A Complete Guide On How To Store Essential Oils

Someone pouring essential oil on a plate

Table of Contents

Using essential oils to relax and destress has become more than just a trend but an important part of many people's self-care routine. Knowing how to store essential oils is vital since they quickly lose their scent when exposed to air, sunlight, or other extreme temperature fluctuations.

There are several ways to store essential oils, but the most effective method is keeping them in a climate-controlled environment. Place them away from sunlight, moisture, and bugs. Using make-up organizers and dark glass bottles are some nifty ways to store essential oils.

Why You Need to Store Essential Oils Properly

It's tempting to hoard essential oils in your home so that they can smell fresh and soothing, but you have to be careful. Essential oils are extracted from plants, which means they're only meant for short-term useunless the type of oil is designed specifically for long-term storage, such as tea tree or sandalwood.

Anyway, there's a science on how precisely to store these types of liquids. This includes understanding what makes up each specific fragrance and how much upkeep an individual needs based on their desired shelf-life goal (usually at least one year). 

The estimated average lifespan varies depending upon the particular type. However, some bottles could last more than 10 years if cared for properly.

Storing Different Types of Opened Essential Oils

An oil dropper extracting oil from the bottle

Oil is an essential and natural part of any kitchen - but what are the best types to have around? Here's a guide on how long you should store each type:

  • Citrus 

Citrus oils contain chemical compounds that are effective in combating inflammation, oxidation, and stress. Citrus oils can be stored for at least 6 months to 1 year if the juice is removed beforehand; they will maintain their healing power during this period.

  • Fresh Herbaceous, Warm, Slightly Spicy, Slightly Sweet, Softly Floral, or Woody, Camphoraceous 

Essential oils have the properties of stimulating and uplifting. They also make rooms smell fragrant thanks to their limonene oxide content, lasting from 1-3 years if stored right. 

Popular variants include berry, pine, tea tree oil, rosemary, or lemongrass, great for deodorizing and improving moods.

  • Herbaceous Camphorous, Spicy, Sweet, and Woody

Essential oils are a must-have for the health and enjoyment of your life. When left opened, these essences will last up to 6 years with proper storage. 

Common variants include basil, clary sage, lavender, tea tree, and sage, which help cultivate balance in mind, body spirit, and purification of space within you or others nearby.

  • Fruity, Floral, Spicy, and Woody 

Containing esteros phenols, these types of essential oils function as a disinfectant and sterilizer. Phenols are compounds that have antioxidant properties that cleanse any space or area.

The shelf-life for this type is from 3 to 7 years when stored correctly in dark bottles and with fluctuating temperatures maintained at bay, respectively, so their balancing and soothing properties can be fully utilized during meditation sessions.

  • Woody, Earthy, Balsamic, Warm, and Spicy

Essential oils can be used for various purposes, such as calming, grounding, and sedating. Essential oils that are good at this include black pepper, ginger sandalwood, or balsam. 

In addition, sesquiterpenes play an indispensable role in protecting the immune system from harmful microbes and toxins found on these essential oil variants, which have properties that act as tranquilizers.

Where to Store and Not Store Essential Oil Bottles

Aromatherapy essential oil

Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dark place. They are not meant to last as long when they're exposed to bright or hot areas such as the bathroom, near an oven vent on your stovetop, and any other place where room temperature can shift quickly.

  • Clear Glass Containers

Clear bottles are not the best for storing essential oils because they don't stop UV rays from harming them. Darkly colored or amber-colored containers should be used to protect these oils instead.

Dark glass bottles such as amber or cobalt can help keep out damaging sunlight. Clear, non-dark colored containers are not harmful to storing essential oils in but do not offer protection from the sun's rays which will deteriorate and weaken your oils over time!

  • Plastic Containers

Some people are tempted to store their essential oils in plastic containers, but they should be aware that the material may negatively react with some ingredients. The paneling effect is also a common side-effect of storing it this way, making Essential oil more challenging to clean and maintain due to its slippery nature.

However, for blended or diluted products such as moisturizers or massage oils, storage in plastics does not pose too much of a threat so long as you make sure your product doesn't contain any dangerous chemicals first!

  • Metal or Stainless Steel Containers

Metal and stainless steel containers are an excellent option for storing essential oils so long as they do not contact any toxic materials. 

Stainless steel is the best material to store your essential oils and use when mixing as it does not react. Make sure you work on a surface that won't let chemicals or oil seep into other surfaces like wood, plastic, etc.

  • Aluminum Containers

Aluminum bottles are a staple for essential oil enthusiasts. They do not require the same care as glass and offer a safe, low-cost option perfect for transportation or short-term storage.

Storing Essential Oil Bottles in the Fridge and Freezer

A Woman Looking Inside Her Fridge

You can store your essential oils in the fridge to increase their shelf life and keep them fresh. However, it would be best if you did not freeze any of your oils, as their quality tends to alter over time.

We have seen orange essential oils turn brown when stored incorrectly and stay their vibrant, naturally sweet color for 18 months to 3 years when distilled from fresh botanicals. So keeping these in the fridge could require a more hands-on method in upkeep.

  • Fridge Storage

Oils don't need to be kept at a specific temperature, but many EO lovers swear by putting their oils in the fridge. The consistent climate of your refrigerator will help prolong the shelf life for any essential oil you might put inside it; this consistency can also make diffusers more effective.

After all, who doesn't want pleasant aromas wafting through their house day and night? To preserve the essential oils’ effects as much as possible before use, take out about 12 hours beforehand so that they return to room temperature.

  • Freezer Storage

Putting essential oils in the freezer is a natural way to preserve them. The consistent temperature and lack of light help these delicate ingredients remain fresh for longer. 

