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What to do with your out-of-date essential oils?

Essential Oils (EO) are expensive and it would be a shame to have to throw them away once they have reached their use-by date!


To be frank, it is difficult to determine this date exactly as it depends on so many factors – on their quality, the plant that was distilled, how you used it and how you stored it… Most essential oils can be used beyond that date… EO, in general, are fine for about 5 years (legal duration), 3 years for citrus ones (zest) and perhaps less still for resinous ones.


When can you consider an Essential Oil is out-of-date? When:

  • Its smell has turned
  • It has become viscous
  • It has a darker colour


If you no longer want to use these EO for yourself, don’t throw them away because they can easily be recycled in the home!! Here are a few “recycling” suggestions.


  • Perfume your pots-pourris
  • Dilute it in vinegar and add this mixture to water for cleaning the floors
  • Make a bottle vinegar / EO to clean and disinfect toilets
  • A few drops in the softener dispenser of your washing machine
  • A few drops at the bottom of the rubbish bin to avoid bad odours
  • 2 drops to perfume the ironing water
  • Make perfumed soaps
  • A few drops on a handkerchief or a flat pebble to perfume cupboards




  1. Do not expose to sunlight


Do not store them in a glass cupboard on which the sun shines or a shelve next to a window. They like neither heat nor light. Any source of light or artificial heat is to be banned.


  1. Choose opaque bottles


The added cardboard packaging of certain brands may result in a better conservation if the oil is in clear glass but is it really necessary from an ecological viewpoint?


  1. Neither heat nor humidity


Avoid storing them in the bathroom. It is far better to store them in a dark, fresh and dry place. We keep Pacific Scents essential oils in a wine cellar. This allows for an optimal conservation of the oil and its properties.



  1. Storing them head up


Some essential oils have a corrosive action and the prolonged contact with the plastic dropper tip could harm the bottle.


  1. Do not put your fingers in the bottle


This is tempting for some oils (rarely the case) that can be applied undiluted to the skin. Your fingers’ contact with the stopper and all the impurities it carries will alter the strength of your essential oil.


  1. Don’t forget to close it


Aromatic compounds are volatile. Therefore, a bottle should not be left open but should be resealed immediately. Furthermore, the contact with air will provoke an oxidation that will eventually shorten the life of your essential oil (this is why it is sometimes advised to pour the remaining content in a smaller bottle when half empty).





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