How to Store Essential Oils Properly
If you are new to essential oils and aromatherapy, then the question of storage has likely crossed your mind. It is an important topic and if you want to get the very best out of your essential oils, knowing what you should and should not do when storing them is almost as important as how to use them in the first place.
Basically, the way in which you look after and store your oils can have a big effect on their shelf like and their medicinal qualities. Assuming that your oils were fresh at the time you bought them, then storing them properly is absolutely key to getting the best value and best benefits from your oils.
While the focus of the article is essential oil storage, the same thing applies to your carrier oils. Neither essential oils not vegetable oils enjoy extremes or frequent a frequent change in temperature.
When used and stored correctly, your essential oils can provide you with a myriad physical and emotional benefits. As long as you use them properly, they are a wonderful, safe and natural option for treating a vast array of illnesses.
Having done the research and likely paid a decent price for your oils, the last thing you want to do is spoil them and get less value out of them than you should have done. By making sure you store them well, you are not only saving on money but ensuring that you get the full medicinal value from your product.
As well as getting the best medicinal value from your oils, there is another very good reason to store them properly and that is safety which we will take a good look at later in the article
How to Store your Essential Oils
1) Store in a Dark Bottle
It is vital that you store your essential oil in a dark colored bottle. The reason for this is that it helps filter out the sun’s ultra-violet rays. Up until fairly recently, dark orange or amber tended to be the color of choice for essential oil bottles but with the growing popularity of the products, manufacturers have expanded their horizons.
These days, you can find essential oils in a variety of dark colored bottles including amber, dark blues and greens and violet. Any dark colored bottle will have petty much the same protective effect on your oils.
Whatever color of bottle your oils inhabit, they should never, ever be left in an area where they are exposed to direct sunshine. Do not leave them on your kitchen windowsill or on the garden table. Over time, leaving them exposed to direct sunlight has a dramatic effect on the oxidation process. Oxidation basically means that your oils will deteriorate and lose their valuable health benefits.
Once oxidized, your oils will have nowhere near the same value especially if you are massaging them into your body or inhaling their vapors. You may still be able to use them for more practical purposes like cleaning but you really do not want to waste their precious value.
Make sure that you store them in a cool, dark area of the home and also make sure that it is a place where your inquisitive children cannot get their hands on them. This is a very important point. Essential oils may be natural and safe when used correctly but never forget that they are very powerful.
Ingesting essential oils can be fatal especially for young children so keeping your oils as far from your kids as possible is absolutely essential.
2) Keep your Oil Cool
If you do not keep your oils sufficiently cool, they are at risk of oxidation. Assuming you have enough space and can keep them far enough from your children’s hands, the best way to avoid temperature damage is to store your essential oils in your refrigerator.
Not only do your essential oils benefits from refrigeration but your carrier oils can also benefit. If you do not have space in your refrigerator or you do not have one, then try storing them in anther cool place. After spending so much of your hard earned cash on your oils, the last thing you want to do is ruin their value by leaving them on a window ledge. Any temperature between 5 and 10 degrees celsius and you should be good to go.
Not all essential oils are equally prone to the damaging effects of oxidation but it is prudent to treat get into the habit of treating them all the same way. Citrus oils are actually the most at risk of oxidation.
Some essential oils like Aniseed, Fennel and Rose Otto will actually solidify when stored at low enough temperatures. Do not let that concern you overly; it simply means that you will need to let them warm up again before you use them. In the case of some essential oils such as Rose Otto, simply holding the oil in your hands for a couple of minutes will produce sufficient heat to dissolve the oil. Some other oils on the other hand may have to sit at room temperature for up to an hour or two before returning to their normal state.
3) Take Care of your Carrier Oils
Your carrier oil collection is an extremely important part of your essential oils regime. Just because they are cheaper and have less therapeutic value does not mean you should not take equally good care of them.
During the warmer summer months when they are especially vulnerable, your carrier oils will fare better if you store them in your refrigerator. Again, if you do not own a fridge or are lacking the necessary space, keep them in another cool area of the house.
Remove your carrier oils from the fridge around 12 hours before you have planned to use them. This will allow the temperature of the oil to return to the appropriate room temperature. This is important because when you store your carrier oils at a low temperature, they produce fatty particles that you need to dissolve before the carrier oil is ready to be combined with your essential oils. Once the carrier oil has warmed up again, a few shakes of your bottle should be enough to ensure the fatty particles or waxes dissolve and return the carrier oil to its natural state.
Jojoba oil which is a popular carrier oil is very sensitive to the cold especially the better quality oils. When you store it in the fridge, it sets solid with a consistency similar to butter but this is a good indication that the oil was not refined or ‘extended’. Avocado oil, especially the unrefined version will react in a very similar way. Refined carrier oils including avocado tends to remain in a liquid state because the refinement process removed the fatty acids.
4) Storage Boxes
If you are lacking refrigerator space or you are concerned about safety, then consider a storage box for you oils. There is no need to go for an especially attractive box but designing your own makes for a nice project. For those of you with money to spare, you can buy a number of different essential oil storage boxes.
Essential Oil Storage Safety
- Essential oil are moderately volatile meaning they evaporate quickly so be sure to tighten the cap on the bottle after use.
- Essential oils are also flammable. Never leave your oil near ignition sources like fires, candles or stoves.
- Make sure that you store your oils away from children or pets.
- Never put your undiluted oils in a plastic bottle. Most essential oils can eat into plastic and even cause the plastic to melt.