|Here are a few tips on how to store and extend the shelf life of essential oils and other aromatic ingredients, such as absolutes, CO2 extracts, and oleoresins.
To prevent light degradation, store your essential oils and other aromatics in colored glass. If your essential oils were packaged in clear glass, either transfer them to colored glass bottles or cover the bottles in dark paper. Other people prefer storing them in lined aluminum bottles.
I do not recommend storing undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2 extracts, and oleoresins, with glass droppers. The glass droppers have a rubber bulb, and over time many aromatics can degrade the rubber and ruin the aromatic. Storing your products made with essential oils (or absolutes etc) in bottles with a rubber bulb is perfectly fine (since in products, the essential oils are well diluted so won’t break down the rubber).
Store your essential oils and other aromatics in a dark, cool, but not damp place. A few good suggestions are in a refrigerator, a cool but non-humid basement, or a wine cellar. If you can’t store them in any of these places, then I recommend storing them in a box or a cupboard in the coolest room in your house. I do not recommend storing essential oils in the bathroom, because the humidity and constantly fluctuating temperatures can greatly reduce their shelf life.
As you use up your essential oils, absolutes, CO2 extracts, and oleoresins, it is always a good idea to repackage them into smaller containers, since this reduces air space and helps prevents oxidation. Keep a small supply of colored glass bottles and vials in a variety of sizes for this purpose.
Label your aromatics well with the date of purchase. This way you will know how old they are, and which ones need to be used up more quickly than others.
You can use older essential oils (ones that are nearing the end of their shelf life but are still good) in cleaning products, in potpourri, and to scent clothes, paper, sachets, etc. If they are way past their shelf life, and are not one of the essential oils that ages well, I would compost them outside.
My recipe for lavender and herbal sachets:
Some of my eco living green cleaning articles:
Use soap nuts in green house cleaning! http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/391-eco-living-using-soap-nuts-for-green-cosmetics-and-house-cleaning
Laundry stains, odors, and scenting clothes: http://www.allnaturalbeauty.com/articles/eco-living/69-living-an-earth-friendly-lifestyle/531-more-eco-living-laundry-tips-green-ways-to-remove-stains-and-odors
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog