For many newcomers to aromatherapy there might be lots of different questions that you might want to ask; ‘which oils should I start my collection with?’, ‘how do I know that I am using essential oils safely?’, ‘should I use essential oils neat or in dilution?’ and also often included in this list is ‘how should I store essential oils?’.
Essential oils are potent natural substances that, as their name suggests, contain the very essence of the plant, their concentrated active ingredients. As such they should be safely and correctly stored to ensure that these powerful, yet delicate compounds do not become compromised and thus shelf life and effectiveness is not reduced.
So how should you store essential oils?
Dark coloured glass
Essential oils should always be stored in dark coloured glass bottles. This is because the volatile compounds of essential oils can be broken down by UV light and dark coloured glass helps to filter out the UV rays before they can reach and deteriorate your essential oils. Most essential oils come in dark amber coloured glass, but some can also now be found in dark green, dark blue or dark purple bottles, which can look very attractive.
Essential oils should also always be stored in glass bottles, as the active compounds in many oils can actually eat away at plastic and then become contaminated by the affected components of the plastic.
Don’t leave them on display
As we have stated above essential oils can be adversely affected by the sun’s UV rays. This is one of the reasons why we recommend that essential oils should always be kept in a cupboard, cabinet, box or at least away from direct light. We also recommend that essential oils should be kept out of both sight and reach of children, as if ingested or even just applied topically to the skin some essential oils can cause some quite serious side effects.
Most essential oils are perfectly happy to be kept at room temperature, however what they really don’t like is being subjected to repeated fluctuations in temperature, as this can increase the deterioration process. Instead we recommend that essential oils are kept somewhere cool and dark. Some essential oils however like to take things one step further and keep much better when stored in the fridge – this is particularly pertinent to citrus oils.
By following some of these simple steps, you will ensure that you will get the very best from your essential oils. Why not try our wonderful Jersey lavender essential oil, rosemary essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil.