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The Complete Guide to Proper Essential Oil Storage

complete guide to essential oil storage

When you first get into essential oils, one of the last things you think about is the importance of properly storing them.

It’s a common enough story—I know because I did the same thing—you hear about essential oils, and, perhaps overcoming your skepticism, purchase a few. Then you realize, “Oh my goodness! These actually work” and you’re off to the races like the rest of us.

At first, your collection is small. You have a few bottles clinking around in your purse or bag, a few more rolling around in the glove compartment of your car, and maybe one or two at the back of a desk drawer.

As your collection grows, you begin to realize that not only is getting organized important, but there are a few storage guidelines you need to follow to make sure your essential oils retain their quality… which brings us to our first topic! Read on to learn the two primary purposes of learning how to store your oils properly, and then we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of exactly how to do it.

The Two Purposes of Proper Essential Oil Storage – More Important Than You Think!

benefits of organizing essential oils

There are two big, really compelling reasons to start paying more attention to how you store your essential oils. These are:

1.) Protecting your investment

2.) “Organization motivation”

Let’s break each of those down.

High quality essential oils aren’t cheap. They’re very much an investment, not just of money, but also into your health and overall well being. You want to keep them in the best shape possible until you use every last drop. It isn’t difficult to do, but it does take a little forethought and planning (which we make easy for you here at Aroma Outfitters, thanks to our many essential oil storage solutions).

Before we get to that, let me explain the second purpose.

“Organization motivation” is an easy way to remember the following: the more organized your oils are, the more likely you’ll be to use them. It’s a topic I bring up frequently, because it’s so important (and it really does work, too). I’ll give you an example.

At the time of this post is being written, we’re just heading into the fall weather. It’s a great time to revisit my post 7 Ultra-Powerful Essential Oil Recipes To Boost Your Immune System This Fall. Take for example the second recipe in that post, an essential oil powered DIY all-purpose cleaning spray. When your essential oils are well organized, it’s a lot easier to read the instructions and say, “Hey, I think I’ll go whip that up right now!”

But if you’re disorganized? Not so much. Having your oils all tucked away in one place, safely organized, means you’ll be more likely to go and use them rather than going to the store to buy an all-purpose cleaner (which is sure to be filled to the brim with all kinds of chemicals that do who-knows-what to your body). This is why all of our wooden storage boxes come with free essential oil label sets.

Hopefully you understand the dual benefit of proper storage: your essential oils will last longer and you’ll be more likely to use them. Speaking of which, let’s start discussing how to do the storage part correctly, and why. We’ll begin by discussing the first step to any thorough essential oil storage plan, the bottle itself—which, as it turns out, is pretty important:

Why Some Essential Oil Bottles Are Better Than Others

Not all essential oil bottles are made the same. For reasons we’ll discuss in a bit more detail in the following section, essential oils are sensitive to light. Enough exposure can damage the oil, making it less effective or not effective at all.

In the majority of cases, any high quality essential oil you purchase will come in a dark bottle, such as amber, or cobalt blue like the glass roller bottles we have in the shop. Needless to say, if you ever see an essential oil being sold in a clear, plastic, or aluminum bottle, you’ll want to avoid it.

Finally, you should also avoid essential oils that have rubber eyedropper caps. While an eyedropper can be convenient, the rubber can affect the oil to a certain degree. More importantly, these kinds of oils are usually not real essential oils, but “fragrance oils” instead.

Learn more about buying the right kinds of oils in my post What to Look For When Buying Essential Oils.

The Three Enemies of Essential Oils: Air, Light, and Heat

storage case for essential oils

Essential oils, when properly stored, can last a long time before their innate qualities begin to degrade and oxidation takes place. Certain kinds of oils are more prone to degradation, particularly those in the citrus category such as lemongrass or spruce, will last up to two years if stored correctly. However, some oils like Sandalwood or Patchouli can last up to eight years under the right circumstances.

Improperly stored essential oils can have their effective lifespans halved or more. The three “enemies” of essential oil are as follows: air, light, and heat.

Air causes oxidation, so you need to keep your oils in airtight bottles. Light causes degradation from UV rays affecting the chemical makeup of the oil, so in addition to dark bottles, you should always store your oils in a dark place (such as a storage container). Finally, high temperatures can alter the consistency and chemical composition of oils as well, so your oils should always be kept in as cool of a place as possible.

Here’s how to do it:

How to Store Your Essential Oils At Home

I could explain the best way to store your essential oils at home, but why don’t I just show you instead?

Pictured is our two layer wooden essential oil storage box. It’s the product of ours that I personally use to store my oils (I have two, in fact). This beautiful New Zealand pine box holds up to 147 essential oil bottles, includes bottle labels and foam padding, and has extra-secure clasps so you can carry it around easily.

Keeping your oils enclosed in a container like this will help keep the light away from them. As long as you keep the box in a temperature controlled area (such as your home), you’ll be able to keep your oils nice and cool. Plus with all that room you can’t help but be well organized. It’s the ultimate solution.

If you have a smaller collection, note that we do carry smaller versions of our signature wooden boxes—you can pick them up with a 35 bottle capacity, 68 bottle capacity, or a roomy 87-100 bottle capacity.

How to Store Your Essential Oils While Traveling (Plus Helpful Travel Tips!)

Before we wrap things up, I just wanted to make a quick note here for you about traveling with your essential oils. Sometimes it’s not necessary (or possible) to bring along your entire collection, but in most cases it’s easy to bring along your “must haves.”

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my post Can You Travel With Essential Oils? YES – Read Our Definitive Guide. In it, you’ll learn exactly why our indestructible hard shell travel cases are so popular and how you can take your essential oils on an airplane.

Aroma Outfitters Can Help You Enjoy Your Essential Oils Longer & More Often

I hope that you’ve found this post to be educational. As I always say, “treat your oils right, and they’ll treat you right.” And it’s so true—a properly stored, well organized collection is going to make a huge difference in your life.

Let me know in the comments or on Facebook how you prefer to store and organize your essential oils!

About the Author

Charity

Charity is a mom, wife and avid essential oil user. She teaches classes on essential oil usage and describes herself as a “forever student” of the oils. Charity resides in Colorado and is active in volunteering in her community.  

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