Essential Oil Storage Tips

Essential Oil Storage Tips

Let’s face it, essential oils are not cheap! They require a lot of plant material to produce a small amount of oil, and you want to get the most out of your little bottles of aromatic goodness. When stored correctly essential oils can last an extremely long time. Conservatively, you can keep properly stored oils for at least 1 year. I have oils in my collection that I have had around for over 5 years, and they still have a long life ahead of them.

Factors that will affect your essential oil:

Heat and Light:
Essential oils are flammable. Each oil has a unique flashpoint, or the temperature at which it will ignite. These flash points are quite high. A comfortable room temperature storage place will suffice, but I would not store oils above a range or wood stove.
Direct contact with sunlight can affect the color of an oil and consequently the constituents. Storage in a window sill is also not recommended.

Oxygen and Moisture:
Oxidation occurs when an essential oil is exposed to oxygen. Consistent contact with air will deteriorate the oil and increase evaporation. All is not lost if this occurs. The oils can still be used for cleaning product recipes and even some diffusion, but should be avoided for therapeutic reasons and all skin contact.

Moisture is also detrimental to a bottle of pure essential oil, and can enter the oil if the lid is left off for too long. If water does get into an oil, it may become cloudy or the water may bead up at the bottom of the container.

Simple storage tips for your oils:

To avoid heat and light it is recommended that you keep essential oils in a cool dry place. Kitchen and bathroom cupboards can work well. I store mine on a bookshelf that does not get direct sunlight.

Amber or cobalt glass bottles are recommended over a clear glass bottle. Most essential oils already come in a colored glass bottle when you purchase them. Never store essential oils in plastic, since they are corrosive and will eat away at the container.

To avoid oxidation and moisture, keep the lid on the bottles when you are not using them. It’s also a good idea to transfer oils from a larger container that is almost empty to a smaller one. Let’s say you use a lot of lemon essential oil and purchase it in 4oz quantities. When your bottle is half full or less you may want to transfer the oil into a 1oz or 2oz bottle.  The less empty space in a bottle the better!

Essential Oil Storage Tips

Reducer caps and droppers:

Most 1/2oz and 1oz essential oils that you purchase will come with a drop-by-drop reducer cap on them (see photo above). These are really helpful and can be kept on the bottle. They allow you to dispense the oil one drop at a time. They are made of thick plastic and don’t usually come into direct contact with the oil when they are not being used.

Some oils are just too thick for these handy reducer caps or don’t come with one. In this case, glass droppers come in handy for utilizing your oils. It is important that you do not use the dropper as a lid for your bottle. The bulbs of a dropper are made from a very pliable rubber and will break down quickly if used as a lid. Always use the screw cap lid that was provided with the bottle for storage. You can either clean out your glass droppers with alcohol for storage and future use or designate and label a dropper for a certain oil.

That’s it! Following these easy guidelines will ensure that your essential oils will last as long as you need them. Visit our website to see our full line of essential oils, storage containers, and glass droppers.


19 Responses to “Essential Oil Storage Tips”

  1. avatar dutchee says:

    What about essential oils added to a carrier oil? Any tips for those?

  2. avatar Michele says:

    Personally i do not recommend leaving the dropper tops on essential oil bottles. In the past i have had the droppers on essential oils and have noticed that when on some of the bottles for a long period of time that the squeeze part of the dropper becomes mushy. I now only use the caps for storage and use droppers as needed, washing them after use.

    • avatar Erin says:

      Yep, we totally agree, Michele! The dropper bulbs are made of a very pliable rubber and will break down quickly if used as a lid. We always use the screw cap lid that was provided with the bottle for storage instead. Thank you so much for your input! ~Erin

  3. avatar christineofthecoast says:

    I’m a bit confused with “should be avoided for therapeutic reasons and all skin contact.” Does this mean essential oils shouldn’t be used in homemade skin care products?


    • avatar Erin says:

      Hi Christine,
      No, this statement only applies to essential oils that have been exposed to oxygen or moisture for long periods of time, since these conditions will deteriorate the quality of your oil. While they are still suitable for making cleaning products, we would only recommend fresh essential oils for therapeutic or topical applications. Hope this helps! ~Erin

  4. avatar Tori says:

    What about storing essential oils in bottles with spray tops? I also run groups where people make sensory kits, and put a drop or two of essential oil onto a piece of paper in an airtight container. Should the essential oils be diluted at all? Thank you.

