Last Thursday, I went on a massive grocery shopping expedition with my mum.
It was truly an expedition considering the huge crowds, dozens (or was it hundreds?) of shopping carts banging into each other, and long queues that you couldn’t even see the end of to join them.
But we expected the chaos – kind of, anyway. Because we, and everyone else at the supermarket, were there to stock up on foodstuff before the Lunar New Year festivities (which began two days later on Saturday, in case you’re wondering).
Now take a guess…
When my mum and I finally got home, which items do you think we unpacked and stowed away first?
If you’ve done any kind of grocery shopping before, you likely know the answer.
The perishables, naturally. The milk, the fruits, the meats and fish.
In short, the fresh produce that turns bad in the blink of an eye if they aren’t shooed quickly into the fridge.
Well, okay, maybe the blink of an eye is an exaggeration. It’s more like 2,400 blinks of an eye.
My point though, is that 100% natural products spoil quickly if not properly stored.
And essential oils are 100% natural products. (If you buy the right kind from honest vendors, that is.)
So how should you store essential oils to keep them fresh as long as possible?
Well, the enemies to the longevity of essential oils are pretty much the same as those for fresh foodstuff.
Heat, light, oxygen and moisture.
So to keep your oils good, keep them away from these four Destroyers.
1. Avoid the heat and light. Keep your oils in a cool, dark place. Ideally, the refrigerator.
But if you have fridge space constraints or you find it a hassle (and I’ll say that both reasons are true of me), any place that is cool and dark will do. I keep my oils in a cardboard box on a shelf in my bedroom, in the corner that’s furthest away from the window.
Also, don’t keep your oils in clear glass containers. Use amber or cobalt glass ones instead. These will filter out, at least partly, the sun’s ultraviolet rays which degrade essential oils.
2. Avoid oxygen. Keep the essential oil bottles capped. And if you’ve bought a big bottle and the oil’s running low, transfer the remaining oil to a smaller bottle if possible. This ensures that less air (and oxygen) is in the bottle with the oil.
3. Avoid moisture. Keep the bottles capped and store them in a dry place.
4. Also avoid plastic. Your essential oils should have come in glass or metal containers when you first purchased them, so avoiding plastic shouldn’t be too difficult. But I thought I’ll remind you (again) because plastic and essential oils really, really don’t get along.
Two more tips if you do decide to store your oils in the fridge:
5. Put your oils in a container or bag of some kind before stowing them in the fridge. This is to avoid your food tasting of the essential oils, which can happen especially if the oils or food have been in the fridge for a while.
6. Some oils become a little viscous, or thick, when the temperature’s cool. If you find the cooled oil rather difficult to pour out, let it stand for a while before using it.
As you can see, storing essential oils properly isn’t too difficult. It’s actually pretty similar to keeping your foodstuff fresh. So care for your oils and they won’t die on you sooner than they should.
Shall we chat? How do you keep your essential oils? Do you store them in your fridge?