Do essential oils go bad

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do essential oils go bad?” We will also discuss what essential oils are, what types can you find, and what they are used for.

Do essential oils go bad?

Yes, essential oils go bad. Although you will not notice spoilage signs like with food, they do change over time, and it can be hard to determine whether it is safe to keep using essential oil.

Something that you need to keep in mind is that once the essential oil has expired it is no longer appropriate to be inhaled or rub on your skin. The shelf life of essential oils will vary depending on the type of oil.

Keep reading to find out some facts about these products and how you can safely use them.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are plant extracts that have been obtained by steaming and pressing different parts of the plant to obtain the compounds responsible for fragrance production. To produce essential oils, the parts of the plant that can be used are

  • Flowers.
  • Fruit.
  • Bark.
  • Leaves.

The reason why essential oils have become popular is because of their therapeutic applications. Essential oils can be applied in two different ways

  • Inhaling. Whenever you smell a drop of essential oils your brain will send a signal to the amygdala, which will produce compounds related to cause happiness and relaxation.
  • Rubbing the skin. Another interesting fact about essential oils is that they can be absorbed through the skin, so receiving a massage with some essential oils will help you relax.

What type of essential oils are there?

There is a wide variety of essential oils and some of them have become very popular, some of them are

  • Lavender essential oil. Have you ever smelled lavender? Imagine receiving a massage with that exquisite smell, just indescribable. Not only smells good but it has been associated with several health benefits, like
  • Helps relaxing.
  • Helps to sleep.
  • Alleviates headaches.
  • Reduces the itching and swelling from bug bites.

Something you need to take into consideration when using this type of oil is that you might experience some symptoms, like nausea, headaches, chills, and vomiting.

  • Rose essential oil. Roses smell amazing and it has been found that their inhalation is associated with different health benefits, such as
  • Helps lead with anxiety.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, which will give you a younger look.
  • It can help treat acne.

When you use this oil, you can end up with skin irritation because of its topical appliance. 

  • Grapefruit essential oil. Because of its fruity nature, grapefruit oil exhibits a bitter and fresh odor. It has been linked to preventing fungal infection and also helps reduce bacterial proliferation.

When using this oil, you must protect your skin from UV rays, because it can lead to skin spots. 

To read more about the different types of essential oils, you can visit the website of Healthline.

When is it recommended to use essential oils?

As discussed before, several health benefits are associated with the use of essential oils, Aromatherapy is a practice where essential oils are used for therapeutic appliances, that can be through inhalation or by skin absorption.

However, these benefits are not scientifically supported, studies have revealed promising results, but they are not consistent. Some of the conditions relieved by using essential oils, according to clinical trials are

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Nausea.
  • Insomnia.
  • Low appetite.
  • Dry mouth

It has also been found that essential oils might be helpful to kill a type of Lyme bacteria. You can read more about this subject here.

What is the shelf life of essential oils?

It is not possible to determine the average shelf life for all essential oils, because as they are very diverse, so are their shelf lives. But a constant is that all of the essential oils can last for more than a year.

  • Shelf life of 1 to 2 years. Tangerine oil, mandarin oil, lime oil, lemon oil, grapefruit pink oil, and frankincense oil.
  • Shelf life of 2 to 3 years. Bergamot oil, chamomile german oil, coffee oil, cypress oil, lemongrass oil, and nutmeg oil.
  • Shelf life of 3 to 4 years. Lavender oil, myrrh oil, carrot seed oil, cardamom oil, balm mint bush oil, and cajeput oil.

If you want to find out about the shelf life of a certain oil, you can click here.

How can you notice when essential oils have expired?

Spotting expired essential oils might be hard to achieve. While some citrus essential oils might exhibit an unpleasant smell, some others might not be quite as obvious.

Not only does smell work to determine whether an essential oil is still safe to use but the viscosity will also tell you if something is up. 


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do essential oils go bad?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.