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Tori~Thank you for your question. You will really want to make sure you store your essential oils in glass bottles (not plastic.) We even recommend NOT leaving any droppers (even glass ones) in your essential oils during storage as there can be some corrosion. As for diluting the essential oils, it is really up to you and, it might be influenced by how strong or potent the particular oil is–some are just more fragrant than others and might be very strong if closed up in an an airtight container. I hope this helps! ~Kori

  5. avatar Melissa says:

    What about storing oils in the refrigerator? Is that okay? I live where it can get quite hot in the summer hence my question about keeping oils in the fridge. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance for all your help!

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Melissa~Thank you for your question. The most important thing is to protect the oils from extreme temperature fluctuations and light. I have never kept mine in the fridge and have found a cupboard to be an adequate place to store them. I hope this helps a bit! Thanks again for reading the blog. Cheers! ~Kori

  6. avatar Tracy says:

    The essential oil blend I made for my face has become cloudy after 10 days. It’s made with therapeutic grade organic oils and carrier oil and has been stored properly. It doesn’t smell rancid. Is it ok to use?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Tracy~Thank you for checking in with us. It would be impossible for us to give you advice on this without actually seeing or testing the oil. My best suggestion would be for you to check in with a certified aromatherapist or herbalist. When in doubt, I tend to err on the side of caution. There could be something that got into your blend or the carrier oils used in the combination. Wishing you the best! ~Kori

  7. avatar Jinny says:

    I’ve left a few droppers in the bottles and they have all gone squishy. Is it still ok to use the essential oil?

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Jinny~I would suggest tossing the essential oils as the quality is definitely compromised by the corrosion. It is really best to not store anything, including droppers, touching the essential oils. I am sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for checking in with us. Cheers! ~Kori

  8. avatar Sharon says:

    Question re storing oils with glass droppers….if I keep the bottles upright, so no oil touches the rubber part of the dropper, is that OK? My oils are always stored upright. And…is it possible that some air will get into the oils with the droppers attached…as the rubber part isn’t airtight? Just so much easier with the dropper rather than reducer caps…thanks!!

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Sharon~Thank you for your question and for reading the blog! We really do recommend not storing the oils with droppers in them–even the glass ones–as there can be corrosion. Yes, it is possible for air to get in as the rubber and plastic do break down over time. You’re right, it is so much easier just to leave the droppers in, but, alas, that can definitely compromise the quality and longevity of the oils. We so appreciate you checking in with us. Cheers! ~Kori

  9. avatar Lyly says:

    Hi, I will be making beard oil, wax, and balm for my fiance for Christmas. This will be my first attempt at using essential oils. I did do quite a bit of research to be sure I will be doing everything correctly. The essential oils will be diluted with a mix of different carrier oils. I bought 1oz rectangle amber glass bottles with push oriface reducer and phenolic cap with pulp and vinyl lining to put the finished product in. Is what I am planing to use a good way to bottle and store my hand craft gift? I am also nursing will mixing the beard oil recipe and smelling the blend affect my milk production? I plan on wearing gloves so it won’t absorb into my skin, will that be OK? The essential oils I will be using are:

    Juniper berry
    Orange sweet

    Thank you in advance

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Lyly~Thank you for reading the blog and sharing your questions. A glass bottle sounds like the perfect vessel for a beard oil creation. As for offering advice for how this might affect nursing, I’m afraid we are unable to offer such medical advice. My best suggestion would be to check with your midwife, trusted healthcare provider or a certified aromatherapist to see what might work best for you. Good luck on your creation! ~Kori

  10. avatar Jen says:

    Any suggestions for accuracy when using the reducer caps? I use one drop of Frank on my toothpaste for my gums, but I usually have more than one drop come out and/or the drop just slightly misses my mark, like the drop slips out the little hole and into the little moat around it and then dribbles out of that. …Or do I just simply need to work on my aim? Thanks for any tips or tricks!

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi Jen~Thank you for sharing your challenges. If the reducer caps aren’t working for you, you might consider using a dropper. This may provide a bit more control. Cheers! ~Kori

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