Rose and thyme are some of the most popular essential oils to use for crystal healing, due in part to their natural components that solidify or crystallize when placed in a freezer set. 

However, some plant-based oils may lose their properties over time due to changes at room temp or exposure to certain types of lights—including fluorescent bulbs that emit UV rays!

Keeping Essential Oils in Dark Bottles 

Essential oil in dark bottles in a dim place

If you want to store your essential oils in a dark and cool place, it's necessary to put them into dark bottles. Essential oils are sold and stored in darkly colored bottles to prevent UV radiation from penetrating the bottle.

While some companies offer other colors such as green, blue, or violet, amber is preferred because it protects against heat fluctuations that can cause damage to this valuable product.

What Affects the Shelf-Life of Essential Oils?

Some essential oils will last years longer than others. The shelf-life of each oil depends on how it is stored and reacts to the storage climate. Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can last indefinitely as long they remain in their original state.

However, once exposed to air and other environmental factors like heat or sunlight, their chemical stability starts breaking down, leading them towards complete deterioration if left unchecked.

There are a few factors that affect how long your essential oils will last. These include how you store them, how often they have been used, and the natural elements surrounding your essential oils.

  • Heat or Sunlight

Oil is sensitive to heat and light, so too much of either can affect its quality. Too much sunlight will accelerate the natural deterioration that's already happening with repeated exposure. 

Meanwhile, high heating temperatures evaporate essential oils more quickly; they may also drive off some of the healthy and important components it needs for use in cooking or other applications.

  • Oxygen

Oils are sensitive to oxygen in the air, so they're not meant to be left open for prolonged periods. That's why how to store essential oils entails knowing how much they are exposed to oxygen.

Essential oils exposed to air and oxygen begin to lose their volatile constituents, which means they can't hold on as much fragrance. When oils come into contact with the elements of our atmosphere (air/oxygen), it affects how well they can keep a scent for you. 

Essential oil storage bottles near a candle
  • Light

Essential oils, when exposed to sunlight for extended periods, become weakened in their aroma and effectiveness. Under the sun's powerful rays, they lose any potency within them, leaving you with a diluted product. 

Do not be fooled by the dark bottle. Essential oils should never be placed in direct sunlight, as they can lead to oil oxidation through recurrent heating and cooling.

The insight here is that essential oils need a cool environment with little light exposure. Otherwise, they will degrade over time due to heat-induced oxidative reactions when exposed to air or other substances like water vapor (a process known as hydrolysis).

  • Moisture

Moisture is the mortal enemy of essential oils. If essential oil gets wet, it will be contaminated with microbes and mold that can break down the healing properties it holds.

Although it may seem like a small thing, even tiny droplets of water can make oil bottles look cloudy and clump together. This is because moisture will absorb the oils in the bottle, making them appear gel-like and thick while also creating odd patterns on its surface that are difficult to clean off.

Not only does this leave you with an unpleasant smell upon opening your cabinet door, but it's terrible for business since no one wants to buy something gross-looking! To prevent these frustrating occurrences from happening again, all you have to do is store your bottles capped when they're not being used so as little air gets inside as possible.

Keeping Essential Oil Storage Long-Term

There are some key points to remember when keeping your oils for the long run. First, you want to make sure you're storing them in a dark, cool place and never near anything that could be giving off heat.

The worst thing you can do is to leave them out near the sunny spots in your home. Remember that moisture is no friend of essential oils. When you open a bottle up, it releases some oil that can be lost to evaporation over time. So when it isn't in use, you should store your essential oils capped so as little air gets inside the bottle.

Travel-Friendly Ways to Store Essential Oil Bottles

Aromatherapy Box

With all the essential oils in your collection, you need an excellent way to store them so they're not getting mixed up or destroyed. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Aromatherapy Storage Box

Consider investing in an aromatherapy storage box. These containers are explicitly built to store oil blends and shield them from sunlight, a factor that can lead to degradation of quality over time.

Suppose you plan on traveling with any of these items. In that case, it's also worth noting that some boxes may provide insulation against extreme temps, too—just another reason why this is such a significant purchase decision!

  • Essential Oils Binder

Some people like to use binders made explicitly for essential oils. In contrast, others prefer a binder with designated insertsit's really up to personal preference how you decide to store your favorite scents and how often.

Keeping them in a binder with a zipper can help keep them away from light penetration. Binders can be purchased at most office supply stores and allow you to keep these items in one place, so they're easy to access whenever needed!

  • Make-Up Organizers

Some people like to store essential oils in make-up organizers, which usually come with removable containers great for travel. Protip; ensure they're positioned away from the sunlight when left in your dresser.

If you're looking to spruce up your beauty routine and get a more professional look while using them on the go, this is an option worth considering! As a bonus—this is perfect for those of us with small bathroom spaces. It's ideal when keeping everything on hand but away from clutter at all times.

  • Kitchen Drawer Organizer

We all know how hard it can be to find things when they're in the way, so a kitchen drawer organizer might be just what you need! They come with great features like removable compartments and built-in handles that make them easy to carry around.

Have your essential oils at the ready by storing them in a drawer. You can organize them by type or usage, and this way, you don't have to take time organizing everything into neat little rows while ensuring they're hidden away from sunlight.

Conclusion

Essential oils are a significant investment, so we wanted to cover everything about how to store essential oils in this article.

We have gone over the different techniques on how to store essential oils, from placing them on the shelf or countertop to keeping them neatly tucked away in kitchen drawer organizers. The options for essential oils storage are limited but effective when done consistently over time.

Do you have some tips on storing essential oils? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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