After doing some research on the shelf life of essential oils I came to the conclusion that no one really knows! Many oil manufacturers will say if you purchase “pure oil” it has no expiration date and that is true if you don’t open the bottle and keep it in a temperature controlled, dark, dry place.
I don’t know about you, but that’s not helpful to me. Further research was more enlightening. Oxidation affects everything; once you open the bottle, oxidation will begin. You can keep it to a slow decline by storing your open oils in their original bottles (or if you make up a blend or batch with a carrier oil to keep it in a clean new bottle, dropper, etc) in a dark, dry place. Some people store their oils in the refrigerator because the temperature is controlled. I keep mine in a drawer inside another storage container in the bathroom. It may not be the ideal place but that’s where it is right now. Oxidation can result in altering the chemical makeup of the oils which could render them ineffective.
I’m not completely sure about whether or not oils can become rancid, most companies say they will not, but I’ve had a lavender “go bad” after a couple years, it started to smell rotten. The oil was labeled as pure and with no additives, but who knows. I think because it’s not FDA controlled they don’t have to disclose every ingredient. Don’t quote me on that, but it’s an educated guess. You could probably google it and find out.
I’ve compiled my research into a list of the most popular oils and how long they will last on the shelf before oxidation gets to them entirely. I am NOT an expert, only curious, which is why I decided to research this, so please do not take my word as law. Check with the manufacturers of the oils you purchase. The printable lists the oils by their shelf life, I did not include blends. Free for personal use! Click the image below to download and print. If you pin this, please link to this post and not to the image directly, thanks!