oils, you can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve your mood.

Aromatherapy can be done through diffusers or by adding a few drops of essential oil to a warm bath. It's important to note that some essential oils can irritate the skin if applied directly, so diluting them with carrier oils before use is recommended.

Furthermore, always ensure that you are using high-quality essential oils from reputable sources in order to reap the maximum benefits from aromatherapy.

Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe For Dogsvivorific Health


Repurposing expired essential oils is a sustainable solution and an opportunity to explore new ways of incorporating them into our daily lives. By using them in natural cleaning products, homemade soaps, or as insect repellent, we can give these oils a second life while enjoying their benefits.

So, next time you find yourself with expired essential oils, don't throw them away - get creative and discover their many possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the shelf life of essential oils?

A: The shelf life of essential oils can vary depending on the specific oil. Generally, most essential oils have a shelf life of 2-3 years.

Q: How can I tell if my essential oil is expired?

A: You can check if your essential oil is expired by looking for any changes in color, consistency, or smell. If your oil has become cloudy, thickened, or has a strange odor, it's likely expired and should not be used.

Q: Can I still use expired essential oils?

A: It is not recommended to use expired essential oils. Over time, essential oils can oxidize and lose their beneficial properties. Using expired oils may not provide the desired therapeutic effects and could potentially cause skin irritation or other adverse reactions.

Q: How can I extend the shelf life of my essential oils?

A: To extend the shelf life of your essential oils, it is important to store them properly. Keep your essential oils in dark glass bottles, away from direct sunlight and heat. Store them in a cool, dry place to help preserve their potency.

Q: What should I do if I have expired essential oils?

A: If you have expired essential oils, it is best to dispose of them properly. Do not pour them down the drain or throw them in the trash. Contact your local hazardous waste disposal facility for guidance on how to safely dispose of your oils.

Q: Do essential oils last longer if stored in the refrigerator?

A: Storing essential oils in the refrigerator is not necessary. In fact, extreme cold temperatures can cause some oils to solidify or change in consistency. It is best to store your oils in a cool, dark place at room temperature.

Q: Can I use fresh essential oils in place of expired ones?

A: Yes, using fresh essential oils is recommended for optimal benefits. Fresh oils have a longer shelf life and are more likely to retain their therapeutic properties. It is always best to use fresh oils for maximum efficacy.

Q: Are there any essential oils that have a particularly short shelf life?

A: Yes, some essential oils, such as citrus oils, have a shorter shelf life compared to others. Citrus oils are more prone to oxidation and may expire sooner. It is important to check the specific shelf life of each oil to ensure they are still safe and effective to use.

Q: Can I dispose of my essential oils by pouring them down the drain?

A: No, it is not safe to pour essential oils down the drain. Essential oils can harm the environment and cause clogs and damage to plumbing systems. Properly dispose of your oils by following local hazardous waste disposal guidelines.

Q: What happens if an expired essential oil comes into contact with my skin?

A: If an expired essential oil comes into contact with your skin, it could potentially cause irritation, redness, or other adverse reactions. It is best to avoid using expired oils on the skin and seek professional advice if you experience any negative effects.


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  2. 10 safe ways to use expired essential oils - Swettis Beauty Blog. (n.d.). 10 Safe Ways to Use Expired Essential Oils - Swettis Beauty Blog.

  3. Can I Use Expired Essential Oils? Shelf Life and Storage Tips – Loving Essential Oils. (2023, May 2). Can I Use Expired Essential Oils? Shelf Life and Storage Tips &Ndash; Loving Essential Oils.

  4. Do Essential Oils Expire? Average Shelf Life and How to Extend. (n.d.). Do Essential Oils Expire? Average Shelf Life and How to Extend.

  5. Powell, S. (2022, July 18). What to Do with Expired Essential Oils - Nascent Naturals Inc. Nascent Naturals Inc.

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